Few rivalries are quite as legendary as Ferrari and Porsche. Most of the two companies’ models don’t actually compete that directly on the marketplace today – top-of-the-line 911s barely reaching 488 GTB territory – but their flagship supercars have been at each other’s throats for decades.
That much you can see between the 918 Spyder and LaFerrari, but the rivalry goes back a lot longer than that to embroil the 959 and F40 in heated competition back in the late 1980s. And that animosity looks poised to reignite when shining examples of both come up for auction next month.
In one corner we have a 1988 Porsche 959 in Komfort spec, decked out in classic silver over grey. One of only 337 examples built, this super-Porsche was delivered new to a customer in France who kept it until 1999 when it was sold to its current owner who’s now consigned it for auction with less than 8,000 miles on the clock.
Fewer details were released on this F40, but as you can plainly see, it’s decked out in a no-less-typical color scheme for the model: red on red, all the way. Though Maranello initially planned to make only 400 examples (which would have made it only slightly less rare than the 959), production was eventually expanded to 1,311, of which this is just one, built in 1990.
Both took about four seconds (give or take a few milliseconds) to reach 60 and topped out near 200 miles per hour, but got there in radically different ways. Where the 959 was cutting edge for its time, the F40 was all brutal force. Though both were twin-turbocharged and shifted manually, the Porsche employed a 2.8-liter flat-six (mounted at the back) with all-wheel drive, while the Ferrari placed a 2.9-liter V8 amidships driving the rear wheels alone.
Each emblematic of the same era, the 959 and F40 will likely each fetch about a million euros when RM Sotheby’s auctions them off at its upcoming sale on Lake Como during the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este – where the same auction house will, coincidentally, also be selling off examples of their modern successors. So which would you pick, if you had the means? Check ’em out in the galleries below by Tim Scott and Dom Romney (respectively) courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.