The list of legendary Porsches runs seriously deep, with sports cars, race cars, and even rally cars winning nearly everything there is to win over the years. The 956, however, is special even amongst Porsches, spearheading a run of Le Mans dominance in the early 1980s that was previously unfathomable. It also introduced technological breakthroughs that continue to revolutionize, and as the first car with a dual-clutch transmission, you can trace the death of the manuals directly to this specific 956.
Officially, 28 were built, with 25 still in existence. The example shown above sold in 2014 for just over $2,700,000 at an RM auction, but arguably the most important 956 of all is hitting the block at Gooding & Company this summer, where it's expected to pull in between $7,000,000 and $9,000,000.
This is the third 956 ever built. It finished second at Le Mans to one of its sister cars in its first attempt, before winning in 1983. It proceeded to claim other wins in the hands of legends like Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell.
The springs in the suspension are made from titanium. The entire car supports itself structurally, including the engine, just like in an F1 car. Speaking of the engine, it was originally developed for Indycars, before making its first sports car appearance in the 956's predecessor. Over 630 hp comes via serious amounts of turbo boost, which ultimately led to the car's single greatest contribution.
When you let off the throttle to shift, boost falls, and the subsequent lag in boost—and therefore power—when you get back on the gas is slow at best, and downright difficult to drive at worst. Porsche's solution was to try a new type of transmission its engineers had been working on for some time. This exact car became the very first car to test out what you now know as a dual-clutch transmission.
What that means is a) drivers never had to let their foot off the gas unless they wanted to slow down, b) the car was insanely quick, and to this day holds the record at the Nurburgring and c) the beginning of the end of the manual transmission can ultimately be traced back to the Porsche 956 chassis 003 that's up for sale.
In the pantheon of great cars, then, it's not only a Hall of Fame-worthy performer, it's an absolute game-changer that even three decades later has a noticeable impact on the automotive world.
And you can get it for a cool $7,000,000? That's probably a bargain.
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