In 1981, the idea of the Porsche 959 was conceived with a concerted intention to race in Group B rally racing, and Porsche set to work on its quest to satisfy homologation requirements by developing and producing at least 200 road-going examples.
The first concept car – originally dubbed the Gruppe B – was unveiled at the 1983 Frankfurt Auto Show and showcased the very highest echelon of automotive technologies at the time. Features such as a driver-adjustable suspension and its state of the art Porsche-Steuer Kupplung (PSK) all-wheel-drive system, gave the car more than ample arsenal to feel right at home in the rally championship.
The Porsche 959 prototype road car debuted 2 years later at the same auto show, displayed in both a “Komfort” and more track-oriented “Sport” trim. However, a number of production delays meant that Porsche would miss the cut off date for homologation and would end up missing the 1986 Group B season. Then, Group B was cancelled altogether later that year and Porsche’s first customer cars wouldn’t roll off the line until 1987.
Despite the obvious set back, Porsche still managed to compete with the 959 and have a brief but meaningful run in motorsport. The prototype race cars entered the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally and managed first, second and fifth place finishes. In 1986 the 959 won its class and took home an impressive 7th place overall distinction.
While we can only imagine what it would have been like seeing the Porsche 959 partake in Group B racing, we do at least get a taste of what that would be like via the mightily impressive road version that was the resulting lovechild of this project.