This Porsche concept celebrates 50 years of the 917

batch 1335101 concept study of the 917 2019 porsche ag

Time to celebrate the anniversary of a Porsche that isn’t a 911

batch 973018 917 001 porsche ag 1

The Porsche 917 won Le Mans outright in 1970 and ‘72, and dominated North America’s CanAm series in 1972 and ‘73. And this year it turns 50.

batch 3722374 917 001 in its original conditions porsche museum stuttgart 2019 porsche ag 1

To celebrate its half-centenary, Porsche has done some things. First, it set about restoring the first-ever 917. Chassis number 001 was revealed at the 1969 Geneva Motor Show and used mostly as a “test and presentation vehicle”. In its life it went through many colour and spec changes, making its restoration especially challenging. It took a team of engineers and technicians over a year, using original parts and materials where possible, to return 001 to original condition.

batch 1125530 917 001 retro classics stuttgart 2019 porsche ag

It will form part of a special exhibition at Porsche’s museum in Germany, running from May to September. Ten of the 14 exhibits are actual 917s (with a combined power output of 7,795bhp), and one is the model pictured above. It’s a concept study produced by a “small number of designers and engineers” within the company as a homage to the 917’s first Le Mans victory.

Look closely and you’ll see it’s a bit rough around the edges – this is a full-scale model, nothing else, that’s supposed to give us an idea of what a modern-day 917 might look like. No plans to turn it into a real thing, which is a crying shame because it looks ace. Think Porsche ought to revive the 917 proper?

STORY Tom Harrison

TopGear
Author: TopGear
Top Gear is a British television series about motor vehicles, primarily cars, and is the most widely watched factual television programme in the world.