The 1973 Porsche 917/30 Can-Am Spyder is considered by many racing historians to be the most powerful race car to have every turned a wheel on asphalt.

The twin-turbo 12 cylinder powerplant was tuned to pump out over 1,580hp in qualifying mode during the 1973 season of the Can-Am Challenge, the teams usually decreased turbo boost and raced it at around 1,100hp which still gave the car a 0-60 time of 1.9 seconds, a 0-100 time of 3.9 seconds and a 0-200mph time of 10.9 seconds. In race trim the Porsche could top 260 mph (420 kph), making it quicker than any modern Formula 1 car.

The Porsche 917/30 entered by Penske Racing won the 1972 CanAm series with George Follmer driving (after primary driver Mark Donohue suffered injuries as the result of a crash that year). 1973 saw a Porsche 917/30 piloted by the now recovered driver Mark Donahue win every race except one and claim the series win by a huge margin.

This domination by the 917 saw the SCCA introduce a new 3 miles per US gallon maximum fuel consumption rule for 1974, this left the twin turbo versions of the 917 out in the dust although some teams did remove the turbos and run the cars naturally aspirated, they never saw the same dominance.

The 1973 Porsche 917/30 Can-Am Spyder pictured here recently sold at the Gooding & Co Amelia Island auction for a staggering $4,400,000 USD, making it the most valuable Porsche in the world. I can’t see how the new owner is going to be able to resist the temptation to tweak the turbos up to 39psi and lay down 1,580hp around the local race track, then again, maybe it’s a good thing I can’t afford to collect cars like this.

All images copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company.
Photos by Pawel Litwinski.

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Ben Branch has had his work featured on CNN, Popular Mechanics, the official Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, and many more.

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