Porsche 959 – The Groundbreaking Supercar That Redefined Performance
Decades ahead as a technical showcase redefining roadgoing limits, Porsche’s radical 959 projects set in motion during the early 1980s targeted one goal – continuously innovating and pushing boundaries. This road-legal interpretation previewing their impending rally competition hopes to marry bidirectionally adjustable torque splitting all-wheel drive systems with an advanced electronically adaptive suspension platform – bleeding edge technology then. Further ardour came from Porsche’s first twin-turbocharging application hoisting outputs upwards of 450 horsepower in blend with utter tractability. Surpassing expectations took ruthless dedication though – swollen development cycles begun in 1981 intending overnight homologation validity stretched painfully towards six arduous years until 1987 customer deliveries reluctantly fulfilled brutal Group B eligibility regulations just before canceled seasons reversed motivations ominously. Despite huge $225,000 asking prices and nightmarish engineering logistics limiting volumes, the landmark Porsche 959’s enormous technical sophistication left automakers playing catch-up on concepts this project pioneered decades ahead of later computerized active suspension controls.
- 1 Porsche 959 – Technology Powerhouse Foreshadowing the Modern Hypercar Era
- 2 Bespoke Engineering Maximizing Racing Hardware for the Road
- 3 Porsche 959 Pushing Limits Through Technology Then Back Again
- 4 Bespoke Engineering Maximizing Racing Hardware
- 5 PTM All-Wheel Drive Traction Security
- 6 Porsche 959 Lasting Legacy as an Innovator
Porsche 959 – Technology Powerhouse Foreshadowing the Modern Hypercar Era
Decades ahead of rivals foreshadowing 21st-century hypercar conventions, Porsche’s landmark 959 shattered manufacturing precedents plus performance limitations alike following one steadfast mission directive – ceaselessly pursuing innovation at the pinnacle. What debuted for 1987 after 7 exhausting development years channeled messy race-derived technologies harnessing Porsche’s rally racing endeavors into the ultimate roadgoing package then imaginable. Powerful yet efficient turbocharging met carefully metered all-wheel drive systems alongside electronically adaptive suspensions – elements compounding capabilities prepared solely for homologating their competition rally Group B 961 racers under rules later canceled before fruition.
Just 283 examples needed completion by 1986, but skyrocketing complexity delayed final deliveries into 1987 reluctantly – an ironic foreboding as the very confirmations showcasing Porsche’s sheer engineering brilliance that birthed the 959 likewise stifled greater production volumes thereafter. Despite huge $225,000 asking prices limiting ownership to an elite few during the 1980s, the landmark Porsche 959’s enormous technical sophistication and adaptive brilliance manifested destiny previewing active dynamics controlling modern supercars today.
Bespoke Engineering Maximizing Racing Hardware for the Road
At the heart of the 959 lay a comprehensively reworked version of Porsche’s tried-and-proven flat six-cylinder engine, now twin-turbocharging to eliminate hated lag producing over 400 horsepower when demanded through delicate electronic fueling. Further improvements trickled down from Porsche’s successful 936 LeMans prototypes too – hollow racing spec connecting rods, sodium-cooled valves, and aluminum heads aided revving eagerly towards the redline chasing a top figure nearing 190 miles per hour.
Yet peak velocity numbers merely hinted at the 959’s high-tech brilliance – advanced all-wheel drive mated a default rear-biased torque split for balanced agility that progressively shuffles additional forces forwards when slippage increased traction security transparently. This early “PTM” driveline system incorporated electronically locking differentials as well – an augmentation aiding aggressive track driving exploits while enhancing stability on slick surfaces. Further innovations arrived through an early adaptive damping system leveraging driver inputs and road conditions for optimizing bump absorption or handling reflexes by selecting between comfort and sport modes. Ride heights adjusted too – handy for clearing off-road obstacles en route to rally stages.
Porsche 959 Pushing Limits Through Technology Then Back Again
Modern supercars activating complex stability programs, vectoring torque across multiple axes, and profiling road surfaces through sensors owe much inspiration to the radical 959 advancing electronic assistance more comprehensively than any prior roadgoing package. Yet decades later after computing brute force renders such systems commonplace, the latest masterpieces from McLaren, Ferrari and yes Porsche come full circle celebrating raw connections and transparency between human/machine interfaces once again.
By following obsessive perseverance unleashing bountiful power then translated into confident capabilities safely, Porsche’s all-conquering yet once inaccessible 959 supercar heavyweight opened eyes and transitioning perceptions of what defines ultimate street-legal potential through relentless technological determination instead of stratospheric straight-line metrics alone – a pioneering legacy still impacting hybrid hypercars at the pinnacle today.
Bespoke Engineering Maximizing Racing Hardware
At its heart, the 959’s flat-six cylinders grew twin-turbocharging to eliminate lag and produce 444 horsepower through meticulous electronic fueling and ignition mapping variables with altitude. Hollow racing pistons, 4-valve sodium-filled aluminum heads, and weight-trimming cut mass everywhere maximizing this engine’s willingness to sustain stratospheric 7,700 rpm redlines pace after pace. But matching prodigious power could overwhelm drivers without translating capabilities skillfully – thus Porsche mated revolutionary drivetrain and suspension breakthroughs optimizing on-track talents for the street.
PTM All-Wheel Drive Traction Security
The 959’s “PTM” driveline system incorporated electronically-locking differentials with a default rear-biased torque split for agile balance that vector Torque progressively forwards when slippage demands additional grip security. This early application increased cornering speeds and driving safety transparently shuttling torque forwards automatically from robust knowledge racing the Paris-Dakar Rally outright. Further innovations arrived through an electronically adaptive damping system leveraging road conditions and driver inputs between compliant or firm settings optimizing capabilities for brisk backroad sprints or high-speed stability chasing LeMans prototypes at the time. Additional stroke from hydraulic actuators altered ride heights clearing off-road obstacles as necessary en route to hill climb stages as well. This application-focused engineering precision gave drivers supreme confidence in exploring the twin-turbo flat-six’s prodigious powerband amply backed by advanced drivetrain and suspension technologies decades ahead of rivals.
Porsche 959 Lasting Legacy as an Innovator
Stuttgart set in motion seismic tremors across automotive engineering through relentless determination distilling pure Porsche racing dominance into a thoroughly capable yet docile street package years before computer processing brute forced active systems commonly. By combining pushrod suspension geometry, twin-turbo induction, and early traction optimizing differentials around a world-beating flat six heart the 1985 959 became a dynamic technology harbinger reaching supercar collective consciousness as a rare innovator then and masterpiece still today.
That generation-defining influence soon normalized formerly peculiar systems through mass adoption witnessing plus 30 years of progress recently compounding hypercar capabilities further. Yet the latest million-dollar Bugattis, Paganis, or McLarens often abandon sheer computational forward thrusts alone instead celebrating driver engagement purity by pairing minimal driver assists with maximum emotional feedback. This renewed quest optimizing mechanical satisfaction over algorithmic wizardry continues validating the driver-focused ethos Porsche’s engineers upheld inventing the landmark 959 by maximizing control transferring their rally racing success into a stunning roadgoing tribute that still inspires respect today as a pioneering technology showcase now a desirable collector’s icon.