Groundbreaking Innovators: Ferrari F40 vs. Porsche 959

Every 5 to 10 years an automaker releases a car that is unlike any other, a forge on the pathway to the future, if you will.


That is exactly what happened in 1986 and 1987, respectively; Porsche of Stuttgart dropped the 959, and a year later the Maranello mad house of Ferrari debuted the F40. They were two of the most iconic supercars of that period would, and they would change the future of supercars forever.

Lets start with the Porsche:

2.9L, twin-turbo flat-six
All-Wheel Drive
197mph top speed


When Porsche revealed the 959 back in 1986, it was the most technically advanced car of all time. The 959 featured adjustable suspension, and an all wheel drive system that was able to split the power between the front and rear axle. So complex in fact that the power could be split depending on how the driver takes a corner and able to find the best grip under any circumstance. In order to put that power to the ground, the 959 featured magnesium wheels with hollow spokes, and was the first car to have a tire pressure monitoring system. At the time of its public offering Porsche was asking a hefty $225,000 however, it actually cost the company $450,000 to produce. The Porsche 959 set the trend for computerized, technically concentrated cars; in fact one of the biggest nerds of our time, Bill Gates, purchased one.

Moving on to the Ferrari;

201 mph
250kg lighter than the 959
2.9L, twin turbo V8
Exactly one year after Porsche debuted the 959, Ferrari bit back with the F40; a very child like one-up fight between the two great car makers. TheF40 was more of a road-going Formula 1 car, than a production car. The F40 featured a completely carbon fiber body molded to the platform, with the engine strapped to your back. With the Porsche being so futuristic and technologically advanced the Ferrari was a step in the opposite direction. Whereas the 959 had many convenience features and electronic programs, the F40 had a string for a door handle, no carpets and very minimal creature comforts. With that said, on a track the F40 is raw and untamed. The steering response is very direct and no BS. The suspension is firm and you feel planted as you push it through its paces. Of course being that it is a Ferrari, the F40 is signifcantly crazier through the corners and very active with its driver.
When you line up the F40 and the 959, they will cross the line neck and neck. The two cars are very similar in the sense that they set the trends for the future, yet very different in their construction and execution. Given the choice, it would be very difficult for me to choose. I would likely spend many sleepless nights weighing the pros and cons, but ultimately I would have to go for the F40.

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