It’s not uncommon for a big automotive parts company to sponsor a project car, and Summit Racing is no exception.
Through the decades, Summit Racing has supported dozens of vehicle builds—including an LS-swapped Miata, Baja inspired Ford Bronco, and a land speed record-holding Tesla.
So, since Summit Racing is celebrating its 55th birthday in 2023, we wanted to dig deep and find its first sponsored project car.
Did we find some Pro Street muscle car, slammed Deuce Coupe hot rod, or tire-shredding dragster?
Nope—we found a fiberglass-bodied kit car, the Elite Laser 917.
Modeled after the 1970s-era Porsche 917 race cars, the Laser was a rear-engined kit car built upon the (surprise!) Volkswagen Beetle chassis. Its unclear how many Laser 917s Elite Enterprises cranked out between 1972-82, but a Google search turned up plenty of stories on 917s in varying degrees of condition.
One of the most unique aspects of Summit Racing’s build was the powerplant. Instead of the typical air-cooled four-cylinder VW engines that are common in similar kit cars, Summit Racing tossed in a Buick 231 c.i.d. V6—a feat that required significant modifications to the original kit’s plans.
Car Craft magazine featured the Summit Racing Laser 917 in its February 1981 issue, written by none other than the fantastic OnAllCylinders contributor Jeff Smith. The story is chock-full of details on the build, and the entire piece is swimming in 1970s gearhead nostalgia.
Here’s the original article. [Click images to enlarge them for better readability.]
I am looking for a Eilite Laser917 car for sale. If you know of one that’s for sale let me know.
262 744 4122. Call me, im Jake
If you are still intrested in a Laser and havent found one,this looks to be a good one to buy.
(Old eBay link removed -ed.)
Lony, you might also join the Facebook group, Laser 917 owners, page.
I have one 423 405 2781
A great project to be sure.
As a kid this was a dream for me. I loved the look of this car kit and wanted to build one however life and school took priority. The job and projects to generate revenue came next and so on. I purchased an Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV for that road car feel and that was that.
The inhancements you made in your 917 project are far today from yesteryear. A great design around existing structure to be sure.
This caught my eye because the love of the Elite Laser 917 is still there in my heart!
Thank You for all the memories and so much more.
From The Heart,
Johnny here, Dave Post is my dad. I grew up riding in this car, very cool for a kid of 10yo. Sadly the car is gone now…