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Lot 127

Porsche Type 917 Miniature Engine

Sold for $54,625


Bhp more than sufficient, 54 cc DOHC air-cooled horizontally opposed 12-cylinder engine with twin turbochargers and direct-port mechanical fuel injection. Scale: 1:4

  • Scale replica of the venerable 917 engine, including twin turbochargers
  • Crafted by one of Canada’s most respected engineers
  • A totally unique collector’s item


“Astonishing” is the word that sprang to mind when Porsche introduced the incredible Le Mans-winning Type 917 flat-12 engine in the late 1960s. In twin-turbocharged form, the 917 utterly dominated the Can-Am series. Now imagine that 5.4-liter monster, capable of producing as much as 1,500 horsepower, in one-fourth scale. That was Canadian engineer Herb Jordan’s vision, and over a four-year period from 1980 to 1984, he created a fully operational miniature of this motor in his home workshop. The late Mr. Jordan, a long-time member of the Toronto Society of Model Engineers, was known as IBM Canada’s “Mr. Inventor.” He even built his own rotary-valve motorcycle and his own Formula III racing car.

After designing and fabricating a working scale model of the Type 904 four-cam engine (also on offer), Jordan drew up plans for a miniature Type 917 powerplant. Using a 10-inch lathe, milling machine, and various other tools, he patiently created the countless aluminum alloy, steel, and brass parts needed to make this wonderful replica. Jordan’s flat-12 displaces a mere 54 cubic centimeters and can spin at an incredible 24,000 rpm. The crankshaft is machined from a single billet. The gear-driven mechanical fuel injection pump is the size of half a pencil. Tiny oil lines are even properly wire-braided, and the engine features beautifully machined and finned cylinders and cam covers. With 8.5:1 compression, this motor can produce “more than sufficient” horsepower on methanol with the help of two tiny turbochargers. Though frequently demonstrated by Jordan when originally built, the engine has not been run for some time and will therefore require careful service prior to any further use. The engine measures 15 inches long by 8 inches wide by 7 inches tall and weighs approximately 15 pounds.

This astonishing work of engineering art would be a perfect complement to any collection of Porsche racing cars and memorabilia.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more