Would Steve McQueen still drive a Porsche today?
Blenheim, Ontario’s RM Auctions has a Porsche you might be interested. It’s the 1970 911S actor/car guy Steve McQueen’s character, race driver Michael Delaney, drove in the opening sequences of his iconic flick LeMans.
If you’re reading this, you probably already know about LeMans. Or you should. If not, very briefly, it’s McQueen’s hommage to the annual 24-hour race held in the eponymous small French town every June. McQueen, dubbed “The King of Cool”, spliced together footage from the actual 1970 race, then set up shop right afterwards and restaged scenes with himself behind the wheel of the #20 Gulf-Porsche 917K driven by the real racers, Jo Siffert and Brian Redman, in the preceding race.
Now, both of McQueen’s Porsches, the 911S road car, above, and the 917K racer, didn’t get into the flick because of some sort of product placement deal his Solar Productions (the makers of the movie) had whipped up with the German automaker.
In fact, quite the contrary. He personally chose the Porsches because they were the epitome of contemporary “cool”. The 911S was McQueen’s own car he drove around while filming LeMans, and eventually brought it back to the U.S. after shooting in France was wrapped.
Now, who knows how much McQueen’s ’70 911S will fetch when it goes on the auction block this August. Safe to say, what with today's high prices of any well-looked after 911 of that vintage, and the provenance of the car's association with The King of Cool and the movie, RM Auction should get more than what McQueen paid for it originally over 40 years ago.
But if McQueen were alive today (he passed away in 1980 at the young age of 50 years) and in good enough shape to actively be behind the wheel of a car, would he still pick a car from Stuttgart?
You have to remember, back in 1970, Porsche was a low-volume sports car maker, solely building versions of the 911. That's it.
Detours for the brand like the less-than-well-received 914, 924 and 928 of the later 1970s were still off in the fuzzy future. And such ideas like a Porsche SUV (i.e. the Cayenne, and its forthcoming smaller Cajun) or a four-door GT car (Panamera) would be unthinkable in 1970. Plus Porsche’s street credibility at the time was being further enhanced by not only racing, but quite successfully with the now-legendary 917K and other sports racers, with the type of dominance Audi ahs recently had at the demanding French race.
So, back to the headline: Do you think any new Porsche would be “cool” enough for McQueen today?
And if not Porsche, then what car brand do you think would be worthy for the man if he were to attempt a remake of LeMans?
[Source: RM Auctions]