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Legends Displayed at the Porsche Museum: 908

Submitted by on September 10, 2020

By Marcel Hundscheid / Speed-O-Graphica

Our European correspondent Marcel Hundscheid travelled to the Porsche museum in Stuttgart recently, to take a look at the beauties that are on display in the unique surrounding celebrating one of the most successful marques in the world of motorsports. In this first story, we take a look at the Porsche 908/01 LH.

The Porsche 908 was developed on the basis of the earlier 907, although adapted to the 1968 technical regulations that reduced the displacement of Group 6 sports prototype engines to 3 litres. In 1968, Group 4 also appeared for production cars allowing a maximum displacement of 5 litres.

Some of the earlier Porsche 907s equipped with the smaller 2.2 litre engine were modified with the new 3 litre 8-cylinder engine. This resulted in 908/01, from which two different bodies were created.

First was the 908K or 908/01 Coupé, which was in fact a 907 with the engine required for Group 6 and asymmetric air inlets on the front. The second car was 908 LH or 908/01 Long Tail that differed from the 908K / 908/01 as it had a longer body with improved aerodynamics for fast tracks.

For the manufacturing of the new 3 litre 8-cylinder engine, Porsche used their knowledge from the development of the flat 6 engine used in the Porsche 910. It was decided to add two new cylinders and lengthen the stroke of the pistons until reaching the maximum allowed displacement. With a single over head camshaft and two valves per cylinder, the atmospheric engine had a displacement of 2.996 cc resulting in a maximum output of 350 hp at 8500 rpm.

The 908s LH that made their debut at the 1968 Le Mans test day weren’t equipped with a spoiler or rear wings. The 908 proved to be highly unreliable due to gearbox problems as well as vibrations generated by the new crankshaft design.

Following the Le Mans test, two new 908K bodies entered the 1000 kms of the Nürburgring, with Vic Elford and Jo Siffert driving a car to victory. Along with a third place for Hans Hermann and Rolf Stommelen during the race at Spa-Francorchamps, it turned out that the shorter version of the 908 demonstrated greater reliability and drivability at twisty tracks like the Nürburgring.

Porsche revised the 908 LH with a new rear wing and front flaps as the short tail version was upgraded with a new wing. Porsche achieved a double victory in Zeltweg (Austria) as well as a victory in Hockenheim (Germany).

For the 24 Hours of Le Mans that year, Porsche entered four 908 LHs. Although they qualified in 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 7th, only the 908 LH of Joe Buzzetta and Scooter Patrick managed to finish the race, scoring 3rd place. Fastest qualifier in Le Mans was Jo Siffert who reached a top speed of 320 km/h thanks to the streamlined body of the 908 LH.

In 1969 Hans Hermann and Gerard Larrousse were defeated in their 908 LH by a Ford GT40 with a much greater displacement in the final meters of the race. Although Porsche was defeated, the factory grabbed the Manufacturers’ World Championship for the first time with the legendary 908.

During the winter of 1968-69 the reliability of the 908 LH was improved with the introduction of the 908/02 Spyder.

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