Before the Ferrari F40, before the McLaren F1, almost before the term - supercar - was invented, there was the Porsche 959, an expression of technical competence, research, development and competitiveness that defined the genre and brought a new excitement to automotive development.
The Porsche 959 odyssey started in 1983 and involved many pioneering techniques including the moulded fiberglass/Kevlar bodywork, the first production use of duPont's Kevlar aramid material.
The suspension had three ride-height selections in addition to three settings for the shocks. Its antilock braking system was controlled by high speed microprocessors augmented by run-flat Bridgestone tyres.
The 2,849cc Porsche twin sequential turbocharged and intercooled flat six engine ran a maximum of 1 atmosphere boost and used water cooling for the six individual cylinder heads, producing a totally reliable 450 horsepower at 6,500 rpm which were easily boosted to 650bhp driving through an electronically-controlled all wheel drive system.
Performance? 320 km/h top speed and 0-100km/h in a staggering 3.6 seconds, even in the wet. The list of the Porsche 959's achievements could go on and on. It is sufficient to reiterate only that it was a tour de force in any number of areas and was the first of a new breed of ultra high performance supercar.
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