This is a “new old stock” 4×4 drivetrain from the original batch of Porsche 953 vehicles and spares that were built to compete in the 1984 Paris Dakar Rally. The 953 was the testbed for many of the technologies that would appear a year later in the Porsche 959.
In the annals of Porsche 911 history there are few vehicles treated with more reverence than the rare Porsche 953, it was a stepping stone of sorts between the older air-cooled G-body 911s and the sophisticated tour-de-force that was the 959.
The Porsche 953 was developed right around the time that the production Porsche 911 SC 3.0 was being replaced by the upgraded Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 in 1983/1984. As a result the Porsche 953 used a steel unibody G-body shell with a modified Carrera 3.2 engine producing approximately 300 bhp.
Rather than relying on the standard rear wheel drive system, the 953 had a clever four-wheel drive system with a manually locking center differential, and power is sent front and back with a 31:69 ratio. The suspension on the 953 was completely rebuilt front scratch to allow for far more ground clearance and wheel articulation – a necessity for rally raid competition like the Dakar.
Three Porsche 953s entered the 1984 Paris Dakar Rally, the car piloted by René Metge and Dominique Lemoyne came in first, the car piloted by Jacky Ickx and Claude Brasseur finished 6th, and the final car piloted by Rene Kussmaul and Erich Lerner finished 26th.
The fact that all three cars, which were essentially factory prototypes, managed to finish the race and claim a win was remarkable, and it boded well for the Porsche 959 that was yet to be unveiled to the world.
The Porsche 953 drivetrain you see here, minus the engine of course, is a new old stock unit that was originally intended as a spare for the 1984 Dakar race cars. It wasn’t needed in the end and it’s remained in unused condition with another similar unit, until they were sold by Porsche’s Motor Sport Department in Germany in the early 1980s.
This unit comprises of a manual gearbox, the manually lockable central differential, and the front and rear differentials. It’s never been fitted to a car, and it’s now being offered for sale out of Melbourne in Australia on Collecting Cars.
It’s difficult to know where it might end up, it could be bought by a collector who wants to put it on display but I can’t help but hope it finds its way into the hands of a person who wants to install it in a 911 and take it out for some rally raid racing.
If you’d like to read more about this unusual piece of Porsche history or register to bid you can visit the listing here.
Above Video: This clip contains highlight footage from the 1984 Paris Dakar Rally, including ample footage of the Porsche 953 being raced to victory.
The images below have all been supplied by Porsche, they show one of the original Porsche 953 cars being driven by rally legend Walter Röhrl at the Ice GP.
Images courtesy of Collecting Cars + Porsche
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