In 1970, after a disappointing season, Porsche attempted to revamp their 917 to increase stability. John Wyer and the Gulf Team became the official Porsche team as well as the official development partner. The tail design was first changed to a wedge shape (the 917K) that traded a bit of drag for downforce and stability. Later, a low drag version was developed for Le Mans designated the 917LH. The "LH" was for "Langheck" or Long Tail. This was a much more sculptural shape that faired most of the rear wheelwells.
Powered by the Type 912 boxer 12 cylinder engine of 4.5, 4.9, or 5 litres (4.9 in this #17 car), this long-tailed version was capable of a 0-62mph time of less than 2.5 seconds and a top speed of over 248 mph.
This model of the 917LH by AUTOart is done up in Gulf livery making it a great companion for the earlier Steve McQueen #20 917K. I can't find decent pictures or much info on this #17 car which was driven by Jo Siffert and Derek Bell in the 1971 Le Mans race and retired in the 18th hour with a split crankcase. I can't verify that every aspect of this model is correct, but it sure captures the essence of the 917LH in shape and stance.
Having the 917K which was released in 1999, it's interesting to see the development of Aa's modelmaking. The paint is so much better, and the livery, which was excellent on the K is also crisp and well finished. There's still quite a lot of plastic on this model, but it's much more realistically textured which is especially evident in the cockpit where the driver's seat is textured to adequately simulate a velour-like upholstery. The entire 6 belt restraint system is still one piece of molded plastic, but is finely cloth textured and the hardware is expertly painted to fool the unaided eye.
Aa relied a bit too much on texture to to simulate other materials.
Some parts, like the exposed engine and intake fan, could have done with a bit of paint to better simulate the more gunmetal look as well as the raw resin look of the fan. There are some nice touches in metal that give the model a more refined look. There are intricate and well finished panel fasteners and a 4 piece locking stainless folding support strut for the engine cover. Beyond those improvements, this model is basically at the same level of content and quality as the 917K series.
All in all, it's a nice model in a classic Porsche livery. The car itself wasn't a winner, but I'll put this model in the winner's circle.