Porsche Graphisme 917: This is Stéphane Coradi’s second publication in less than a year, the man is irrepressible. His enthusiasm for the Stuttgart marque knows no bounds, and combined with a unique artistic talent, this new book is quite delightful.
Once again, you won’t learn anything new about Porsche’s corporate history, nor will you find and model specifications listed in the pages of this new publication. What you will find, though, is a thoroughly pleasant collection of Porsche 917 art and imagery, and this is not a loose collection of ‘anything goes’ art, this is a tastefully compiled gallery of 917 imagery to entertain you. Stéphane Coradi has an eye for the creative side of motorsport art, and every turn of the page will bring a smile to your face.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves, so let us return to the beginning. The Foreword (in French and English) is written by none other than Gérard Larrousse, the only French ‘pilot’ to have driven a 917 (according to Larrousse). The first time he was asked to drive a 917 was at the 1970 Le Mans 24 Hours, and he finished second in his first outing with the car. His memories of guiding this 917 ‘missile’ down the long Mulsanne Straight was rather more like being the captain of a motor speed boat, as he negotiated the legendary stretch of track which was largely under water. He comments that they were only about as quick as the 911s, due to the heavy rain and the amount of water on the track.
Just like his first publication, Porsche – It’s My World, this one is well presented, well laid out and with an eye to combine all the imagery in the best way possible. The artwork, by which I mean the paintings, is excellent and would be equally at home on the walls of an art gallery as they would on the walls of your sitting room or man cave. The 917’s achievements are legendary, and when combined with the variety of iconic sponsorship liveries such as Gulf, Martini, Salzburg, Brumos, the Hippie car and many more, the creative results can be breathtaking. Personally, I’m a sucker for such works of art, because this art style is so evocative of the actual time it represents. I don’t want to even get into mentioning artist’s names, because I am sure to offend some by unintentionally omitting their names. Suffice it to say that the list of accomplished artists is impressive and long!
You will find images, artwork, photos, sketches etc. of almost every type of 917 that ever turned a wheel in anger. There is the #4 Martini Rossi car, the long-tailed Hippy car, the Gulf cars (short and long-tail), the Pink Pig, the #23 Le Mans winner from 1970, the 1971 #22 Le Mans winner, Can-Am cars, racing scenes, pit lane scenes, aspirational and futuristic interpretations, some drivers, some 917-inspired furniture for your man cave (or girl cave), and so much more. About three-quarters through the book you will even find a page of images of the Vasek Polak 917/10 Can-Am car driven by Jody Scheckter – the photos were of course by myself, so they are well worthwhile looking at (with tongue firmly in cheek)!