The 917 came with a 4.5 liter engine with 520 hp and more than a few funky twists from the era. The 12 cylinders were horizontal and the tilted crankshaft turned the power plant into a 180-degree V engine. In those days, they tried everything.

It's been 40 years since Porsche debuted the 917 back at the Geneva auto show in 1969. Imagine walking the halls of the show back then? It must have been quite a time, where the glamor was real and not manufactured.

The 917 was a race car Porsche developed after the FIA expanded rules for the construction of racing vehicles. It came with a 4.5 liter engine with 520 hp and more than a few funky twists from the era. The 12 cylinders were horizontal and the tilted crankshaft turned the power plant into a 180-degree V engine. In those days, they tried everything.

The car made its racing debut in August 1969 and by the 1970 racing season had taken the Racing Series World Championship at such exotic, Elvis-movie locales as Daytona, Monza, Spa and Le Mans.

When the European FIA rules for 5.0 liter racers expired in 1971, Porsche sent the model to race in North America at the CanAm Challenge Cup with the Penske racing team winning the 1972 series with the 917/10 Spyder turbo-charged up to 1000 hp. Porsche even went on to build a 1400 hp version of 917.

In these dire times, a little nostalgia for the romance of old is a forgivable indulgence. The days when cars that rattled and hummed, that were not quite as scientifically pieced together as they are today, roamed the roads and roared on the race tracks with soul.

Okay, now back to reality.

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Porsche Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Porsche 917