Monday, August 2, 2010

Porsche 959

For some reason, or other, most people in the 1980's were thinking about, for, sometimes against, and even inside the humble square. This kind of thinking showed up in many features of society, such as everyday items, buildings, and even cars. Two of the boxiest cars in the world, the Volvo 760 and the Audi 5000 were both cars of this cubular decade. No one really knows what started this square hell, but there aren't many upsides to the square. It doesn't look nice, isn't interesting, and it certainly has no aerodynamic upsides either.

But there was another 80's car with lovely aerodynamic curves and an equally lovely badge. The Porsche 959 (dubbed as a formula one car for the road) looked as though it was designed during a ruler shortage at the head bodywork design centre at Porsche. All these curves made it fast. The top speed was 317kph, which blew many other supercars into the weeds. And these were supercars with twice as many cylinders, and three times the engine capacity!

The 959 had a tiny 2.8 litre flat-six engine, which produced a whopping 450 bhp. This shows how fine tuning and patience can lead to great things. The Americans of the time must have been absolutely gob-smacked, when they were only making cars with huge 5 litre V8s, that produced less than 100 bhp. And the Americans would have been equally amazed at the cornering. To help the 959 around the tight racetrack bends it would inevitably face, it had four wheel drive, and complicated suspension, to make sure it didn't lean during hard cornering.

This also led the 959 to the Paris-Dakar Rally in 1986, which is strange really, considering Porsche didn't dabble in off road vehicles until the Cayenne of 2003. Getting your hands on a 959 was very difficult indeed. For a kick-off, you had to be an existing Porsche owner, and there were only 200 cars to choose from. And some of these were the sports models, with no back seats, no real interior, and no adjustable suspension (making the ride permanently harsh)

The 959 is one great Porsche. The only super-Porsche to follow it, is the amazing Carrera GT, with an equally curvy body. Which means that at least Porsche were thinking outside the box in the 1980's. I'm glad they did.      


  1. "And the Americans would have been equally amazed at the cornering."

    i think they can't even grasp what the steering wheel does, and you want to add cornering???

  2. good that you posted, it's been some time.