Photo: Travis Okulski / Business Insider
You may have noticed that there were no Porsches listed in our post about the various supercars at the 2012 New York Auto Show.And that is because one picture could not do justice to the work of art Porsche had on its show stand.
The car in question was the 917LH (LH stands for Langheck, which translates from German to Long Tail). You may have actually seen this picture of the car parked next to minivans at the recent Amelia Island Concours.
Designed to achieve insane speeds at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, this very car ran the race in 1970 and 1971. While it always qualified in the top two, it never finished. Even though it was a bit fragile, the 917LH was clocked going nearly 240 MPH on the longest straightaway at the track, the Mulsanne.
Reliability aside, the 917 is flat out gorgeous. Porsche had all its new models on the stand, including the brand new Boxster, 911, and Cayenne Diesel, but I spent all of my time there ogling the 917 (I must admit I also spent a majority of my time at the Porsche party the evening before staring at the same car).
Porsche typically keeps this car at its museum in Stuttgart, but shipped it over just for a few special events in the states. Tip to automakers: If you want showgoers to pay attention to your new cars, don't bring cars like this to auto shows.
As the name denotes, the tail of the car is extra long. This was to enhance stability and top speed down the straights.
But even though it was stable in a straight line, it has been said that the LH was very nervous when it got to the twisty bits. Vic Elford, who drove the car both years, was a former rally driver. As he was used to driving cars on gravel and other loose surfaces, that was a big help to keep it under control.
It is honestly like lying down. While the speeds the car achieved were high, the sensation of speed must have been simply outrageous.
This is the powerplant, a 4.9 liter flat-12. The most powerful variant could make nearly 1,600 horsepower. While this one probably made around half that, the car was still able to easily hit 240 MPH.
This angle really gives you a sense of the flowing, aerodynamic design. The iconic stripes of the Martini livery also help show where the air flows.
This car makes me sound like a huge nerd, but I don't care. If you are a car fan and this doesn't do the same for you, I'm not sure what to tell you.
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