Car enthusiasts of the 1980s and 90s will certainly remember the Porsche 959 as the trump card of its time. A super sports car with a top speed of 315 km/h, just 292 examples were produced by Porsche. Former F1 driver Nick Heidfeld owns the even rarer Sport version, of which only 29 were built.
The 959 S is a more powerful version of the 959. And this collector’s item has another record-breaking string to its bow as well: low mileage. Heidfeld’s 959 S had just 4,183 km on the odometer when he took it to Porsche Classic in the summer of 2017. Although barely broken-in, this 959 was already in need of an extensive technical overhaul.
“If such a technologically innovative car is not driven regularly, storage damage is, unfortunately, unavoidable. The powertrain and chassis have to be overhauled in their entirety; experience has shown that any reduction to the scope of work leads to problems down the road.” – Uwe Makrutzki, Head of Factory Restoration at Porsche Classic
Like all owners of a classic Porsche, those with a 959 in their garage benefit from the unique expertise and equipment of this fully integrated department of the company: when production of the super sports car came to an end, Porsche Classic took ownership of all the testing and restoration tools from all areas of the factory. Added to that is a great deal of experience with this rare model: “Almost all 959s have been with us at least once in their life,” says Makrutzki. “So we have had a lot of practice. Thanks to the highly complex technology, however, a 959 overhaul is always a very special and wonderful mission.” In the case of Heidfeld’s 959 S, the diagnosis revealed, among other things, that the engine management system had been modified. In consultation with the owner, Porsche Classic staff restored the Motronic unit to its original condition.
In December 2021, after more than 4 years, Heidfeld’s 959 S was ready to hit the road again.
“I’ve had the privilege of driving many high-performance cars, but driving this high-tech legend is something special for me. I was a teenage car fan in the late 1980s, and to me this Porsche was always extraordinary. At the time, the 959 was the fastest production car in the world and by far the most advanced. So even today, it doesn’t drive like a 30-year-old car, but like a much more modern vehicle.” – Nick Heidfeld
What’s the difference between a 959 and a 959 S? The S stands for Sports, and that usually means Porsche removes stuff from the car while increasing the price. In the 959 S, Porsche does away with electric windows, central locking, and automatic air conditioning. They also threw out the rear seats and even the mirror on the passenger side. The trick self-leveling suspension of the normal 959 is also gone. All these changes brought the 959 S weight down to an impressive 1,350 kilograms (2,976 pounds).
Removing weight is only half the formula for making a S model. The other half is more power, and the 959 S makes 508 hp instead of 450 hp for the standard model. Zero to 62 mph comes in just 3.7 seconds and top speed is increased to 211 mph.
Mr. Heidfeld wouldn’t reveal how much the 4 year restoration on his 959 S cost, but you can imagine it won’t be cheap. Especially when you consider it’s Porsche doing the restoration. Heidfeld’s Porsche 959 S is probably the most perfect 959 in the world.