Porsche recommissions Paris-Dakar 959 driven by Ickx and Brasseur

Porsche recommissions Paris-Dakar 959 driven by Ickx and Brasseur

A car capable of surviving 14,000 kilometres in the deserts and savannahs of Africa can go anywhere in the world, right?! The Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar mastered the gruelling rally from France to West Africa in 1986. The Porsche, in which Jacky Ickx and Claude Brasseur finished second behind the winning French team of René Metge and Dominique Lemoyne (in an identical car) is now ready to by driven once again. The recommissioning has been carried out over the past few months by the Porsche Heritage and Museum team, together with colleagues from Porsche Classic. The multi-part 959 Paris-Dakar documentary posted to the Porsche YouTube channel offers exciting insights into the recommissioning process.

The starting line-up of the 1986 Paris-Dakar Rally was dominated by trucks and all-terrain vehicles. The trio of entered 959s therefore stood out, but even the third 959, entered as a service support mule and driven by project manager, Roland Kussmaul, and the team’s race engineer, Wolf-Hendrik Unger, achieved a sixth place finish. To this day, the Porsche Museum has preserved the trio as part of its collection. “The winning car remains untouched and we keep it in a kind of time capsule, so to speak, with all of the physical traces of the rally preserved for as long as possible,” explains Kuno Werner, Head of the Museum Workshop. Not so for the Ickx/Brasseur 959, which is now ready to ride again.


During the car’s disassembly, the team discovered sand and dirt from the African desert — following return to Zuffenhausen from the rally all those years ago, the body and mechanical parts had never been separated. “We found evidence the car had experienced water in its interior, a consequence of driving across rivers,” says Werner. Small areas of corrosion where the Kevlar body parts ground against the metal frame as a consequence of the physical pressures of high-speed rally driving were conserved (rather than repaired) in order to preserve the history of the car. “We even left cable ties exactly where they were fitted during testing of the original parts in period,” Werner reveals. “After all, this special Porsche’s appearance cannot be recreated.”

Porsche recommissions Paris-Dakar 959 driven by Ickx and Brasseu

Gearbox expert, Klaus Kariegus, is a fan of the retained African dust and the authenticity it represents. “This car has proven its quality and durability. Even sand and dust from hard racing use could not harm the mechanicals. Extremely high-quality materials were used in the construction of the 959 Paris-Dakar,” he tells us. “Only by keeping the dirt and damage experienced during the rally in 1986 can we tell authentically tell this Porsche’s story and preserve it for future generations.”

The Porsche Heritage team invited Jacky Ickx to the car’s reveal following its “gentle overhaul”. Ickx had the honour of being the first non-staff member to drive the recommissioned Porsche. “Memories from the race immediately came flooding back,” he says. “The event team numbered just eighteen people. The rally was an unbelievable challenge for all of us, but also the perfect testing ground for Porsche’s all-wheel drive system. Nobody expected the level of success we achieved.” By the time this issue of Classic Porsche hits newsstands, all episodes of 959 Paris-Dakar will have been posted to the Porsche YouTube channel, where you can also enjoy preview films of the new 992 Dakar.

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