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15 May 2019

Porsche's 917 hits the big five-oh

By James ClearyJames Cleary
  • The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019. The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019.
  • The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019. The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019.
  • The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019. The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019.
  • The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019. The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019.
  • The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019. The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019.
  • The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019. The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019.
  • The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019. The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019.
  • The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019. The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019.
  • The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019. The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019.
  • The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019. The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019.
  • The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019. The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019.
  • The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019. The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019.
  • The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019. The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019.
  • The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019. The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019.
  • The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019. The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019.
  • The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019. The '50 Years of the Porsche 917 - Colours of Speed' at Porsche's Stuttgart museum runs from May 14 - September 15, 2019.

It's one of the greatest racing cars of all time, and to celebrate its 50th birthday Porsche is staging a special exhibition '50 Years of the Porsche 917 – Colours of Speed' at its Stuttgart museum from May 14 – September 15, 2019.

Star of the show is chassis #917-001, the first 917 (nine-seventeen) which was developed to take on the 1969 World Championship of Makes, with a special focus on Le Mans.

It has been meticulously restored by a group of factory museum mechanics, former technicians and engineers from Zuffenhausen and Weissach, as well as experts from the Porsche AG archive and partner companies.

But it was 1970 and 1971 where the short-tail 4.5-litre, air-cooled 'flat' 12 machine (Porsche refers to it as a 180-degree V12) want back-to-back in taking the chequered flag at the Circuit de la Sarthe, the '71 driver pairing including one Helmut Marko of more recent Red Bull F1 fame.

Both those cars are part of the display, with a total of 10 examples joining period images and ephemera on the museum floor.

Other notable inclusions are a 917/30 Can-Am, arguably the ultimate expression of the series, boasting a turbocharged 5.4-litre version of the Mezger engine (named after the car's chassis and engine designer Hans Mezger) producing between 820-1180kW (1100-1580hp), and the low-drag 917/20 known as the 'Pink Pig' in response to its bright livery mimicking a butcher's meat cuts diagram.

A special-edition book 'Colours of Speed – 50 Jahre Porsche 917' has been published and a barbecue apron designed as a tribute to the Pink Pig is available from the museum shop.

What will you be selling to scratch up the cash for a ticket to Stuttgart? Tell us in the comments.