MotorWeek is looking back on some of the most famous supercars of the '80s in a video that shouldn't be missed. It features the Ferrari 328, Lamborghini Jalpa and Lotus Esprit Turbo, along with a look at the tech in the Porsche 959.
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.
These days, we take it for granted that the Porsche 911 uses a flat-six engine. That's because every version of the iconic rear-engined sports car has had one. Right? Well, for the most part. There was the 912 that joined the original in the late Sixties with a flat-four. And in the mid-Eighties, Porsche toyed around with the idea of a V8-powered 911.
While Porsche was unveiling the new Nürburgring-dominating 918 Spyder downstairs in Hall 3 here at the Frankfurt Messe, there was another Porsche supercar quietly and discretely on display upstairs in the same hall. That, of course, was the 959. But not just any 959: this was the original Gruppe B prototype.
"We thought we were going to build a super-911," said Peter Schutz, former CEO of Porsche AG of the development of the Porsche 959. That was before it started getting expensive. At that point, Helmuth Bott, Porsche R&D director got frightened. Costs ballooned because of the all-wheel drive, sequential turbocharging and other technology Porsche had never even thought about when it set out to build a 911 to compete in Group B. Schutz continued, "The amount of resources we were committing got t
The "Show or Display" exemption that was enacted under Bill Clinton's tenure as president has been a godsend for collectors and enthusiasts who love certain European and Asian vehicles that were never officially certified for U.S. road use, cars like the McLaren F1, Bugatti EB110, Jaguar XJ220, Maserati MC12, Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM and GTR, and the Porsche 959. These are incredible cars that were never designed for American roads, and in turn needed some official "help" to get to these shores.