Let’s be honest, the car world is not perfect. Every car has its flaws. Some are too big, some are too small, some have a small engine, others have too big of an engine; the list goes on and on. Because of this, our minds are constantly plagued with “what ifs.” What if the Ferrari 488 didn’t have turbos, what if the Porsche GT3 had more power, what if McLarens had souls? I don’t know about you, but I could literally spend all day thinking about “what if” scenarios for cars. Out of all of these, one has truly stuck out to me,”What if Porsche built a 917 road car?”
The Porsche 917 was as Porsche called it, “The most famous racing car of all time,” having won them their first victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and countless other victories for many decades, in many different divisions. One day when I was little, I was looking through my dad’s old Porsche magazines and on one of the pages, there was a spec list for all the 917s ever made. As a kid, and even now, I was always obsessed with the numbers. I knew every horsepower figure, engine size and 0-60 of any car that you could mention, so you could imagine my excitement when I read that a Porsche had 1200 horsepower, a flat 12, and 1200 hp. Even as a 7 year old, my first thought was, “Why don’t they use this engine in a road car?”
Eventually, I found out that this magical car that I had read about was none other than the legendary Porsche 917, specifically the 917/30, the crazy turbocharged one. A few years later, I got my first phone and with that came the magic that was YouTube. I was now watching Top Gear on the daily and falling in love with cars even more. One day, I don’t know why, the memory of the Porsche 917 popped into my head and with that, the same question of why it wasn’t a road car. With that, another question came into my head,”What did this flat 12 even sound like?” Within 5 minutes, I was blown away by videos of the 917K screaming down the straightaways followed by the nuclear blasts that they called downshifts. (Link to that video HERE). This made me wonder even more why Porsche hadn’t put this godly engine in a road car.
Fast forward to a few days ago, when Porsche unveiled the 917 Concept Study at the Geneva Motor Show. The 917 Concept Study is a stunning interpretation of what a modern day Porsche 917 would look like, a celebration of the Porsche 917’s 50th anniversary. Long story short, it’s the closest thing we’ll get to a 917 road car. Imagine the scene now: you’re cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway in a road legal 917, rowing your own gears, listening to the howl of 12 angry cylinders right behind your head. You approach a tunnel, your nerves tense, the hair on the back of your neck stands up as you downshift, heeling and toeing ever so perfectly as you hear the engine crackle, then, everything goes silent, you have entered the tunnel. But out of nowhere, you unleash all 12 angry beasts behind you, their howls echoing off the tunnel walls as you blast into hyperspace. Name me a more perfect moment, name me a more perfect car.
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