PHer buys 917 bodyshell, cracks on with building the rest himself
'Hi Mr Editor' began an email arriving in the PH inbox this morning. "You may recall back in early August 2011 a rather negative article on your website about a 917 bodyshell for sale."
Quick CAD session, bit of welding - ta da!
Uh-oh, who have we upset now...
Reading on it turns out not to be an angry email but in fact a fascinating one. You can read that original story here but the basics were that a fibreglass Porsche 917 bodyshell from a mould taken from David Piper's (yes, him) original car was up for sale. And we suggested that the best use for it might be to turn it upside down and use it as a canoe. Ahem.
Well, the author of our email, a chap called Dave Eaton, describes himself as "the idiot that bought that shell" and then goes on to detail his ongoing project to build a chassis for it. This becomes more credible and interesting when you learn Dave is apparently an automotive design engineer working for various OEMs and currently in Motown working for Ford and with his own industry standard CAD equipment. He also owns a Lamborghini Espada and Alfa Montreal and has had a bit of a thing for the 917 since witnessing Pedro Rodriguez winning the 1970 BOAC 1000km in one at Brands Hatch, as per the lead image.
So what colour and configuration would you have?
Having designed himself a tubular chassis he describes as "virtually 100 per cent correct to the original" on CAD he's built it out of T45 cro-moly steel. The next will be aluminium and he admits he still has some way to go to achieving his dream of building a road-legal 917, powered by a flat-six from a 964 era 911. That's obviously six cylinders down on the proper 917 but such trifles don't seem to bother our man, who with a partner in the project reckons he'll be able to engineer a proper air-cooled flat-12 of his own. This won't, he's at pains to point out, be "two sixes stuck together." He's planning on selling a few six-cylinder cars to fund this next step in the project, which appealed to him more than the Bailey Edwards replicas already available because, as he puts it, the shell he bought is "a splash from an original, Piper's car, 100 per cent visually correct."