Bruce Canepa upgrades the legendary Porsche 959 to produce 763 horsepower and 635 pound-feet of torque
Porsche has a long history of making important and significant road-going and racing vehicles. Such icons include the Porsche 956, 935, 911, Turbo, 918, and countless others. However, there is one that in my mind really stands out, the Porsche 959.
Built between 1986 and 1993, the Porsche 959 first started as a Group B rally car that eventually became a street-legal production car to satisfy FIA homologation requirements. At the time of its introduction, the twin-turbocharged 959 was the World’s fastest street-legal production car. It has a top speed of 195 miles per hour.
In addition to be spectacularly fast at the time, it was significant in the evolution of future sports cars as well as future Porsches. It was the most technologically advanced road-going sports car ever produced. It had all-wheel-drive, a first for high performance cars. The 959 was also the basis for future all-wheel-drive 911s, including the Porsche Turbo. Sports Car International magazine named the 959 the Top Sports Car of the 1980s.
Since the 959 was produced in such small numbers, it was never intended to be sold in the United States. As a result, they were never really seen on American roads. That didn’t mean that the 959 did not have any high profile fans located stateside. Once such owner was Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft. He bought a new one that was stored for 13 years in Customs in San Francisco. In fact, this prompted a group of highly influential buyers to lobby the Department of Transportation to change the rules to allow the importation of such cars. The result was the “Show and Display” law enabling owners to import their cars into the United States under very tight requirements.
Canepa Motorsports and the Porsche 959
Another person and company that was involved in the creation of the ‘Show and Display’ legislation was Bruce Canepa at Canepa Motorsports. Since that time, Bruce and company has been the go-to guy regarding the Porsche 959 in the United States.
Canepa Motorsports latest modifications for the Porsche 959 are called the Generation III. His team will completely go through the vehicle from top to bottom. This includes the engine in which they add a new parallel twin-turbo setup. Output figures are right around 763 horsepower and 635 pound-feet of torque.
It is not just new turbos that create such performance. A customer’s Porsche 959 also receives a new fuel system, ECU and exhaust system. Suspension modifications consist of titanium coilovers. What kind of performance does all of this create, you ask? How about 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 2.4 seconds accelerating all the way through to 230 miles per hour.
This performance is impressive by any measure in 2016. However, the Porsche 959 was first produced starting in 1986. We are talking about thirty years ago when these cars were first produced. Performance of the Porsche 959 would give a Porsche 918 a run for the money. This is mind-boggling when you consider this in terms of performance.
Canepa’s Generation III treatment of the 959 is not just in terms of performance. The vehicle also receives a fully restored interior. There is new leather, carpets, interior floor mats, and a hand-sewn steering wheel.
The cost for the upgrade to the Generation III version will run you a couple hundred thousand dollars. This does not include the price of the car which will run you between $1 to $2 million. This is of course you can find one. Very few of them were made and they don’t come up for sale very often.
This is more than what most of us can afford. However, the 959 is such a rare and magnificent beast that I can’t see how it would not be a worthwhile purchase. This is of course, you had the funds lying around.