A most extraordinary pit stop: Nick Heidfeld’s 959 S visits Porsche Classic

Whether for its sheer horsepower, acceleration, top speed or original list price – car enthusiasts of the 1980s and 90s will certainly remember the Porsche 959 as the trump card of its time. A super sports car with a top speed of 315 km/h, just 292 examples were produced by Porsche. Former racing driver Nick Heidfeld owns the even rarer Sport version, of which only 29 were built. It’s more powerful, boasts 515 PS and reaches a top speed of 339 km/h. And this collector’s item has another record-breaking string to its bow as well: low mileage. Heidfeld’s 959 S had just 4,183 kilometres on the odometer when he took it to Porsche Classic in the summer of 2017.

Although barely broken-in, this 959 was already in need of an extensive technical overhaul: “If such a technologically innovative car is not driven regularly, storage damage is, unfortunately, unavoidable,” says Uwe Makrutzki, Head of Factory Restoration at Porsche Classic. “The powertrain and chassis have to be overhauled in their entirety; experience has shown that any reduction to the scope of work leads to problems down the road.”

Like all owners of a classic Porsche, those with a 959 in their garage benefit from the unique expertise and equipment of this fully integrated department of the company: when production of the super sports car came to an end, Porsche Classic took ownership of all the testing and restoration tools from all areas of the factory. Added to that is a great deal of experience with this rare model: “Almost all 959s have been with us at least once in their life,” says Makrutzki. “So we have had a lot of practice. Thanks to the highly complex technology, however, a 959 overhaul is always a very special and wonderful mission.”

In the case of Heidfeld’s 959 S, the diagnosis revealed, among other things, that the engine management system had been modified. In consultation with the owner, Porsche Classic staff restored the Motronic unit to its original condition.

The former Formula One driver’s 959 S was then ready to hit the road again in December 2021. Heidfeld: “I’ve had the privilege of driving many high-performance cars, but driving this high-tech legend is something special for me. I was a teenage car fan in the late 1980s, and to me this Porsche was always extraordinary. At the time, the 959 was the fastest production car in the world and by far the most advanced. So even today, it doesn’t drive like a 30-year-old car, but like a much more modern vehicle.”

To ensure the repair is a long-term success, Makrutzki advises regular outings: “Covering around 100 kilometres in mixed operation at least once a month provides protection from damage due to standing still. That’s also what the feedback from our customers has shown.”

The now restored 959 S was originally built to the following specification in 1987:

Most Popular


More Articles Like This