For many sportscars enthusiast, the 959 plays a very important role in the history of Porsche and the automotive industry at large. When the Porsche 959 was first launched in 1987, it was considered the fastest production vehicle in the world with a road registration and was viewed for a long time as the industry’s state of the art technology icon. Some of our car collectors define the Porsche 959 as the first supercar ever made.
The concept of the 959 was presented to the public at the IAA in Frankfurt in 1983. One year later, the Prodrive racing team scored a surprise victory with the Porsche 953 (a prototype of the later production 959) at the Paris-Dakar Rally. The 953 used the developmental, manually controlled four-wheel drive system that was intended to be used on the 959 taking overall first place at the Paris-Dakar Rally.
Using production techniques from the aircraft industry, the roof, the fenders and the rear area were made of aramid-fiber-reinforced plastic (known as Kevlar – also used in bulletproof jackets). The floor is made of Nomex instead of steel because it has excellent thermal, chemical, and radiation resistance for a polymer material (also used to make clothes for firefighters) and the front hood as well as the doors are made of aluminum.
The Porsche 959 is powered by a sequential twin-turbocharged flat-six engine. Its displacement is 2849 cm3 and it produces a power output of 450 hp (331 kW) which is good for an acceleration from 0-100 km/h in only 3.7 seconds. It was coupled to a unique manual transmission offering five forward speeds plus a “Gelände” (terrain) off-road gear in addition to reverse.
The road version of the 959 debuted at the 1985 Frankfurt Motor Show as a 1986 model. A minimum of 200 road models required for the Group B homologation were already ordered during the same year the supercar was presented, but due to the great complexity of the 959 construction the completion was delayed, and the first models were only delivered in 1987. The supercar was built until 1988 and was available in two versions – comfort or sports.
Porsche claims the total number of Porsche 959s produced was 292, divided into 113 pieces in 1987 and 179 pieces in 1988. Since most clients preferred the comfort version, only 29 of the Porsche 959 were built as a 515 hp (379 kW) sport version with larger turbochargers (sometimes referred to as 959 S).
In 1992, eight vehicles were produced as a small “special series” from spare parts from the inventory at the manufacturing site in Zuffenhausen; four in red and four in silver. The vehicles were slightly improved in detail (especially in the regulation of the level control and the dampers) and were sold for DM 747,500. Although they were much more expensive than the vehicles sold in 1987/1988 (which had a starting price of DM 420,000), they were sold quickly. Today these “special series” are considered to be particularly sought-after collector’s items.
The purchase price for the cheapest 959 version was DM 420,000 in 1987 (around USD 231,000 at the time), but the car could not be bought freely – it was originally offered to a select group of buyers. In order to avoid higher prices on the second-hand market, customers were also required not to sell their cars within the first six months. Nowadays, second-hand vehicles are sold in a roughly EUR 0.8 to 1. 3 million. In the case of well-maintained and less-driven vehicles, however, the price can be much higher. In particular, the rare sports versions achieve a significantly higher price due to the low production number. But the eight post-production vehicles from the special series from 1992 are the most sought-after among collectors.
Fun fact: Among the selected customers for the 959 was Bill Gates who is actually not known for any passion for luxury items. Additionally, Boris Becker, who had an endorsement deal with Ford at the time, couldn’t resist the legendary 959 and bought one of the supercars.
The 959 is definitively a Porsche for the history books. And this is why we from The Collectors Circle are happy to have one of the ultra-rare post-production cars for sale.
Initially sold for DM 420,000, but current market price is around EUR 0.8 – 1.3 million depending on the condition of the car and the ownership. The much rarer 959 S is priced higher and the limited post-production series is the most expensive one.
292 + 8 cars
When to drive:
Nothing beats a Porsche 959 for a nice city trip from Stuttgart to Munich. The German Autobahn will allow you to speed without any limits and when you arrive in Munich, you will feel flattered by the looks you get across the city from all car enthusiasts.
What we love about the car:
The car was ahead of its time and so in demand that even Bill Gates decided to buy one.
Photography: Gideon IG:@itsallgid & RM Sotheby’s
*The car on the pictures is not the one we offer for sale.