BILSTEIN Equipped: Paris-Dakar Porsche 959

The toughest shock absorbers for the harshest conditions.

BILSTEIN has a rich motorsport heritage, we’ve competed at the highest level of motorsport throughout the decades. It’s been an adventure, but no adventure is more challenging than the gruelling Paris-Dakar rally. It hit it’s peak in the 1980s, just as Group B was in decline. Porsche recognised this and entered this highly modified 959 in the rally.

As a road car the 959 was a technological masterpiece. It was like nothing else on the road. With 450-bhp, four wheel drive and BILSTEIN electronic shock absorbers the production version was way ahead of the competition. 0-60 took only 3.7 seconds, this was a spec-sheet straight out of science fiction.

BILSTEIN electronic shock absorbers allowed the driver to adjust the suspension characteristics in the road car as it was driven. It’s something we are familiar with today but at the time it was a very novel concept. This, along with other world-first meant the 959 road car was heralded as other-worldly from a tech perspective, it was a real show of power from Porsche.

As if the road car wasn’t wild enough, Porsche modified the 959 to take on the toughest rally of them all, the Paris-Dakar. Distances covered range between 500-600 miles per day across sand dunes, mud and rocky terrain. If there’s a place to show off your new technology this is it. To survive the rally-raid the underside of the 959 features carbon-kevlar reinforcement, the suspension is raised considerably and vulnerable cooling components are repositioned. Even the brake lights have to be roof mounted to be visible through the dust.

Looking at this piece of history it’s hard not to think what a modern day Porsche might look like given the 959 Paris-Dakar treatment…