HomeNews and EventsPorsche celebrates 917 anniversary with ‘Colors of Speed’ exhibition

Porsche celebrates 917 anniversary with ‘Colors of Speed’ exhibition


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.

Porsche 917, Porsche celebrates 917 anniversary with ‘Colors of Speed’ exhibition, ClassicCars.com Journal
Before heading to the Porsche Museum, the 917s gathered for a photo opp at Porsche’s Weissach engineering center

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.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. How much do you suppose that ten- (10!)- Porsche owned, restored, and maintained original 917’s are worth in money; then figure in the history.
    That motor on the blower made a noise that most likely will (sadly) never be heard live again; just as the howl of the Cosworth-Ford V8 and raw bellow of the Offenhauser I4 is no longer echoing off the concrete at Indianapolis, no LeMans spectator will have their hair risen and ears hurt by the 917’s insane- yes, by every measure, insane is the only adjective that fits- überturbo flat 12. #sad.
    And the "future" is silent electric? I think the sound of cars used in anger will be missed by those who grew up destroying their hearing at Indy, F1, NHRA & NASCAR events; the new car people won’t know or remember. #2xSad.
    Wish someone would use modern recording tech and capture all the sounds that will be illegal when fossil fuels finally go (sigh).


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