Relive the 1985 Paris-Dakar Rally With René Metge’s Porsche 959

Car Culture 16 October 17, 2018 by

In previous Wants, we’ve covered some of the greats from Group B. These include the Peugeot 205 T16 and the Toyota 222D. Now joining that list is another legendary rally machine, the Porsche 959 Paris Dakar.

The story of the 959 Paris-Dakar entry actually starts in 1984, a year before it ran the event. For that year’s rally, Porsche rolled out the 953 thanks to the help of Jacky Ickx.

This short-lived, 911 4×4 was fairly complex. It came with manual four-wheel drive and long travel suspension — all things not very 911-like. It did use the 3.2-liter flat-six from the Carrera though.

The combination worked with all three entries finishing. The 953 driven by René Metge and Dominique Lemoyne took the overall win in 1984. Ickx and co-driver Claude Brasseur took home sixth place as well. Finally, bring up the rear was the “service car” driven by Roland Kussmaul and Erich Lerner came in 26th.

Any vehicle completing such a grueling race is an accomplishment. But to have three, brand new vehicles do it is remarkable.

Coming off the win in 1984, Porsche then looked to the future of the event. It needed something better to take on the sands of Africa. This is where the 959 comes in.

For the 1985 Paris-Dakar Rally, Porsche entered three 959s into the event. With their kevlar bodywork and trick AWD system, Porsche had high hopes entering the rally.

To accommodate the fuel quality in North Africa the 3.2-liter flat-six once again made an appearance. This made just 230hp, down from the 444 ponies the 959’s twin-turbo 2.8-liter engine would eventually make.

Unfortunately, during the 1985 race, Porsche couldn’t repeat its previous year’s success. All three of its vehicles dropped out, either due to accidents or mechanical failures. However, it did have glimmers of hope. Both Ickx and Metge secured stage wins during their runs.

Thankfully, in 1986, Porsche would come back to the event with a vengeance. During that rally, the 959s would earn a 1-2 finish at the hands of Metge and Ickx.

The subject of this week’s Want is from the less-fortunate year though.

Offered up through RM Sotheby’s at its upcoming Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction, it’s a 100% original racecar.

It bears chassis number 010015, which links it to the 1984 winners Metge and Lemoyne. However, it also has a connection to Ickx as well. He previously owned this very vehicle and drove it at the Goodwood Festival of Speed from 2004-2006.

It’s also incredibly rare with just five of the six examples built still in existence. Three of those five are in private collections as well, making this even more of a treat to see cross the auction block.

Since it’s rare and comes with a connection to three famous drivers, the estimate is anything but cheap. As of right now, RM Sotheby’s puts it somewhere between $3,000,000 – $3,400,000. This is up from its pre-sale value that originally put the 959 between $1,300,000 – $1,600,000.

If you’re interested in trying to acquire this rally legend, the auction is October 27 at the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

Thankfully, if you want a cheaper and easier way to get your hands on one you can just fire up Forza Horizon 4. While not exactly the same car — the one in the game is #185 while this is #186 — it’s really close. So channel your inner Ickx and blast through the snow-covered hills of the UK.

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