Sometimes it is necessary to make a statement to the world. Only a few times in history has an automaker given their engineers a blank check. Without regard to costs or profitability, Porsche’s Chief Engineer Helmuth Bott decided to build his final masterpiece: the 1988 Porsche 959.
Being the chief since 1955, the Porsche 911 was his life’s work. In the 80s, the brand was riding high on the successes of the 928 and the 944. This left many to wonder how much life the 911 series had left. Petrolicious decided to interview our friend Bruce Canepa, who is an encyclopedia of Porsche performance.
His shop is located in Scotts Valley, which is home to some of the best drives in the US. The Redwood forests share a striking resemblance to the Forest Moon of Endor, what a perfect location to drive a car from the future. Bruce says it was Helmuth’s intention to show the world what the Porsche 911 would be in two decades. The air-cooled flat-six gained water-cooled cylinder heads, two turbos, and a six-speed manual transmission.
In addition to being the first true supercar, Porsche used it to homologate their Group B race cars. Only 300 examples were built, and they lost money on each one. Instead of being built at Stuttgart factory, Porsche master technicians assembled each car by hand at Bauer, a low volume coachbuilder. Since the cars were so revolutionary, they chose to forego the extensive crash testing required for sales in the US.
Bruce took it upon himself to speak for all of us. He went to Washington DC to voice the opinions of car enthusiasts across the nation. It took a few years, but he and his team were responsible for the “Show & Display” law that allows us to enjoy cars that were never destined to be sold here. His efforts have saved countless Skylines, Defenders, and even Trabants from the crusher. As always, Petrolicious does it better than we ever could, so tell us your favorite classic 911 story in the comments below and stay with us for more great Petrolicious films.
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