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Porsche 917 - the autobiography of 917-023 - Reviews & Testimonials

porsche 917 book

Daily Sportscar, June 2015


'...Add in the fact that the story of every one of the seven races in period for the car is covered with fine narrative and beautiful period photography (much of which has never before been published), plus contemporary studio photography of the great warhorse, and add in the spice of the perfectly researched skulduggery and confusion of the car’s later life and you’d do well to find a book more absorbing about a key period in endurance racing history.

'Add in too the fact that Ian Wagstaff, a man well known to DSC readers, has produced this book with such an engaging style that this is genuinely a great read.

'Fundamentally not a book to admire purely for the quality of the images, here the words are the principal attraction (though the pics are pretty darn good too!).

'It appeals to the sponge-like thirst for accessible motorsport history that I possess, and my love, too, of contemporary story telling. I am ever in awe of those that can remember with pinpoint accuracy the events of 40+ years ago when I still can’t recall where I put the car keys yesterday evening!

'There is no shortage of books to tempt endurance racing enthusiasts to loosen their purse strings. The good and bad news is that here’s another one.

'Very highly recommended.' GG


Vintage Racecar, August 2015, by Mike Jiggle

'...This excellent book, second in the Porter Press series of "The Great Cars" is not only for Porsche and sports car fans, but for all motor racing enthusiasts.

'...No doubt Wagstaff will pick up further literary awards for this truly prestigious work.'


Classic Car Buyer, August 2015

‘Porsche 917 - The autobiography of 917-023’ by Ian Wagstaff commemorates the history of one of Porsche’s most successful racing cars, the 917 which won at Le Mans in 1970. Of course, this was the highlight of its seven-race history, there were plenty of other wins and surviving drivers provide personal accounts of their numerous thrills and spills behind the wheel. The new tome also includes a hoard of mostly unpublished photographs, supported by a portfolio of specially commissioned studio photography. Even at £60, we’d say it’s a must for all Porsche fans.'


Motorsport, August 2015

'...The second in the 'Great Cars' series is masterful and deserves to be included in any 'book of the year' list.

'...Motor Sport contributor Wagstaff uses the car as the fulcrum around which he spins a wider story, taking in every shade of this multi-coloured era of sports car racing. 

'...Fine design and high-quality paper ensure period photos are presented as they should be - and that always makes a difference.  We look forward to future releases in this series.' DS


Daily Express and Scottish Daily Express, 1 August, 2015

'...It is a great in-depth read for any Porsche or motor racing enthusiasts.'


Classic Driver, Issue 62. Review by Mark Holman

'...With 320 large pages, this is a treat for Porsche racing enthusiasts. A special mention should be made of the large number and high quality of the photos throughout the book, including a portfolio of detailed photos of how the car looks now.  This is turning out to be an excellent series, with a Ferrari 250GT SWB as the next subject.'


Octane, September 2015

'..The many images - around 300 or so, if the press blurb is to be believed - are universally wonderful.  Many were hitherto unfamiliar, too.

'...When the Great Cars idea was first mooted, we wondered if there really was a market for a book on one particular chassis, let alone a whole series.  Our cynicism proved unfounded and we greatly look forward to future volumes on cars such as Ferrari 250GTO chassis #4153GT, and Maserati 250F chassis #2528.'


Classic & Sports Car, September 2015

'The second of Porter Press’ Great Cars series spotlights the sensational 1970 Le Mans winning Porsche 917. Author Ian Wagstaff is making a specialty of single-chassis racing histories and does a superb job here with 917-023.

'Development, an in-depth race log, driver focus (with a wealth of interviews, led by Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood), plus post-factory ownership and its historic racing Doppelganger are all covered, making it a gripping study. The book is packed with period pictures, plus circuit maps and ephemera, while James Mann’s studio photos complete the work.

'Future titles include the Rob Walker Ferrari 250SWB and Maserati 250F ‘2528’, making this series a ‘must-have’ set.' MW


Classic Cars, September 2015

'The Porsche 917 that gave the Stuttgart team its first Le Mans win is documented here in neatly compartmentalised sections that could serve as stand-alone volumes. Its 320 pages start with a brief history lesson, the hasty development history of the early, near-undriveable 917, rushed into service following a change in the rules so quickly that some of the homologation run purportedly sported truck axles. Wagstaff then chronicles the 1970 World Sports Car Championship, profiling the races and interviewing the key figures. Given the shocking attrition of the season and the sheer fragility of the 917, it’s a miracle many of these people are still with us.

'Post-works history is scant, limited to authentication, classic events and collector owners, but as a deeply personal, intimate story of an exciting race series, it’s definitive.'


Speedster, September-October 2015

'This is an admirable and exhaustive work.'


Classic Car Weekly, 14 October, 2015

'You might consider it unlikely that a big book featuring a single car could appeal to a broad audience, but you'd be wrong.' DB


BRDC Bulletin, Autumn 2015

'When Philip Porter published his 'autobiography' of the famous ex-John Coombs Lightweight Jaguar E-type last year, he promised that there were more in this Great Car Series in the offing.  Given that he did not proposed to write all the later books himself, he set a very high standard for others to follow.

'...Several other books about the Porsche 917 have been published over the years but it is difficult to think of any which match this for quality, content, imagery and overall production values.  At £60 it may seem a little expensive but this book will surely be a collectors' item in years to come.'  IT


Historic Racing Technology

'As far as I am concerned this book is a must-read, but I am heavily biased because it is on one of my very favourite race cars, written by someone I know, like and respect.

'...The book is literally brimming with fabulous pictures and diagrams, but what marks it out editorially is that Wagstaff has made it his business to interview all of the car's surviving drivers, each one being awarded a chapter- and it makes fascinating reading. 

'...If you are a fan of the Porsche 917, this book is indispensable.' CM


Total 911 Magazine, list of best motoring books, November 2015

'Biographies are mostly limited to people. However, some things are too important not to have their story told. Porsche 917 chassis no. 023 is one such car. Ian Wagstaff tells the story of Porsche’s first Le Mans winner, with a full history of the chassis, its drivers and its later life; complete with archive shots and some beautiful studio photos.'


Practical Performance Car, February 2016

'Being a bunch of non-conforming motor journalists it's seldom we get excited by a mainstream motoring book in the PPC office, even less when it's based on exotica, but Ian Wagstaff's excellent Porsche 917 'Autobiography' is the exception.  The car is deservedly the stuff of legends and this book reflects that, the period photography brings the racing Porsche alive and is genuinely exciting.  That is until you get to the final chapter - one car, 917-023 in detail.  If you've ever dreamed of recreating a 917 this will tip you over the edge and cause you to cash in the pension and buy a Porsche flat-12 to base it on.  The cutaway drawing and detail pics are enough to make you believe you could do it.'


Guild of Motoring Writers, May/June 2016. Review by Guy Loveridge

'...The books have the highest production values and the attention to detail is faultless.

'One can almost follow the histories through day by day with recollections, photographs, archive documents and stories oozing from each page.' 


Retro Speed

'Enthusiasts need this exhaustive 320-page history by Ian Wagstaff because it clears up so many questions, such as: why the factory drivers refused to drive the 917; what happened at Daytona in 1971; and did Ferdinand Piech get on with John Wyler? Also, why for 18 years did the car carry the wrong chassis number, and perhaps more important to aficionados, how many replicas exist and how does one tell the difference? Lookalikes get a whole chapter to themselves.'

Porsche 917 book