Including the 959's amazing successors.
Porsche showed off a new 911 Speedster concept, this time painted red, at this year’s Paris Motor Show. Don’t get us wrong, the concept is ridiculously cool, and as only 1,948 examples are planned for the production version, it's also going to be highly desirable. It’s a proper way to end the lifecycle of the highly successful and acclaimed 991 generation.
However, there were some other Porsches on display that activated our salivary glands. Coming straight from the official Porsche Museum in Stuttgart are these icons: 959, 911 GT1, Carrera GT, and 918 Spyder.
The 959 was the first all-wheel drive Porsche that launched back in 1986 and at the time was the world’s fastest street-legal production car with a top speed of 197 mph. It was also one of the most technologically advanced cars of its time. Its all-wheel drive tech was later applied to the 911, spawning the 911 Carrera 4.
It remains one of this writer’s favorite cars of all time. The 911 GT1 was the street-legal version of the GT1 class racing car. Although it was called ‘911’ it really didn’t have much in common with the regular 911 at the time, the 993. However, both shared a frontal chassis. The 911 GT1’s water-cooled, twin-turbo 3.2-liter flat-six came from the 962. Oh, this 911 in name only was also mid-engined.
The race going 911 GT1 was a huge racing success, winning its class at Le Mans. Only 25 examples of the street-legal version were made in 1997, all of which produced 536 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque.
Its successor was the Carrera GT, which didn’t arrive until 2003. Powered by a 5.7-liter naturally aspirated V10 rated at 603 hp and 435 lb-ft of torque, the sole transmission choice was a six-speed manual. It’s not a car for beginners, to say the least. Mid-engined and rear-wheel-drive, the Carrera GT has its roots in LMP1 endurance race cars, but never itself raced. A total of 1,270 units were made by the time production ended in 2007.
Lastly is the 918 Spyder, built from 2013 to 2015. Instead of the V10 it has a 4.6-liter V8 that’s also naturally aspirated but connected to a plug-in hybrid system. Not surprisingly, it sold out about a year after production began.
All of these iconic Porsches have one major thing in common: they were technological testbeds for their respective eras. What will come next? An all-electric high-performance supercar that builds on the Taycan sedan is a pretty good guess.