The Ex-Will Kauhsen/Monte Shelton Nürburgring, Imola and Silverstone-winning,1972-73 twin-turbocharged Porsche 917/10 CanAm & Interserie Racing Spyder  Chassis no. 917/10-015

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Lot 519Ω
The Ex-Will Kauhsen/Monte Shelton Nürburgring, Imola and Silverstone-winning, 1972-73 twin-turbocharged Porsche 917/10 CanAm & Interserie Racing Spyder
Chassis no. 917/10-015

Sold for US$ 579,000 inc. premium
The Ex-Will Kauhsen/Monte Shelton Nürburgring, Imola and Silverstone-winning
1972-73 twin-turbocharged Porsche 917/10 CanAm & Interserie Racing Spyder
Chassis no. 917/10-015
‘The immortal Porsche 917 series of flat-12 cylinder, air-cooled endurance racing cars stands absolutely at the pinnacle of sports car charisma, power and performance.’


Every enthusiast throughout the Vintage and Historic and collectors’ car world appreciates the sheer imposing stature, the significance, the brooding presence of these great turbocharged Porsche ‘Panzers’ from the early 1970s. The Porsche 917 as an overall family of competition cars has been voted repeatedly – by the readers of an entire library shelf of magazines - the greatest racing car of the 20th Century. Yet amongst that family the most powerful, and the most stupendous to drive – the most astonishing in which to experience the full meaning of Porsche power and torque and controllability – the twin-turbocharged open Spyder 917/10s are perhaps the most affordable….

The appeal of these cars seems to have been tightly focused upon a user market. This is a market for Vintage and Historic racers essentially who want to experience just what it was like to handle these great CanAm and InterSerie racing cars with their amazing dial-more-horsepower turbocharger systems. This is the market which seeks to match the muscular achievements of such contemporary Porsche Panzer commanders as Mark Donohue, George Follmer, Hurley Haywood, Jody Scheckter, Charlie Kemp, Willi Kauhsen and several heroes more.

Yet although many of us mere mortals used to hang on the fence at circuits ranging from Mid-Ohio to the Norisring, and Edmonton to Imola, used to tremble to the site and pace and exhaust-muffled fury of these great cars rocketing by, many of the drivers in period would assure the race engineers and mechanics that “It’s all surprisingly controllable in fact – the throttle lag while the turbos wind-up can catch you out at first, but once you get acclimatized to it all you get used to the acceleration and you just get with the programme (Mark Donohue, 1972). If at first the 800-1,100 horsepower of these great cars proves too demanding, a simple turbo boost pressure adjustment can bring matters back within a digestible regime, and so the new owner of such a car can – with experience – find his feet by walking with a 917/10; before it demands that the driver should mentally run like an Olympic sprinter just to keep more or less in touch with it all!

The immortal Porsche 917 series of flat-12 cylinder, air-cooled endurance racing cars stands absolutely at the pinnacle of sports car charisma, power and performance. Four tiers of Porsche 917 competition cars were produced by the world-famous German marque – the endurance racing World Championship of Makes short-tailed Coupes, the special-bodied aerodynamic Coupes tailored for Le Mans and its high-speed Mulsanne Straight, the turbocharged 917/10 CanAm and European Interserie Spyder model such as this stupendous example offered here, and the ineffably rare 917/30 ultimate CanAm car campaigned in period only by the works backed Sunoco-Penske team.

This car’s original owner/driver, the experienced Porsche privateer Willi Kauhsen campaigned two 917/10s in the European equivalent of ‘anything goes’ Group 7 CanAm racing – the Interserie.


For the 1972 season the definitive Porsche 917/10 Spyder model employed argon arc-welded aluminum-tube chassis frames with the bodywork tailored entirely to provide the most efficient combination of low aerodynamic drag and high download. At the Riverside Raceway in California, the 917/10 Spyder of 1972 was clocked at no less than 213mph along the main straight. All customer 917/10s used epoxy body panels bonded to the aluminum spaceframe chassis. Porsche fitted their own brakes using massive aluminum four-pot calipers with extensive stiffening and cooling fins and webs. Cast-iron brake rotors were adopted, no less than 1.1-inches thick, radially cooled by internal vanes and cross-drilled to improve wet-weather performance, cooling and pad life and to save weight. The standard 917/10 Turbo fuel tankage was enlarged to 66 then ultimately 72.6 gallons.

In European Interserie racing the 917/10 Spyder customer cars were first campaigned with atmospherically-aspirated 5-liter and 5.4-liter flat-12 engines, although in CanAm competition the turbocharged power units were deployed from the opening race in 5-liter capacity, with up to 1,000bhp on tap at the turn of the boost control. In first trials the basic 4.5-liter Turbo unit had developed in excess of 850bhp, and it was this specification that would be deployed in Interserie competition through 1972 to replace the atmospherically-aspirated 5.0-5.4-liter units.

In fact we understand that Willi Kauhsen campaigned his first 917/10 Spyder, chassis ‘002’ until it was badly damaged in an accident at the Nürburgring late in 1972. He then deployed this car – chassis ‘015’ – in which he achieved the following results in InterSerie racing – winning the 1973 Nürburgring 300kms and Shell Coppa d'Oro (at Imola in Italy), and finishing 2nd in the BRDC Martini Trophy (Silverstone, in England). He then shipped the car to the USA for a brief exploratory incursion into the CanAm Challenge series proper, promptly qualifying 5th fastest at Mid-Ohio in 1973. Back home in Europe he then took the car to war yet again in the InterSerie, and repeated his great 1973 win at Silverstone in 1974. Willi Kauhsen went on to organize his Willi Kauhsen Racing Team (WKRT) operation which carried off the World Championship of Makes title in 1975 with the quasi-works Alfa Romeo 33TT12 sports-prototype cars.

This magnificent – and supremely sophisticated – sports-racing Porsche – was later sold by Willi Kauhsen through Andial to Randolph Townsend, a young and well-to-do Reno, Nevada State Representative who sold it on eventually in 1977-78 to Dan Hannah of Hannah Car Wash fame in Portland, Oregon.

He then was proud owner of this extraordinary Porsche Spyder for two or three years before selling it in 1980 to well-known SCCA and CanAm contemporary racer Monte Shelton who drove the car at a few race tracks including Laguna Seca, at Monterey. The car was then acquired by Peter Kaus for his embryo Rosso Bianco Collection in 1984, since when ‘917/10-015’ has been preserved apparently untouched on museum display. It appears absolutely complete, it may have a 5.4-liter engine fitted instead of the basic 5-liter – stamping on the crankcase at its rear end appears to indicate ‘5L’ though this is probably in fact ‘5.4’. Plainly the internal mechanical condition of this amazing and immensely impressive beast obviously remains for a would-by buyer to properly assess.

But when it comes to supreme presence – we would suggest that this magnificently unspoiled, still well-presented and aesthetically very well preserved CanAm Porsche sets immensely high new standards… It is in every way a breathtaking sports-racing car, indeed.
The Ex-Will Kauhsen/Monte Shelton Nürburgring, Imola and Silverstone-winning,1972-73 twin-turbocharged Porsche 917/10 CanAm & Interserie Racing Spyder  Chassis no. 917/10-015
The Ex-Will Kauhsen/Monte Shelton Nürburgring, Imola and Silverstone-winning,1972-73 twin-turbocharged Porsche 917/10 CanAm & Interserie Racing Spyder  Chassis no. 917/10-015
The Ex-Will Kauhsen/Monte Shelton Nürburgring, Imola and Silverstone-winning,1972-73 twin-turbocharged Porsche 917/10 CanAm & Interserie Racing Spyder  Chassis no. 917/10-015
The Ex-Will Kauhsen/Monte Shelton Nürburgring, Imola and Silverstone-winning,1972-73 twin-turbocharged Porsche 917/10 CanAm & Interserie Racing Spyder  Chassis no. 917/10-015
The Ex-Will Kauhsen/Monte Shelton Nürburgring, Imola and Silverstone-winning,1972-73 twin-turbocharged Porsche 917/10 CanAm & Interserie Racing Spyder  Chassis no. 917/10-015
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