Most of us out there, whether car enthusiasts or not, understand the weight that the name Porsche bears when talking about quality crafted luxury automobiles. With roughly 97.4 percent of Porches from the last 25 years still on the road, it’s no wonder loyal drivers will attest to the lasting beauty that resides both on the inside and outside of these classic sports cars! But what sets them apart from other brands of the same calibre, and how did they gain a reputation of excellence in the car world?
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Unique by Design
The stunning design incorporated into all of the models, both new and old, is a main talking point around these luxury cars. Whether you prefer the classic bodice of the 356 debuted in 1948, or the modern take of the 911 still being manufactured today, it can’t be denied the class and charm brought by the appearance of a Porsche. From the overall body that all who witness get to marvel at, to the fine details found within that the driver can bask in, one can only appreciate the true beauty up close and in person. In addition to the show-stopping chassis and their jaw-dropping interiors, what makes up the meat of the vehicles, the engine, is said to be just as attractive! Under the hood boasts decades of German craftsmanship that enthusiasts rave about in terms of the balanced and well tuned driving experience drive after drive. Long lasting function is the name in this company’s game, and the amount of time, energy, and effort involved in ensuring it is carried out makes the brand itself unique. Employees testify of the dedication to perfection displayed by the company, and customers sure reap the benefits of such a pursuit! What has grown to become a name associated with reliability, prestige, and fine living, Porsche continues to impress with models being added to their already outstanding line up. Some of the older models, however, won’t be soon forgotten.
One of the models that made history when production began in 1986, and is remembered today for the mark it made on the automobile world is the Porsche 959. Although only 337 cars were made in total, this model revolutionized the boundaries set at the time for speed, technology, and power that sports cars could deliver. Claiming the title of the world’s fastest street-legal production car in the year it was released, the model jumps 0-60mph in just 3.6 seconds, and 0-100 in 8.2. It was one of the first sports cars with all wheel drive, an idea brought forth by chief engineer Helmuth Bott, shortly after Peter Schutz took his role as managing director. This move helped pave the way for developments of all kinds in thinking about what cars could and couldn’t do in group B rally racing.
This particular engine borrowed the basic design of that used in the Porsche 956 and 962 race cars, and changed several features to include sequential twin-turbochargers, fuel injection with air-cooled cylinders, 4 valves per cylinder, and water cooled heads – all which allow for smooth delivery of power across the speed band in an efficient manner, conveniently wrapped up in a compact unit. The twin turbochargers brought a positive change in the on and off power mechanism that was less abrupt and harsh than the more traditional single versions that had been used traditionally beforehand. The unique manual transmission also offered benefits such as five forward speeds, a special off-road gear, and reverse. The all wheel drive system, the Porsche-Steuer Kupplung (PSK), changed the torque distribution between the rear and front tires, allowing for effortless hard acceleration when needed, and making conditions easier to handle in both racing and street driving applications – a must for this adaptable and versatile automobile!
Along with the many improvements to the inner workings, the outside got a makeover as well. A more streamlined bodice meant better balance, stability, a low drag coefficient, and zero aerodynamic lift. The classic shape was carried over from previous models, however, as the rear-mounted engine remained in place. The addition of air vents in the front and rear wheel housings, as well as intake holes behind the doors gave it a fresh and unique look, and different color variants such as silver and red decorated the exterior. After many many designs and re-designs, two styles were released; one more track focused – the Sport – and one more street car centered – the Komfort. The main difference was the trim and its level of creature comfort amenities.
Upgrades were also said to be available on the vehicle including a factory power upgrade that made the speed top out at 211 mph instead of the usual 197 mph., but more recently an update program offered owners more options. The Canepa Design program started in 2003 by American race car driver and dealer Bruce Canepa sought to improve aspects of the car that had aged poorly with time and advances in technology. Such upgrades were intended to make the vehicle street legal in the U.S. since at the time it could not pass several requirements for the roads. Modifications to the turbochargers, computer control systems, and exhaust system allowed the model to pass emissions requirements set in the states. The wheels were also modified to be more compatible with a wider range of tires from Michelin, a more common brand, that could handle the intense performance of the 959. Improvements made on an already impeccably built machine only extended the life of individual vessels even more, allowing for longer enjoyment of one of the brand’s iconic creations.
In the time they’ve been around, Porsche has proven time and time again the reliability, dependability, and consistent excellence that can come from years of research, development, and dedication to a fine craft. The proof is in the long-lasting pudding when considering the impact that design and technology can have on the overall life of a car and of a brand in this industry. Even with as few cars produced, I believe we’ll be seeing the 959 along with many other beloved Porsche’s on the roads for decades to come, enjoying the class, style, and innovation they continue to bring to the automobile world.