Amalgam Collection, the architects behind some of the most fastidiously designed and energetically-priced diecast replicas of motorsport’s most legendary cars, is currently developing a 1:8-scale, ‘race-weathered’ example of the Porsche 917K that won the Daytona 24 Hours in 1970.
Yes, ‘in development’, so the images above are actually of the 1:18-scale model currently up for grabs in the collection’s online store (we’ll update those as and when new images are released). And yes, ‘Amalgam’, so there will only be five examples of the race-weathered 1:8 example up for grabs – three of which have already been assigned – with each costing a mortgage-straining $15,595 USD. Or about the same as a decently-specced Ford Fiesta. At a time when disposable income is at a premium.
Still, cynicism aside, there’s little question that, 50 years (and three months) on from its successful competitive debut, the Porsche 917K is an unquestionable motoring icon. As we explained in an earlier list article (cue shameless plug HERE), Porsche has established itself as the absolute daddy at Daytona, winning 18 times as a constructor and 22 times as an engine supplier. And after popping its cherry with the 907LH in 1968, Porsche, as a works effort run by J.W. Engineering, took its second win with the brand new 917 two years later. And so began a legacy.
In an effort to reign in the lunatic speeds being achieved by Group 6 monsters at that time, the Commission Sportive Internationale, then the independent competition arm of the FIA, ruled that heading into 1968, the formerly untethered engine regulations in the International Championship for Makes would be limited to ‘just’ 3.0-litres. That the ruling also opened doors to sports car racing for brands already producing 3-litre engines in Formula 1 was, we’re sure, just an almighty coincidence.
Still, aware that few manufacturers could develop a 3-litre engine on such short notice (the regulations would remain in effect until at least 1971), the CSI…uh huh, also introduced Group 4, a discipline in which engine displacements up to 5-litre were permissible, thus offering a lifeline to the likes of the new Ford GT40 that would take the first of four consecutive Le Mans wins that year. The catch? At least 50 road-going homologated examples had to be produced to guarantee entry. A number hastily dropped to 25 in April 1968 in response to poor entry numbers.
Porsche, unsurprisingly, was quickly on the case, and at the Geneva Motor Show in 1969, debuted its brand new, 4.5-litre Flat 12 917, rolling out 25 rapidly-developed road-going models just a few weeks later. Cranking out 580hp and 376lb ft in 1969, and borrowing heavily from the 3-litre counterpart powering Porsche’s 908 (on which the 917 was also based), the flat-12 quickly became the 917’s ace in the hole, as a decisive win on the car’s maiden outing duly showed.
Driven by Leo Kinnunen, Pedro Rodriguez and Brian Redman, the Daytona-winning #2 Porsche 917 not only finished 45 laps ahead of the sister #1, the latter of which suffered broken brake lines and clutch failure, but a further three ahead of the debuting Ferrari 512 S. Maranello’s new charger would take victory at that’s year’s Sebring 12 Hours, but the remaining nine races of the 1970 International Championship for Makes, including Le Mans, went to Porsche.
Half a century on, Amalgam celebrates this achievement with an intricate, hand-built replica of the winning machine. To achieve the true ‘race-weathered’ detail, Amalgam’s designers have used archive images, drawings and even accurate digital scanning of the original car to create the post-race effect. To ensure complete accuracy, the finished product is given the thumbs up by engineering and design representatives from Porsche itself.
*Images courtesy of Amalgam Collection, Porsche and Classic Motorsport