The groundbreaking car from Porsche now (finally) legal in the
In the mid-1980s, Porsche created a stunning supercar called 959.
Not only rewriting all the world records for top speed and acceleration,
the car also featured many advanced technologies such as computer-controlled
4-wheel drive, 4-valve engine, sequential turbochargers, self-leveling
suspension, carbon-fiber body components, and advanced aerodynamics.
Arguably no supercar before or after held so many technology breakthroughs
as the 959.
Unlike Ferrari and Lamborghini, Porsche did not build the 959 specifically
for clinching the title "World's Fastest Car". Since Ferry
Porsche created the first 356, Porsche always made practical sports
cars. Porsche's cars never sacrifice handling for top speed, never
pursue acceleration over braking, never place lightness above reliability.
From the beginning the 959 project was intended to be a technology
study rather than just another supercar. As the company was earning
more and more profit from the success of the 924 / 944 series, Porsche
generously poured in excess of $100 million US dollars into the
project. Most went to the development of advanced 4-wheel drive,
engine, erodynamics and advanced materials components. Porsche believed
most of these technologies would benefit production models in the
future, or at least keep their engineers familiar with the state-of-the-art.
Because time and cost were not constraints during the development
of the 959, it is no wonder that it would be so sophisticated and
so well developed.
The 959 chassis was based on 911's monocoque chassis but with the
tracks widened and covered with advanced materials such as Kelvar.
The flat six engine was derived from the 962 racing engine. 4WD
was a completely new development and was then tested in a 911 Carrera
4x4 in the 1984 Paris-Dakar rally.
The first prototype, named "Group B" rather than "959",
was unveiled at the '83 Frankfurt motor show. It stunned the world
with its radical specifications but was actually more a show car
than a running prototype. It was called Group B because Porsche
designed it to comply with the requirements of the FIA Group B racing
At the 1985 Frankfurt show, Porsche unveiled a final prototype
whose appearance would be carried over to the production car. Most
mechanical development was completed, except the complex PSK 4-wheel
drive system (which was still experiencing some difficulties). After
one year of delay, the first production-ready car was unveiled to
journalists in 1986. In April 1987, the first 959 was delivered
to Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, the youngest son of Ferry Porsche.
In order to satisfy the minimum requirements of Group B homologation,
a limited run of 200 cars was originally planned, though eventually
230 went out of the factory due to strong demand.
Porsche sold every 959 for DM 420,000 ($225,000 USD), which at
that time could buy both a Lamborghini Countach and a Ferrari Testarossa.
Nevertheless, it was still a relative bargain as evidenced by the
value the car drove in the aftermarket (often in excess of $1,000,000
Powertrain Layout: Rear Engine / AWD
Base Price: DM420,000 ($225,000)
WheelBase: 2271 mm / 89.4 in
Length: 4260 mm / 167.7 in
Height: 1280 mm / 50.4 in
Width: 1839 mm / 72.4 in
Weight: 1447 kg / 3190 lbs
Front / Rear Track: F 1504 mm / 59.2 in, R 1549 mm / 61.0 in
Engine Configuration: Twin Turbocharged Flat 6
Valvetrain: DOHC, 4 valves / cylinder
Displacement: 2849 cc / 173.9 cu in
Power: 335.6 kw / 450.0 bhp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 501.7 nm / 370.0 ft lbs @ 5500 rpm
Bore: 95.0 mm / 3.74 in
Stroke: 67.0 mm / 2.64 in
Compression Ratio: 8.3:1
BHP / Liter: 157.95 bhp
Transmission Type: 6-Speed Manual
Steering: Rack & Pinion
Tire Sizes: F 235/45VR-17, R 255/40VR-17
Brake Types: Vented Discs
Brake Size: F 432 mm / 17.0 in, R 432 mm / 17.0 in, ABS
Body Material: Kevlar and Aluminium
Top Speed 205.0 mph / 329.9 kph
0 - 30 mph Not Available
0 - 60 mph 3.7 seconds
0 - 100 mph 8.3 seconds
0 - 1/4 mile 11.9 seconds
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