I’m going to stick with interesting ’80s Porsches today for another car to be auctioned off this weekend, this time from Monterey. Unlike yesterday’s 3.2 Carrera Club Sport, which took the basic Carrera and set about removing a few features so as to save weight, with the 959 Porsche sought to combine luxury and performance to produce the best possible supercar. A supercar whose performance would rival the fantastic machines built by Ferrari, but without the sacrifices to comfort and refinement that came with those cars. Not surprisingly given their rarity, we very rarely see a 959 come up for auction. This one appears to have originally been sold in Germany before finding its way to England. There’s no word here on when this 959 arrived in the States, but it’s for sale now and presents a nice opportunity for American buyers who may have long been looking for one.
For fear of having three Porsche features in a row today, I’m going to go ahead with this post regardless. I typically avoid featuring air-cooled Porsches. The market seems saturated with them and values appear to be leveling off for run of the mill variants. In addition, as enthusiasts discover other Porsches that are more rare, such as the 944 Turbo, 968 and 928GTS, values increase for these cars and sometimes surpass their rear-engined counterparts. Those points considered, even though it isn’t fully air-cooled, you don’t see a 959 come up for sale every day. You especially don’t see the only example of a Porsche 959 Cabriolet come up for sale every day. When I first saw this car, it was like seeing a mirage. The transformation from coupe to convertible suits the lines of this 959 fairly well but I admit I did a double take upon seeing it. I knew this wasn’t an officially sanctioned Porsche. Perhaps growing up in the 1980s and seeing 959 bodykits on convertible Porsches reduced the wow factor a bit for me. Blame it on the crystal that aftermarket tuners were smoking back in that decade.
In any case, this one-off for sale in Italy came to be via an unfortunate accident back in 1998, when owner and Porsche racing driver Jürgen Lässig owned it. According to Top Gear, a company called Auto Becker in Germany purchased the wreck and went to work. What resulted is the work you see before you and comes replete with two windscreens (a Speedster version comes with the car which can be swapped in) as well as a hardtop made from the original roof. A US based collector once paid over three million Deutschmarks for this car after setting eyes on it at the Frankfurt Motor Show.…
Here is something we don’t come across everyday. Not only a very rare Porsche 959, but one of the original prototypes Porsche used for development testing of the components that would be fitted to these technological marvels. The ad below can tell you the specific history of this prototype so I won’t regurgitate that here, but the short version is that this prototype was involved in ABS and tire testing at the high-speed ring in Nardo, Italy. Once 959 production was completed and the prototype was retired from testing service it was returned to the Porsche factory for a full refurbishment before making its way to its first private owner. Its ownership history appears to be fully documented, with much of that history spent in collections in Japan, prior to its current availability. The 959, of course, is one of Porsche’s most historic cars, most famously for the way in which it challenged the Ferrari F40 for supercar supremacy in its day. The two car makers took very different approaches to their supercars with Porsche following its generally tack of combining the best of luxury, technology, and performance in a single package while the F40 stripped out seemingly everything to offer the purest driving expression Ferrari could manage in a road car. While never really the prettiest of machines, the 959 served as a testament to Porsche’s engineering capabilities and provided a testing bed for many features that would make their way to the 911 over the years that followed. The 959 prototypes, like the one seen here, were built off of the 930 chassis and used in a variety of development settings. Reportedly 29 total were built and it is believed that 10 have survived. For collectors with a keen interest in Porsche history, I would imagine the opportunity to have one of those prototypes would be tough to pass by.…
As we near the end of Coupe Week we’ll take a look at one of the ultimate coupes Porsche has produced. The 959 needs little introduction from me; upon its release it was one of the most jaw-dropping technological marvels buyers would have the opportunity of purchasing. The most obvious contrast to the 959, of course, would be the Ferrari F40. Two different answers from two different marques to the need for a halo car. Like most things Porsche, the 959 is both a showcase of performance, but also refinement and technology that pushed the envelope of how we would even conceive of a supercar. With twin-turbocharging and all-wheel drive the 959 also foreshadowed many of the technological innovations to come for the 911 and paved the way for much of the 911’s continued success. It goes without saying that these are extraordinarily rare to come across for sale so when one does it is always worth a look. Here we have a Silver 1987 Porsche 959 Komfort with Black leather interior and a mere 16,500 kilometers on the clock.
If the insanity of the crazy modified 80s wasn’t enough for you in earlier’s DP 935 Targa, how about a 962-powered 911 Speedster? Sound absolutely bonkers? Yup, it sure is. But in the no holds barred world of the well-heeled, you can create just about anything that you want. Borrowing elements from the 962, 934, 959 and DP935 and adding them to the already quite rare and valuable Speedster, Bruce Canepa created the ultimate enthusiast’s dream of a convertible 911:
You’re not seeing things, it’s a Porsche 959. And, it’s got no roof. While you search for a towel to clean up that coffee you just spit all over the screen, and furiously Google search if this thing actually exists in one tab while commenting below “it’s not a real 959”, let me save you some time. It’s the real deal – originally sold to Jurgen Lassig, a factory race driver for Porsche, this 959 was involved in an accident that required a great deal of bodywork, ultimately resulting in a one-off cabriolet/speedster by Becker that was then displayed at the IAA in Frankfurt. I was able to find an image of the car on display originally (it’s linked later), but here pictures of the 959 accident when it originally happened. What do you do with a crashed 959? Rebuild it, of course, but this time with no top. The car has been featured since in many articles and is the topic of conversation on many fora and websites; but ultimately, it’s still for sale today:
If the Ferrari F40 was the pin up hero for most teenage boys, the Porsche 959 was its arch-enemy, and was the car I was always interested in. The F40 was a pared down street racer, while the 959 sported experimental exotic technologies that even 30 years later most cars don’t have – 6 speed manual? Yep. Active suspension? Yep, that too. Hollow spoke wheels with tire pressure monitoring system? Sure, we can do that. Kevlar composite body? Why not? Active torque splitting all-wheel drive system? Let’s give it a go. A technological Tour de Force, the 959 wowed crowds with all of these shocking options when it was launched in a still hard to believe 1985, beating the F40 to the market.
Even at the time it was released, the 959 was a bit of an enigma – did Porsche want to win Le Mans or Paris Dakar with it? Well, it did both – Paris Dakar outright, and it won it’s class at Le Mans. It was also one of the fastest production cars in the world, with a sub-4 second 0-60 time – something that modern supercars still strive for. Did I mention this car is the best part of 30 years old? Like all of the dream cars that remained firmly out of U.S. buyers hands, the 959 remained a forbidden fruit for many years. But today, even if your name isn’t Gates or Seinfeld, you can own in the U.S. one of the most highly sought after cars ever made – a silver 1987 Porsche 959:
Engine: 2.85 liter twin turbocharged flat-6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 4,865 mi
Price: $935,000 Buy It Now
1987 PORSCHE 959
CANEPA DESIGN GENERATION II
640 HORSEPOWER, 580 LB-FT TORQUE
GENUINE PORSCHE ROLL CAGE
INCREDIBLY WELL-PRESERVED PRISTINE CONDITION 1987 PORSCHE 959 BOASTING A GENUINE PORSCHE LEATHER WRAPPED FULL ROLL CAGE ($40,000 OPTION) AND HAS ONLY COVERED A SCANT 4.865 MILES!!!
The Porsche 959 was one of the most legendary vehicles from the 1980s, if not the past century. Born out of the homologation rules of Group B rallying, the 959 enjoyed a four year production run and paved the way for future all wheel drive 911 models. The 959 was also steeped in controversy, as many folks tried, unsuccessfully to import them to the U.S., including Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Canepa Design eventually developed a modification package that included a reworked turbo, engine management system and exhaust, allowing the 959 to be road legal.
There is no telling whether this particular 959 is one of those U.S. legal examples, but these come up for sale too seldom, making it worth the feature.
The seller states:
1987 Porsche 959 supercar.
This is a rare one owner collectible, imported directly from Germany 1988 and kept in a private collection till now.
All service up to 5600 miles done by Stuttgurt Porsche factory, and it has only 7,800 miles. The paint still looks new and the interior is like a new car condition, a beatiful black leather.
This car comes with all books and tools from factory. Once it was over $1 million and it could go back sometime ……..it certainly a rare jewelry for a real Porsche enthusiast to own.
In total, there were 337 959s ever built, and prices reflect their rarity, accordingly. They are still relatively young in terms of a classic car and values seem to be all over the map. Originally costing $225,000 when new, Bonhams sold one for $204,000 back in 2004, and reports have it that Jerry Seinfeld had bought one for $700,000. The asking price of $375,000 seems to be right around the midpoint of the few I spotted for sale online recently.…
Despite the advent of exclusive luxury sale sites like Jameslist, the near-omnipresence of Craigslist now attracts the highest end in addition the lowest, which explains the smattering of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and occasional Bugatti. Today’s find (thanks to Jalopnik) exceeds even the Veyron in terms of rarity. A mere 226 Porsche 959s were made, and only 29 had the Sport package present on this car (roll cage, race seats and suspension). I won’t recount here the myriad ways in which the 959 is awesome, but if you don’t know, you have some very exciting research to catch up on.
Porsche 959S for sale on Craigslist
Canepa Design deserves thanks from all Porsche lovers for helping get 959s street legal in the US after many years of sketchy gray-market status. They’ve also apparently upgraded this already-nuts 959S:
Phase I Engine Upgrade
An extensive engineering and development process included a new engine management system and converting the factory sequential turbo system with a Garrett Air Research twin turbo system. Upgraded fuel system, EGR, modern engine management system, F1 technology engine wiring harnesses, high output ignition system, upgraded alternator charge system and battery module, air pumps and air regulator valves, spark plugs, idle control valve, sensors, connectors, harness shielding, switches, adapters, hardware, etc. (369 components in all.) A complete new stainless steel exhaust system with dual stainless Porsche factory catalytics are utilized.
Canepa Design has re-engineered the factory wheels and developed a new bead design and modification which allows the installation of today’s state-of-the-art high performance ‘Z’ rated radial tires. Additional benefits include greatly improved handling and grip and an overall improved appearance.
Additional Canepa Upgrades
• Upgraded suspension incorporating Canepa Design’s gas strut design and titanium coil-over springs.
• Modified clutch system to improve pedal feel and actuation. This includes an improved pressure plate, disc, and modified clutch pedal assembly.