Who says race cars belong only on the track? Although it took a lot of jumping through legal hoops, one dedicated owner managed to register his Porsche 917 for road use in Monaco. Something tells us he won’t have trouble finding his car in the grocery store parking lot.
Claudio Roddaro is a passionate and dedicated collector of vintage Porsches, and he added chassis number 037 of the legendary Le Mans-winning 917 race car in 2016. The car has a wild history as an unfinished chassis that never raced and sat incomplete in the hands of a German coachbuilder for more than 30 years. It wasn’t even completed until 2004, thanks to the wherewithal of a new buyer and the technical expertise of Carl Thompson at Gunnar Racing in Long Beach, California. Sure enough, Porsche knew all about it and supplied the official chassis plate.
Even after he bought the car following its rebirth, it wasn’t enough for Roddaro, who set his mind to making it road legal—a feat only two other Porsche 917 examples in history managed to achieve. Surprise: it was a logistical nightmare to register a 600-hp, air-cooled flat-12 race car that looks like it’s fresh off a test session in 1971.
Roddaro, fortunately, had an ace in the hole: 917 chassis number 030—which was famously owned by Count Rossi, of Martini fame—was previously granted a road-use registration via a “highly suspect” loophole, according to Porsche. Reports indicate that Rossi managed to finagle permission from the state of Alabama after he made small tweaks like adding mufflers to quiet the exhaust. And he had to promise to stay out of Alabama with it.
All this set a precedent that worked in Roddaro’s favor. All he had to do was prove to the pencil pushers in Monaco that his 917K was identical to Rossi’s. After two months of bureaucratic acrobatics, the deal was done, and 917-037 has only a set of license plates, brake lights, and turn signals that it didn’t have before.
An acceptable concession, to say the least. So if you’re ever in Monaco and hear the sound of a monstrous Porsche gaining in decibels before a silver blur flies by, raise your glass of Moët & Chandon and tip your fedora to Claudio Roddaro.