At the time of its release, the Porsche 959 was the fastest production car on the road. The progressive 959 trumpeted a top speed of 197 mph and could scoot to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. Limited to 345 examples, including eight built from a surplus of parts, the 959 would become the first modern Porsche supercar, later succeeded by the Carrera GT and 918 Spyder.
Out of the total run of 959s constructed between the eighties and early nineties, 37 were a combination of prototypes and pre-production models. The 959 prototype you are viewing here, of which Porsche built only 12, belongs to the F-Series group of early development cars. In the 959 production timeline, F-Series prototypes came before the V-Series pre-production models and the nearer-production N-Series pilot vehicles.
This F-Series example is one of two painted Ruby Red and the seventh prototype produced, making it the “F7.” Whereas the F7 featured more recognizable Porsche 959 design elements, the F2, also finished in Ruby Red, lacked air intakes in the rear arches due to earlier body specifications. Compared to production 959s, a list of items this prototype does not have include power steering, adjustable ride height control, a right-hand side mirror, and white magnesium wheels.
Porsche engineers used the F7 exhaustively for evaluating electrical systems and testing in hot weather on the West Coast and throughout Europe. Within the same period, Porsche installed various interior configurations, including swapping out seats and changing the upholstery. While testing in the U.S., it had a Kodak moment beside a 911 with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, a photo published in Porsche 959: Birth of a Legend by Jürgen Lewandowski.
Upon finishing the test phase, the F7 returned to Stuttgart, where it was re-trimmed and bought outright from Porsche by notable collector and race car driver Vasek Polak. Initially, Porsche did not want to sell the car unless Polak would fully restore and rebuild it to production specification. Polak refused to alter the F7’s original work and instead agreed not to sell, race, or register the car road use.
Acquiring it for display purposes only, Polak had the F7 shipped to the U.S. in 1988, where it went on view at his headquarters. Subsequently, the F7 headed to Japan as part of an exhibit in the Matsuda collection before being sold from Polak’s estate in 1997, ultimately reverting to Europe. Most recently, the F7 underwent significant service at Porsche Center Reading in the U.K., a factory-certified 959, GT1, Carrera GT, and 918 Spyder service center.
Porsche orders most prototypes destroyed after testing is complete. The F7, however, managed to escape the crusher, which is why its survival is especially remarkable. Approximately one-third of the F-Series prototypes have likely survived, with the F7 considered the only running example you can drive in existence.
Today, the legendary 959 is a highly sought-after sports car that claims anywhere in the range of $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 at auction. We anticipate a similar outcome for the rare Ruby Red F7 prototype currently up for sale on Piston Heads.
Photography courtesy of Piston Heads
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