The Porsche 959 was a revolutionary supercar when it debuted in the 1980s. Three decades later, its performance has long since been surpassed. But its legend has not. Enter Canepa to bring it up to spec and beyond.
The company was originally responsible for bringing the 959 to America. And now it’s announced a new upgrade package to the prototypical German supercar. Called the 959SC, it thoroughly restores the original. And in the process, Canepa adds 75 percent more power.
As it is, the 959 packs a 2.8-liter twin-turbo flat six. But where it originally produced 444 horsepower, Canepa’s Genereation III performance upgrade package boosts output to 800. That’s more than the Carrera GT’s 603, and more than any version of the 911 to date (the latest GT2 RS producing 700 hp). It’s also more than the 608 hp that the V8 in the 918 Spyder kicks out, and almost as much as the hybrid’s combined 887 hp.
The boost comes thanks to a new header, exhaust, turbos, engine management system, fuel system, and a more powerful ignition system. Considering that the “standard” 959 could already pull off 0-60 sprints in the mid-three-second range and top out at nearly 200 miles per hour (320 km/h), we can only imagine what the revised version will do.
Better Than New
Canepa doesn’t just focus on the engine, though. Short for Sport Canepa (not supercharged or Sport Classic), the 959SC program entails a complete restoration. The bodywork is stripped down to the bare metal and repainted in any color the customer chooses – a nice benefit considering that Porsche only ever offered it in white, silver, or red.
Plated components are recoated in zinc, the suspension upgraded and powder-coated. The interior is completely redone in the finest leather, the steering wheel hand-stitched, and a Porsche Classic audio/navigation system fitted. Canepa even fits its own set of 18-inch alloys that replicate the look of the original.
The restoration process entails over 500 hours spend on the bodywork alone (before it even enters the paint booth), and another 300 on the interior. We don’t even want to know how much the entire process costs. But considering the pride of place the 959 takes in Porsche’s history, we can only be grateful to Canepa for undertaking each one, and to its customers for footing the bill.