Factory restoration of a rare super sports car: Anyone who played in a car quartet in the 1980s or 90s knows the Porsche 959 as an absolute trump card. Porsche has only built this super sports car, which has a top speed of over 292 km/h, 315 times. Nick Heidfeld owns the even rarer sports version, which was only produced 29 times. The sports version is performance-enhanced, has 515 hp and can reach speeds of up to 339 km/h. And this collector's item has another record-breaking value to offer: his 4.183 S had only 959 kilometers on the clock when the ex-racing driver brought it to Porsche Classic in the summer of 2017.
Nick Heidfeld's 959 S
Although it had hardly been run in, this 959 was already due for an extensive technical overhaul: "Unfortunately, if such a technology carrier is not driven regularly, stationary damage is unavoidable. The entire drive train and the chassis have to be overhauled as a whole, and experience has shown that any reduction in the scope of work leads to subsequent problems,” says Uwe Makrutzki, Head of Factory Restoration at Porsche Classic.
Like all owners of a classic Porsche, the owners of a 959 also benefit from the unique expertise and equipment of this integrated division: After the end of production of the super sports car, Porsche Classic took over all testing and repair tools from all areas of the plant. In addition, there is a lot of experience with this rare model: "Almost all 959s have been with us at least once in their car life," says Makrutzki. “So we have a lot of practice. Thanks to the highly complex technology, however, a 959 revision is always a special and wonderful task.” In the case of Heidfeld's 959 S, the diagnosis revealed, among other things, that the engine control had been modified. In consultation with the owner, the Porsche Classic employees restored the Motronic to its original condition.
High-tech legend 959 S
In December 2021, the 959 S of the former Formula 1 driver was ready to go again. Heidfeld: “I've had the privilege of driving many high-performance cars. But moving this high-tech legend is something special for me. In the late '80s, I was a teenage car enthusiast, and I thought this Porsche stood out: the 959 was the fastest production vehicle in the world at the time, and by far the most advanced. That's why it doesn't drive like a 30-year-old car today, but like a much more modern vehicle."
In order to ensure that the repairs are successful in the long term, Makrutzki advises regular exercise: “Covering around 100 kilometers in mixed operation at least once a month protects against damage when stationary. This is also what the feedback from our customers has shown.” The now restored 959 S had the following catalog data in 1987:
Porsche 959 S.
Length Width Height
curb weight (DIN)
Number of cylinders / arrangement
Transmission / drive
6 speed/four wheel drive
kW/HP at 1/min
379 /515 at 6.900
Nm at 1 / min
561 on 6.500
Acceleration 0-100 km / h
km / h
Base price (1987)
About the Porsche 959
For many car connoisseurs, the 959 is one of the most fascinating sports cars of the last century. In 1983, Porsche presented the “Group B” study at the IAA, which conformed to the regulations for this spectacular rally class. At the Paris Dakar Rally in 1986, all three 959s that started finished first, second and sixth. The modified circuit version 961 also took seventh place in the Le Mans long-distance race in 1986 and won the class in the IMSA/GTX class.
The production model celebrates its premiere at the IAA in 1985. Its numerous innovations include the speed-dependent and adjustable shock absorber and level control, the electronically controlled, variable all-wheel drive with drive program selection and ABS, the tire pressure monitoring system and the aerodynamically optimized body (Cd 0,31). Technology from racing car construction and aviation is used there: The outer skin is a hybrid construction made of Kevlar and glass fiber reinforced epoxy resin, the front apron is made of polyurethane integral foam. Doors and hood are made of a special aluminum alloy.
The 959 is the first production car to have a twin-turbo boxer engine with register charging: two turbochargers connected in series reduce turbo lag. Titanium connecting rods reduce the oscillating masses on the crankshaft. The cylinders are air-cooled, as was customary with Porsche at the time, but the four-valve heads are water-cooled. The exhaust valves have a sodium filling for better heat dissipation. Only 292 Porsche 959 were built in series from 1987 to 1988.
The sports version is even rarer: Only 29 copies went to customers. This variant has larger turbochargers that work with higher boost pressure. Power is 515 hp versus 450 hp on the base model. The 959 S has no level control of the chassis. For reasons of weight, the automatic air conditioning, central locking, electric windows, right-hand exterior mirror and rear seats have also been omitted.
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