The achievements of exceptional people have long been celebrated by fascinating biographies – and Porter Press is now doing the same for some very special cars.
This magnificent book (the second title in our Great Cars series) tells the story of the most important Porsche 917 of all – the one that gave Porsche its first victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours. In 1970 the world’s greatest sports car race was ravaged by periods of torrential rain but through it all came 917-023, driven by Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood, to achieve a landmark success for the German manufacturer. This book provides detailed insight into not only this race but also the six others in which 917-023 took part, supported by a superb collection of period photographs, many in colour. All Porsche fans will love this addition to the ‘Great Cars’ series.
• The complete life story of Porsche 917-023, which won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1970.
• The car’s seven races covered in detail, from the 1970 Brands Hatch 1,000Km to the 1971 Daytona 24 Hours.
• All surviving drivers of 917-023 specially interviewed for this book: Hans Herrmann, Richard Attwood, Vic Elford, Kurt Ahrens, Gérard Larrousse and Gijs van Lennep.
• The works-assisted teams – Porsche Salzburg in 1970, Martini in 1971 – outlined in detail, including interview input from mechanic Helmut ‘Käfer’ Frauenschuh.
• Nearly 300 period photographs, many previously unpublished, supported by a portfolio of specially commissioned studio photography.
Ian Wagstaff has twice won the Guild of Motoring Writers’ Montagu Trophy as well as its Pierre Dreyfus award, and he has also received the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association’s ‘Book of the Year’ award. He is particularly intrigued by both endurance and Indy car racing and has written books about the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Indianapolis 500.
(signed copies only available direct from us)
The leather-bound de Luxe edition is limited to just 100 copies and is signed by the author.
This Great Cars book outlines in exhaustive detail the history of the most important competition Jaguar
E-type. Run by John Coombs with factory support and driven by some of the best racing drivers of the day, this car took part in the E-type’s first motor race and later became the prototype all-aluminium Lightweight E-type.
This superb book tells the story of the finest example of a glorious breed of Ferrari, the 250 GT Short Wheelbase, which combined a great engine with a fine chassis and a beautiful body to become one of the most revered Ferraris. The subject of this book, 2119 GT, is a very special car because Stirling Moss drove it to a famous victory in the Goodwood Tourist Trophy of 1960. This book provides detailed insight into this race, the competition début of 2119 GT, as well as the seven others in which the car took part in period, all supported by a superb collection of photographs.
de Luxe Edition
(signed copies only available direct from us)
de Luxe Edition
The famous cars made by ERA (English Racing Automobiles) epitomise British motor racing during the 1930s and have a very special place in the affections of patriotic enthusiasts. This magnificent book tells the story of a uniquely historic example that has competed almost without a break for 80 years and achieved innumerable successes.
This magnificent book tells the story of a Ferrari 250 GTO with a particularly interesting and varied history. The car is chassis number 4153 GT and it won the Tour de France - an arduous 10-day race-cum-rally - in the hands of Lucien Bianchi and Georges Berger in 1964.
'Thanks for offering this service. I have many of your books. Your book on Porsche 917-023 is the finest book in my collection of 350 hardcover titles. You won't ever do a greater book, but I encourage you folks to try!!'
Major Irvine Brown
Le Mans 24 Hours, 1970
This 917 was short-tailed and powered by a 4.5-litre engine, whereas Porsche’s ‘hot-shot’ drivers were all in 4.9-litre cars, two of them aggressive-looking, long-tailed versions. On top of that, one of 023’s drivers was ill: Richard Attwood, unbeknownst to him at the time, had mumps and could eat hardly anything. Attwood and co-driver Hans Herrmann found themselves in front after others struck trouble and then had to defend their lead in atrociously wet weather – in the book Attwood describes how he had to battle with ‘an unbelievably dangerous track and seemingly impossible conditions’. Thanks to Ian Wagstaff’s meticulous research, which has included interviews with all six of 023’s surviving drivers, this is a richly detailed book that all fans of the Porsche 917 – and sports-car racing in general – will adore.
... 'In this new book, accomplished author Ian Wagstaff explains in full detail the road Porsche took to that ultimate maiden victory. Many of those who played a part in the story from designers, to engineers, mechanics and, of course, the drivers, have been interviewed at length, giving each an opportunity to add their individual part in the ultimate jigsaw of how Porsche 917-023, Hans Herrman and Richard Attwood prevailed to take La Sarthe's checkered flag on that Sunday afternoon in June 1970.'
'Not only is the full genealogy of 917-023 traced in this edition of "The Great Cars" series, but all of the races in which it competed and the subsequent afterlife of the car are detailed too.'
'Although lengthy, some 320 pages, Wagstaff writes in his usual engaging style. Some 300 photos complement the meticulously researched text, with images selected from the Porsche Archive together with material from other photographic agencies, individual contributors, the author and dynamic studio photos of 917-023 taken exclusively for Wagstaff's accounts.'
'This excellent book, second in the Porter Press series of "The Great Cars" is not only for Porsche and sports car fans, but for all motor racing enthusiasts. Those who collect books may also realize the investment potential of "The Great Cars" series adding this to the first title, Jaguar Lightweight E-type - The Autobiography of 4-WPD, and place orders for future titles too. No doubt Wagstaff will pick up further literary awards for this truly prestigious work.'
Reviewed by Mike Jiggle
'WE WERE impressed with the first instalment of Porter Press's Great Cars Series
Which covered the legendary Jaguar E-type Lighweight 4 WPD. So much so, we made it Book of the Month. This second in the series, is equally accomplished - although it helps that the subject matter is so compelling.
The Porsche 917 was a landmark sports prototype and 023 was the most important chassis of them all. The vastly experienced author recounts the development of the model before launching into the history of this particular car, which claimed outright honours in the 1970 Le Mans 24 Hours. It was the marque's first-ever overall win in the endurance classic, and the jumping-off point for a tally that, as of only a few weeks ago, now stands at 17 wins.
Rather than writing a mere list of achievements, Wagstaff went to the trouble of talking to key insiders, not least Richard Attwood and Hans Herrman, who drove 023 to that famous victory 45 years ago. 'Versatille' Vic Elford, Kurt Ahrens and the often overlooked Gijs Van Lennep also proffer their thoughts, and they make for interesting reading. The race-by-race reports of 023's time as a frontline weapon are informative, easy to digest and genuinely interesting, and there are many enjoyable quotes attributed to legendary spanner-man Helmut 'Kafer the Mechanic' Frauenschuh who, in 1970, was the youngest member of the Porsche Salzburg team.
That said, if we are absolutely honest, much of the background info on Porsche's rise to prominence is overly familiar, as are the obligatory references to the movie Le Mans. The pages given over to driver biographies also smack a little of filler, but that is where criticisms begin and end.
The many images - around 300 or so, if the press blurb is to be believed - are universally wonderful. Many were hitherto unfamiliar, too. The shots from the 1971 Daytona 24 Hours are particularly evocative, not least those showing 023 after the accident that ended its career as a works racer. We really appreciated seeing the images in their entirety rather than tightly cropped. Picture reproduction is also excellent, while the layout is crisp and easy to navigate. Studio shots of the car as it is today finish the book off nicely.
When the Great Cars idea was first mooted, we wondered if there really was a market for a book on one particular chassis, let alone a whole series. Our cynicism proved unfounded and we greatly look forward to future volumes on cars such as Farrari 250GTO chassis #4153GT, and Maserati 250F chassis #2528.'
How can a single racing car with a relatively short, albeit important, career history inspire a book of 320 pages packed with detail? Very easily, as it turns out. The second in the 'Great Cars' series is masterful and deserves to be included in any 'book of the year' list.
Porsche 917-023 didn't win much - except the race that mattered. It sounds blithe to name any 917 'unremarkable', but in relative terms that's what it would have been without Le Mans. The chassis paved the way for the (recently extended) record run of 17 Le Mans wins when it triumphed as the 'tortoise' to the Gulf and Salzburg 'hares' in 1970.
Motor Sport contributor Wagstaff uses the car as the fulcrum around which he spins a wider story, taking in every shade of this multi-coloured era of sports car racing. There are driver interviews and profiles of the seven men who raced 917-023, a chapter on the two teams that ran it, details of its life post-racing and a technical analysis illustrated by fine studio photos. Snippets of the wider world in 1970 also add welcome context.
Fine design and high-quality paper ensure period photos are presented as they should be - and that always makes a difference. We look forward to future releases in this series. DS
WITH Porsche’s return to the top step of the winners’ podium at Le Mans this summer this latest book from Ian Wagstaff is very timely.
Called Porsche 917 it focuses on the Porsche 917-023, the actual car that gave the German firm its first victory in the Le Mans 24-hour race and includes interviews with its surviving drivers plus about 300 previously unpublished photographs.
It is a great in-depth read for any Porsche or motor racing enthusiasts.
... The book covers well the tensions between the various Porsche 'works' teams. Car 023 probably was a rather unexpected Le Mans winner as it was fitted with smaller 4.5-litre motor and a 4-speed gearbox. However, it survived a real race of attrition that had only seven classified finishers - how different from today's 24-hour race!
Wagstaff has woven a really comprehensive history, including 023's later races, its severe crash, later ownership and resurrection to its current superb condition. He also includes the various teams that raced the car and gives well-written mini-biographies of all seven drivers who raced 917-023, including Kurt Ahrens Gijs van Lennep - and Denny Hulme.
With 320 large pages, this is a treat for Porsche racing enthusiasts. A special mention should be made of the large number and high quality of the photos throughout the book, including a portfolio of detailed photos of how the car looks now. This is turning out to be an excellent series, with a Ferrari 250GT SWB as the next subject.
Mark Holman, book review
"This is a meticulously researched work by motoring historian Ian Wagstaff, who recounts the story of the 917 that gave Porsche its first victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
"After introducing the 917 model and its origins, the book delves into a detailed history of 917-023 itself, covering reports on every race, with timings, facts and figures, livery and context. It also includes portraits of the drivers, engineers, mechanics and owners leading up to its retirement and beyond.
This is an admirable and exhaustive work."
'You might consider it unlikely that a big book featuring a single car could appeal to a broad audience, but you'd be wrong. The fact that this volume with 320 pages and more than 300 photographs has just been reprinted is testimony to that. The car in question was one of 25 Porsche 917s built and the highlight of its seven-race history was winning the Le Mans 24-Hours race in 1970 driven by Hans Herrman and Richard Attwood. In addition to a lot of profusely illustrated details, there are profiles of the surviving seven drivers associated with the car, plus mechanic Helmut Frauenschuh and other team members.' DB
'When Philip Porter published his 'autobiography' of the famous ex-John Coombs Lightweight Jaguar E-type last year, he promised that there were more in this Great Car Series in the offing. Given that he did not proposed to write all the later books himself, he set a very high standard for others to follow...'
'Several other books about the Porsche 917 have been published over the years but it is difficult to think of any which match this for quality, content, imagery and overall production values. At £60 it may seem a little expensive but this book will surely be a collectors' item in years to come.' IT
"AS far as I am concerned this book is a mustread, but I am heavily biased because it is on one of my very favourite race cars, written by someone I know, like and respect.
"As with other books in the Great Cars series published by Porter Press International, the book, all 320 pages of it. focuses on just one car, or chassis. There is a resume of the 917 story, but the whole thrust of this book is on the car that competed in seven world championship races in 1970 and '71.
'"lt was the first of the 917s to race with the 4.9-litre rather than the 4.5, at Monza. although fitted with the 4.5-litre again, it was driven by Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood to victory at Le Mans in 1970. The book is literally brimming with fabulous pictures and diagrams, but what marks it out editorially is that Wagstaff has made it his business to interview all of the car's surviving drivers, each one being awarded a chapter- and it makes fascinating reading. This is because it's not just their recounting their experience with the car but a potted history of their life, again complemented with superb pictures. For example, in Vie Elford's chapter, there is a great picture of him competing in the first ever televised rallycross at Lydden Hill in a Porsche he had borrowed from the UK importer, nudging shoulders with a Ford Cortina on a very muddy track. According to the caption, the car was returned looking decidedly second hand.
'"There's a chapter on the car's subsequent owners over the years, with some beautiful studio shots. If you are a fan of the Porsche 917, this book is indispensible." cm
Biographies are mostly limited to people. However, some things are too important not to have their story told. Porsche 917 chassis no. 023 is one such car. Ian Wagstaff tells the story of Porsche’s first Le Mans winner, with a full history of the chassis, its drivers and its later life; complete with archive shots and some beautiful studio photos.
Last issue, among the selection of books on review was the latest installation in Porter Press International’s automotive ‘autobiography’ series: Porsche 917: The Autobiography of 917-023. Chassis number 023 was used by Richard Attwood and Hans Hermann to secure Porsche’s fi rst overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970, making this a must-read for fans of Zuffenhausen’s racing history.
Written by esteemed motorsport author Ian Wagstaff, the book not only takes a look at that triumph at La Sarthe, but also 023’s complete history from build through to its present-day status as part of the Fica Frio Collection. Accompanied by a wealth of archive shots (as well as some stunning new studio photos), Autobiography Of 917-023 not only reads well, it looks the part too.
*Book of the Week*
'You might consider it unlikely that a big book featuring a single car could appeal to a broad audience, but you'd be wrong. The fact that this volume with 320 pages and more than 300 photographs has just been reprinted is testimony to that. The car in question was one of 25 Porsche 917s built and the highlight of its seven-race history was winning the Le Mans 24-Hour race in 1970 driven by Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood. In addition to a lot of profusely illustrated details, there are profiles of the surviving seven drivers associated with the car, plus mechanic Helmut frauenschuh and other team members.' DB
"Being a bunch of non-conforming motor journalists it's seldom we get excited by a mainstream motoring book in the PPC office, even less when it's based on exotica, but Ian Wagstaff's excellent Porsche 917 'Autobiography' is the exception. The car is deservedly the stuff of legends and this book reflects that, the period photography brings the racing Porsche alive and is genuinely exciting. That is until you get to the final chapter - one car, 917-023 in detail. If you've ever dreamed of recreating a 917 this will tip you over the edge and cause you to cash in the pension and buy a Porsche flat-12 to base it on. The cutaway drawing and detail pics are enough to make you believe you could do it."
"WITH THE book market seemingly flooded with titles that tell us of the history, race record and development of various models, publishers are trying to work out ways of making different inroads into the market.
"Guild member Philip Porter has succeeded in making the apparently 'known' fascinating and with huge amounts of new information by reversing the trend and focusing in on individual chassis.
"These two examples are penned by Porter himself, with Chas Parker in the case of Jaguar D-type - The Autobiography of XKD 504, and Ian Wagstaff with Porsche 917 - The Autobiography of 917-023.
"This series sets out to tell the story of these legendary models through the prism of individual celebrated chassis.
"These were superstars of the endurance sports racing scene of their respective eras - D-type ruling at Le Mans between 1955 and 1957 and the 917 Porsche picking up the baton in 1969, giving Porsche wins in 1970 and 1971 the German manufacturer's first overall wins there.
"The books have the highest production values and the attention to detail is faultless.
"One can almost follow the histories through day by day with recollections, photographs, archive documents and stories oozing from each page.
"For histories of each marque these will be compulsory items to add to the library, but they offer more than that. For enthusiasts of racing, you get to see how fond of a specific chassis racing drivers can become.
"That stories stick about this car around 60 years later is some testament, and also wonderfully related in these two titles. I've read them both once, and know that I will be dipping in and out again many times in the years to come."
Review by Guy Loveridge
August 2105 Review
1st August 2015
Scottish Daily Express
1st August 2015
Classic Driver Issue 62
Speedster, Sept - Oct 2015
Classic Car Weekly, 14 October
BRDC Bulletin, Autumn 2015
Historic Racing Technology
Total 911 Magazine, November 2015
Total 911 Magazine,
Classic Car Weekly, Oct 2015
Practical Performance Car,
Guild of Motoring Writers, May/June 2016