Rare Rides: A 1988 Porsche 959 for Over One Million Dollars

Image: 1988 Porsche 959Silver on the outside, and multi-shaded maroon on the inside, this Porsche 959 is the most expensive car we’ve featured in the Rare Rides series to date. What do you get for $1.25 million dollars, aside from service visits costing $100,000?

As you prepare to sell off your mixed security holdings, let’s find out.

Image: 1988 Porsche 959Development of this chunky supercar started out back in 1981. Looking to the future, Porsche decided it might be time to test the limits of the 911’s rear-engine setup. The company set its engineers to work on developing a new, modern sports car with the same spirit as the 911. As the project went along, Porsche set its sights on testing the new model in a rally environment.

Image: 1988 Porsche 959The 959 made its debut as a Group B rally racer in 1986. Entry into the series meant Porsche had to produce at least 200 road-ready examples to comply with homologation regulations. Thus became the consumer version of the 959.

Image: 1988 Porsche 959The road-legal version immediately took the title for the world’s fastest street-legal production car. The top speed of the 959 was 195 miles per hour in the roadgoing Comfort version, or 197 for the racing (Sport) version.

Image: 1988 Porsche 959Technology was another best with the 959. Hailed as the most technologically advanced road car ever made, it was one of the first super performance vehicles to feature all-wheel drive. This set the stage for future supercar designs from other manufacturers, as well as for Carrera 4 models and later 911 Turbos.

Image: 1988 Porsche 959The swooping body was comprised of a composite containing aluminum and Kevlar, and the floor a flame-resistant Nomex. This kept overall weight down to a quite respectable 3,200 pounds. That figure is roughly the same as a four-cylinder Toyota Camry from 2005. All 959s were built by Baur rather than at Porsche, with oversight from Porsche inspection employees.

Image: 1988 Porsche 959At the back rests a twin-turbo six-cylinder boxer engine displacing 2.85 litres. All 959s had a six-speed manual transmission, which was composed of five forward gearings, and a G off road gear. A unique characteristic of the turbos on the 959 was their sequential nature, rather than a common identical setup. This allowed for smooth power delivery, unlike the on-off turbocharging of contemporary turbocharged Porsches.

Image: 1988 Porsche 959That engine produced 444 horsepower, and powered the 959 from 0-60 in just 3.6 seconds, and on to 100 miles an hour in 8.8 seconds. Its shocking performance was not easily bested. For reference, the Ferrari Enzo came to market in 2002, and managed 0-60 in 3.1 seconds, and 100 mph in 6.7.

Image: 1988 Porsche 959Production of the road-going 959 ended in 1988, after 292 examples rolled off the assembly line. Sold for $225,000 each, that figure was less than half of what it cost Porsche to build each 959. Porsche did produce eight more 959s between 1992 and 1993 using spare inventory.

Image: 1988 Porsche 959Today’s 1988 example is on offer in Portland, waiting for someone to offer up the aforementioned $1,250,000 for the pleasure of sitting in its brown seats. Hey, at least there are four of them in there.

[Images via seller]