'80s Icon: Rare Porsche 959 Goes Under The Hammer For An Eye-Watering $1.8 Million - story Go to full screen story Fullscreen

'80s Icon: Rare Porsche 959 Goes Under The Hammer For An Eye-Watering $1.8 Million

Having held the title of fastest production car in the world in 1986, this pristine example is one of 292 ever made, and represents Porsche royalty

by Amrit Balraj on July 7, 2024, 06:00

The Porsche 959 is a halo supercar from the ’80s, that was ahead of its time for a number of innovations. Essentially, a predecessor to the 918 Spyder and the iconic Carrera GT, the 959 started out as a Group B Rally car, known internally as the 953. The 953s were initially entered in the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally, finishing 1st, 6th, and 25th. Porsche built the 959 as a road-legal version to satisfy F.I.A. homologation regulations, which required a brand to make at least 200 units.

When it first came out, the 959 looked ahead of its time with its aerodynamic body style with that iconic integrated rear wing. It also had the performance to match. It was the fastest production street-legal car, with a top speed of 197 MPH. During its production run, which lasted from 1987-88 a total of 337 cars were built, which makes them incredibly rare today, and incredibly valuable. Recently a low-mileage Porsche 959 with just 7500 miles on the odometer was listed on Bring-A-Trailer.

  • The average price of a 959 Komfort Trim starts from $800,000 - $2,00,0000.
  • The 959 was the fastest production street-legal car in the world at the time of its release.
  • Top Speed of the 959 was 197 MPH and it had a 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds.
  • The 959 also had a Le Mans and IMSA racing counterpart, which was the Porsche 961
  • One of only 292 ever produced (1986-1988)
  • Advanced construction: Steel shell with Kevlar body panels for lightweight performance.

What Makes The Porsche 959 So Special?

'80s Icon: Rare Porsche 959 Goes Under The Hammer For An Eye-Watering $1.8 Million storyboard - image 184686

The green light for the 959 came in 1981. Porsche’s chief engineer, Helmuth Bott, convinced new Managing Director Peter Schutz to back his vision: a Group B rally car based on the 911. A prototype for this racing beast debuted at the 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show, followed two years later by the unveiling of a road-legal version. Built for both performance and cutting-edge materials, the 959 was a marvel of engineering. Assembled by Karosserie Baur in Germany, it featured a lightweight steel frame wrapped in a high-tech shell. Fiberglass-reinforced Kevlar panels provided strength and reduced weight, while Nomex floors offered fire resistance. Aerodynamics was a top priority. The car’s design, with flared fenders, covered headlights, and an integrated rear wing, minimized drag and kept it firmly planted on the road.

Under the hood, there is a 2.8-liter flat-six engine, derived from the engine of 956 and 962 race cars. This engine was one of the most advanced powertrains made by Porsche at the time, with titanium connecting rods, forged alloy pistons, water-cooled cylinder heads with 4-valves per cylinder, and Nikasil-coated air-cooled cylinders. A complex engine management system, featuring sequential twin turbochargers and twin intercoolers, produced an impressive 444 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual gearbox channeled power to all four wheels via a sophisticated Porsche-Steuer Kupplung (PSK) all-wheel-drive system. Drivers could electronically adjust the driving dynamics for optimal performance. An electronically adjustable suspension, powerful brakes, and lightweight magnesium wheels kept the car glued to the road. Even creature comforts were high-tech, with features like a tire pressure monitoring system and heated, power-adjustable seats.

1988 Porsche 959 Komfort

'80s Icon: Rare Porsche 959 Goes Under The Hammer For An Eye-Watering $1.8 Million storyboard - image 184689

This particular Porsche 959 was sold for an astronomical sum of $1,795,000, indicating how rare and coveted these cars have become. If you are looking for a little more grunt, there is also the ultra-rare 959 Sports trim, which came with larger turbos and had an output of 508 Horsepower, however finding one can be rare, as only 29 examples were built.

Highlights:

  • Original paint: Finished in Silver Metallic (L980) with clear protective film.

  • Magnesium wheels: Speedline 17" center-lock wheels reduce unsprung weight.

  • Luxurious interior: Burgundy leather seats with tri-tone accents, heated and power-adjustable.

  • Classic instrumentation: VDO gauges include an 8,600 rpm tachometer and 350 km/h speedometer.

  • Detailed service history: Documented maintenance in Germany (2004) and US (2024).

  • Clean Carfax report: No accidents or damage reported.

  • Low mileage: Only 12,103 kilometers ( 7,500 miles).

Amrit Balraj

Amrit Balraj

Features Writer Read full bio