Porsche 959 Nissan Bought To Engineer The R32 GT-R Is Headed For Auction

It is all set to go under the hammer at the Amelia Island auction, with an estimated selling price of $3,250,000 and $3,750,000 (26-31 crore).

By Jafar Rizvi


3 mins read


Published on February 21, 2024

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  • Nissan acquired this Porsche 959 through a Belgian distributor
  • It was never registered or titled during its time in Japan
  • It was assigned to Canepa for restoration in 2019, with Canepa spending more than 4000 hours on its rebuilding

It was in the late 1980s when Nissan Motor Company acquired a Porsche 959 with the intention of reverse engineering Porsche's refined variable all-wheel drive system to implement it into the legendary R32 Skyline GT-R. However, unable to procure a new 959 through Porsche AG, Nissan's pursuit led them to secure a 959, more specifically chassis 022, through Belgian distributor D'Ieteren Brothers, ultimately transporting it to Yokohama, Japan. This particular 959, never registered or titled, became a pivotal target for Nissan's research and development efforts.


Nissan acquired this Porsche 959 through a Belgian distributor.


The insights garnered from the disassembly and study of chassis 022 paved the way for Nissan's revolutionary Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All Terrains and Electronic Torque Split (ATTESA ET-S) featured in the revered R32 GT-R. This technological ace dominated the All-Japan Touring Car Championship races from 1990 to 1993, showcasing the execution of Nissan's painstaking research and development process.


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Following the completion of their exploration, Nissan discreetly transferred ownership of the 959 to one of the project's engineers, marking the end of its Japanese tenure. Subsequently, the car made its way to the United States without prior registration in Japan.


This Porsche 959 has been completely restored by Canepa. 


Fast forward to the present day, where a precisely restored and enhanced Porsche 959, designated as 959 SC serial number “012,” emerges as an example of excellence. Assigned to Canepa in 2019 for a comprehensive transformation to 959 SC specification, this iconic vehicle underwent over 4,000 restoration hours, culminating in its completion in March 2023.


The interior boasts bespoke tobacco brown leather and matches with Porsche 356-type square weave carpets. 


The restoration process spared no detail, with every component addressed and refined. From the zinc-plated bolts to changing the original Polar Silver exterior with the historic Porsche Oak Green paint, every surface of the vehicle displays artistry and attention to detail. The interior boasts bespoke tobacco brown leather and matches with the Porsche 356-type square weave carpets, custom-embossed tool pouches, and owner's book covers. Now fitted with instrumentation in miles, the odometer displays just 1,197 miles (1926 km) at the time of cataloguing.


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Canepa claims a 0-100 kmph time of 2.5 seconds. 


Underneath its iconic silhouette lies a powerhouse transformed by Canepa. The original 2.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six engine received a stage 3 treatment, elevating its output from 438 bhp and 500 Nm to over 780 bhp and 881 Nm of torque. Paired with a new six-speed manual transmission, the enhanced engine propels the 959 to stunning performance figures, with Canepa claiming a 0-100 kmph time of 2.5 seconds and a top speed of 370 kmph.


Porsche has made several iconic cars over the years, but arguably the 959 stands out as one of the finest of them all.


As the 1988 Porsche 959 prepares to board a new chapter under new ownership, its legacy rings through automotive history. While its journey may have diverged from its initial purpose as a subject of study for Nissan, Porsche has made several iconic cars over the years, but arguably the 959 stands out as one of the finest of them all.


Set to cross the auction block at the Amelia Island auction, this reimagined Porsche 959 commands a guesstimate selling price between $3,250,000 and $3,750,000 (26-31 crore). It is no wonder Broad Arrow evaluated a selling price of such figures for the iconic vehicle.


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