Greatest Porsche vehicles ever: Porsche 953 Paris Dakar

Best Porsche cars ever: Porsche 953 Paris Dakar

Key specs
Engine 6cyl boxer
Capability 3.2 litres
Energy 300bhp
High velocity N/A

Porsche evidently likes a problem, with its most popular motorsport positively falling into the endurance class relatively than dash. The Le Mans/Daytona 24-hour races and the opposite traditional endurance occasions are the place Porsche proves its mettle on observe, though it’s equally as decided when it decides to go rallying.

The Paris-Dakar presents a problem equal to, if not higher than, these traditional 24-hour endurance races, and Porsche is notable amongst sports-car makers for accepting that problem, having gained the gruelling race twice, most famously with its 959 in 1986, however previous to that with this automobile, a modified, four-wheel-drive 911 SC which, in typical Porsche style, has its personal mannequin designation, the 953. 

Porsche was exploring the advantages of four-wheel drive within the eighties, and the 953 was used as a testbed for that, with the corporate working three 953s within the 1984 Paris Dakar prematurely of campaigning the 959. Proof of idea can be the truth that the automobile gained after three weeks of driving within the hardest of situations, with Paris-Dakar specialist René Metge partnering with Dominque Lemoyne within the successful entry. That duo additionally took the win in 1986 within the 959, Porsche’s efforts within the difficult rally underlining not simply the advantages of its four-wheel drive system, but in addition the automobile’s reliability within the hardest of situations. 

Using on a excessive, 270mm modified suspension with twin shock absorbers and extra rear coil springs, the 953 is an uncommon sight amongst all of the low-slung racers at Goodwood, though it should have appeared equally incongruous among the many extra normal off-roaders, pick-up vans and buggies that make up nearly all of the competitors within the Dakar rally. 

With round 300bhp from its 3.2-litre flat-six engine, the 953’s four-wheel drive system directs its drive between the axles in a ratio of 31 per cent to the entrance and 69 per cent to the rear. The physique was strengthened with the inclusion of a welded-in metal roll cage, and a pair of gas tanks with a mixed 270-litre capability have been added. Porsche additionally eliminated any pointless weight by including polycarbonate doorways and bumpers, and in addition changing all of the glass – bar the windscreen – with lighter plastic gadgets. 

Clambering in by the roll cage is simpler than with Porsche’s racing 911s, that SUV-rivalling peak being advantageous. It’s all very purposeful inside, with easy instrumentation, plentiful warning lights and an uncovered fusebox in what would often be the glovebox. A contest automobile is all about objective relatively than trying good, and this one wears its intent unapologetically. It begins on the important thing, the flat-six’s timbre fizzing by the cabin, the gearstick, with its dog-leg first requiring again and left to pick out the ratio. There’s an enormous mechanical knob to manually alter the four-wheel drive, nevertheless it doesn’t want any consideration as a result of the run up the Goodwood hill is nothing for a automobile that’s endured three weeks of flat-out abuse on this planet’s hardest rally raid. 

Pulling away from the beginning line, I almost stall; the gearing is longer than anticipated, the flywheel lighter, too, in order I interact the clutch, the revs drop rapidly and the 953 bogs down. Extra revs and it picks up tempo, proving simple to drive, and it’s unattainable to withstand the temptation to chop the corners and kick up some mud for the assembled crowds. The 953’s place in Porsche’s historical past is commonly ignored, nevertheless it pioneered four-wheel drive for the agency, and proved the flexibility of its 911 sports activities automobile. Usefully, too, it’s additionally given Porsche the chance to create the present 911 Dakar.

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