In 1986, American racer and car enthusiast Bruce Canepa drove a then-new Porsche 959 during a visit to Europe. The Porsche 959 didn’t meet the proper regulations to give it US compliance at the time, which gave Canepa an idea. He would find out exactly what the 959 needed to be street legal in America, source the components and then convert the vehicles for customers. He didn’t just make them legal, though – he also made them faster. In 1993, Canepa’s company introduced its first-generation upgrade kit for the 959, which boosted output from 444 hp to 576 hp. The American restoration specialists then introduced a second-gen upgrade kit that raised the bar to 640 hp, and just last year detailed a third-gen version with 763 hp.
Today, Canepa remains just as obsessed with improving the 959 as it did in 1993. The company recently rolled out an even more powerful engine upgrade for the 959, which it says boosts output by 75% percent from stock, and also detailed a new restorations program for the car. Canepa says the new upgrade kit, referred to as the 959 Sport Canepa, “represents the culmination of all the greatest aspects of concours restoration, research, design and adoption of state-of-the-art technology that Canepa has been directly involved in over the past three decades.”
The Sport Canepa conversion begins with Canepa stripping the 959 of every single component and part. Painted components, including the tub, are then prepped for repainting and receive a protective zinc coating. Canepa offers the 959 SC in a variety of original Porsche body colors, but customers are free to pick any color they can imagine. The company will also overhaul the interior with reupholstered leather offered in a large selection of colors, contrasting stitching and the retro-looking Porsche Classic Radio Navigation System. All told, 500 hours are spent redoing the body and another 300 are spent on the interior.
Canepa also has well-known s suspension upgrade kit for the 959, which comes on SC models. The suspension upgrade offers improved handling and a smoother ride. It also makes the car sit 1-inch lower than stock.
Finally, there’s the engine. Building off of the third-gen upgrade kit from Canepa, the 959 SC adds upgraded Borg Warner turbos, equal length headers, a new ECU, fuel system upgrades, a different clutch and an improved ignition system. Power is boosted to 777 hp – up 14 hp from the third-gen upgrade kit. Canepa is also working to create an 18-inch magnesium alloy wheel for the 959, which will look exactly like the OEM Porsche wheels but can accommodate modern-day Michelin tires.
Canepa is asking any 959 owners interested in turning their vehicle into a 959 SC to reach out to them by email. Who wouldn’t want more power, better suspension and a full restoration for their almost priceless Porsche? Especially when it’s performed by the original US 959 importers themselves.
Discuss this story on our Porsche Forum.