1988 Porsche 959 – Gallery

By: Alex Affat, Photography by: Ben Galli

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John Bowe takes a closer look at one of the highlights of Porsche’s back-catalogue, the 317km/h 959

In today’s age where every aspect of a new car seems to come down to bottom-line margin and committee design, the notion of a major manufacturer selling a car at half its development cost seems ludicrous.

But that’s exactly what Porsche did with its heroic 959.

John Bowe pens his thoughts on this 80s monster in Unique Cars Magazine Issue 412 (on sale now), but let’s preview his thoughts with some photos and a bit of backstory.

Originally intended for Group B competition, the 959 may not be a looker compared to its popular rival, the Ferrari F40- but it was a technological powerhouse of its time compared to the F40’s Spartan experience.

Upon its release, the 959 was the fastest production car in the world, capable of 317km/h according to figures when new and could sprint from a standstill to triple digits in 3.7 seconds. In other words, this car from the 80s possessed the same 0-100 time as a V12 Lamborghini Murcielago, Aston Martin One-77, and a Mercedes-SLR McLaren 722; yet predates all of them by over a decade!

Enabling these ballistic figures was a 331kW twin-turbo 2.8L six-cylinder engine propelling a kevlar-clad kerb-weight of just 1450kg – about the same as a modern day Toyota 86.

It wasn’t just built for straight-line speed either with an innovative 4WD system that could dynamically split torque between independent wheels at any given time. Soon after with the 993 generation 911, Porsche would choose to make 4WD a mainstay in their turbo models, and with the current 991’s facelift just last year- did Porsche decide to strap two snails on all of their 911 range, entry-level Carreras included.

A car so ahead of its time is rare to say the least, especially here in Australia. But flick through the gallery above and take a closer look at one of the most iconic supercars of all time.

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