Car Crush: Porsche 959

Cars

Straight outta the eighties came the first true hypercar from Porsche

If you’re one of the folk out there who believes that the Porsche Turbo wasn’t necessarily a full-blooded supercar, then the 959 pushed the form firmly into the superlative.

But we reckon the 930 Turbo was the supercar. This was a hypercar.

Inspired by Group B rally monsters from Audi, Lancia, Peugeot and Ford, this extreme iteration of the 911 format came with 450 bhp and twin two-stage turbochargers and 4WD. Just over 300 were produced and this one, in period-perfect white on white, takes the biscuit for an essentially 1980s take on the concept of the supercar.

While the underpinnings of the 959 are essentially 911 961, there is a whole host of functional aero and structural tweaks which created in this something that screamed of the era’s design ethos.

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The 959’s nose was extended and flattened and featured near-flush headlamps with extensive ducting for cooling the front brakes and oil radiator. The rear of the car was also stretched rearward and liberally ventilated, and it was topped with a full-width rear wing. Beneath the body shell, though, was a double-wishbone, racing-derived suspension with coil springs and double shocks, adjustable shock damping and ride height, and an electronically managed all-wheel-drive system. Porsche’s PSK system allowed the driver to vary the torque between the rear and front axles.

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The flat six engine was derived from both the “Moby Dick” IMSA GT racer and Porsche’s Indy open-wheel project. This engine mounted a pair of intercooled sequential turbochargers. A small turbo began producing boost almost from throttle tip-in, while the larger unit came in at about 4,500 rpm, generating a seamless flow of power. It was, apparently, a relatively mellow machine around town, but could pull away to 100KMH in less than four seconds and do 12-second quarter mile.

This car is about to be auctioned at RM’s Arizona auction.
Yes, it’s going to be expensive.

Images: RM/Sotheby’s

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