The ultimate Porsche lookalike

Whether you’ve a yearning to play the role of Steve McQueen in a re-enactment of the now iconic film Le Mans, or see yourself more as Bruno von Stickle in Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, this VW-based kit car will provide the perfect prop…

It’s a Laser Elite kit car, based on VW Beetle underpinnings, and styled on the unforgettable Porsche 917 – a Gulf blue version of which McQueen, playing the role of Michael Delaney, drove to second place at Le Mans in the 1971 film of the same name. Incidentally, the same year the car actually won the race in real life. The movie, due to its embarrassing lack of dialogue, proved a flop in the States and faired little better here outside of the diehard motor racing fraternity.

Laser Elite

Never mind because the Laser Elite 917 was to enjoy its own piece of movie stardom in the 1977 blockbuster Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo. You might recall that it was indeed the ‘Porsche clone’ driven by moustachioed German racing driver Bruno von Stickle, played by Eric Braeden. In the film, Stickle’s car was painted in the colours of the German national flag and given the number 17. Unsurprisingly, the Beetle got the better of it on the silver screen…

Herbie film

Elite Enterprises of Cokato, Minnesota was responsible for a number of glassfibre based kits in the 1970s, including a rather unusual van called the ’49er’ which shared the 917’s distinctive gullwing doors. There still seems to be quite a following for its low-slung Porsche lookalike and actually, as kit cars from this period go, it’s undboubtedly one of the most attractive.

917 advertLaser advert

This one’ s currently for sale on for the very reasonable sum of $3800 here. In place of the awesome Porsche Type 912 flat-12 there’s a somewhat more humble VW 1500cc air-cooled unit installed, but nevertheless it still looks wonderfully Seventies and actually quite sporty.

alternative rear shot

Judging by the pics, this example looks refreshingly original and with just 2200 miles on the clock, we reckon it’s ripe for restoration. Headlamp covers would need to be sourced and sadly, for safety reasons, that original Seventies rubber would probably have to go – but otherwise, it all looks very doable. Dress it in German colours, stick a number 17 on the side, grow a moustache – and you’ll be the first person they call if someone decides to make a spoof of the ’77 Herbie film!


The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of VW Heritage.

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