The barrier to most people buying the all-wheel-drive wundercar was price. Unless you were an American in 1988
It goes without saying that the Porsche 959 deserves the Petrolicious treatment in any circumstance - Zuffenhausen's idea of a Group B rally car being among its most evocative engineering triumphs - but that goes double when you're reminded of the travails that the model's American buyers had to go through to finally experience their purchase on the road.
We won't spoil the story, except to say that it revolves around Bruce Canepa, the former racing driver and current Californian dealership owner, who went above and beyond to ensure that imported 959s wouldn't see out their lives as museum pieces (or, in the case of Bill Gates' car, as a talking point for the Customs Service, after it famously languished at the Port of San Francisco for 13 years).
As an aside, it's worth noting that the Show and Display law which eventually resulted - allowing low volume cars of historical or technological significance to be approved by the NHTSA without destructive testing - meant that models as diverse as the Aston Martin One-77, Ford RS200, Jaguar XJ220, Lamborghini Diablo GT and Mercedes CLK-GTR could be imported, and driven on the public highway.
So we can add 'making America better' to the long list of 959 virtues.
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