With the recent instalment of the famed Dakar desert race and Porsche’s release of its all-new 911 Dakar, it makes sense that the German automaker would give the original iconic Porsche 959 Paris Dakar model a nut and bolt restoration by the Porsche Heritage Museum. There are two of these iconic desert racecars, the one originally driven by Jacky Ickx and Claude Brasseur that finished second behind the winning French team of René Metge and Dominique Lemoyne. That winning car isn’t destined for the same fate though, that specific car will forever remain in its original race trim as seen in the 1986 race. The restoration process of this second team car can be seen as a multi-part documentary called 959 Paris-Dakar on the Porsche YouTube channel and will show all the interesting and exciting behind-the-scenes work going into this amazing project. There is a third team car too, but there’s no word on the plans for that one as yet, but it will be preserved along with the other two in the Porsche Museum. “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.
Overhaul: telling the story of the car authentically
Overhaul: telling the story of the car authentically“We want to keep the original condition and only lightly overhaul the car while eliminating any technical flaws,” says Werner. Because the second-placed car from 1986 was still in very good shape, those responsible for the recommissioning managed to replace as little as possible while keeping the maximum number of original parts. “The 959 Paris-Dakar is a prototype, one of the reasons why its recommissioning is such an emotionally charged affair,” says Uwe Makrutzki, Head of Porsche Classic factory restoration. “In 1986 the car faced a challenge, and now we faced another one.” The teams of Makrutzki and Werner worked hand-in-hand and discussed everything in great detail. Porsche Classic dismantled, overhauled and reassembled the engine, gearbox and drivetrain for the project. All the parts showed little or no damage. “The car was in very good condition, with no major defects or corrosion. As with any restoration with the specific mission of preserving as much substance as possible, the team looked at each part individually and made partial repairs where this was unavoidable. Many of the original parts had near-series production prototype status,” Werner concludes.
To tell the story from 1986, Porsche Heritage and Museum team invited Jacky Ickx to the car’s reveal following the subtle overhaul, allowing him to be the first person to drive the recommissioned car in a stone quarry. “In the car, the memories came back to me immediately as I remembered the people who made it all possible back then,” he says. The team spirit was strong and made no small contribution to the success that followed. “Everyone wanted to drive the car on the road. Then Porsche decided to enter the 959 in a rally in the desert. It’s fantastic that I get to be a part of this story,” says Ickx. The rally was an unbelievable challenge and also the perfect testing ground for all-wheel drive. Nobody expected this success from him and his rally team. “The desert is like the ocean – no two sand dunes and no two waves are the same,” he finished.
Take a look at the YouTube video that will form part of a complete series documenting the ground-up restoration of Porsche's iconic 969 Paris Dakar from 1986, likely spurred on by the all-new 911 Dakar that recently broke ground: The Porsche 959 Paris Dakar: the restoration begins | Porsche
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