Wannabe 917: 1969 Laser Kit Car


I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news: this isn’t a real Porsche 917. I know, the proportions looked spot-on; the Camaro wheels in the front provided better cooling for those massive, LeMans-proven brakes; and the VW Thing running gear was just thrown in to confuse the competition. But don’t worry – the upside is you can buy this Laser 917 here on eBay for much less money and upkeep than the real thing. 


My first exposure to the Laser 917 kit car occurred in one of my favorite chapters in the Herbie: The Love Bug saga. Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo featured all sorts of exotic period machinery in the race scenes, but clearly they could’t afford a genuine Porsche 917 for the pivotal showdown. That’s why they turned to Laser to provide the oddly-proportioned but infinitely cheaper 917 replica as the vehicle of choice for Herbie’s antagonist.


Admittedly, this at least looks like a fun kit car to drive even if it’s a poor copy of the real thing. That driving position is wild, as are the gullwing doors that are likely more of a hassle than they are a fashion statement. The red and yellow Laser driven in the Disney classic always looked fast with wide rear racing slicks and the trick doors, but I suspect the video was sped up to create the illusion of speed.


You might think with a body like this, all you’d be seeing would be the Laser’s tail lights. But I’m guessing even a modern Civic could outpace this VW-based kit car, no matter how fast it looked in the movies. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Doug T. for sending this one in, which is currently bid to just under $1,000!


  1. mark

    Just imagine the questions that would be asked the day you pulled into the parking lot at work driving this.

    • reinhard thiebenh

      i built one in 1980 same color and with 1835 cc. engine, vin # ny-19803 registered as a home made car. i wonder where it is

  2. randy

    That’ll be a cool driver if it ever gets finished. We have a lot of mountain roads around here that this car would look good on, even if parked.

    • MountainMan

      As usual it’s just junk,scrap or completely worthless because it ain’t your style.
      Haters gonna hate

  3. Jason Houston

    Just be careful where you leave one of these home-made eyesores. Some homeowners’ association might sue for loss of property value.

    Like 1
    • randy

      No problem with that here. I live in the sticks and have 2 turds in my lawn now.

    • Brakeservo

      Or perhaps parking it might generate a littering ticket??? (My biggest fear with my daily driver 500,000 mile Toyota Tacoma!)

  4. Dolphin Member

    The look of the seating and driving position makes me think that the only driver who would be comfortable in this would be a gorilla. After driving it for a while he would need a chiropractor.

  5. Donnie

    VW thing engine abought 55 horse power zero to 60 in around a minute

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Or replace with a built 2 liter that would fire this like a rocket!

  6. Bobsmyuncle

    This car can most certainly be sold to a Canadian, I don’t know where the seller is getting that idea from.

    With a hot engine this could be a lot of fun.

    • Brakeservo

      Without a title it can’t be exported.

      • Bobsmyuncle

        I’ve purchased an untitled American car and know of many others as well.

        The tough part is re-registering it in Canada. But that wouldn’t be a problem with a kit car either.

        What am I missing?

      • randy

        Bob, you mean besides your front toof?

  7. JW454

    One of these ran the streets of Dayton, Ohio in the early to mid-seventies. It was red metal flake and had racing numbers on it. Several years later, in the early eighties or so, I found it in a local junkyard smashed hard in the rear. It had the Corvair flat 6 in it.

    Like 1
    • GreaserMatt


  8. Alan (Michigan)

    Didja see the Olds behind the Laser?
    For sale too, and it fits in along with the “shorty” cars which have been here on BF recently:


  9. Keith

    was this what they drove on Hardcastle & McCormick? Or was that a Coyote?

    • Leon

      i remember Coyote on Hardcastle It looked similar

    • dennis

      Just what I was thinking! LOL

  10. Brakeservo

    I was only speaking from experience, neither I nor my customs broker could legally export any car without a title. The Canadian border being as pourous as it is, I’m sure smuggling wouldn’t be that hard and perhaps even ignored.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      LOL well I’m not sure where that impression of the border comes from, it’s certainly not how most of us view it!

      The US only wants a declaration that the car is leaving and not returning. The rest of the hassle is at the Canadian border.

      I’m truly baffled by this seller’s impression and your experience.

      • Brakeservo

        I’ve always had to produce a valid title, stamped by Customs “Okay to Export” or else the vehicle can’t leave the USA. That’s always been the case for me. Had a number of cars for willing buyers in UK and Europe I just couldn’t export. Maybe to Canada is easier??

  11. Wayne Thomas

    Cayman engine swap and fun to be had.

  12. MountainMan

    I think these are pretty cool, not to be taken for a true 917 but just as a fun kit. VW engines can be built to make some impressive power so the right owner could really have a blast with this one

  13. Spiderman

    One of the few cars that my wife outright nixed. Back about 1973 in New Orleans. The trifecta of manual non powerer assisted steering, go kart steering wheel and Corvette tires would not have been good. Did I mention no windows or air conditioning?

    Like 1
  14. Mark S

    There is a lot of ways to improve this, make it look cool, and give it some go. Right now though it is mostly a turd with potential. Personally I’d fit a trans axle and engine out of a Pontiac Fiero the 2.8 fuelie with the 5 speed gear box. It might be tough to find the glass though. Good luck to the buyer.

  15. dougm

    nothing a quick run up Eau Rouge wouldn’t fix

  16. Rancho Bella

    Would this fit in a chipper?……….damn

  17. Joe

    A glorified Bradley GT. Friend of mine has one of those Bradleys. Same style seats/doors and wheel, awful positioning.

    Like 1

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