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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Without racing taking place currently, let‘s reminisce a little about a time “when sex was safe and motor racing dangerous“ … (as Jackie Stewart put it). … :D

As an outstanding example of that time here‘s a video on occasion of last year‘s 50th anniversary of the racing car that fascinated me more than any other car … the Porsche 917.

As a young boy, I watched its development and I witnessed its very first public setting foot on a race track ever in the first practice session of the 1000 km race in Spa-Francorchamps on Friday, May 09, 1969. Still clearly remember seeing (and hearing :)) it roll out onto the track at the bottom exit of the paddock at Eau Rouge and climb up Raidillon (which at that time was a lot steeper & a lot less straight than it is today) … first Gerhard Mitter, followed by Jo Siffert, both cars in white. … I was 12 years old at that time. The design of the 917 and its air-cooled 180° V12 engine increasingly fascinated me during the 1970 & 1971 manufacturers championship seasons when it was used in its, IMO, most beautiful version, the 917K. It still fascinates me and brings back spectacular memories when I see & hear it at historic racing events. … :)


 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Two of these beauties are close to my home, both in excellent condition. Don‘t ask about their current market values. :censored:

The man who spent more time in 917s and drove more miles with them than anybody else lives close to my home here. His name is Willhelm Hubert Kauhsen, aka Willi Kauhsen. He is also the most funny of all 917 drivers I‘ve ever seen. Last year he completed a very nicely done reconstruction of one of the first built 917‘s, the “Langheck“ (long tail) version with chassis no. 005 ... the one in the two attached photos. The reconstruction of that car took six years.

Willi Kauhsen was Porsche‘s main 917 test driver … and he drove several strikingly painted 917‘s in the ‘70 & ‘71 manufacturers championships seasons. In 1970 he finished 2nd at the 24h of Le Mans (together with Gerard Larrousse) in the “Hippie-917 Langheck“. In '71 he drove (together with Reinhold Joest) the “Pink Pig 917/20“ in Le Mans. At the 1000 km race in Spa-Francorchamps in '71 they just missed the podium (behind Rodriguez/Oliver and Siffert/Bell) due to a flat rear tyre on their yellow 917 K. And, up from '72, he drove the 1000 hp strong 917/10 and the 1200 hp strong 917/30 in the Can-Am and in the Interserie … which gave him the name “Mister 1000 PS“.

He can not hide his Aachen accent, no matter how hard he tries when he speaks … LOL … The funny videos with him talking about a lap on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife together with Germany‘s head of state in a Porsche 917 and about test drives on the test track in Weissach (together with Mark Donohue) are, unfortunately, without subtitles.



The first photo shows 79 years old Willi Kauhsen sitting in his reconstructed 917 - 005. The second photo shows Derek Bell driving it on the racetrack close to Valencia, Spain.

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CH4S Admin , Outstanding Contributor
1985 500SEC, 1991 190E 2.6.
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That is too funny. Too bad there are no English subtitles

Btw, an old time Vasek Polak mechanic told me there are still 2 old Porsche racing cars hidden away in nearby Long Beach, incl a 917.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
That is too funny. Too bad there are no English subtitles
Indeed. … Willi Kauhsen has always been a funny guy. When he speaks in real Aachen dialect, most Germans wouldn‘t understand and they‘d wonder what language that is. … LOL

BTW ... listen to Klaus Bischoff talk in his Schwäbisch accent in that ‘Rennsport‘ video in post 5: “You know Pattrick, se srottle are made just zero and full, gell net. To hold it in half, gell net, that‘s not really made for sis“. … LOL ... He's now the head of the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart … and a really nice guy.

The photo shows Willi Kauhsen talking to Gustav Heinemann at the Nürburgring in 1973.:LOL:
 

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CH4S Admin , Outstanding Contributor
1985 500SEC, 1991 190E 2.6.
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Indeed. … Willi Kauhsen has always been a funny guy. When he speaks in real Aachen dialect, most Germans wouldn‘t understand and they‘d wonder what language that is. … LOL

BTW ... listen to Klaus Bischoff talk in his Schwäbisch accent in that ‘Rennsport‘ video in post 5: “You know Pattrick, se srottle are made just zero and full, gell net. To hold it in half, gell net, that‘s not really made for sis“. … LOL ... He's now the head of the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart … and a really nice guy.

The photo shows Willi Kauhsen talking to Gustav Heinemann at the Nürburgring in 1973.:LOL:
The German President must have been quite a character to go through a 360 spin in the 917, followed by a thumbs up to Kauhsen after going max 250 kmh on a wet snowy track, and then actually ask for one more lap of the Nordschleife. Great story..
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The German President must have been quite a character to go through a 360 spin in the 917, followed by a thumbs up to Kauhsen after going max 250 kmh on a wet snowy track, and then actually ask for one more lap of the Nordschleife. Great story..
And Willi Kauhsen didn‘t seem to be very concerned either. Maybe it was a good idea of the security agent to warn him after that lap not to drive one more meter with the President in the car, or else he‘d immediately be arrested. … LOL

I watched the 1000 km race in Spa-Francorchamps in 1971 at several locations along the circuit. I still remember Willi Kauhsen spectacularly coming out of the Masta Kink with his 917 K at unbelievable speed.

That 1000 km race was the fastest race I have ever seen. It was done in about 4 hours and 1 minute, even though it started as a wet race and pit stops lasted minutes in those days ! … The whole race was a tight fight between the two Gulf 917s of Rodriguez/Oliver and Siffert/Bell. They finished 0.4 seconds apart from each other. It was very spectacular to watch.

The photo shows Pedro Rodriguez followed by Jo Siffert during that race at Eau Rouge / Raidillon.

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Discussion Starter #12
The complete 917 series … that means the whole car (in all its versions), including its unique air-cooled 180° V12 engine … was Hans Metzger‘s design. Ferdinand Piech wanted it, but Hans Metzger made it … a down-to-earth, very dedicated, brilliant engineer … who can also not hide where he is from when he speaks. :)

He also designed the 911 engine and the TAG Turbo engine for McLaren (which Niki Lauda and Alain Prost used in the 1980‘s).

BTW, the 917 (car & engine) was designed using sliderules (remember?), not computers. ;)
 

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CH4S Admin , Outstanding Contributor
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The complete 917 series … that means the whole car (in all its versions), including its unique air-cooled 180° V12 engine … was Hans Metzger‘s design. Ferdinand Piech wanted it, but Hans Metzger made it … a down-to-earth, very dedicated, brilliant engineer … who can also not hide where he is from when he speaks. :)

He also designed the 911 engine and the TAG Turbo engine for McLaren (which Niki Lauda and Alain Prost used in the 1980‘s).

BTW, the 917 (car & engine) was designed using sliderules (remember?), not computers. ;)
One of the best engineering minds in F1 still works with a drawing board etc

 

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Discussion Starter #15
Here‘s another 917 that was rebuilt close to my home in a garage that‘s specialized in rebuilding historic race cars. The man with the glasses who revs the engine at the end of the video is one of the two brothers who own this garage. They do things properly. This 917 is the 21st built 917. Originally it was the Longtail version. It‘s one of the best 917 reconstructions I have ever seen. :)

 

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CH4S Admin , Outstanding Contributor
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sorry, no subtitles, and a broom looks to be an important part in 917 maintenance

Porsche 917 (aus dem Archiv) - Throwback Thursday | auto motor und sport
 

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Discussion Starter #17
... a broom looks to be an important part in 917 maintenance
Yep … they used brooms to keep the hood up in the paddock 50 years ago too. Was more stable than a simple stick. :)

Here is another nice restoration, done by Gunnar Racing in Florida. Look at that flat-12 engine … isn‘t that one beautiful piece of mechanical engineering. :)


 

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Bad memories about Asek Polak's 917 at the Edmonton Can-Am race: The mechanics forgot to remove the cover over the velocity stacks , before releasing the car on the track. The overheated engine did not last very long - and I had to rush Vasek Polak to the airport to catch the next plane home. He did not want to see his car any longer.....
 

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Correction: The cover was over the cooling fan, not the velocity stacks....
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Correction: The cover was over the cooling fan, not the velocity stacks....
Right! … the Can-Am 917 was turbocharged. It did not have velocity stacks.

Here is a video of a turbocharged 917 engine in preparation (in Bruce Canepa‘s workshop in Scotts Valley). This engine is for a 917/10 or for a 917/30 … not for a 917K, as the video‘s title erroneously reads. Basically the engines are the same, but the 917K never had turbochargers.

Look at that huge cooling fan. On an aircooled 1000-1500 hp engine It was certainly a bad idea to leave the cover on. Bruce Canepa talks about this fan at ~0:55 in the video.

Look at that beautiful & well thought out racecar engine ! … The 917 engine was unrivalled, which played a big role in the rule changes in the manufacturers championchip at the end of 1971 and the rule changes in Can-Am at the end of 1973. It debuted in Can-Am in 1972, winning 6 of 9 races. In 1973 it won all 8 Can-Am races.

This engine also played a major role in my early interest for engineering when I was a young teenager. :)

 
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