Nissan's unique role in the history of a Porsche 959 heading to auction

Jet Sanchez
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Canepa's Porsche 959

Canepa's Porsche 959

Porsche's 959 is often hailed as a marvel of automotive engineering, but its influence extends beyond its own legacy.

In a fascinating turn of events, a unique 959 that played a pivotal role in the development of Nissan's acclaimed R32 Skyline GT-R is set to be auctioned, promising to fetch a staggering sum.

Nissan's ingenious use of the Porsche 959

Canepa Porsche 959

The story of this Porsche 959 is as fascinating as it is unexpected. 

In the late 1980s, Nissan purchased this very car to reverse engineer and study its advanced all-wheel drive system. This wasn't a straightforward transaction, as Porsche reportedly tried to block the sale. 

Nevertheless, Nissan's persistence paid off, and what they learned from the 959 significantly influenced the all-wheel drive system of the legendary R32 Skyline GT-R.

Canepa Porsche 959

After Nissan had finished reassembling the 959 and was effectively finished with the car, an in-house Nissan engineer who was associated with the development of the Nissan 350Z purchased the car in the late 1990s and stored it in his home garage as custodian for at least five years, driving a very cheap and cheerful Nissan Cedric as his work commuter. 

The 959's journey from Japan to Canepa in California in 2019 is undocumented.

Canepa's transformation of the iconic 959

Canepa Porsche 959

In 2019, Canepa, a renowned automotive restoration and modification company, acquired this Porsche 959. 

Over four years, they dedicated more than 4000 hours and US$950,000 (around NZ$1.5 million) to painstakingly restore and upgrade the vehicle. 

The original Polar Silver exterior was replaced with an exquisite Oak Green, and the interior was refurbished with a tobacco brown scheme, deviating from its 1988 appearance but enhancing its aesthetic appeal.

Under the bonnet, Canepa performed significant upgrades to the 2.8-litre twin-turbo six-cylinder engine.

Canepa Porsche 959

Modifications include titanium connecting rods, an upgraded valvetrain assembly, enhanced camshafts, and tungsten ceramic-coated headers. 

These enhancements have skyrocketed the car's performance, pushing it to over 600kW and 881Nm of torque. 

This reimagined 959 now boasts a blistering 0 to 100 km/h time of 2.5 seconds and can exceed speeds of 370 km/h.

A collector's dream at auction

Canepa Porsche 959

This one-of-a-kind Porsche 959, a fusion of German engineering and Japanese ingenuity, is set to go under the hammer, brought by Broad Arrow Auctions to the Amelia Island Auction in Florida from 29 February to 2 March.

Experts estimate its value to be between US$3.25 million to $3.75 million (NZ$5.25 million to $6 million), given its unique history and extensive upgrades.

Enthusiasts and collectors will recognise not only the inherent value of a Porsche 959 but also the added historical significance of this particular model's contribution to the development of one of Nissan's most revered vehicles. 


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