Cheap 917: Laser Kit Car Replica

This Laser / Porsche 917 kit car replica is for the LeMans fan on a budget, with the obvious tribute to the legendary race car Steve McQueen piloted in his iconic film. These kits pop up every now and again and will never be mistaken for the real thing, but the sympathetic recreations are still eye-catching. With the right engine, they could be loads of fun. Find this example here on eBay for $13,500 or best offer.

The Laser kits attempted to morph the generous proportions of the 917 onto the petite VW Beetle floorpan, and it’s obvious there was no way the exact dimensions could ever be mimicked. However, this particular kit shows a good amount of attention to detail as it relates to the graphics and overall completeness of the build, with attractive wheels and functional gullwing doors.

The interior may make you think you’re in an actual track car with its super tight proportions and loads of switchgear and dials. If your’e overwhelmed, not to worry – you’ll only be firing up a 1500cc air-cooled engine, which should be much easier to control than the original 917’s flat-12 engine that could reach 60 m.p.h. in under four seconds.

The worst part about the kit (for me) is how much effort went into making the front look like a convincing re-creation, while the rear end is just a tragedy. There’s little doubt the tail is clearly an afterthought, as the taillights don’t come close to replicating the 917’s. While not for everyone, a hopped-up Beetle or Bus engine (hell, even a 911 powerplant) could make you forget you’re driving a race car in miniature.


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  1. Ian C

    I have been looking for the “right” one of these for a while now. This one is not it. Considering it will need some ‘glass work on the nose, and the seat bolts on the driver side have ripped through the floor pan (I would have to replace both pans to have it right/safe). The stock engine would get tossed as well. So the cost for what you get makes it not the “right” one for me.

    Like 4
  2. Desert rat

    The tail lights crack me up, they are trailer lights ,I use to install them on the trailers I built when I owned a trailer manufacturing business , lol…

    Like 9
    • Tirefriar

      It’s alrightDR,I doubt anyone will ever see them…in a race at least ;-)

      Like 9
  3. Desert rat

    Oh ,I see what you there, yea doubt anyone would be slower…

    Like 1
  4. Brakeservo

    I always thought these were more of a parody than replica . . . and yes, the trailer lights contribute to that feeling but from the front with the Gulf themed paint it doesn’t look so bad . . . at first glance.

    Like 7
    • Beavis

      Trailer lights on a car always look bad – one of the worst things about the Austin Healey replicas made in North Dakota years ago. And then there are the “Neo Classics” using tacky VW lights – no wonder no one ever takes them seriously!

  5. Desert rat

    Oh, I see what you did there, yea doubt anyone was slower in that race…

  6. OhU8one2

    That motor won’t allow this car to get out of it’s own way. Trailer lights? Just slap it together. And get it outta here.

  7. Coventrycat

    Except for the industrial looking tail lights, probably the best done kit I’ve seen on BF yet.

    Like 2
  8. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Still kinda neat and we/us could remeny the cosmedic issues …..anyway I couldn’t afford the real thing…..lucky to still have my mint A/FX 917 I bought at Benjamin Franklin shortly after that winning season….

  9. SMS

    One of my favorite images is a 917 parked next to a Lotus Europa. The Europa towers over the 917 and looks huge.

  10. Alford H Pouse Member

    I still find it amazing that someone got an actual 917 licensed for the street years back.

  11. Russell

    Suddenly, I have an urge to dig out the movie “Le Mans” with Steve McQueen … dunno why…

    Like 1
  12. Brakeservo

    He did it with one of the infamous “Alabama” titles and registration schemes. Do people still get Alabama titles for cars with no paperwork? I remember that one of the main guys behind the process went to prison over title shenanigans.

    Like 1
  13. James Clark

    Laser 917 kits were manufactured in my hometown of Cokato, Mn. The Owner’s son, Steve Knapp, was also a capable driver and placed 3rd I believe in the Indy 500. They did have the look but with the VW powerplant, nobody ever saw the taillights anyhow:-)

    Like 1
    • Bryan Cohn

      Gerry Knapp owned the Elite Enterprises and his son Steve Knapp did in fact finish 3rd at the Indy 500 in1998. Gerry also designed many Formula Vee’s, the Knappmobile of which there were several versions and the Lazer L-85, of which there were two versions, the L-85 and the Mk2. It was something to see Steve Knapp squeeze his 6 ft 4 inch frame into the sleek, skinny Lazer L-85. Steve owns Elite Engines, a West Bend, WI engine building company that builds engines for many open wheel junior formula racing series including the Road to Indy. Sadly I can’t find photos of the wild looking Knappmobile FV but here is the website for the Lazer Mk2 FV.

      Like 1
  14. Mike

    Pull up in this at Rennsport Reunion and watch people’s faces go from “oh hell yeah!” to “oh hell no!” in a nanosecond.

    Like 1

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