The 15 Greatest Mid-Engine Porsches Ever Made

In other words, a list of the 15 finest sports and race cars ever made.

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Porsche

Porsche's fame comes from a certain rear-engine sports car, and these days, much of its revenue comes from its front-engine sedan and SUVs. That said, the company has made a ton of mid-engine sports- and race cars over its long history. Here are the best.

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Porsche
Porsche 550 Spyder

Yes, some early Porsche prototypes were mid-engined, but the 550 Spyder is what started the trend. This was Porsche's first purpose-built racer, previewing many years of motorsports dominance.

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Porsche
Porsche 718

In 1957, the 550 evolved into the gorgeous 718 , which further bolstered Porsche's reputation as a giant-killer. When Porsche first put turbocharged flat-fours in the Boxster and Cayman, it renamed the two after this car to remind everyone of its past racing success.

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Bob D'Olivio/The Enthusiast Network/Getty
Porsche 904 Carrera GTS

The 904 Carrera GTS was the ultimate iteration of what started with the 550 Spyder. It was the last Porsche racer to use a flat-four engine, in this case a highly tuned version of Porsche's famous, four-cam "Carrera" engine. That engine only displaced 2.0-liters, but produced an astonishing 200 hp. These are now multimillion cars for good reason.

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Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images
Porsche 906

The Porsche 906 was the successor to the 904, but it brought huge improvements to the table. Where the 904 used a stressed fiberglass body and a flat-four, the 906 used an unstressed fiberglass body laid over a steel tube frame and a 2.0-liter flat-six. At Le Mans in 1966, the 906 took 4th-7th places, behind only the Ford GT40.

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Porsche
Porsche 908

Porsche had some early success against Ferrari with its relatively diminutive sports cars, but with the 908, it began its attempts to challenge the big boys head on. Produced both in long-tail Coupe, and short-tail Spyder form, the 908 was raced from the late-1960s all the way to 1981.

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Porsche
Porsche 917

If anyone doubted Porsche's abilities before the 917 arrived on the scene, they wouldn't have doubted them after. After going through teething problems in 1969, this flat-12 powered prototype went on to win Le Mans outright in 1970, beginning years of Porsche dominance that continues today.

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Porsche
Porsche 936

One of Porsche's most important developments during the 917 program was turbocharging technology. Where the original 917 used a big, naturally-aspirated flat-12, the 936 used a turbocharged flat-six derived from the 930 Turbo street car. It meant big power from a small, reliable engine, and it powered the 936 to three Le Mans wins.

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Bob Harmeyer/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Porsche 956/962

The 956 and 962 might be Porsche's greatest prototype race cars. Hell, they might be the greatest prototype race cars ever made. They used an evolution of the turbocharged flat-six in the 936 housed in a body which used underside ground effect to generate downforce. In the 1980s, these were virtually unbeatable.

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Porsche
Porsche Boxster (986)

You could argue that the first-generation Boxster is among the five most important cars in Porsche's history. It was a huge sales hit that came at the company's lowest point, and ensured a bright future for Porsche. The Boxster also cast the mold for some of Porsche's greatest driver's cars of the 21st century.

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Porsche 911 GT1

Yes, there is one 911 that qualifies for entry on this list, however, the 911 GT1 of the late-1990s is a 911 in name only. It looks like a 911, but the GT1 uses its own mid-engine chassis complete with an engine derived from the dominant 962. Primarily a race car, the 911 GT1 also gave birth to one of Porsche's wildest street cars.

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Porsche
Porsche Carrera GT

With financial health ensured by the Boxster, Cayenne SUV, and 996-chassis 911, Porsche decided to make the ultimate road car. Using an engine from an aborted Le Mans prototype project, the Carrera GT is one of the craziest, most transcendent supercars ever produced.

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Gavin Lawrence/Getty Images
Porsche RS Spyder

The RS Spyder LMP2 car isn't one of Porsche's most famous race cars, but it's still an impressive machine. It achieved significant success in European and American sports car racing.

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Porsche
Porsche 918 Spyder

The RS Spyder also lent its wailing, 600-hp V8 to this, the 918 Spyder, Porsche's most advanced road car to date. With the aid of three electric motors, the 918 produces a total of 887 horsepower, making it one of the quickest cars ever produced. We're just waiting for its tech to trickle down to the rest of the Porsche lineup.

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Ker Robertson/Getty Images
Porsche 919 Hybrid

After years of letting Audi dominate the top class at Le Mans, Porsche returned in 2014 with the 919 Hybrid. Its first year wasn't a success, but 919s took outright victory in 2015 and 2016, helping Porsche maintain its status as the most winning manufacture at Le Mans.

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Porsche
Porsche Cayman GT4

What started with the humble Boxster in 1996 has lead to this, the mighty Cayman GT4. Essentially, the GT4 takes a standard Cayman to the extreme, with a version of the old 911 Carrera S 3.8-liter flat-six, and suspension components with the 911 GT3. Throw in a crisp six-speed manual, and you have basically the perfect Porsche.

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