It’s the 30th anniversary this year of the 959’s first appearance in #1985
, and at the time it was the most expensive and advanced series production car ever created. Much like its contemporary #VW-Group
equivalent, the Bugatti Veyron, and in specific Porsche terms perhaps the 918 Spyder, the 959 represented something of a technological test bed for automotive expertise at the time. The 959 was produced at a big loss to the company, with Porsche only recouping approximately a quarter of the car’s development and production costs through sales, for which then technical director Helmuth Bott rather unfairly became the fall guy. It was not the first ‘flight of fancy’ project to emerge from Weissach though and it wouldn’t be the last, but what the 959 exercise did achieve was to demonstrate Porsche’s engineering excellence.
may have appeared reminiscent of a regular 911, but under the skin it was a very different beast indeed. An innovative all-wheel drive system, sequential twin turbochargers, advanced aerodynamics, double wishbone suspension, adjustable shock absorbers, and self-adjusting hydropneumatic suspension all moved from automotive fantasy to reality on this car. It was way ahead of its time. In short the 959 was a 1980s technological tour de force packed full of innovations and radical design concepts, many of which would later filter down through the Porsche hierarchy of models, finding their way on to future race and road cars. It’s a practice we still see today from Porsche, with innovations developed for the 919 Hybrid and 918 Spyder eventually appearing on cars like the 911 and Panamera. Legendary Porsche test driver, #Walter-Röhrl
, pictured today on our cover and below back in the ’80s, was a 959 owner and still enjoys the characteristics of the car in modern times – if it’s good enough for Walter, it’ll be good enough for us! I hope you enjoy Andrew Frankel’s retrospective look at a very special Porsche poster car.
This year’s running of the Frankfurt Motor Show will take place while this issue is still atop the newsstands, but the big news will be the arrival of the second generation #Porsche-991.2
, which will feature a downsized turbocharged engine. You can read what we already know about the new 911 in this issue, which is actually quite a bit, but we’ll all have wait to fully understand how #Porsche
has answered the real burning question: how will the driving dynamics of the new turbocharged Carrera differ from that of a 911 Turbo? Taking Porsche’s historical engineering expertise into account, I’d wager there’s probably nothing to worry about…
Walter Röhrl pictured with a 959 in period (here), and in modern times on our cover.