Porsche’s desert-racing 959 heads to auction for the first time ever

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Of all rear-engine Porsches that were spawned from the 911, the 959 is perhaps the most coveted. It also served a pivotal role in the evolution of the 911, as the AWD system developed for the 959 was the genesis for the 911 Turbo models that would follow. But before the production 959 would hit the street and set the bar for supercars, it would first try its luck in one of the most grueling off-road races on Earth, the Paris-Dakar Rally.

In 1984, René Metge and Dominique Lemoyne won the Rally in a modified 953. The following year they raced the car up for bid, a 1985 model 959, although they failed to repeat their success after an oil system failure. Porsche returned the following year, however, and captured first and second place in AWD 959s.

Unlike the later production models, which famously featured a pair of turbos, the rally-going 959s used naturally aspirated 3.2-liter flat sixes that produced 232 horsepower.

This historic 959 will be among many fabled racing Porsches auctioned at the brand’s 70th anniversary sale at the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta on October 27. It’s one of only a handful of remaining 959s and will be the first to ever cross an auction block. Road-going versions of the 959 can be worth $2 million, and this racing legend has the potential to bring even more.

If you can’t make the Atlanta auction or, like us, don’t have the funds to bid yourself, another 1985 Dakar Rally racer, the 959 assembled immediately before the auction car, is on display currently in the Petersen Automotive Museum.

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