Gear: New Paris-Dakar Porsche 959 Posters From INK Have Been Added To The Shop

New Paris-Dakar Porsche 959 Posters From INK Have Been Added To The Shop

By Alex Sobran
November 16, 2017

Find all three of the Dakar 959 and more from our collection of posters from INK, here in the Petrolicious Shop

The Porsche 959 was built for a number of reasons. Its predominant purpose though was to push the limits of Porsche’s rear-engine configuration, stacking all the innovations Porsche engineers could muster within four wheels. The end result was a technological titan with a Moby Dick-derived twin-turbo that sent 444hp through four drive wheels. It could automatically adjust the distribution of torque depending on the conditions, and it would also change its ride height to adapt without driver input. It was simply, a feat—Porsche had turned their sports car into a super car.

Before we had commercials for Cayenne lease plans, Porsche mostly relied on their motorsport success to do their advertising for them—when you’re winning so often, you don’t need to pay much extra for people to learn your name. That was not their motivation in the case of the 959 though, for even today the reasons to go racing extend further than commercial considerations alone, and Porsche was no different in this regard. Racing was closely tied to the development of the company’s road cars (more so than most), and so Porsche’s lead engineer at the time, Helmuth Bott, proposed that the 959 he was developing should also go racing to test its systems. It was going to be all-wheel drive, so rallying looked like an appropriate arena in which to hone and learn.

However, the Porsche was never intended to be a downright contender like the Audis and Lancias of the early-to-mid-’80s (rather it would be a program of development for the car, and when Porsche began with the idea, Group B was not yet more or less exclusively for rally cars). They didn’t think they would win, but they were serious about making the 959 a capable machine, and it showed. Construction was a mixture of lightweight materials like aluminum and Kevlar, the PSK all-wheel drive system was pioneering the idea of a car that could adapt on the fly, and its trick water-and-air-cooled twin-turbo flat-six could send the whole package up to speeds knocking on the doors of 200mph. It was a marvel in just about every aspect, from aerodynamics to sequential turbocharging.

A supercar laden with so many intricacies and so much interplay between them doesn’t scream rugged and robust, but it didn’t dissuade Stuttgart from sending them out into the Paris-Dakar. At first it was simply a 911 modified to 959 specifications in 1984 (homologation requirements were not met for the 959 proper), and then in the following year the 959 was ready, but both examples entered failed to finish the race. In 1986 the car would prove itself though, and in the car category it finished 1st and 2nd.

It’s a concept that is highly unlikely to see a successor, from any manufacturer. The business of jacking up flagship supercars on knobby tires to be sent out into the desert is more like Mad Max than real life, and to celebrate this wild ephemeral car, INK has given it their beautiful body-in-white treatment. I’ve said it before: these prints are leagues away from the “car art” that fills garage walls with big logos and general in-your-face-ness. INK’s work is the opposite in that the cars are allowed to stand on their own merits (literally, no graphics, no action shots, nothing but the machine matters), and they wouldn’t cause anyone to bat an eye should they see it hanging in your living room.

The idea of keeping the cars free of livery not only contributes to the cleanliness of the presentation, but it invokes that same wonder of our early childhood posters ripped from magazine centers; to see a car as a blank slate lets you fill in the experience exactly as you like. There is no paint scheme to tell you who drove this car or where or when, instead it’s more like an extra from the factory, a brand new Dakar-spec 959 that you can add your name to the roof of. It becomes yours.

Find all three of the Dakar 959 and more from our collection of posters from INK, here in the Petrolicious Shop


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