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PORSCHE 959 DAKAR

The Porsche factory was founded in 1931 by Ferdinand Porsche in Stuttgart, in the south of Germany.

Initially, the company offered automotive development and consultancy services, but did not build cars under its own name. One of the first commissions the new company received was from the German government to design a car for the people; that is, a volkswag.  The result was the VW Beetle, one of the most successful car designs of all time.  Later, the Porsche 64 was developed in 1939 using many of the Beetle’s components.

Ferdinand was arrested for war crimes, but was not tried. During his 20-month prison sentence, Ferdinand, Porsche’s son, decided to build his own car because he could not find an existing one he wanted to buy. He had to guide the company through the hardest days until his father’s release in August 1947.

Their success in motorsports is unrivalled worldwide.

Porsche has won a record 19 Lemans races. In 2006, the stable built 195 race cars for various international motorsport events. In 2007, the group built no fewer than 275 dedicated race cars (7 RS Spyder LMP2 prototypes, 37 GT2-spec 911 GT3-RSR and 231 911 GT3 Cup cars).

In 1984, the Frenchman René Metge won the world’s most famous and most difficult off-road race in a Porsche 911 rally car – a triumph he repeated in 1986 with the 959. But the team had also used the latter a year earlier, only at that time it had not been lucky.

Powered by a 400 hp (500 Nm) engine, the Porsche’s interesting feature was that it had two supercharged turbochargers, one working at low revs and the other at high revs, reducing the so-called turbo lag. Whereas in the 911 the block itself and the cylinder head were cooled by air, in the 959 the latter task was performed by liquid.

Its top speed on paper was 210 km/h, the same as the models used in 1984, but there were sections where it flew at over 240 km/h.

A Porsche 959 racing car that competed in the 1985 Dakar rally and even won a stage found a new owner at auction at Sotheby’s. But the buyer had to dig deep into his wallet: he offered $6 million, or around 2.5 billion forints.

A 959 Dakar Porsche had never been hammered before, so there was understandably a lot of interest in the machine. Only three were built, plus four development prototypes – this time it was chassis number 0100015.

Adam Gubán

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