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Ferrari F40 versus Porsche 959: The ultimate super sports car of the 80s

Hardy Mutschler
Ferrari F40 versus Porsche 959
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Careful, super fast!', would have P orsche to be able to mill clearly visible into the dashboard of the 959. Instead The foreword of the operating instructions included the warning that, under optimal conditions, the braking distance from 320 km /h is 428 meters. Thirty years ago, this raised index finger was justified, because to date no series-production car approved for the road had reached such speeds cht.

In 1985 the 959 presented at the IAA in Frankfurt. The professional world celebrated it as the new king of the sports car, as a supercar and as a technological wonder. But which specifications in terms of body design were in the specifications of the Swabian sports car manufacturer? Probably: 'Just don't get noticed.' Because despite the rear wing, the 959 just looks like a slightly more muscular 911.

Discreet Porsche 959 and brutally conspicuous Ferrari F40

So nobody falls into ecstasy when looking at the Porsche 959 - the design details are all the more interesting. The core of the car is the safety cell made of hot-dip galvanized sheet steel, the doors and front hood are made of aluminum, the front apron is made of PU integral foam and the fenders, the roof skin and the rear are made of aramid and glass fiber reinforced epoxy resin.

And already we are right in the middle of the numerous technical innovations that make this Porsche 959 so fascinating. There are the magnesium rims with the hollow-cast spokes, the tire pressure monitoring system and much more. But now let's get in first.

Miles ahead of its time

Here, too, 911 drivers feel Like at home, but the five round instruments contain an unusually large number of numbers, lights and special symbols. Sure, the Porsche 959 was a high-tech sports car and years ahead of its time. It has a permanent but variable all-wheel drive and four programs for different road conditions. The programs, which are selected via a small steering column stalk, influence the torque distribution between the front and rear axles as well as the effect of theRear differential lock.

Furthermore, the hardness of the shock absorbers and the ground clearance can be varied. The latter is missing in our test car, as is the right wing mirror, because it is the sports version. It is started by turning the ignition key to the left of the steering wheel, and the sound familiar from the 911 and the typical howling of the axial fan can be heard immediately. But air cooling is not enough for the six-cylinder in the Porsche 959, its cylinder heads are also water-cooled.

The then project manager at Porsche, Manfred Bantle, called the Porsche 959 a Super 911 turbo, and you can tell what he means when you step on the gas. In the lower engine speed range, a smaller, more responsive turbocharger initially works - but when the second charger is activated at around 4,300 rpm, all hell breaks loose. The car suddenly rises and shoots away, as if it wanted to take off in the next second.

The 959 goes well over 300 km /h

Time to interweave some measured values: auto motor und sport determined a breathtaking 3.7 seconds for the sprint to a hundred, and only 13.3 seconds passed up to 200 km /h Seconds. The top was 317 km /h, while a 515 hp S version sold 29 times was even 339 km /h. But despite these dream values, the Porsche 959 is a more comfort-oriented sports car that was available with air conditioning, ABS and power steering, that was suitable for everyday use and relatively easy to control and that was not designed to achieve top marks on a racetrack p> That in turn was the domain of the Ferrari F40. The new Speedking among sports cars was built with no compromises for speeding - and that's what it looks like: The wide, flat body with the wild rear wing rests on a tubular frame with additional load-bearing carbon fiber-reinforced plastic elements. It consists of synthetic resin in which glass fiber, carbon fiber and Kevlar are embedded, and is coated with a touch of color so that the carbon fiber structure shines through in several places.

Ferrari F40 demands heavy-duty qualities

Not only in terms of optics, a Ferrari F40 demands a lot of taker qualities from its owner. The only comfort element is the air conditioning, which prevents the driver from burning up in the cockpit in the summer months. Otherwise there is no carpeting in the interior, no ABS or power steering. Not even a brake booster, which requires an incredibly courageous step on the perforated brake pedal when braking the monster.

For this, the Ferrari F40-tamer Ferraris can experience collected racing experience on public roads, pure and without filters. IfIf the starter button is pressed, the light-weight projectile comes to life with the innumerable air vents in the bodywork.

Just no full throttle when starting up

When moving off, it is advisable to engage the clutch carefully and to avoid stepping too hard on the accelerator. This protects the two-disc clutch and the rear rubber rollers, which would immediately dissolve in smoke because, despite their lush size of 335/35 ZR 17, they do not manage to convert the enormous drive torque of the Ferrari F40 into propulsion.

The V8 biturbo mounted directly in the back of the driver develops 478 hp at 7,000 rpm, and the way it gets the Ferrari F40's only 1,200 kilos in motion is sheer madness. As soon as the tachometer needle passes the 3,000 mark, a brutal thrust suddenly sets in, accompanied by a barbaric roar. A wonderfully gruesome background noise. A brief luff of the accelerator pedal when shifting gears animates the wastegate valve to a ghostly hissing sound before it presses the driver into the seat again while accelerating.

In 10 seconds to 200

The acceleration to a hundred with 4.6 seconds measured by auto motor und sport doesn't sound so dramatic these days, but that in the Ferrari F40 only 6 , 4 more seconds up to 200 km /h make this almost 30-year-old car shine even against current, fast sports cars.

The Ferrari F40 cannot serve with appreciable suspension comfort, but it impresses with its driving characteristics . It looks surprisingly manoeuvrable, seems to stick to the road in long, fast bends, and when braking sharply on hairpin bends or when waving through a winding curve, it benefits from its relatively low weight.

As long as the road is dry, prepares the Ferrari F40 unlimited pleasure, especially on closed-off routes with no speed limit. But woe, it's wet, then the note should light up on the dashboard: 'Caution, dangerous to suck!'

This is how much the Ferrari F40 and Porsche 959 cost

These two sportsmen are toys for today millionaires, because the prices are at a very high level. For the Porsche 959, Classic Analytics in state 2 is already 780,000 euros - with a clear upward trend. The Ferrari F40 is just before the million mark at 980,000 euros for a condition 2 copy. State 4 prices are not given for either of these because the market is too small. While 1,311 examples of the Ferrari F40 were produced between 1987 and 1992, only 292 units of the Porsche 959 were produced in 1987 and 1988.


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