Porsche Running Gear: Laser 917 Replica Project

So, we all know the Laser 917 kit is kind of a goofy experiment to see if it was possible to make a replica of the iconic Porsche 917 race car on a VW chassis. It was sort of a swing and a miss, but I always give it points because in some ways – when you look at it quickly, in the dark – it bore a very faint resemblance to a 917. This moment is always fleeting, however, as you soon remember it’s based on a Beetle with an engine to match. This tired project-grade example throws that stereotype to the side, and it was actually built on a 1973 Porsche 911 chassis, which makes it desirable in a few different ways. Find it here on craigslist in Boulder, Colorado with an asking price of $4,250.

I always remember the Laser 917 from the third installment of the Herbie The Love Bug series, as an identical car was used in Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo to demonstrate how the homely Beetle could decimate world-class sports cars. Ironically, that movie actually did a decent job of recruiting real-deal sports and touring cars for the racing scenes, but the Laser was definitely intended to persuade uninformed audiences that the star of the show unseated a world-beating supercar versus a home-built replica using the same running gear underneath as the beloved Beetle. From this angle, you get a sense for how little the proportions of the Laster actually mimicked the real 917.

Plus, the interior was just a typical kit car inside, looking mildly exotic but really just hot and cramped with inadequate airflow. The seller’s car at least rides on a genuine Porsche chassis which I imagine has some value to an air-cooled collector, and it also means it’s possible to have a Laser 917 with an actual high-performance engine out back. It sounds as if it may have had a Porsche mill at one time, with the seller nothing the engine and transmission are gone but the 911 subframe, suspension, and brakes are all still present. Can you imagine hacking up a 911 to build one of these, or even deciding not to repair a wrecked 911 in order to build a Laser 917 on the remains?

I’m sure there’s a logical reason for the build, and certainly, a 911 could have been involved in several enough wrecks that you wouldn’t save the body even today. I wonder where this one will go – will someone pillage the remains of the ’73 for a 911 restoration, or will they build a Laser 917 with complete running gear from a 911 to back up those racy looks? You’d be justified taking either path and if you do choose to build a Laser 917 with actual speed under the hood, be sure to keep that Porsche script going down the sides – in this case, it would actually mean something. Should this Laser 917 be raided for its 911 parts or brought back to life? Thanks to Barn Finds reader Gunter K. for the find.

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Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Other than being dog ugly it’s junk.

    Like 15
    • Red Snail Racing

      That’s just mean. What did a dog ever do to you to deserve that comparison?

      Like 9
    • Solosolo Member

      Every dog I have ever seen is better looking than this pile of rubbish. Burn it quick!

      Like 1
  2. sir_mike

    Thanks…I forgot how ugly these were…

    Like 7
  3. Mike

    Finding it hard to hold down dinner right now…

    Like 9
    • stu

      Let me help you….EAT!

      Like 1
  4. Tort Member

    I wonder how much more if you buy it without the body.

    Like 4
  5. Treebeardzz
    • Dave Peterson

      I thought Hardcase’s pal had a Coyote? Another kit, but with some expectation of performance. I may be wrong again.

      Like 3
  6. frank

    You can tell it’s Mattel, it’s swell. Ugh!

  7. Howie Mueler

    What a beater at a high price!!

    Like 2
  8. Phipps

    no then… no now… no ever!!!

    Like 2
  9. Lothar... of the Hill People

    $4250? I admit I don’t know a lot about kit cars but I know a little about cow poop. This thing looks like crap.

    Like 1
    • Solosolo Member

      And the cow poop is worth a lot more money!

  10. Troy

    I’m old enough to remember when these things eon the road new, still just as ugly

    Like 1
  11. Bill McCoskey

    Did I miss something here . . .

    Isn’t the 911/912 body a full 1-piece enveloping body, unlike the VW with a separate pan and body?

    So how does this have a Porsche floor pan that mounts to a replica body designed for a VW type 1? How does the Porsche front suspension/steering bolt onto the pan if it is indeed a VW pan?

    To me this screams ZERO Porsche parts because the motor and gearbox are missing. [Except for emblems and decals.]

    Like 3
  12. Melton Mooney

    I’d buy it, except that I’d probably never find a tail light lens.

    Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey

      Melton,

      NAPA auto parts has the light assemblies in the trailer accessory aisle!

      So now you no longer have an excuse not to buy it!

      Like 2
    • stu

      I’d burn it with pleasure….

      Like 1
  13. Frank

    Even the running gear ran away.

    Like 2
  14. Karl

    I can hear Ferdinand crying in his grave!

  15. MrBZ

    Crush the body and sell the 911 subframe, suspension, and brakes on BaT for 20 grand.

  16. douglas hunt

    I can NEVER unsee this …….

  17. Matt c

    So, take the front half off , or just the rear half of the body and put a pickup bed on it , you can actually use it

  18. bobhess bobhess Member

    Bill…Correct on the unibody construction but you have to cut the upper portion off to get down to what would be described as a pan. All we can hope is that a good chassis wasn’t cut up just to make this thing. By the way, dogs like me. Owned three. The “dog ugly” thing is an old Southern expression that’s older than I am and I don’t have a clue where it came from.

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