Helmuth Bott's Porsche 959
You Cannot Do It Alone
In this video by eGarage, Peter Schutz, former CEO of Porsche AG, opines that the 959 may have had more affect on the automotive world than any car since its introduction. You’d be hard pressed to find many counterarguments. Originally conceived as a “super 911” for Group B rally racing, the 959 is basically a homologation special. What Schutz’s R&D department cobbled together was not just an amplified 911, but an Über-Porsche that introduced myriad technologies to the Porsche world and upended the future automotive landscape; essentially, laden with new technology, the 959 was the first modern supercar, barely edging out the Ferrari’s F40 for the title.
Porsche endurance racing legend Hurley Haywood both narrates and pilots as he cruises around in a prototype (one of six) originally owned by Helmuth Bott, who, as head of Porsche R&D in that era, was responsible for the 959 itself. Beneath the rear end of the widened and stretched 959’s curvy aluminum, Kevlar and Nomex bodywork is a small, sequentially-turbocharged flat-six intelligently driving all four wheels (also fairly new technology at the time). Notes emitted from the 959’s pipes are lower and rounder than the vicious revving modern 911s blast, and the checkered upholstery adds levity to an austere cabin. Though it originally sold for enough ’80s coin to purchase a Countach and a Testarossa, it’s believed that each model actually cost at least twice as much to build. Regardless, this genesis of the modern supercar, which now resides at the Brumos Collection in Jacksonville, is priceless.