The Porsche 959: if you don’t know of it, you have a grievously incomplete mental map of supercar history.
Launched in 1985, the Porsche 959 was a limited-run, all-wheel drive supercar so advanced that it would still be considered an over-achiever even today. Only 292 examples were produced, though that was plenty enough to exceed FIA homologation requirements of the time, which mandated that at least 200 road-legal cars should be built.
The 30th anniversary of the Porsche 959 was celebrated this week at a special event, at which the three decades-old supercar was surrounded by its spiritual successors: the Carrera GT, 918 Spyder, and 919 Hybrid race car. Racing legend Jacky Ickx even stopped by to give an interview, and sign autographs for excited fans.
Making do with just 2.85 liters of displacement, the Porsche 959 nonetheless managed an impressive 450 HP thanks to sequential turbocharging and intercooling – enough for a then-world-record-breaking 195 mph. Sending all that power to the wheels was a 6-speed manual transmission and an electronically-controlled all-wheel drive system, both of which proved themselves first in 1984 on the Paris-Dakar Rally-winning Porsche 953.
The Porsche 959 itself went on to win the Paris-Dakar Rally for the marque in 1986, albeit in its rally racing form.