Revisiting Classics: The 1986 Porsche 959

The 1986 Porsche 959 was the first model year of this particular auto, which had two production runs that lasted from 1986 to 1988 and 1992 to 1993. Many collectors love the year for no other reason than it was the first for this stylish model. Porsche originally produced the 959 to be a Group B rally car, but later, it was to satisfy homologation regulations from the FIA requiring 200 units of a legal road car to be produced. At its introduction, the 1986 Porsche 959 was the quickest street-legal production auto, making it an instant legend among casual enthusiasts and the professionals alike.


Porsche 959

To earn the title of the fastest production car that was street legal, the 1986 Porsche 959 had a twin-turbocharged engine. It was able to reach 197 mph in most models or 211 mph with certain configurations. Thanks to the turbochargers and cooling from both air and water, the engine generated 444 horsepower and 370 pound-feet of torque. The zero to 60 time was 3.7 seconds with a zero to 100 mph time of a breathtaking 8.3 seconds. The Porsche 959 was also the first auto that was mass-produced and used a six-speed manual transmission.

For the 1986 959, Porsche crafted the new Porsche-Stuer Kupplung all-wheel-drive system. This system is still among the most advanced ever. The system was able to vary power when in normal conditions, even if slippage did not occur. It also typically used a power configuration of 40:60. However, it could send up to 80 percent of the power to the rear wheels when undergoing hard acceleration to enhance traction, keeping it steadier on the road even at increased speeds.


1986 Porsche 969

If you were to put the 1986 Porsche 959 side by side with the Porsche 911, you would see many similarities in the styling, which is not a surprise from this automaker. Both have thick hips, a sloping nose, and the same stylish roofline. Despite these similarities, the Porsche 959 holds its own by being larger and meaner on the road, handling curves with true sportsmanship. The nose has numerous grilles, vents, and holes, and the body sits wider than the 911, so the AWD system can fit comfortably on the frame. There is also a longer tail on the Porsche 959 than the 911, so there is space for the integrated spoiler and cooling equipment. The Porsche 959 also had plenty of aerodynamic features with the goal of making a “zero-lift” air profile for stability at high speeds, even on narrow, winding adventures.

Interior Luxury

Porsche 959 Interior

The interior of the 1986 Porsche 959 was different from previous Porsche supercars due to its standard luxury. Most supercars of the time were somewhat bare-bones inside. However, the Porsche 959 went in the opposite direction, leaning toward extravagance. It had power windows, a radio, leather seats, and air conditioning. Experts and owners alike agreed that the Porsche 959 was just as practical inside the cabin as the 911.

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