Fifty years ago, Porsche rolled out a new prototype racing car for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The 917 not only won at Le Mans in 1970 and again in 1971, but provided the basis for the 917/30 that later would dominate the North American Can-Am racing series.
To honor and to celebrate the 917’s 50th anniversary, the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, has opened a special exhibition, “Colors of Speed,” featuring 14 exhibits including 10 of the 917 vehicles.
The first 917 — 917-001 — has undergone a year-long restoration to its original 1969 specification and is among the cars featured in the exhibition.
Also on display are the 917 short-tail racers that won at Le Mans in 1970 with Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood driving, and in 1971 with Helmut Marko and Gijs van Lennep at the wheel. The 1971-winning car set records for distance covered (5,335 kilometers) and average speed (222.3 km/h) that stood for nearly 40 years.
The exhibition provides an in-depth look at turbocharging and the construction of the 12-cylinder engine designed by Hans Mezger to power the 917. Also on display is the 917 PA Spyder that served as a test vehicle for a 16-cylinder engine.
Also displayed are ways the 917 inspired Porsche designers and engineers as they worked on future cars for both the track and the road.
For more information, including visiting hours, see the Porsche Museum website.