In 1983, at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Porsche indicated their intentions of joining the Group B rally series by unveiling a concept car that featured a twin-turbocharged flat-six engine paired with dramatic 911 styling. This engine would later be used in the production variants of the 959 as well as later racing derivations. However, to meet the Group B rules of having 200 homologated road examples, the rally model was initially built from a highly modified 911 SC that featured a naturally aspirated 3.2 litre Carrera engine.
Around the same time, Porsche's long term and highly successful driver Jacky Ickx registered his interest in campaigning in the world-famous Paris-Dakar rally under the Rothams team. Porsche welcomed his idea and ran three, heavily modified, four-wheel drive versions of the 911 SC RS in the 1984 Paris-Dakar. The demanding 7,500-mile rally proved highly successful for Porsche, with Rene Metge driving one car to outright victory, Ickx placing 6th, and the third car finishing 17th.
With such success in 1984 Porsche were back the following year and unveiled the first three purpose-built racing 959s. The initial cars they ran in the 1985 Paris-Dakar rally featured an all new chassis, heavy-duty suspension, 200-litre capacity fuel tanks and drastic external design changes. The 3.2 litre N/A Carrera engine remained, and the all-wheel-drive system was developed further. Unfortunately, 1985 was not as successful as the previous year, with all three cars retiring due to mechanical issues.
The following year, Porsche were determined to not have a repeat of 1985 and doubled-down on their efforts to win once more. As such, 1986 finally saw the introduction of the originally conceived turbocharged unit to the 959 platform, a move that proved decidedly effective with Porsche claiming a 1-2 finish at the 1986 Paris-Dakar rally.
Group B rallying was ultimately disestablished for the 1987 season following a large number of deaths of both drivers and spectators during its short life and so, in all, just seven development 959 rally cars were ever produced, three each for 1985 and 1986 and one Le mans prototype track based car dubbed the 961. Of these seven examples, one was destroyed in the 1985 Rallye des Pharaons, and Porsche have retained three to be displayed in their museum, leaving just three 959 rally cars in private hands.
The incredible piece of Porsche development history we are thrilled to offer for sale is chassis number 010014, entered as #185 and piloted by Jacky Ickx and Claude Brasseur in the 1985 Paris-Dakar rally. Being a 1985 example, this car features the naturally-aspirated 3.2 litre Carrera engine, one of just three cars in this configuration. The car held the overall lead in the race until late in the 8th stage when the car struck a large rock hidden in the sand and was forced to retire from the race.
#010014 was retained by the Porsche museum in Stuttgart until 2014 when it was purchased by a private collector in the US. The car was sent to Gunnar Racing, Florida in 2015 for them to repair the damaged front end and make the car drivable once more. All work completed at Gunnar Racing is fully documented with photos of the whole process undertaken by the team.
When the car was finished, the owner ensured it was not hidden away and exhibited it a variety of events throughout California. These include; Rennsport Reunion 2015, Rennsport Reunion 2018, and Luftgekuhlt 2018. The car also spent a large portion of 2018 being the star of the show in the Peterson Museum's "The Porsche Effect" exhibition, celebrating 70 years of the brand.
The rare Paris-Dakar examples produced from 1984-1986 are hailed as the true cream-of-the-crop for most Porsche racing experts. The 959 Paris-Dakar model has commensurately evolved into one of Stuttgart's most desirable competition cars, as the purest distillation of Helmuth Bott's original concept for the ultimate all-wheel-drive Porsche. As such, this presents the incredibly rare opportunity to acquire such a significant piece of Porsche development history. This car would surely crown any Porsche collection and would be welcomed with open arms into vintage racing, concours and Porsche events around the world.
- Drive LHD