The 908’s Flat-8 Engine Might Make a Porsche Believer Out of You

The 908’s Flat-8 Engine Might Make a Porsche Believer Out of You

Classic Porsches: They’re like a weird cult that you either join or you don’t. I tend toward the “don’t” side of things more often than not, but some of the company’s early purpose-built race cars really catch me off-guard. I like the occasional 956 and 917, but the 908 might be the one that eventually turns me into Someone Who Gets Porsches. Probably not, though. Regardless, this video from Italian automotive audiophile 19Bozzy92’s YouTube Channel gets to what makes the 908, specifially the LH model, badass: The noise of a flat-8 engine being wrung by the scruff of its individual throttle bodies’ necks.

The 908 LH’s 3.0-liter engine “only” makes 350 horsepower. The late 1960s, that was considerably less grunt than the famed rivals from Ford or Ferrari, but with the Porsche tipping the scales at a bantamweight 1,350 pounds, it wasn’t totally unable to compete. In fact, Porsche nearly won the sports car world championship in 1967, falling only two points behind Ferrari by the season’s end despite using only the earlier 908’s 2.2-liter engine. The subsequent 3.0-liter clobbered the competition in 1969 and had enough horsepower to send the lightweight 908 nearly 200 miles per hour at Spa Francorchamps on the way to a race victory, a proposition that driver Brian Redman said “scared me stupid” because the car’s aerodynamic balance was unpredictable at such high speeds.

In 1969, the 908 finished runner-up to Ford in the GT40’s final hurrah. The 908 was soon replaced by the 917 among factory entries, although a 908 carried the film camera for much of the Steve McQueen film Le Mans in 1970 and another 908 finished on the podium behind a pair of 917s that year, as well. Privateer teams continued to campaign 908s as late as 1976 with a number of Top 10 finishes through that year, including a third-place finish behind the two howling Matra-Simca.

Today, the 908 is a priceless collector item, but we’re glad to see vintage races still caning the experienced old skin-and-bones fighters around the world, including Monza where this was filmed. While their historical record captures nearly a decade of endurance duties, the butter-smooth exhaust note might be its most enduring characteristic. Am I believer yet? It’s pretty cool, but I’ll have to see if I can weasel my way into driving one somehow to be sure, one way or another.

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3 thoughts on “The 908’s Flat-8 Engine Might Make a Porsche Believer Out of You

  1. oldguy

    Previous 906 was a tiny car !! Saw one at a antique hill climb + show 1995 or so
    Had the plastic body you would think belonged on slot car . tube frame way smaller dia’s then you would think + a mechanical fuel injected v-6 .
    If you displayed enough quite interest looking at it the owner ( in a white suit sitting at a table w/ the arm candy and champagne ) would ask if you wanted to hear it run .
    When it fired it was a glorious ripping , snarling , noise from hell when rev’d .
    Show was on an old estate and from 200 yards away up the hill
    you knew when was ‘ shown off ‘ again .

  2. jerry z

    I do like the sound is a 908 but the sound of a 917-30 is just sick! At over 1000hp, I guess the 917-30 must be even more of a handful to drive!

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