The world of rally racing has given the automotive industry some of its most prized possessions. And at the end of October in Atlanta, Georgia, one lucky collector will take home possibly the most valuable rally car ever made, or sold at auction.
RM Sotheby’s has teamed up with the Porsche Experience Center Atlanta to host the Porsche 70th Anniversary Sale, which is set to be headlined by the world’s first 1985 Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar rally car to ever be sold at auction. Fully decked out in iconic Rothman’s livery, with a competition-prepped and stripped interior, the car was built from the ground up with the intention of winning the grueling African race.
Porsche built the rally-spec 959 with the hopes that the highly modified, yet still clearly 911-based, cars would bring the German manufacturer further success in the world of rally racing following Jackie Ickx’s Paris-Dakar 1984 sixth-place finish at the helm of a modified Type 953 911. By 1986, the 959’s capabilities were on clear display, as three finished the race with a remarkable 1-2-6 finish — though, the car being auctioned is not one of those three.
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Porsche later homologated the 959, though less than 350 road-going examples were built in total. The model offered Porsche a chance to preview exactly how radical the 911 could become, and at the time was the world’s fastest production vehicle, and arguably the world’s most technologically advanced. Motivation came from a twin-turbocharged 2.8-liter flat six engine hanging behind the rear axle and producing 450 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. All that grunt was routed to all four wheels, a setup that would eventually become standard on Porsche’s 911 Turbo lineup.
Though this chassis, number 010015, did not actually complete the Paris-Dakar race, it still offers a potential buyer the opportunity to own a major piece of rally, Porsche, and automotive history (don’t hold the DNF against it, 406 out of the 552 entrants for 1985 failed to finish the race, including all three 959s).
Estimates place the car’s value in the $2.5 million dollar range. Here’s hoping the future owner actually flogs it around dirt roads, rather than relegating it to the cold confines of a temperature-regulated garage.