You might first want to see all the modifications of the Porsche 917

Porsche 917 LH-69

Premiere: March 12, 1969 Geneva Motor Show (Salon de l'Automobile Genève) press day

1969 Geneva Motor Show© unknown (please inform us if you know)

Official specs (March 1969)

Engine: 4494 cc flat-12, 382 kW @8000 rpm, 331 lb-ft/450 Nm @6800 rpm
Gearbox: 5-speed, ratios according to race track
Wheelbase: 2300 mm
Wheels: 9+12x15"

For the 1969 racing season an absolutely new Porsche with 4.5-litre 12-cylinder 382 kW engine was created under the commandership of Ferdinand Piëch. The aim was to create the fastest racing car ever. Short and long tail versions were parallelly developed, called as the 917 K ("Kurz" = short in German) and the 917 LH ("Langheck" = long tail). The first car was assembled in December 1968. The first 917 K was finished before the first 917 LH, but LH was first introduced publically.

Its predecessor, the 908, had a 3-litre flat-8, so some parts of that engine could be used to build the new type 912 12-cylinder. Yes, the engine of the 917 is Porsche type 912. They had a Porsche model with that name, too, so it sounds a bit confusing. The Porsche type for the 912 car was 902 and 912 was just the marketing name for the product (the same reason for renaming as why the 901 became 911). While the flat-6 in the 911 and the flat-8 in the 908 were boxer engines, the flat-12 in the 917 is not a boxer. The difference is in the crankshaft design - in the boxer engine every connecting rod has its own crankshaft neck and the pistons in the left and right side of the engine move towards each other and then away from each other, like boxing. The crankshaft in the type 912 engine has one neck per two rods, so the pistons cannot "box".

The frame was pressurised with compressed air, so a gauge would show if the frame would get a crack during the race. Imagine doing speeds not seen before, in this aluminium cage. The weight of the frame was only 47 kg/104 lb.© Porsche

Wish to read the full article?

Purchase a 30-day or yearly subscription for full access to all articles.
Prices starting from 10 €.

Sign in to purchase

Don’t have an account? Register · Already have a subscription? Sign in

Article © James Herne /

Continue to 917 K-69

Mar, 05 – 14th birthday of the Carrera GT (2003)
Mar, 06 – 5th birthday of the Boxster 981 (2012)
Mar, 12 – 48th birthday of the 917 (1969)
Mar, 13 – 56th birthday of Ferdinand Oliver Porsche (1961)
Mar, 16 – 40th birthday of the 928 (1977)