The Real Story Behind Steve McQueen's Porsche 917 In 'Le Mans'

Unlike many cars that feature in famous movies, this 1970 Porsche 917K sports car was not a replica and came with an impressive racing pedigree. 

You're not insane if you've ever questioned the basis for the fabled status of the Aston Martin DB5, the Ghostbusters' Subaru Impreza WRX, 

the 1959 Cadillac Ecto-1 that was converted, or even more recently, the 1959 Cadillac Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters. You are nothing more than a thinking gearhead. 

The simple fact is that, more so than their technical heritage or eye-catching aesthetics, most well-known movie vehicles owe their success to the silver screen. 

The power of the silver screen occasionally meets halfway with the best automobile engineering, but this isn't always the case. 

One outstanding example of the exception is Steve McQueen's Porsche 917K from the 1971 Le Mans film, a vehicle that not only served as a cultural touchstone but was also a very potent racer.  

You are aware of how movie automobiles often end after the filming. They frequently leave the movie set and head directly for the junkyard. 

When the firm shipped the stunt replica to the junk yard, the Bullitt Mustang narrowly avoided a similar fate, and a Warner Bros. 

employee acquired and sold the hero car for a pitiful $6,000 instead. 

Contrarily, the Porsche 917K sports car left the filming location and went on to win several non-fictional endurance races.  

Origins Of The Porsche 917

The 917 was born to help Porsche take advantage of the new rules instigated by the Commission Sportive Internationale (the FIA's then-independent competition arm) regarding 5-liter sports cars.