An ultra-rare Porsche desert raider is ready for a new home, reports Simon De Burton
Anyone who attended this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed and watched one of the regular Porsche parades – held throughout the weekend in celebration of the marque’s 70th anniversary – probably enjoyed the rare sight of a Group B 959 Paris-Dakar rally car growling up the hill.
Even rarer is the opportunity to own one, but just such a chance will arrive in October at RM Sotheby’s in Blenheim, Ontario, when one of the six cars built crosses the block in a special Porsche-themed auction – with a pre-sale estimate of $3-3.4m.
One of the five surviving examples, and believed to be one of no more than three currently in private hands, chassis 010015 was shared in the 1985 Paris-Dakar by three-time winner René Metge and co-driver Dominique Lemoyne under race number 186.
Of the 552 entries that year, only 146 completed the famously gruelling 8750-mile route – but this car wasn’t among them. It was forced to retire with a broken oil line, while the other two 959s retired due to accidents in a race that, while disappointing, undoubtedly taught Porsche’s motor sport division some valuable lessons which it put to use in the following year’s Paris-Dakar to clinch a famous one-two victory and take sixth with the third team car.
The car on offer was once owned by Jacky Ickx – winner of the 1983 race in a Mercedes G Wagen – who was instrumental in Porsche’s Paris-Dakar campaigns. More recently it has been part of a private collection and, until a decade ago, was seen regularly at the world’s major classic car events such as the Festival of Speed and The Quail, where it won best in class in 2008.
Strictly speaking, none of the Porsche Paris-Dakar cars were true 959s, but ‘mongrel’ creations that combined a normally aspirated Carrera 3.2 engine with the usually twin-turbocharged, 444bhp 959’s bulging wheel arches and extended tail and a version of its four-wheel-drive system.
RM Sotheby’s says that, while this example is being offered in the same, original condition in which it bowed out of the 1985 race, it will be recommissioned prior to sale and be supplied to the winning bidder in up-and-running competition shape.
It should make for an interesting lot – not least since a Paris-Dakar 959 has never before been offered for sale at auction.
Fans of the 959 road cars, meanwhile, can bid for what could be the only running example of the 12 ‘F’ series prototypes built. This one, F7, has been in the same ownership for 15-plus years and was originally used for hot-weather testing in locations as far afield as California and Australia. Finished in its original Ruby Red paint with ‘triple silver’ interior, the car still sports its hollow magnesium prototype wheels (in pearlescent white), early-type rear wing and left-hand-drive prototype lights. A price of around $1.3-1.6m is anticipated.
For a full list of upcoming auction dates go to www.motorsportmagazine.com/news/auctions
Three auction lots worth watching
September 5. Battersea, London, UK
This was the last kart Ayrton Senna ever drove. The consignor is a former racing driver and a friend of Senna, who got behind the wheel of this Riomark Kart Mini in March 1994 in São Paulo for a few laps. Video footage of him driving the kart is included. Ten per cent of the proceeds go to Instituto Ayrton Senna, benefiting education in Brazil.
September 8. Chichester, Goodwood, UK
Her Majesty and the royal household used this 1953 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV for 40 years. One of only 18 built, Rolls-Royce commissioned this landaulette to celebrate its own Golden Jubilee, and it was used by the royal family in the UK and on overseas tours. It’s now estimated to fetch £1-2m. Also offered at the Revival are numberplates ‘RR1’ and ‘RRM1’.
October 17. Imperial War Museum, Duxford, UK
This 4½-litre was owned by ‘Bentley Boy’ Woolf Barnato, who was described as the ‘best British driver of his day’ by W O Bentley himself. Barnato owned the prototype 4½-litre Bentley (nicknamed ‘Old Mother Gun’) and this one, which has been rebodied in the style of the car he used to win the 1928 Le Mans 24 Hours.