The 959 is one of Porsche’s finest moments, but at the same time it might also be the car that saved the 911 from extinction, too.
Porsche was a very different company back in the ‘80s, churning out a series of front-engined sports cars like the 928 with the ultimate goal of phasing out the 911.
Problem was that not many were ready to give up on the car that defined Porsche, and Helmut Bott set to create the ultimate rear-engined sports car.
When the 959 first came out, it blew the world away with its cutting-edge technology and breathtaking performance. The year was 1986 when Porsche gave the world a spaceship complete with a twin-turbo flat six engine paired with all-wheel drive, an electronically controlled suspension, hollow-spoke magnesium wheels and a complex body made out of aluminum, Kevlar and fiberglass.
The 2.85-liter engine produced 450hp, allowing the 959 to reach 60mph (96 km/h) from a standstill in 3.6 seconds and hit 195mph (313 km/h) flat out. This made the 959 the fastest production car in the world, at least until the Ferrari F40 came out.
There are a lot of cars out there that were ahead of their time. Some were a success, others a failure, but the Porsche 959 was a foreshadowing of what the 911 could morph into, with all this tech trickling down into Porsche’s icon as time went by.
Bruce Canepa and one of his 959s are featured by Petrolicious in their latest film linked below.