Thursday, November 08, 2007

For the final photos...

...I've chosen the unique -- and, in one case, strangest -- Porsche 917s at the event. The first two were shipped over from Porsche's museum for display. The third is in a private owner's hands.

As mentioned, the 917 was a bit of a mess aerodynamically, and the company hired a French firm to help them by designing a body shape that would be stable at high speeds. This was one of the few Porsche racers not designed by the in-house styling department.

Porsche's stylists were horrified when they saw the result, considering it ugly and awkward-looking, which it is. They had the last laugh, getting it coated in pink paint...



...and painting a meat-cutter's chart on it. It was then named "the Pink Pig," and appeared in -- but did not finish -- the 1971 24-hour race at Le Mans, France. Supposedly, the company sponsoring the car -- Martini & Rossi -- was not amused. Porsche's stylists were...



A very early 917 ran one race and was returned to the factory, where it was used for testing. In time, Porsche decided it needed a new engine for the 917, and produced a 16-cylinder version of the existing flat-12. This required some length added to the car's frame to get it installed...



The engine was apparently good for roughly 800 horsepower, though a turbocharger was planned, raising it to nearly 2000 horsepower. Some say the turbo-16 was built, officially, it never existed...



But the biggest problem with the 16-cylinder 917 was, apparently, that all who drove it absolutely refused to even consider racing it. Too much power, without frame, suspension or brakes capable of coping with it was a complaint about the "normal" 1000-horsepower 917; 2000 horsepower was simply beyond the limits of acceptability.

The 917 below, the last of the breed, was actually never raced -- or even completed -- during the days of the car's biggest success. It was partially completed when Porsche pulled out of the Canadian-American Challenge races at the end of 1973, and stayed that way for some time until California Porsche dealer Vasek Polak bought it and had the factory complete it.

Even then, it was not raced, and remained in a warehouse until Polak's death several years ago...



And that, to the sounds of a huge sigh of relief from you non-car types, is the end of my Daytona Adventure. Except for one final fun evening, which will appear (minus photos, alas) in due course....

10 comments:

DAL said...

It's been a well documented photo journey so far, Scribbs. I've enjoyed it a lot.

MrScribbler said...

Glad you enjoyed it, dal. I refrained from posting all 100+ images (some were duplicates, of course) but hoped the 37 here would be entertaining.

Justfly said...

Oh you are such a tease! I want to know NOW about that one final fun evening!!!!!

MrScribbler said...

JF -- Still working on it!

lowandslow said...

RE: The Pink Pig...when they asked a FRENCH firm for styling tips they shouldn't have been surprised with what they got. Haha. Great photo tour, Scribbs.

Thanks :)

S

MrScribbler said...

l&s -- Too right! I hope one of my German-speaking readers will translate some of the "cuts" on the "Pig." And I'm surprised the Porsche guys didn't put them on there in French....

betty said...

I must say, I've never seen cars like the ones here. Neat. :)

John said...

Great stories. I liked the pink car saga.

Anonymous said...

Nice car pics. Ricardo call himself my "shwanzer" because he says he is a swan. They mate for life. AWWHH!!

MrScribbler said...

Well, "anonymous" Paula, "schwanz" means "tail" in German. In Yiddish slang it means, well, something else....

And that's all I'm gonna say about that!