This Porsche concept celebrates 50 years of the 917

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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.