By   August 14, 2013

Is the Porsche 959 realy just a 911

Is the Porsche 959 realy just a 911

This past weekend we posted our list of the 5 Best Non-911 Production Porsches and we had a lot of passionate people make comments about the list. There was a lot of discussion about why the 928 was left off the list and why the 959 was put on the list. We’ll talk about the 928 issue later today (we will be putting up a poll to see what you think), but now we want to address why the Porsche 959 was on the list.

So, was the 959 really just a thinly disguised 911? Below is the argument made by one passionate commenter that goes by Porsche911Nut.

959 is a Porsche 911 model designation… The Porsche 911 961 is the racing counterpart of the Porsche 911 959.

Taken from “How Stuff Works”…

Motor Trend aptly termed this 911-based uberwagen “the fastest, most technologically advanced sports car in history.” Said Car and Driver, “The 959 can accomplish almost any automotive mission so well that to call it perfect is the mildest of overstatements.” No less amazing, it remains a performance and technical benchmark even now.

More than just the “ultimate 911″ to that point, it was the ultimate roadgoing Porsche, the sum of all Zuffenhausen had learned about production sports cars in its first 40 years. No wonder the Porsche 959 was such a towering achievement or that it pioneered features that have since become commonplace.

He makes a very compelling argument and we internally had a lot of discussion on if to include it on the list or not. So, here is basically why we decided that it was still eligible for the list. The 959 was sold to the public as a 959, unlike say a 911 (993) that is sold as a 911, but has an internal designation as a 993. Even though it was the basis for many future improvements to the 911, it just was not sold to the public as a 911.

Are we wrong to have it on the list? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

  • Matthew Hermans

    I’m with you on this. The 959 was a technology platform (just like the 928) and so future 911s would benefit from derivative forms of the 959 tech.
    to say the 959 is a thinly veiled 911 would be like saying The Miura is the Countach is the Diablo because of the common engine platform and belittles the importance of the 959…

    • David Hurth

      Thanks for your input and as you know I agree with you :)

  • IX-XI

    Porsche, AG defines the 959 as a being based on the 911 platform.

    There is little argument here that the 959 is in fact a 911. You cannot deny the car manufacturers description of what the car actually is and this remains true for the 959… its a 911.

    • David Hurth

      First thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.

      One thing that comes to mind is using the logic the 944 and 968 are really 924s and the new Porsche Macan would really be an Audi Q5.

      We can keep arguing all day, but I think I have a good way to get the truth. This weekend I’ll be covering Peeble Beach and will have an opportunity to talk to few people from Porsche and will get their input on if the 959 is a 911.

    • David Hurth

      We have had a talk around here and while the 959 was never sold as a 911 we have decided that since it is based on the 911 and resulted in future 911 advancement that it is very close to the 911, so are moving it to a list about 911s.

  • Porsche911Nut

    Thought I would chime in on this… it’s very simple, the 959 is 911 based; its racing counterpart was the 911 961; its a 911 plain and simple.

    • David Hurth

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and you are correct about the racing version, but at question is the road going version (maybe we are just splitting hairs).

      As I said before I’ll just talk to a few people from Porsche this weekend at Peeble Brach and I’m sure they can clarify this for us pretty quickly.

      • Porsche911Nut

        Development of the 959 (originally called the Gruppe B) started in 1981, shortly after the company’s then-new Managing Director, Peter Schutz, took his office. Porsche’s head engineer at the time, Helmuth Bott, approached Schutz with some ideas about the Porsche 911, or more aptly, a new one. Bott knew that the company needed a sports car that they could continue to rely on for years to come and that could be developed as time went on. Curious as to how much they could do with the rear-engined 911, Bott convinced Schutz that development tests should take place, and even proposed researching a new all wheel drivesystem. Schutz agreed, and gave the project the green light. Bott also knew through experience that a racing program usually helped to accelerate the development of new models. Seeing Group B rally racing as the perfect arena to test the new mule and its all wheel drive system, Bott again went to Schutz and got the go ahead to develop a car, based on his development mule, for competition in Group B.

        Porsche developed an already existing engine instead of creating a new one from scratch. The powerplant, a twin-turbocharged six-cylinder boxer engine with air-cooled cylinders and water-cooled heads, displaced 2.85 liters, about half a liter less than a contemporary 911 engine. It was coupled to a unique manual gearbox offering 5 forward speeds plus a “G” off-road gear, as well as reverse. The motor had originally been developed for the “Moby Dick” race car and then been redeveloped slightly for the short-lived Porsche Indy Car and several other projects before being “tweaked” a last time for use in the 961, the 959’s racing counterpart

  • David Hurth

    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge. This debate is actually good for us as we are working on a list of 5 best 911s and have been excluding the 959 from that list. So, basically the question is which list should it be on.

    Perhaps our criteria is too simple. We are simply going by the public designation and sense the 959 was not sold to the public as a 911 it was not on the 911 list. Just as we would count the 968 as its own car even though is started life as the 944 S3.

    Thanks for providing more resources and we’ll have an internal debate (BTW Fred Hope that writes for us thinks you are correct, so he is happy with this discussion) and either put it on the list of best 911s or keep it where it is.

    • Porsche911Nut

      Fred Hope is a wise man.

      At the 959’s heart of development is a 911, and it was a technology platform for the future of all following 911 C4’s, Twin Turbo’s, and GT1’s.