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Robb Design Portfolio: Rallying Cry

  • Robert Ross

1988 Porsche 959
With its extraordinary power, all-wheel drive, and curvaceous body, the 959 charted the course for the modern 911. Groundbreaking technology defined the 959, which Porsche created in the early 1980s to compete in the Group B rally series and then continued to develop in the late ’80s as its ultimate road car. The 959 was powered by a water-cooled, sequentially turbocharged engine derived from the successful 962 racecar—instead of the air-cooled flat 6 that traditionally powered Porsches. All four wheels allocated grip through computer control, and a self-leveling suspension explored the limits of handling dynamics. A Kevlar composite constituted the aerodynamic body, which included a wraparound rear spoiler that has become the signature of the 959’s unmistakable shape. Porsche built fewer than 300 examples of the 959 from 1987 through 1988 (in Komfort or Sport form) and sold each vehicle, it is claimed, at a loss exceeding $300,000.

This article was originally published in the February 2013 issue of Robb Report. Click here to read more articles from this issue.

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