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Why The Porsche 917K is The Sexiest Car Ever

Updated on March 7, 2015

The specs behind the car

Not many cars that were made in 1969 and 1970 were made particularly like the Porsche 917. If someone wanted to make a list of greatest race cars ever made, the Porsche 917 wouldn't have a problem topping the list. There were only 25 of these cars ever made. And the Porsche 917 was one of the fastest race cars in history. There were definitely many kinks to work out during the first year of racing it in 1969. But in 1970, it was one of the first Porsches to win a 24 hour Le Mans race.

The Porsche 917K had an inline 12-engine. An inline 12-engine is just 2 rows of 6 cylinders. Rarer, wider, and less tall than a V12, a flat-12 is used exclusively in mid-engined sports cars and rarely on production cars.

Note, the wooden shift knob.
Note, the wooden shift knob. | Source

During its first year of racing, the few racers that actually raced the Porsche 917 experienced wheel spin at 200 MPH. These cars were so powerful that a majority of the drivers asked to race it at first turned down the offer. Many key people including Porsche driver, Brian Redman said that the car was incredibly unstable, using all the road at top speed. These drivers were saying this because the Porsche was designed for low drag to optimize its speed down the long straights down Le Mans, and Monza. Since the cars handling was so sloppy, many drivers refused to race it. They even asked two BMW drivers to race the 917, but refused because they thought it was too dangerous. The car was so dangerous that a driver actually died while racing it in 1969 at Le Mans.

That down shift tho.

But after that first year, Porsche really worked out their kinks for the car. It became so dominant in racing that it was no longer allowed to race. After that, they brought it to the states and enter it in CanAm (sports car club of North America and Canada.) Before that, the 917 won 9 out of 10 races it raced in. The car defended its title again in 1971 by winning 8 out of the 10 races. Not many cars are fast as the Porsche 917. Not only did it have 4 more cylinders than your typical muscle car, it could probably do 0-60 in half the time. Since the car had a flat 12 in it, with a 5 liter engine it was capable of going 0-60 in about 2.3 seconds.

The Porsche 917 are an iconic car in the racing world. Not many cars built during that time had the power that it had. It was revolutionary. What was revolutionary on it was both the color of the car and the way it looked. The original colors for the car are the Gulf oil blue and orange.

Most beloved race car ever?
Most beloved race car ever? | Source

Not many Porsche 917s were made either. Only about 25 for racing and about 60 in total. So finding one now a days will cost you about $20 million dollars now. Out of the select few that are still in existence today, Bruce Canepa a sports car enthusiast bought one and restored it. And after Canepa raced it, he explained that it's not your typical sit back luxury type of car, and this car will most likely give you blisters due to the fact that there's no modern technology on the car like ABS, no electronics, and no traction control on it like today's race cars. While Bruce explained that in an interview with Yahoo! Auto about the technology the car had, he chuckled and said “That's alls you need to know.”

Get a good look at this...
Get a good look at this... | Source

Race history of 917-004 (prior to chassis number 017)


  • April FIA (CSI) Homologation and registration

  • May Preparation for the Nurburgring 1000KM

  • June Nurburgring 1000KM

Drivers: Frank Gardner and David Piper
Result 8th overall. This was the second race for a 917, however,
as the first race for the new car was at Spa where the car had
mechanical failure on the first lap, 004 is considered the first 917
to go the distance and finish a race in its entirety.

  • June Stability testing at Hockenheim
  • Driver: Herbert Linge
  • November Conversion to full 917K bodywork

  • December Preparation and delivery to J.W. Automotive Engineering


  • March Preparation for BOAC 1000 KM race at Brands Hatch

  • April BOAC 1000KM race at Brands Hatch

Drivers: Jo Siffert and Brian Redman
Result: DNF

  • April Original chassis 917-004 returned to Porsche to be repaired and

renumbered as chassis 017

Such a beautiful car!
Such a beautiful car! | Source

Technical Specs

(click column header to sort results)
Type 912/11
5.0 Liter (4998cc) 12-cylinder air cooled
Bore & Stroke:
86.8 x 70.4
630 HP @ 8300 RPM
434 ft. lbs @ 6500 RPM
type 920 4 speed w/ reverse
Aluminum tube construction
1.6mm wall thickness
Fiberglass reinforced resin
90.5 inches / 2300mm
Front wheels
10.5" x 15" magnesium
(9"x 15" rain)
Rear wheels:
17" x 15" magnesium
(12" x 15" or 15" x 15" rain)
Overall length
162 inches /4120mm
78 inches / 1980mm
37 inches / 940 mm
Weight (w/o) fuel
1764 lbs / 800kgs
12- cylinders of glory.
12- cylinders of glory. | Source

Le Mans Classic 2014 : The Paddock (Porsche 917)

Sources of information:


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