In the office in which I am writing, there are two walls dedicated to die-cast racing cars. One shelf contains four Porsche 917s that raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans during the halcyon days of the early 1970s.
The second 917 on my shelf is the No. 20 Gulf-Porsche with the familiar light blue and orange livery driven by Steve McQueen in the movie “Le Mans.”
In real life, the car was driven and owned by a sports car ace named Jo Siffert, who loaned it for McQueen to drive in the movie. The No. 20 Porsche then was used to lead Siffert’s funeral cortege, after the Swiss driver was killed in a racing accident in England.
It was rediscovered in 2001 as part of a “barn find.”
Now it has been restored, and now it is expected to fetch upwards of $15 million at auction at Pebble Beach in August.
The No. 20 on my shelf, 1/18 scale, fetched $69 from my wife, who bought it for me as a Christmas present years ago, along with an official theater “Le Mans” movie poster and another poster of Steve McQueen giving the German drivers in the movie the famous two-fingered salute.
Unlike the real 917, none of my items are for sale, because it doesn’t get any cooler than Steve McQueen and the No. 20 light blue and orange Gulf-Porsche.