The Porsche 959 Was A Window Into The Future Of The 911

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.


  • TheHake

    Still one of the ultimate cars.

    • Bash


    • Matthew Daraei

      And looks better than 80 percent of modern cars.

      • TheHake

        It just doesn’t age, does it?

        • Matthew Daraei

          True that. I’d say even in 30 years, still will be quite a looker.

  • Jay

    I miss the days when Porsche was exclusive and purely exotic.

  • Knotmyrealname

    I was a kid when this came out and the poster sat on my wall for years. I saw one in a showroom when one came out ‘on tour’ to Oz (Hamiltons on Chapel St.), and still to this day, I rate this car pretty much at the top of the tree.

  • 959 offers glimpse of what Group B circuit racing would be, many are not aware that Group B was also designed for circuit application. With 959 and 288 GTO when the Group B is canceled.

  • Infinite1

    Such a timeless design

  • smartacus

    one of the prettiest ones i’ve seen was the prototype owned by Walter Roehrl

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