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Project 917 – when the Porsche 917 becomes more than just history
Is the iconic Porsche 917 a good subject for a revival?
In light of the Ford Motor Company completing production of the first of its new Ford GT we take a look at one man’s project to bring back another racing legend into the 21st Century. Project 917.
Ian Howe is the brainchild behind the project, the main objective of which is to bring one of the world’s most famous and successful racing machines into the present day. The method to this project? A three stage plan. The first stage will be a kit-car partly prepared by Rally Prep, an automotive company based in Cornwall.
The other engineering duties will fall to a group of five engineering students who will assist in the creation of a car that will be powered most likely by a contemporary Porsche six-cylinder engine rather than a flat twelve. Project 917 is to be a societal as well as motoring project with the interior also being engineered by students.
Stage Two is where the project takes a different leap altogether. Just as companies such as Eagle have reimagined the Jaguar E-Type so does Ian Howe want to reimagine the 917 by building a modern interpretation that, whilst looking and feeling modern, will still be recognisable as a Porsche 917. This Stage Two car will be a hardcore track-only model will significant upgrades beyond that of the Stage One kit-car.
Stage Three, therefore is a road-going version of the track-car complete with all the creature comforts associated with road-going motoring even though from the outside the car will look identical to the track car apart from small changes to make it road legal.
Each stage of the project will be logged through an online portal where every part of the car’s development and construction will be relayed to the public.
Asides from providing the world with a reiteration of one of the world’s greatest motorcars what Project 917 also provides is an opportunity for the students of engineering eager to show off their skills. It will allow the lucky few who get to work on the car an outlet to express their engineering ambition as well as gain crucial contacts in the automotive industry.
As such Ian Howe has been getting in touch with students to gain interest, most recently appearing on King’s College London’s radio station in order to raise awareness of Project 917 and increase interest. This has been done alongside getting in contact with the design team behind the Porsche 908/04, a render of a modern interpretation of Porsche’s famous 908, the car which took on the original Ford GT Mk2.
As regards what this means for the British automotive industry it is hard to say, as this is unlike any other motoring venture yet seen in the United Kingdom.
It is not just one man’s goal to bring a vehicle that inspired so many into the 21st Century but it is also a socio-cultural project as well; helping to bring into the limelight the next great designers and engineers, the next Gordon Murrays, the next Adrian Neweys.
Project 917 then, far from being just another automotive adventure, could pave a new and innovative path for the future of British automotive engineers.
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