People ask me, why have a goal to get the Porsche 917K? It’s cramped, actually it’s really, really cramped. I will barely fit, and if I take a passenger with me, there is a lot of touchy-touchy involved as soon as we move any part of the body when we sit in it. But that’s just cozy. It’s also dangerous, unpractical, old and generally unsuitable. Why not something modern, like a Ferrari or a new Porsche for that matter.
Well it all depends on what you look for in a car. Some wants the fastest lap times, some want extreme power and some want comfort. I’m a sucker for history, especially the sports car era of the 70-s (commonly known as the golden era in motor sport). I saw a picture of the 917K it when I was around 8 years old, and since then it has been the ultimate car for me. Diving down into the cars spectacular life and development have deepen my respect for the drivers and engineers of the time. It has also given me an almost unhealthy determination to someday have one. Let me tell you a bit about it.
During the sixties, Porsche aimed to win the LeMans 24h in France. In 1969 a new car was ready, based on the earlier Porsche 908. The new 917 turned out to be a death trap and drivers actually refused to drive it. One day, when the boffins at Porsche was testing in Austria, one of the drivers noticed that the front of the car was filled with bugs, but not the rear spoiler. That meant that the air went over the rear spoiler, making it useless. In a time without wind tunnels and advanced computer simulations, developing a car was a bit of trial and error. Based on the result of the insect massacre, a new body was developed with a bit shorter tail. The 917K (k – for kurzheck – short tail) was born. Suddenly the car won absolutely everything and dominated all over the world over its short lifespan and cemented it in history as one of the most iconic race cars ever created. There is of course more to the story, but that is for some other time. Its lines, its history, its simplicity, the fact that it’s completely manual without any driver aids whatsoever and that its a Porsche makes me compelled to obtain it someday. It also spits fire.
I’m looking to buy a replica, as I think everyone I have ever met understands. Since a real one is invaluable and if you crash, well that is something you don’t want to do in the real car, since your legs are the crumple zone and you sit in an aluminum (and magnesium!) bathtub filled with high-octane racing fuel. Really, really bad combination if something like a spark appear after you are soaked in gasoline upside down with messed up legs after that misjudged corner. The replica uses modern fuel cells, indefinitely stronger nose section and no magnesium. A bit heavier, but I might actually survive in the event of a crash! Enough bad things. I would also love to have it because it would be unique, simple to maintain since you would use an air cooled flat-six and it looks are unparalleled in awesomeness. Just look at that rear end!❤
So my quest continues slow (very slow) but steady. Mark my words, someday I will have one, and you all need to test drive it.