The Porsche 959, a groundbreaking marvel of automotive engineering, revolutionized the sports car landscape in the late 1980s. Its technological innovations, now commonplace in modern supercars, set it apart from its rivals like the Ferrari F40 and Lamborghini Countach, known for their raw simplicity.
As a symbol of automotive aspiration for enthusiasts, the 959, alongside the Lamborghini Countach and Ferrari F40, stood out as a coveted “poster car.” However, it distinguished itself further by being the least produced among them, with just 292 units made.
The 959 featured a flat-6 engine derived from the successful 962 race car, utilizing water-cooled heads to accommodate its impressive 444 HP output. Power transmission was handled by a specially designed BorgWarner 6-speed gearbox, including an exceptionally low “Gelände” gear for potential off-road scenarios.
The 959 showcased electronic adaptability, with adjustable ride height and shock damping. The aerodynamic body, crafted from Kevlar composite, featured the iconic basket-handle rear spoiler that has since become synonymous with the model. Exclusive 17-inch magnesium alloy wheels, equipped with one of the earliest automatic pressure-monitoring systems, complemented the design.
The 959’s staggering performance capabilities were eclipsed only by its development costs, which nearly bankrupted Porsche. Despite an MSRP of $300,000 U.S. dollars, the company still lost 50% of its costs on each of the 292 standard units sold. The majority of 959s were Komfort variant, featuring a comprehensive range of cockpit luxuries such as full leather trim, air-conditioning, and an adjustable suspension.
With its remarkable capability to transfer power to the road, the 959 proved to be an exceptional performer. It achieved a 0-60 mph acceleration in under four seconds, covered the standing quarter mile in approximately 12 seconds, and reached a top speed of 200 mph on a clear road. Undoubtedly, the Porsche 959 established the benchmark for high-performance road cars.