Brumm Ferrari & Porsche

The real short-tailed "Hippy" 917K is a much darker purple

Here are six models that come from the 'classic' 1970 & 1971 seasons. This is probably the most famous era in endurance racing, and the monster 5.0 litre cars from Porsche and Ferrari were an awesome sight. Any decent Le Mans collection must include at least one Porsche 917, and there are quite a few specimens of this famous car to choose from.

The first car considered is the Brumm 917K from Watkins Glen 1970. The body and decal work are fairly good, but not very faithful to the real car. (The actual paint was darker, and the number was more "scripty"). The paint is also much too shiny, which gives it a very cheap feel. The wheels are somewhat crude, and the interior detail is lacking. The phony headlight covers are poorly fitted, and do more harm than good. However, this is the only readily available model in the psychadelic 'hippy' graphics. It is eye-catching enough that it is acceptable, despite its obvious faults.

This 917K 'hippy' is NOT the one that came in 2nd place at LeMans in 1970. That was the #3 917L driven by G. Larousse (who went on to have his very own lame F1 team), and Vic Elford (who went on to pose for a goofy photo with the author of this website). That 917L has only been modeled by the obscure French company "Super Champions". It is a different body than the 1971-model 917 Longtail, because it has open rear wheels and a different tail.


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The Brumm model. Click for a HUGE image.
Brumm Porsche 917K, Watkins Glen 1970
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While the Brumm 917K gets by on novelty, the Minichamps versions (both long and shorttail) earn their place through quality. Brumm has put out a total of 11 cars, including the Le Mans winner from 1970 and 1971, but they are pretty much ignored by most collectors. Minichamps has slowly issued a total of four 917's (two long and two short), and they are highly sought after. The first two were part of the Porsche dealer "Le Mans Heritage" set, and are technically only available as a $280 set of seven cars.
Which one would you rather own?

The Martini Sebring Winner is one of those cars that look 'real' when viewed up close. The decal work is extremely precise, and the paint has the correct luster. Note how the Minichamps version has NACA air ducts that poke through the body, instead of the simple stampted moulds on the Brumm.


The Minichamps model. Click for a HUGE image.
Minichamps Porsche 917K, Sebring 1971
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The Minichamps Le Mans Winner from 1970 is a strange beast. First of all, there are at least three real Porsche 917's in the world that are painted with this red and white striped colors. There is one in the Porsche museum, which is NOT the winning car, but actually chassis #001. There is a second one in England that was used for an artice recently in MOTORSPORT magazine. The REAL car (chassis #023) is being sold by Symbolic Motor cars of La Jolla.

A pit stop on the way to history

One day on my way to surf, I visited Symbolic as I often do. Lo and behold, this famous car was there. While it is now in their Beverly hills showroom, I was able to look at it for an hour. One interesting "error" in the car is that it had the shark fins on the sides of the back, like the 1971 winner. After spending some quality time with the car, I came to a startling conclusion: It could be easily reproduced, as the frame is common steel tubes. A sheet metal or body shop could easily make the body panels. If you really think about it, there is nothing terribly unique about any of the components. The flat 12 is a problem...

As you can see, the Minichamps Porsche 917K should be considered a replica of the "Museum" car, and not the car "as raced". The Minichamps (& Museum" cars have a body decal from the 1982 Le Mans race, which suggests is was taken out for a parade lap and given an 'honorary' entry.
The decals on the Minichamps do not match the car as raced
1982??

The Porsche Museum Car

The Minichamps model. Click for a HUGE image.
Minichamps Porsche 917K, Winner Le Mans 1970
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Ubrigens (That's German for 'by-the-way') the 'K' in 917K refers to Kurzheck which is German for 'Short tail'. The 'L' in 917L refers to Langheck which is German for 'Long tail'. Speaking of 'Longtails' I was lucky enough to get one of the new limited edition Minichamps models for list price This new 'test version' is from the time trials of 1971, and it appears in its 'blank' livery. This was the beginning of a tradition of rolling out the final colors on race day, and surprising the crowd with the most outrageous paint scheme. For anyone with a heart, the Porsche 917L is the symbol of what Le Mans is all about, and this model is in the new place of high honor in my collection. This is of course the car that showed up on race day in the Beautiful Martini colors. While I own one of those models as well, I like having the 'nude' version that shows off the 'sexy' curves of the tail section. This car is too erotic to be displayed publicly, and instead of the usual Minichamps "Not suitable for children under 14 years" It should come in a plain brown box marked "For adults Only".


The Minichamps model. Click for a HUGE image.
Minichamps Porsche 917L, Le Mans 1971
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The full color version of the Martini 917 is part of the Le Mans Collection. While the longtail is a stunning car, its lack of downforce made it incredibly difficult to drive anywhere besided the Mulsanne straight. This car actually dropped out due to mechanical failure. The model is a winner though, and the small "Martini Racing Team" decals on the valve covers are a nice touch.

Minichamps Porsche Dealer model. Click for a HUGE image.
Minichamps Porsche 917L, Le Mans 1971
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This Ferrari 512M is another story. The decals are poorly applied, and the printing is inaccurate. (See how the white portion of the "Champion" logo does not line up with the red and black.) The decals are also not particularly interesting, but that's not the model's fault. The gold wheels are especially cheesy, and a more realistic finish would have made a huge difference in the overall presentation. The interior detail is not good at all. This model really disappoints me, and I display it in the back of the case. Brumm has issued other 512M models from LeMans '71 as special editions, but I am unsure if the quality is any better. Had this car not placed fourth in one of the greatest races of all time, it would be a complete waste of money.

The 512M was a factory upgrade of the 512S, wish was Ferrari's answer to the 917. They, like Porsche, produced 25 cars so they could be allowed 5.0 litre engines, instead of 3.0 litres. ...More about the Ferrari 512M

The Brumm model. Click for a HUGE image.
Brumm 512M
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