75 Years of Porsche Sports Cars

Dreams change the world. This has always been the case. Ferry Porsche once dreamed of a car that didn’t yet exist, so he built the car of his dreams. And so, the Porsche 356 ‘No. 1’ Roadster launched the Porsche brand and what would become the Porsche legend. Seventy-five years later, in early July, a dream-come-true moment was the opportunity to drive in this iconic ‘No. 1’ and several more of the most iconic Porches ever.

Attending the Goodwood Festival of Speed as media guests of Porsche in early July, we were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to drive some of the most sought-after Porsches from the Porsche Heritage Museum. This year’s event marked a double celebration – the 30th anniversary of the Festival of Speed and the 75th anniversary of Porsche’s first-ever sports car, the legendary 356.

Around 20 cars, carefully curated by the Porsche Heritage and Museum team, were sent from Zuffenhausen to Goodwood, including the 356 No 1, the experimental 928 ‘Trigema’ racing version from 1983, the Cayenne Transsyberia, the iconic 959 dating back to 1985, a 911 ‘Type 993’ Turbo S, and the very special 911 ‘Type 991’ – the millionth 911 to be produced since the model was introduced in 1963.

On the Saturday of the event, when high winds prevented any racing up the hill, Porsche hosted us on the sprawling estate of the West Dean College, a college of arts and further education, with no less than two original works from Salvador Dali on display in the majestic manor house, just a few kilometres from Goodwood. 


Around 15 cars, including a Porsche tractor, were taken from the Festival site to the media base at West Dean College. Here, we were able to drive many of the Porsche Museum cars on the small private roads of the estate and – in the case of the 911 Dakar and Cayenne Transsyberia – taking them off the roads and into the estate’s rolling hills. Race cars, including the 917/30, were demonstrated with a thundering start-up by the Heritage team.

Thanks to the Museum teams’ dedication, model line experts came to West Dean to hold interviews, while designer Ingo Bauer-Scheinhütte gave workshops on car design. A barista from local coffee roaster Cast Iron gave classes in making the perfect cuppa, adding to the bespoke and luxurious experience.

Apart from a memorable drive in the original No. 1 356, off-road excursions in the 911 Dakar and Cayenne Transsyberia, a thundering drive in the 928 ‘Trigema’ racing car, and a leisurely drive in the millionth 911, the highlight of the day was the privilege of taking the historic Porsche 959 for a leisurely drive on the picturesque estate.

Unveiled in 1985, the Porsche 959 represented a super sports car that redefined what was possible on four wheels. While the Porsche 959’s design remains avant-garde, what truly grabs the attention is the technology that lies beneath its iconic silver Kevlar and aluminium body. Under the hood, a six-cylinder biturbo boxer engine roars with 335 kW, a marvel of its time. It boasts an ingenious combination of air and water cooling, and twin turbochargers that propel it to a top speed of 317 km/h, a record-breaker in the world of production sports cars at the time.

At the time of its launch, the Porsche 959 was much more than just about brute force; the Porsche 959 was a technological marvel. Its electronically controlled chassis adjusts on the fly, ensuring optimal performance at every turn. The all-wheel drive system, continuously fine-tuned by a complex sensor network, provides unrivalled handling.

Driving the Porsche 959 is like stepping into history while embracing the future, like a journey through time, a reminder that Porsche’s pursuit of excellence and innovation knows no bounds. As the 959 effortlessly cruised through the picturesque estate, it was clear that this iconic Porsche would forever remain a symbol of automotive greatness, where the future became the present.


The memories of this extraordinary day will be cherished for years to come, and I can’t help but feel a sense of sincere gratitude for being a part of this iconic moment. As a Porsche guest, even if only for three short days, I was not only an observer, but also an active participant in the legacy of an iconic marque and its relentless pursuit of innovation, performance, and driving pleasure.

Report by WILHELM LOOTS | Images © PORSCHE


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