Today, we have the Porsche 918 Spyder. Before that, there was the Carrera GT. While both of those cars are dramatic departures from the traditional, rear-engine Porsche formula, they owe their very existence to another wild child of the iconic German brand – the 959.

Like so many of the great performance cars of yesteryear, the 959 was a homologation special, built just so Porsche could go racing in the clinically insane Group B rally series. Fewer than 400 959s hit the streets, but those that did were some of the most advanced cars of the 1980s. A rear-mounted, twin-turbocharged flat-six sent its power through a still-rare all-wheel-drive system, creating a race-inspired rocket that was, for a short time, the fastest production car on the planet.

Xcar has the story of the 959, from its inception to its conquest of the Paris-Dakar rally, which is interspersed with a drive of the legendary coupe. Scroll down for the full video.

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