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The Don Davis Collection | Lot 147

1988 Porsche 959 'Komfort'

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$770,000 USD | Sold

United States | Fort Worth, Texas

27 April 2013


Chassis No.
WP0ZZZ95ZJS900143
  • One of the most important Porsches; a technological tour de force
  • Extremely rare in the United States
  • Acquired from and fully serviced by Canepa Design
  • Excellent overall condition, with 17,727 km from new
  • Porsche Certificate of Authenticity

450 bhp, 2849 cc rear-mounted, air- and liquid-cooled, horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engine with twin two-stage turbochargers and intercooling, six-speed manual transmission, four-wheel drive, independent double wishbone front and rear suspension with electronically adjustable ride height and shock absorber control, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes with ventilated rotors. Wheelbase: 89.4 in.

If a company today built a car that could achieve 198 mph and accelerate from 0–60 mph in only 3.6 seconds, it would be something incredible and carry tremendous bragging rights. One imagines that the engineers at Porsche would simply take one look at it, yawn, and go back to work. After all, they turned out a car that could do all that over a quarter century ago. It was called the 959, and it turned the sports car world on its head.

Originally developed for the short-lived Group B rally program, the 959 boasted space shuttle levels of technological sophistication never before seen on a racing car. The body construction incorporated DuPont Kevlar aramid fibers, a polyurethane nose cap, and aluminum doors and front lid, for Formula One-like toughness and lightness. The suspension boasted three adjustable ride-height settings, as well as three dampening settings for the shock absorbers. The sophisticated antilock braking system was controlled by high-speed microprocessors, augmented by run-flat Bridgestone tires. The engine featured six individually water-cooled cylinder heads, twin sequential turbochargers, and intercooling, sending 450 brake horsepower at 6,500 rpm to all four wheels through an electronically-controlled all-wheel drive system.

All of this resulted in performance that, as the old saying goes, shocked friends and terrified enemies.

First, though, one had to acquire a 959, which was not easy. Even at $300,000 each, the factory had a waiting list and lost money on every one of the 283s built, earning the model its nickname of “Porsche’s gift to its favorite customers.” It was such a desirable acquisition that even United States collectors, who could not legally import the cars, sought to do so anyway, leading to a “grey market” for 959s in the United States. The Show and Display law of 1999, championed by Porsche legend Bruce Canepa, finally allowed 959s to be legally imported.

An original German-delivery car, Don Davis’ 959 ‘Komfort’ was acquired through Canepa Design, where it was extensively serviced in early-2012, with all fluids changed, wheels refinished, chassis aligned, and all systems properly checked, in addition to a full detailing. “Stock,” as a Porsche aficionado would want it, it still wears its original Graphite Metallic over a complementary Dark Grey Metallic leather interior, and with just over 17,000 actual kilometers, it shows very little wear and is clean and well-presented throughout—not only on the visible surfaces, but also under the hood and underneath the car. Even the carpets remain in excellent condition under their plastic covers. Opening the front lid reveals all of the original factory accessories that one would hope to find, including a complete tool kit, jack, and small air compressor. The car was accessorized when new with heated sport seats with electronic height adjustment, an alarm system, and Bridgestone tires, and it comes complete with a list of services performed by Canepa and its Porsche Certificate of Authenticity.

In a collection that includes so many of the great performance cars of the last 30 years, and in particular a bevy of fine Porsches, this 959 stands out. Dark and menacing, it seems to know exactly what it is capable of, and 25 years later, it is more than ready to show any modern pretender to its throne exactly what it can do.

Please note that this car was imported to the United States under the Show and Display waiver. As such, it cannot be registered for the street in California unless it is made emissions compliant.

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