One of the most interesting cars to come out of Zuffenhausen, the 959 is also one of the rarest Porsches. Only 292 cars were made from 1987 to 1988, but the beefier Sport version pictured here was assembled in just 29 examples. Former Formula 1 driver Nick Heidfeld happens to have a 959 S and took it to Porsche Classic for a full refresh that took a little over three years.
An exceptionally low-mileage example with only 4,183 kilometers (2,599 miles) on the clock, the white supercar was in the shop from the summer of 2017 until December 2021. Porsche is now showing off the 959 S, which went through an extensive technical overhaul. The ex-BMW Sauber driver learned from Porsche Classic that the car’s engine management system had been modified, but the issue was then sorted out by restoring the Motronic unit to its OEM specification.
Not driving the 959 S for an extended amount of time took its toll on the car’s oily bits: “If such a technologically innovative car is not driven regularly, storage damage is, unfortunately, unavoidable” – according to Uwe Makrutzki, Head of Factory Restoration at Porsche Classic. He goes on to say that in such a situation, the powertrain and chassis must be completely revamped to avoid future issues. To avoid these problems in the future, owners are advised to drive their cars at least 62 miles (100 kilometers) a month.
Being the Sport model, Heidfeld’s 959 does away with electric windows, central locking, and automatic air conditioning. It also eschews the rear seats and even the mirror on the passenger side, while the trick self-leveling suspension of the standard car is absent. All these changes were made to shave off weight, ending with an impressive figure of just 1,350 kilograms (2,976 pounds).
The 959 S was more than just about removing creature comforts as Porsche’s engineers also installed bigger turbochargers running on a higher boost level. Power was pushed to 508 hp and 561 Nm (414 lb-ft) of torque, enough for a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) run in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 211 mph (339 km/h).
Heidfeld also happens to own a 911 GT2 from the 996 generation as well as a Carrera GT, but his garage includes a couple of non-Porsche models such as a 1965 Ford Mustang and a classic Volkswagen Beetle convertible.