There have been a number of iconic racing liveries over the course of history – JPS and Gulf spring immediately to mind – and every historic racing fan has his or her favorite. But few are as downright awesome as Martini. The Italian vermouth label has sponsored everything from Lancias to Fords, but many of its very awesomest have been Porsches. Like this bitchin' 917/LH.

This long-tail version (Langheck in German) of the all-conquering 917 racer was fielded twice at Le Mans: once by Porsche Salzburg in 1970, and once by Martini Racing (which gave it its enduring paintjob) in 1971. It qualified first and second at those respective runnings, but proved fragile over the course of the 24-hour race and failed to finish both times.

The overall results don't mean that this isn't a devastatingly beautiful example of motor racing history, or that it's anything less than priceless. Better check it out in our gallery of images from the show floor before it's secreted back off to Porsche Museum in Stuttgart.

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      • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      This and the Viper would have to be the most exciting cars at the autoshow, in my opinion. Also, it should be noted that this car is actually the 1971 model of the Langheck 917. The 1970 and 1971 models were much improved over the '69 model in terms of aerodynamics and were actually quite stable at speed. This, in no small part, was due to the fact that the '70 and '71 models actually produced downforce like their wedge-tailed Kurzheck brethren, albeit not as much downforce. The '69 model actually had a positive lift coefficient and the back end would begin to lift at above 200 mph, both in the long and short tail configurations of the time. With the newer '70 and '71 models of the 917 K and L, each car had its compromises. The L had the better aerodynamics and subsequent top speed, but the K model had even greater downforce, better handling (both due to downforce and the shorter tail which made for a less rear biased weight distribution), and it ran cooler due to the open rear design, which made it more reliable. The Pink Pig 917/20 was actually a fairly good compromose between the two designs with speeds closer to that of the L with handling similar to the K, albeit it's major downfall was it couldn't provide ample cooling to the brakes resulting it brake failure and its subsequent crash. Then of course, after the Porsche 917 spyder, there was the Can-Am turbo panzers: The 917/10 and the 917/30. Absolute monsters, those were. It's a shame that in every single series the car raced in, it could no longer compete due to regulations. The saying "the flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long," comes to mind with the car's short but hugely successful racing history. It would've been amazing to see where both Porsche and Ferrari could've gone with their 5.0L monster cars, although, I guess one could say that the answer lies in the Porsche 956, and it's quite obvious from the shape where its design roots came from, and that's an entirely different success story right there. Either way, the 917 in all of its iteration, has to be my most favorite car of all time. Truly a sight to behold and to hear! Off the top of my head I can't remember if it was Joe Siffert or Jackie Oliver who said it, but one of the drivers was quoted as saying that the '71 L car was so stable at speed that they could take the Mulsanne kink flat out while driving with one hand on the wheel... or 248mph in 1971!!!
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Langheck was quite a contrast to the regular Kurz model. John Wyer preferred the Kurz model over the LH. The LH did have a definite top speed advantage over the Kurz. In any event, the 917 is iconic whether in short or longtail form. I have been reading some great books about the 917 over the winter by Gordon Wingrove and Anthony Pritchard. Both go into great detail about the development of the 917 from the first 25 Sports Prototypes to the K/LH and finally the Can Am versions. Truly, the 917 is one of the most beautiful designs ever to grace a racetrack. Still looks young and svelte even at 42 years old.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Awesome!!! This better still be there when I go next Thursday!
      • 3 Years Ago
      I actually drove this. Great car.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The 917s had a gauge on the dash. It was a pressure gauge and it should always read positive pressure. If you looked down (probably on a straight, on a straight you probably aren't doibg less than 150 in this thing) and the gauge read zero, you had BROKEN THE FRAME! Talk about engineering within an inch of its life. What a concept. What a CAR! Also possibly even better looking than Gulf colors.
      Michael Sexton
      • 3 Years Ago
      Saw them at Laguna Seca.....
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