The Don Davis Collection

27 April 2013

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Lot 147

1988 Porsche 959 'Komfort'

  • Chassis no. WP0ZZZ95ZJS900143

Sold for $770,000

450 bhp, 2849 cc rear-mounted, air- and liquid-cooled, horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engine with twin two-stage turbochargers and intercooling, six-speed manual transmission, four-wheel drive, independent double wishbone front and rear suspension with electronically adjustable ride height and shock absorber control, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes with ventilated rotors. Wheelbase: 89.4 in.

  • One of the most important Porsches; a technological tour de force
  • Extremely rare in the United States
  • Acquired from and fully serviced by Canepa Design
  • Excellent overall condition, with 17,727 km from new
  • Porsche Certificate of Authenticity

If a company today built a car that could achieve 198 mph and accelerate from 0–60 mph in only 3.6 seconds, it would be something incredible and carry tremendous bragging rights. One imagines that the engineers at Porsche would simply take one look at it, yawn, and go back to work. After all, they turned out a car that could do all that over a quarter century ago. It was called the 959, and it turned the sports car world on its head.

Originally developed for the short-lived Group B rally program, the 959 boasted space shuttle levels of technological sophistication never before seen on a racing car. The body construction incorporated DuPont Kevlar aramid fibers, a polyurethane nose cap, and aluminum doors and front lid, for Formula One-like toughness and lightness. The suspension boasted three adjustable ride-height settings, as well as three dampening settings for the shock absorbers. The sophisticated antilock braking system was controlled by high-speed microprocessors, augmented by run-flat Bridgestone tires. The engine featured six individually water-cooled cylinder heads, twin sequential turbochargers, and intercooling, sending 450 brake horsepower at 6,500 rpm to all four wheels through an electronically-controlled all-wheel drive system.

All of this resulted in performance that, as the old saying goes, shocked friends and terrified enemies.

First, though, one had to acquire a 959, which was not easy. Even at $300,000 each, the factory had a waiting list and lost money on every one of the 283s built, earning the model its nickname of “Porsche’s gift to its favorite customers.” It was such a desirable acquisition that even United States collectors, who could not legally import the cars, sought to do so anyway, leading to a “grey market” for 959s in the United States. The Show and Display law of 1999, championed by Porsche legend Bruce Canepa, finally allowed 959s to be legally imported.

An original German-delivery car, Don Davis’ 959 ‘Komfort’ was acquired through Canepa Design, where it was extensively serviced in early-2012, with all fluids changed, wheels refinished, chassis aligned, and all systems properly checked, in addition to a full detailing. “Stock,” as a Porsche aficionado would want it, it still wears its original Graphite Metallic over a complementary Dark Grey Metallic leather interior, and with just over 17,000 actual kilometers, it shows very little wear and is clean and well-presented throughout—not only on the visible surfaces, but also under the hood and underneath the car. Even the carpets remain in excellent condition under their plastic covers. Opening the front lid reveals all of the original factory accessories that one would hope to find, including a complete tool kit, jack, and small air compressor. The car was accessorized when new with heated sport seats with electronic height adjustment, an alarm system, and Bridgestone tires, and it comes complete with a list of services performed by Canepa and its Porsche Certificate of Authenticity.

In a collection that includes so many of the great performance cars of the last 30 years, and in particular a bevy of fine Porsches, this 959 stands out. Dark and menacing, it seems to know exactly what it is capable of, and 25 years later, it is more than ready to show any modern pretender to its throne exactly what it can do.

Please note that this car was imported to the United States under the Show and Display waiver. As such, it cannot be registered for the street in California unless it is made emissions compliant.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more