1988 Porsche 959 Komfort

Brian Henniker, courtesy of Gooding & Company
Brian Henniker, courtesy of Gooding & Company

Following the 953’s decisive win at the grueling Paris-Dakar Rally in 1984, Porsche’s chief engineer Helmuth Bott declared his ambition to build a “Super Porsche” — a turbocharged 911 variant with all-wheel drive and variable ride height. Over the next three years, Porsche developed a groundbreaking sports car to comply with the FIA’s Group B regulations, which capped the engine capacity of turbocharged cars at 2.85 liters and required 200 production cars for homologation purposes.

The result of Porsche’s significant effort was the 959 — arguably the most technically advanced and influential high-performance automobile built during the 1980s. Equipped with a 444-hp, twin-turbocharged flat six, a 6-speed transaxle, state-of-the-art PSK variable differentials, and aerodynamically effective composite bodywork, the 959 was an undisputed technological masterpiece. Even today, the 959 remains the standard by which the latest turbocharged 911 models are judged.

The 959 presented here is a definitive example of this landmark Porsche — a meticulously maintained, European-delivery Komfort model with just three owners and 8,800 km (5,468 miles) from new.

Constructed on September 6, 1988, this 959 was finished in the classic Silver Metallic (S7) livery over dark gray metallic leather and optioned with German equipment, Bridgestone tires, and sport seats with electric height adjustment. Once completed, the 959 was delivered to its first owner, Heinz Schiller of Geneva, Switzerland.

Well known among enthusiasts, Schiller was a major supporter of the Porsche marque, both as a successful privateer racer and later as the factory’s official Swiss importer. His impressive racing career spanned two decades, during which time Schiller drove a remarkable variety of Porsche models — from the 550 Spyder to the 934 — at leading venues, including the Mille Miglia and Le Mans. In the early 1960s, Schiller even participated in several Grand Prix events, driving the famed Porsche 804 Grand Prix car for Scuderia Filipinetti.

The 959 remained a fixture in Schiller’s private collection until fall 2004, when it was consigned to Garage Auto-Rallye in Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland. From there, the 1,300-km 959 was sold to Jan Stuivenberg, a Dutch collector who successfully raced Porsches during the early 1970s. During Mr. Stuivenberg’s ownership, the 959 was regularly maintained by leading Dutch specialists Porsche Centrum Gelderland B.V. and Car Care Porsche B.V.

In fall 2013, the well-kept 959 was acquired by the current owner, a knowledgeable Michigan collector with a passion for the most rare and exotic contemporary Porsches. Before taking delivery, he commissioned a comprehensive service and pre-purchase inspection to ensure that the car adhered to his strict standards for originality and mechanical preparation.

Upon its arrival in the U.S., the 959 was entrusted to Ruf Auto U.S., with instructions to perform a second thorough inspection. Today, the 959 remains in exceptional original condition — the only significant changes made from as-delivered specification were tinted windows and wheels painted to match the intercooler housing.

Prescott Kelly

Prescott Kelly - SCM Contributor

Prescott bought his first Porsche, a 1964 356SC coupe, in early July 1967, just before starting his first job. The next weekend he bought a refrigerator — thereby establishing priorities for life. He has owned many Porsches and is a Contributing Editor for Porsche Panorama, where he concentrates on arcane corners of Porsche history, writes the regular “356 Collectibles” and “MarketWatch” columns for the 356 Registry Magazine, and contributes to Excellence and the Journal of the Society of Automotive Historians.

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