Despite there being only a handful of models in the Porsche lineup—past and present—there are many models that over the years have become iconic on the street and on the track. However, some have achieved almost mythical status in the realm of historic machinery, such as the 911 Strassenversion, 911 993 GT2, 919 Hybrid Evo, and of course, likely the most photogenic and adventurous of all, the 959 Paris-Dakar (which shouldn't be confused with the new 911 Dakar). And now, you get to see one be painstakingly disassembled piece by piece, exposing some of its most intricate bits.
The machine recently featured on Porsche's YouTube channel is a race-driven 959 rally car, which Museum workshop boss Kuno Werner claims will undergo a detailed restoration. Don't dismay, however, as Porsche will leave most of its character untouched, focusing mostly on mechanicals and leaving its dirt and damage as-is for everyone to admire.
This specific unit was driven by Jacky Ickx—six-time Le Mans winner and a downright legend in Formula 1—back in the 1986 Paris-Dakar rally. It's got 18,000 kilometers on the clock, or 11,000 miles if you prefer imperial. As Werner points out in the video, this is a bit more than the length of the race (8,700 miles), given that the engine saw plenty of testing and other action between rally stages.
Seeing a 959 Paris-Dakar have layers of protective bodywork peeled like an onion is mesmerizing, revealing what truly advanced engineering looked like back in the '80s. Compared to modern race cars, this rally star looks like it could've been assembled in an amateur engineer's garage, but this stuff was truly top-notch back in the day.
Once the body panels are off, the desert racer looks like a Ninja Turtle without its shell. It's a bit comical how such a mean machine can look less-than-threatening without its colorful bodywork.
But not everything looks funny or basic, of course, because by the time Werner gets around to the rear, the level of skill required to stuff the turbocharged, 394-horsepower engine and its beefed-up rally-spec components is wild. Some of the components are the same or very similar to the road-going 959, while others had to be completely redesigned to endure the extremes of the Paris-Dakar.
The eight-minute video goes into great detail about the car's history, how specific components played a crucial role in the car's success (this model never won but did finish in second place), and the process that it's about to go through.
Got a tip? Email us at [email protected]