The technologically pioneering Porsche visits Leno's garage.
The 1980s was a golden-age for the supercar, from the final run of the aging yet powerful jetfighter-styled Lamborghini Countach to the turbocharged Lotus Esprit and track-ready Ferrari F40, there really was a sportscar to suit a variety of tastes.
Of them all the Porsche 959 was arguably the most impressive from a technological standpoint and Jay got the chance to revisit this icon when 959 owner Alex Grappo popped by his garage.
Running through some of the tech highlights, run-flat tires, tire pressure monitoring, hollow-spoke magnesium wheels, twin-turbos, aluminum-kevlar chassis, Nomex floor, all-wheel-drive and adjustable ride-height, you might as well be talking about a contemporary sports car. While the F40 may have been 1-mph quicker, it was essentially a stripped-out track car based on the earlier 288 GTO and by the time the 959 was introduced the Countach was already 12-years old and felt it.
But the 959 wasn’t just a rolling tech lab, with its twin-turbo 2.85-liter flat six producing 450 horsepower. It was as quick as anything else on the road and until that pesky F40 was the fastest production car too with a top speed of 199 mph (Upgraded 508-hp S models were reportedly capable of 211 mph). A 0-60 mph time of 3.6 seconds is extremely quick even today and that solid German engineering makes these cars far more reliable than most of the supercars they were competing with back then.
That is not to say they aren’t without their foibles, as Jay pointed out servicing can be rather tricky thanks to the engine’s placement and there are also a few quirks of such cutting-edge tech built on a tight budget. Things like the dimples in the doors below the wing-mirrors due to the materials used and plenty of old 911 switchgear inside the cabin.
Still, Alex’s Komfort model looks to be in great shape and it still performs superbly despite its age. No need to abide by show and display rules anymore, if you have the required $1-million or so to buy a mint one, this ‘80s supercar can make for a really cool daily driver.