Like the Ferrari 288 GTO, the Porsche 959 was a Group B rally car of which 337 cars were built from 1985 until 1988. In 1992-1992 8 more were built from spare parts.
To meet FIA’s homologation regulations at least 200 road legal cars needed to be built. The ‘Komfort’ cars were the street versions of the ‘Sport’ race cars.
Porsche went flat out to create a pinnacle of automotive technology. One of its master technical achievements was the computer-controlled all-wheel drive, named ‘Porsche Steuer Kupplung’ (PSK) which could dynamically transfer power between the front and rear wheels with up to 80% to the rear. Gauges on the dashboard gave information about the PSK and let the driver select one of four driving modes.
The 959 also featured a tyre-pressuring system, four-channel antilock brakes and an electronically adjustable suspension, incorporating a hydraulic lift system coupled with a dampener control system.
The body featured exotic materials like aluminium and kevlar to keep weight down. The 959’s 2.8 litre engine was air-cooled and featured sequential turbocharging which generated up to 444 hp. Allowing it to reach 0–62 mph (100 km/h) in 3.7 seconds and 0-124 mph (200 km/h) in 13.0 seconds. Its top speed was an impressive 195 mph (314 km/h).
In the 1980s each boy had a poster of the 959 or the Ferrari F40. To be honest, I also had the Lamborghini Countach to complete the 80s super-car mania in my room.
While the F40 was visually more impressive, it was the 959 which boasted impressive technology which today is considered ‘normal”, but in the 1980s it was the first of its kind to combine all-wheel drive, computer control and turbocharging in a well-balanced super-car.
From the side the 911 silhouette is ever present. But for me it’s the rear which is the most characteristic part of the 959. The integrated rear spoiler taking up the entire width of the car, combined with the rear lights running from side to side (with PORSCHE embossed) and the numerous air vents characterise one of the most distinctive super-cars of my childhood.
The typical gauges lay-out and steering wheel make its interior instant recognisable as a Porsche. While the triple grey leather trim and electric adjustable seats (with heating!) give the driver unprecedented levels of comfort for a 30 year-old super-car.
This Porsche 959 is being offered by Tom Hartley JNR (UK).