A Carrera GT and its 600-horsepower V10. If you look behind there's an interesting display. It has the outlines of every generation of the 911, and an image is projected showing each car as they've grown and "changed."
This is what that small engine had evolved to by the 1980s. This Type 935/76 flat-6 had two turbos, four valves per cylinder, and water-cooled cylinder heads. It's most notable for powering the "Moby Dick" racer of 1978, and the 956 that came in first, second, and third at Le Mans.
In naturally aspirated form, the air-cooled flat-12 in the 917K was good for almost 600 hp. Displacements ranged from 4.5-5L. Turbocharged, with up to 5.4L displacement, it was good for over 1000 hp and 240 mph (386 kph). In other race series, it produced even more.
If this car looks dirty, it's because it is. It is rarely cleaned to keep traces of the dirt from the Paris-Dakar rally, which it won in 1984. The 959 was an advanced car for its day, with sequential turbos, electronically controlled AWD and more.
The dominant 917s weren't just used at Le Mans. Other teams entered them in races like the Can-Am series. This example was driven by Mark Donohue, winning the 1973 championship. The modified, turbocharged flat-12 put out around 1500 horsepower.
Two late-90's GT1s. On the left, the racing version. It was actually mid-engined, and won 8 of its 36 races, but was on the podium 21 times. The flat-6 was fully water-cooled for the first time. The white car is the "Strassenversion" or "Street version." It had a carbon-fiber body, softer suspension, and a de-tuned engine of "only" 544 hp, down from 600.
Beneath the museum is the Vault, where dozens of cars are stored. Some await display, others await restoration. You can check out our full tour of the Vault in A tour of the Vault at the Petersen Automotive Museum. What you'll see in the next few slides are the latest Porsche additions. Great cars they didn't have room to display in the main exhibit.
A racing version of Porsche's criminally underappreciated 914. I mean, sure, it looks like a cardboard box someone left in the rain, but they're super fun to drive. This version has a flat-6, most (like mine) had a flat-4.