1988 Porsche 959
Year of manufacture1988
Chassis n° WPOZZZ95ZJS900032
- Sold new to Motocross multiple World Champion
- Less than 15 000 km from new
- Scrupulously maintained, comprehensive file
- All original manuals and kits
With its stylistic audacity the 959 - ultimately destined for both racing and road-driving - caught the eye at the 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show, where it was presented as a future 'Group B.' It was the most advanced evolution of the 911 from a technological point of view, and had taken a long time to perfect; the Porsche study centre in Weissach had no qualms about testing it in public, choosing desert conditions to assess its technical capabilities - notably the integral transmission with electronically managed torque distribution; twin-turbocharged engine with system for reducing response time; automatic load levelling according to speed; and high-pressure braking with ABS to mention just some of the aspects under development at the time. The 959's mechanical and electronic systems were tried out on the Paris-Dakar, with varying results: success in 1984, disaster in 1985, total triumph in 1986.
This highly complex laboratory car went on sale in 1987 after a rigorous, scientific development period, typical of Porsche's approach. It conformed to competition regulations for Group B cars, i.e. a minimum production of 200 (quite a challenge for such a complex machine) plus 20 'evolution' cars.
Buyers who had rushed to pay their DM50,000 deposit back in 1984 were not disappointed - either by the delay (nearly two years, but Porsche have always known how to communicate with their clients), or by the performances of the 'serial' 959: a top speed of 315 km/h and 0-100 km/h inside 3.7 seconds.
The 959 was undeniably an offspring of the 911, and had benefited from detailed aerodynamic studies, leading to a drop in Cx from 0.39 (on its European models) to 0.31. But research had mainly involved reducing the load-bearing capacity at high speed and during acceleration - a fundamental aspect for mastering a car with a 450bhp engine within its rear-overhang, and torque of 500 Nm. Thanks to a range of new solutions applicable to the car's suspension and aerodynamics, the 959 had a load-bearing capacity close to zero at 300km/h.
The other field of research necessarily concerned the optimal distribution of torque between the front and back axle-units depending on traction, using multiple-discs in oil bath clutches, with thrust controlled by a variety of captors, a calculator and a high-pressure hydraulic system. This distribution could be controlled automatically or manually. As the car had no spare wheel, Porsche also adopted the Denloc system, preventing the tyre from leaving the rim when deflated. Porsche also experimented with a permanent tyre-pressure control system. The classic six-cylinder flat-engine was naturally retained, albeit with such novel developments (also tested in endurance events) as mixed cooling (air for the cylinders, liquid for the cylinder-heads), which was subsequently widely adopted.
The inspired 959 fully deserves the attention of connoisseurs of iconic cars and cutting-edge technology. It is a culmination, and source, of Porsche's fantastic progress over the years, enabling the 911 to enjoy an outstanding career in terms of both sales and sporting results, gradually dispelling (sometimes justified) criticism without refuting a style and architecture that have ensured its lasting glory.
This 959 left the Stuttgart factory on 2 May 1988 to be delivered new to none other than a World Champion ! The original purchase invoice, present in the file, is addressed to the name of the first owner, the famous Motocross racer, André Malherbe. He had placed his order as soon as Porsche presented the supercar in 1986 and it was delivered to him in Monte-Carlo on 13 July 1988. Then in 1988, having given up motorcycle racing two years earlier, he decided to participate in the 29th edition of the Paris-Dakar Rally. The 500cc World Champion in 1980, 1981 and 1984 crashed and suffered serious injuries that left him a quadriplegic. While Malherbe was in hospital, one of his friends a Swiss racing driver, took delivery of the new Porsche. The car became part of the collection of this car enthusiast whose three Ferrari BBs were sold by Artcurial in their most recent sale " Automobiles Sur Les Champs 9 ". The service book reveals that the car has been regularly serviced, in keeping with Porsche guidelines. The first service took place in March 1990 at 5934 km at the Porsche garage in Geneva, the second in April 1988 at 12150 km, the third in June 1999 at 12393 km again in Geneva, and the fourth and last to appear in the service book, in 2008 at 14712 km, this time at the factory itself. The exceptional 959 comes with an extensive file, including these invoices. Later on, it was sold to a British collector who hardly drove it, about 200km. Still presented in its original paint in " Grand Prix White', the car has sports seats (period option appearing on the purchase invoice), with graded grey leather stripes. The mouse grey carpets are immaculate. It still has the original toolkit and first aid kit, and the complete set of owner's manuals and service books, all in the Porsche leather case. When we photographed the car, the odometer showed 14 968 km, the mileage of the car since leaving the factory! The Porsche will undergo a thorough check by the current owner just before the sale. It is presented in a condition that must be described as immaculate. This 959 Komfort offers a rare opportunity to buy one of the most iconic supercars of its day, the first to adopt four-wheel drive, shortly before the Bugatti EB110. This example with clear and unique history has been meticulously maintained and comes with very low mileage and a comprehensive history file. A very versatile car, it is ready to be driven around town or on the motorway. An easy car to drive, its performance is exhilarating, with twin turbo power that pins you to your seat as soon as your foot hits the accelerator.