32 - Jay Gillotti and 'Gulf 917'
This is Robert Ross with cars that matter welcome and I would like to welcome a very special guest today Jay Jay. Jay is up in Seattle at present I'm in Los Angeles and we are having a great conversation over Zoom J.. Welcome to our program takes Robert. I'm glad to be here. You've got quite a story and I think we've got quite a conversation in store especially for people who love very very special and very important race car. But before we tell everybody what that is a little something about you, you retired from the big corporate life in two thousand sixteen and by my reckoning, you're still a young guy, you've been able to focus on a centrally a second career as an. Automotive writer I don't want to shortchange. You've been actually doing that for a long time but now you're doing full time. So I don't know if I should say condolences are congratulations but I, think that's a great transition. I. Think it's congratulations good news is when I retired from the corporate world I said that I wasn't really retiring I just wanted to work on things that I wanted to work on. So that's pretty much what I'm doing you certainly are, and of course, your name ring a bell with me when I first got this notice too have a podcast with because. Time Porsche CLARICA member I've seen your name in Panorama, and obviously you've got a lot to say about porsches. We're here to talk today about a book that you have just published with Halton Watson Fine Books. It's a book called garden of nine seventeen or that one word and that one number it just pulls at the heartstrings of race fans everywhere. It would not be an understatement to say that this book is really a majesty aerial achievement is damn near two inches thick about five hundred pages and almost as many images. J I wish our listeners could actually hold it in their hands because it's a hugely impressive thome Oh thank you very much. Obviously, culminates a close to a forty year love affair with a porsche nine seventeen actually longer than forty years. If we really want to get into it that goes back all the way to the first time I saw Steve McQueen's film which would have been the first time they showed it on network television in the US which we think was somewhere around nineteen, seventy, two or three. So I would have been eight or nine years old and impressionable age obviously made a pretty deep groove in the psyche enough to make you the acknowledged expert on the cars well, maybe one of the acknowledged experts there are several out there besides me certainly a modest. For those listeners who may be familiar with the name Gulf and familiar with Porsche model designation nine, one seven, it's a pretty complicated historical talking points. Tell us what makes the nine seventeen such an important car. First of all, it's a car that was designed to win the twenty four hours of Lamont. Time and perhaps still is the most important motoracing the world. So at that time I think globally, it was the most important motor race and Ferdinand who was head of research and development for Porsche clearly set out to build a car that was capable of winning overall at Loma Porsche had been many many class wins at Lamont in the first twenty years of their existence, but they hadn't won the race overall. So that's what he really set. Out to do with the nine seventeen and he was successful Porsche was still a relatively small company in one, thousand, nine, hundred, sixty, nine when they started building the nine seventeens I think Porsche assault about fourteen thousand cars. So you compare that to some of the other manufacturers and Porsche really was still a small family owned company. Mercedes was like gm by comparison, and of course, Porsche has gone on to win the Mall Nineteen Times in total. Since. Then the second thing on the nine seventeen is as with everything porsche does is engineering based and they're always looking for transfer from the race cars to the streetcars. So the nine seventeen brought us a lot of experimentation with exotic metals and alloys. It was the first use of vented and cross drilled brakes. It was the first experiment with ABS antilock braking system, and of course, turbo charging for the can am nine seventeens that's technology that. Very quickly made its way to the streetcars, and now if you look at what portions doing today, the majority of all of forces cars, especially, sports cars are turbocharged. The third thing is the nine seventeen has become a car culture icon in part due to Steve McQueen in