1985 Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar

Robin Adams ©2018, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Despite the enormous success of its production-based race cars throughout its history, Porsche rarely developed such models as official factory entries, preferring instead to support them in the hands of privateer customers. One of the notable exceptions occurred in the mid-1980s with the advent of one of Stuttgart’s most celebrated and advanced models, the 959.

Longtime Porsche driver Jacky Ickx clarified his interest in developing a 959-based entrant in the Paris-Dakar Rally. Ickx was already driving Porsche 956 examples to great success for the Rothmans team, and Porsche welcomed his ability to bring sponsorship and corresponding development funding, an attractive combination of factors for the 959’s evolution.

Under the Rothmans banner, Ickx fielded a Porsche team of three cars at the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally. To the great surprise of the entire field, René Metge and Dominique Lemoyne drove their car to outright victory, while Ickx and Claude Brasseur claimed 6th, and the third car finished in 17th place. Incredibly, all three cars completed the grueling 7,500-mile race.

For the 1985 running of the Dakar Rally, Porsche unveiled three of the first purpose-built 959 examples, employing a new chassis and coachwork in the style of the Gruppe B concept.

This featured car, chassis 010015, was one of these three entries. To satisfy homologation requirements, these 959 test mules were developed from 911 SC chassis and then substantially modified to 959 specifications. Incorporating the naturally aspirated 3.2-liter Carrera engine, all three cars were fitted with a new heavy-duty suspension and electronic four-wheel drive.

This historically significant developmental example of the 959 claims important competition provenance and long-term private ownership. This incredible piece of Porsche development history is one of only two 959 rally cars in private hands.

Thor Thorson

Thor Thorson - SCM Contributing Editor - %%page%%

Thor grew up in northern Iowa. His father bought a red Jag XK 150 in the late 1950s, and that was all it took; he has been in love with sports cars , racing cars and the associated adrenaline rush ever since. He has vintage raced for more than 20 years, the bulk of them spent behind the wheel of a blue Elva 7. When he’s not racing, he is president of Vintage Racing Motors Inc., a collector-car dealer and vintage-racing support company based in Redmond, WA. His knowledge runs the full spectrum of vintage racing, and he has put that expertise to good use for SCM since 2003.

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