ICON Engineering is the UK-based manufacturer of highly authentic road-going and track day recreations of the legendary Le Mans-winning Porsche 917.
One of the most significant sports racing cars of all time, the 917 gave the Porsche factory its first outright Le Mans victory in 1970, with Richard Attwood and Hans Hermann at the wheel.
The Porsche 917 went on to dominate the 1970 and 1971 World Sports Car Championships driven by a raft of legendary drivers including Rodriguez, Siffert, Redman, Bell, Elford, Oliver and Piper.
At the 1971 Le Mans test weekend a Porsche 917LH achieved 240mph on the Mulsanne Straight, and to this day Porsche holds the fastest lap of the Le Mans circuit.
The inspiration behind recreating the ICON 917K for the track and road stems from a wet Sunday afternoon at Brands Hatch in April 1970. Then, ICON Engineering founders Dave Eaton and John Hartland, both schoolboys at the time, witnessed Pedro Rodriguez demolish the field to win the BOAC 1,000 Kilometre sports car race by five laps in his Gulf Porsche 917K.
Like many a schoolboy, Dave never lost the desire of owning a 917, but as original values spiralled into the multi-millions, it became just a pipe dream… that is, until August 2011.
Over 40 years after that Brands Hatch visit Dave, by then a highly-accomplished automotive Design Engineer for vehicle manufacturers, spotted an advertisement for a set of visually-correct Porsche 917 body clips, produced from moulds taken from David Piper’s Porsche 917/10 race car.
Ignoring the suggestion that the bodyshell could be turned upside down and used as a canoe, Dave’s pipedream become a reality. The purchase of the body clips was quickly followed by a call to long-time friend John Hartland, now an acknowledged supercar technician and engineer …and ICON Engineering was born.
A petrolhead and avid motor racing fanatic since being taken to the 1968 Race of Champions at Brands Hatch, Dave apprenticed at a local engineering firm and qualified as an engineer with an HND in Mechanical Engineering, joining Ford of Britain in 1979 at Boreham Proving Ground as a Test and Development Engineer.
Leaving Ford in 1982 and following a six-year spell partnering in a motor trade business, Dave took up a design and engineering position in Canada with the expanding UK company, Hawtal Whiting.
Dave progressed to an extremely successful career in Computer Aided Design (CAD), working as an Automotive Project & Design Engineer and Program Manager around the globe, including Canada, USA, Spain, Japan, China, Italy, Germany, and the UK.
Dave has represented many Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) on advanced and high volume projects: GM, Ford, Bentley, Jaguar, Seat, Mazda, Isuzu, Nissan, McLaren and FAW in China. He has also worked with Tier 1 suppliers including IAC, Magna Decoma, Visteon, Hawtal Whiting, MIRA, primarily on interiors and exterior mouldings and BIW. He has also lead bespoke auto programmes for the Sultan of Brunei Bentleys, interior of the Chinese presidential limousine and a number of show and concept cars.Dave’s design and engineering prowess combined with many years of hands-on experience delivered the ideal combination - in conjunction with the skills of John Hartland - to take on the complete CAD reverse engineering of a Porsche 917 for road and track use.
John's background and interest in exotic road and race cars stems from his father’s involvement and enthusiasm for motorsport, which spilled over to him as a lad.
John was a close follower of all realms of motorsport but his favourite discipline was and remains sports cars, especially legends of the 60s and 70s era such as Ford GT40, Lola T70, Alfa Romeo T33 and Porsche 917.
From an apprenticeship at Jensen Cars, John progressed through a series of influential technical roles at classic car restorers, collectors and main VM agents before establishing his own preparation company specialising in Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Porsche.
This developed into Hartland Motorsport, focused of high-performance engine building and powertrain application. John's wide experience includes working with motorsport teams in GT1, GT2, GT3, P1 and P2, including Saleen, Porsche, Courage-Pescarolo, McLaren GTR, Cadillac, North Star, Ultima and more
His exemplary talent and experience were key to the ICON 917 development, in harmony with the complementary skills and track record of partner ICON Engineering Dave Eaton.
Exploiting their 80 years of combined automotive experience, combined with mutual fanaticism for authenticity and perfection, ICON founders Dave Eaton and John Hartland started the development and build of the ICON 917 prototype in late 2011. This followed the purchase of the bodyclips taken from the moulds of David Piper’s Le Mans 24 Hour specification Porsche 917K.
Whilst the ICON 917 is dimensionally accurate to the Porsche 917K, and a wholly authentic replica in terms of DNA, concept and execution, is has been created in a manner that was impossible when the Porsche 917K was born….
Conventional drawing office and workshop car development of the late ‘60s, which gave birth to the Porsche 917K, have been eclipsed in the build of ICON 917K.
Capitalising on Dave Eaton’s career-led contemporary skills in computer-aided design (CAD), the ICON 917K is reverse-engineered from an astonishingly complex library of original historical data and myriad authentic references to the Porsche 917.
95% of ICON 917K components were digitally-designed in CAD, enabling them to be replicated with 100% accuracy. The appointment of a highly-specialised UK manufacturing supply team was followed by UK assembly of the prototype.
After rigorous testing to fulfil both the founders’ own fanatical quality standards and UK IVA vehicle registration requirements, ICON Engineering has been acknowledged as a fully-fledged UK vehicle manufacturer with the ICON 917K awarded full UK road registration.
Today, ICON Engineering has the authority and capability to produce ICON 917 recreations to order. This ranges from supplying components for a customer’s own build, through a rolling chassis, to a fully-finished, turn-key road going and trackday car with a Porsche engine and transmission of choice.