Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Porsche 959, part 4

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The 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show was chosen for the unveiling of the Porsche Group B prototype. Even in the waning hours of October 9th, finishing touches were placed on the car to go on display the next morning. When the curtain was drawn the next morning, the Group B car became an instant celebrity. After the first two prototypes, the bodywork was modified to include air vents in the front and rear wheel housings, as well as intake holes behind the doors. The first prototype modified like this was code named "F3", and was destroyed in the first crash test.

The street version of the 959 debuted at the 1985 Frankfurt Motor Show as a 1986 model, but numerous issues delayed production by more than a year. The car was manufactured in two levels of trim, "Sport" and "Komfort", corresponding to the race version and the street version, respectively. First customer deliveries of the 959 street variant began in 1987, and the car debuted at a cost of $225,000 USD per unit, still less than half what it cost Porsche to build each one, production ended in 1990. In total, fewer than 300 cars were built and the total number (which hovers around 250) includes both 959 street variants and 961 race variants as well as at least 4 prototypes Porsche built during development. 226 of the cars built were street legal (in Europe) and were sold to consumers. At least one 959 and one 961 remain in the Porsche historic hall in Stuttgart, Germany.

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