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  Article Image gallery (143) Chassis (8) Specifications  
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Country of origin:Germany
Produced in:1969
Numbers built:28
Internal name:908
Predecessor:Porsche 908 K Coupe
Successor:Porsche 908/03
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:November 24, 2014
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Click here to download printer friendly versionPorsche hedged their bets going into the 1969 season, developing both an evolution of the existing 908 and the brand-new 12-cylinder engined 917. This was a reflection of Porsche's tradition of gradual development but also the ambiguous sports car regulations, which allowed for three-litre prototypes and five-litre production sports racers with a production minimum of 25 examples. Roughly similar in performance, its versatility made the 908 prototype the best proposition for the World Championship while the larger engined 917 would work particularly well at Le Mans.

Introduced at the 1968 Le Mans test, the three-litre 908 was not an unmitigated success. The new eight-cylinder engine caused massive vibrations high in the rev-range, which literally shook the car to pieces, starting with the alternator, causing several early retirements. Another weak spot was the new six-speed gearbox, which was fragile and heavy. Porsche's drivers were also none too happy with the high speed instability of the low-drag, long-tail body. This was addressed later in the year with the short-tail 908K, which, despite being somewhat overweight, did score wins at the Nürburgring and Zeltweg.

During the 1968 season, several attempts were made to cure the engine vibration issues by changing the ignition order but it was not until the engineers reverted back to the crankshaft design of the earlier 907 engine during the off-season that the problem was solved. The now smooth-running 3-litre engine was mated to a heavily revised five-speed gearbox. Dubbed the Type 915, the new gearbox was both lighter and more reliable than its six-speed predecessor. The 908's space frame chassis was now constructed from aluminium tubes, which also represented a considerable weight saving.

For 1969, the minimum windscreen height and the requirement to run a spare tyre were scratched from the rule book. This prompted Porsche, as well as its rivals Ferrari, Matra and Alfa Romeo, to switch to a much lighter, 'Spyder' body. In its original guise, the new-for-1969 908/02 Spyder effectively looked like a chopped version of the short-tail Coupe used in 1968. It featured a low but full-width windscreen and an exposed engine. On both corners of the tail, moveable winglets were fitted, which were connect to the rear suspension. These were later replaced by winglets bolted to the rear bodywork for safety reasons.

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  Article Image gallery (143) Chassis (8) Specifications