Hadn’t Bill Gates not have been so enamoured with the Porsche 959, it might not have ever made it to the U.S.
Philanthropist, pioneer and billionaire, Bill Gates is one of the world’s most brilliant human beings. On top of innovating computer software, making it the daily essential it is today, Gates has donated billions of dollars of his wealth to charity, pledging his life not only to his empire, Microsoft, but into making a difference in the world’s never-ending, dire reality of poverty. He is a man who hardly needs an introduction as all of this information is well known.
But what isn’t as well known, is Gate’s love for Porsches and for many Porsche nuts, Gates included, the 1986 959 holds a special place in their hearts. However those ‘nuts’ might not be aware that Gates made an important contribution to the 959’s existence in America.
The 959 belong in the list of truly great cars of the 80’s era. Many Porsche enthusiasts tried vehemently to import the revered cars to America but to no avail, since every 959 that entered the country were impounded as they did not meet American regulation standards. Bill Gates was perhaps the car’s biggest fan and fought tirelessly to change the law that would allow them to be imported, for which he was eventually successful. The result brought the prestigious 959 to American roads and whether it was intentionally altruistic or not, Porsche aficionados will be eternally grateful to him.
When the Porsche 959 was released in 1986, it had enthusiasts licking their chops. This car has always been highly thought of and at the time was greatly sought after, not least because the American restriction on the car added to the car’s mystique and allure. In fact, it is safe to say that the 959 is close to the top of the most popular Porsches ever. There is a good reason for this though because the 959 was arguably the best car in the world at that time, when considering its technological capabilities. This car was a game changer.
It was certainly influenced by the 911, using it as a template, but that was all that it was. The 959 was extremely technologically advanced with its electronic all-wheel drive and computer system. The 2.9 litre, air and water cooled, turbo-charged engine produced a whopping 444 horsepower. The double cooling system was unique and highly efficient at cooling the engine. The materials used for it were also state-of-the-art giving rise to an extremely light engine.
It was also the first car ever to use tyre pressure sensors, adjustable suspension, magnesium wheels and 6-speed manual transmission. All this was very revolutionary for a production car. The result was that in 1986, the 959 was the world’s fastest road-going car, with a top speed of 313 km/h. This was an extremely fast car for its time.
Porsche hit the nail on the head with this car, everything about it was spectacular, from its style to its performance. And many supercar manufacturers agreed, as this car would serve as a blueprint for years to come in supercar production. The inception of the 959 truly was a watershed moment in the automobile history with its revolutionary technology and capabilities
When these cars finally came to America, they were very expensive, costing around $225,000 but their price now will set you back you a lot more than that! Last year, a 1988 959 sold for a staggering $1.5 million, and this is for a car that was produced over 30 years ago!. Then again, there were only 337 were ever made which makes it extremely rare, but combine that rarity with the breathtaking performance and this car is worth every penny.
It was cars like the 959 that cemented Porsche’s reputation as a high performance car manufacturer, and the 959 might have been their finest hour. Car lovers around the world then can thank Porsche for its contribution to production supercars that we benefit from today. American Porsche lovers though, can thank Bill Gates for the mythical presence of this car on American roads.