The Porsche 908. Overshadowed by it’s bigger but younger brother. And yet it did all kinds of races. 71MGBGT Likes Subarus of Unusual Colors showed us the 1968 #31 Le Mans car last week. That one didn’t finish. I’ve shown the #33 car of that year about two years ago. Resulting in a 3rd position. And I also showed another 1968 Porsche competitor, the 911T driven by Belgians Jean-Pierre Gaban and Roger van der Schrick.
I really don’t get all the credits for the 917 (okay, I get those) and relative unknown story of the 908. While the “big brother” endured lengthy teething troubles, the 908s secured the 1969 Manufacturer World Championship for Porsche. At Le Mans the closest-yet finish to the 24-Hour Grand Prix d’Endurance had seen Gerard Larrousse in a 908 LH (LangHeck, “Longtail”) Coupe narrowly beaten to the finish by Jacky Ickx’s Gulf-JW Ford GT40. The losing margin between the 908 Coupe and GT40 was... Barely 120 metres. With just over half the engine capacity.
But today I’ll show several different variations on the 908 as Porsche really redeveloped 908s for special occasions. Open, closed, long tail, short boats, there’s so many. I here present you 4. I have more but let’s keep it a bit compact today.
Just look at that 908/2 Flunder. Even of that one different styles of body exist. It was introduced at the Nurbürgring 1000 Km in 1969. It was a new more aerodynamically-bodied version of the 908.02 Spyder and really is known as the “Flunder”.
I think the English word for that is “Flounder”: those flat fishes. The new variant’s re-profiled body paneling, moulded in ultra-light and thin glassfibre, had a cleaner nose line with smaller central oil-cooler air intake, waisted sills, a higher waistline, flattened wheel-arch humps and more tightly-enclosing rigid cockpit surround leaving only the tiniest regulation opening for the driver and above the notional passenger-seat space.
Because who needs a passenger anyway? For Le Mans though, with its ultra-fast 3-mile-long Mulsanne Straight a further development emerged in a Longtail or ‘Spyder Langheck’ variant, not shown here. This design was so effective that it was nearly as fast in practice as the works team’s three ‘Longtail’ Coupe cars.
As said the Langheck would finish just after the winning GT40 of Jacky Ickx. And to prove how these Longtails were totally developed for top speed is the final battle for the win between the GT40 and the 908LH Coupe: Almost every single lap Hans Herrmann in the Porsche would overtake the Ford on the Mulsanne straight. And Jacky Ickx would retake the lead in the final corners in front of Start/Finish.
In preparation for the movie Le Mans actor/king of cool Steve McQueen would drive a 908/2 Flunder as well by the way. In the 1970 12 Hours of Sebring he would finish 2nd (!), together with Peter Revson. Beating names like Henri Pescarolo, Rolf Stommelen, Piers Courage and Toine Hezemans to name a few. Only the Ferrari 512S driven by Nino Vaccarella, Ignazio Giunti and Mario Andretti was in front of ‘m.
So you see, a true versatile platform, the 908. On twisty tracks like the Nordschleife and the Targa Florio an even shorter 908/3 was developed than the one you see here, the number 53. But that’s for another Teutonic Tuesday. Or maybe even a Spaghetti Sunday. Philipilihp did some excellent work on a 908/3 right here, must read!
The models are all 1/43. The LangHeck is from Schuco, just as the #33 is that I showed before. It’s the car Gerhard Mitter used in die 200 Meilen von Nürnberg at the Norisring in 1968. Nothing to tell about it as it’s clutch broke down in lap 6 already.
All other three are from Best Models, Italy. My local supplier really dumped these this year: he asked 10 euros for ‘m. I think I bought every single one left in the end. The quality is amazing and who else makes so many different 908s in the first place? The decals on the #53 car seem to be decoloring a bit though, these had been in the store for quite some time I suppose.
And that’s it for this Teutonic Tuesday. I hope you all will appreciate the awesomeness of the 908 somewhat more and think about it the next time you get a 917.