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Exoto 1:18 1973 Porsche 917/30 #6- Donohue- Road America Can-Am w/ driver figure

Reviewed by:   Bill Bennett
     
  Exoto 1:18 1973 Porsche 917/30 #6- Donohue- Road America Can-Am w/ driver figure diecast car
 
 
 

Mark Donohue called the Porsche 917/30 KL “a monument to my career as an engineer and driver”. Others called it the car that brought an end to the Can-Am series. But whatever is was called, it was one hell of a race car.

The 1973 Can-Am Champion Porsche 917/30 KL was easily the most awe-inspiring of all the magnificent cars to ever run in the first nine seasons of the Can-Am series. Mark Donohue said, “There is no doubt that this is the finest racing car I have ever driven.” The /30 KL was a further development of the 917/10 which George Follmer and the Penske Team had used to win the 1972 Can-Am series. Both the 917/30 and the 917/10 were direct descendants of the Porsche 917 endurance racing coupes that raced at Le Mans, Sebring and many other venues and were featured as Steve McQueen’s ride-of-choice in his movie “Le Mans”.

Built between the 1972 and 1973 seasons by a collaboration of Porsche, the Penske organization and Donohue, the 917/30 carried a dual-turbocharged, 5.4 liter, twelve-cylinder boxer engine. This engine had been used toward the end of the 1972 Can-Am season in the 917/10 and, as configured at the end of the 1973 season, at 1.3 bar (19 psi) boost, it would produce 801 ft./lbs of torque at 6400 rpm and 1100 horsepower at 7800 rpm. With the boost turned up, the engine could be made to produce 1500 horsepower for brief spurts. This was the most horsepower made by any racing engine in a car made to turn corners and run over 8 seconds. With a 98.4 inch wheelbase, the 917/30 was 7 inches longer than the 917/10 it replaced. At 106 gallons, it also carried 20 gallons more fuel than the 917/10 and had modified suspension and a stiffer chassis. Toward the end of the 1973 season, the car was upgraded with a driver-adjustable rear anti-sway bar. SERA, a French aeronautical firm, developed a “Paris body” for Porsche, and the 917/30 used the nose from this body and a rear section originally developed by Porsche for use at LeMans. The 917/30 had a top speed of 240 mph, more than 20 mph faster than the 917/10. The car weighed-in at 1872 lbs. dry and about 2700 lbs. ready-to-race (wet).

Donohue got off to a slow start in the 1973 Can-Am season. He ran into a backmarker and finished seventh in the opening race at Mosport. At Road Atlanta, he suffered from a cockpit fuel leak that had him soaked and sore from being sprayed with fuel and he finished second to George Follmer’s 917/10. But after that it was all Mark with him winning the remaining six races of the 1973 season and taking the series championship. In the fifth race of the season at Wisconsin’s Road America, Donohue and his Porsche Penske Panzer qualified with a 1:57.578. This made the 917/30 the first race car of any kind to break the two minute barrier. In the two part race, Donohue had some early competition from Jody Scheckter driving a 917/10 for Vasek Pollak but won handily. Two years later, on August 9, 1975, Donohue used a modified 917/30 with CAM2 sponsorship to set the World’s Closed Course Speed Record at 221.120 mph at Talledega Motor Speedway. Ten days later Donohue was killed driving a Formula One car in Austria.

Configured as the car was run at Road America, Exoto’s 917/30 is just breathtaking! This new edition of the car follows the Exoto “First Heat” (car plus rolling chassis) and the singular car release, both of which are also done as the car was raced at Road America. What makes this car different is the cold-cast porcelain figure of Mark Donohue, helmeted and sitting in the driver’s seat, taking the car through a smooth left-hander. This gives us another reason to buy this car and I can’t think of any Exoto release that I like better. To start with, the car was one of the truly standard-setting cars of all-time. It was so successful and set such a high mark for performance that it essentially brought an end to the series it was built for. On Exoto’s model, the nose section with attached doors and the tail section are removable and allow the viewer to see a wealth of fastidious detail. Little details like a fully-wired instrument panel, a moving shifter mechanism, workable suspension with removable wheels and cross-drilled rotors, heliarc (tig) beads where the tubes of the suspension and chassis come together, an oil catch-can that is about half-full, and a fully-functional rack and pinion steering system. The engine is a masterpiece of detail, as well, with a turning cooling fan, complete wiring and a beautiful representation of all the stainless steel-braided hoses that plumbed the engine. Doing a Penske car has to be a real challenge and a real delight for a diecast manufacturer because his cars were always turned-out nice enough to be show cars. Exoto’s 917/30 captures all the attention Penske put into making this car stunning: The paint beautifully matches the real car with the scallops, pinstriping and magnificent colors. The car also nicely catches the stance of the real racer. Although this car model is now several years old, it still takes my breath away and is in a class with few peers. It comes packed in a protective foam cocoon with the body pieces nicely separated from the chassis and then double-boxed. It also includes a wrench to remove the lug nuts and a prop to hold up the engine cover for viewing (or in-case you need to do some pre-race tuning). If you haven’t gotten the previous issues of this car, this is the one to have. In 1:18 scale, they don’t come any better!

(10/27/2006)
 
 
  Exoto 1:18 1973 Porsche 917/30 #6- Donohue- Road America Can-Am w/ driver figure diecast car

Exoto 1:18 1973 Porsche 917/30 #6- Donohue- Road America Can-Am w/ driver figure diecast car

Exoto 1:18 1973 Porsche 917/30 #6- Donohue- Road America Can-Am w/ driver figure diecast car

Exoto 1:18 1973 Porsche 917/30 #6- Donohue- Road America Can-Am w/ driver figure diecast car

Exoto 1:18 1973 Porsche 917/30 #6- Donohue- Road America Can-Am w/ driver figure diecast car

Exoto 1:18 1973 Porsche 917/30 #6- Donohue- Road America Can-Am w/ driver figure diecast car

Exoto 1:18 1973 Porsche 917/30 #6- Donohue- Road America Can-Am w/ driver figure diecast car

Exoto 1:18 1973 Porsche 917/30 #6- Donohue- Road America Can-Am w/ driver figure diecast car

Exoto 1:18 1973 Porsche 917/30 #6- Donohue- Road America Can-Am w/ driver figure diecast car

 
 
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