1985: The moment when the future becomes the present
As soon as they turn the corner to the Porsche stand, it is the moment when many visitors to the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt forget everything. As their jaws slowly drop and their eyes slowly become dry from continuous staring. As they re-experience engineering right from the very start. A moment in which a vision of the future virtually enfolds before them: Porsche does not simply exhibit its new super sports car – far from it, the company from Zuffenhausen presents a production version of the Porsche 959 in a totally new way – in a spectacular cut-away model. The cut-away runs along the entire length of the car, along the bright silver Aramid and aluminium body – the exhibition engineers have even sawn the front windscreen and rear window precisely down the middle. Wheels, brakes, suspension, the interior clad in brown leather, the cockpit and of course the powerful, 450 hp turbocharged engine which fills out the complete rear section — the amazed visitors can see absolutely everything. The form of the exhibition alone just blows their minds, if it wasn't just for the engineering which puts everything else in the shadows.
The six-cylinder biturbo flat engine block is made from an aluminium alloy, the cylinders are air-cooled and the cylinder heads water-cooled, the two sequential turbochargers guarantee powerful propulsion in all speed ranges. The running gear is electronically controlled and can be configured at the press of a button; the automatic levelling system adapts itself to the speed; the all-wheel drive is continuously tuned by a complex system of sensors. The powerful engine combined with an aerodynamically optimised body propels the super sports car to an incredible top speed of 317 km/h – a world record for production sports cars at the time.
The 959 – A technology pool for many following Porsche generations
The super Porsche 959 is the technology platform par excellence, state of the art automotive engineering and a mobile greeting to the future. It is also an enormous boost for Porsche's image. A total of 292 models are produced and they sell immediately – Zuffenhausen is hardly able to keep up with production of the highly complex car. The cut-away model at the IAA is a clear statement, a sign of the performance capabilities of the Development Centre in Weissach: not only does Porsche build fast, elegant sports cars, Porsche is also far in advance in development. Project Manager Manfred Bantle calls the 959 a "learning vehicle" – a paradigm and a technology pool for many following Porsche generations. And so today, the Porsche 959 has no cause to shy away from comparison with its great-grandchildren, even a good 30 years later. It is still sprightly, with its 3.7 seconds from 0 to 100.