The United States Department of Transportation and the US Enviormental Protection Agency refuse to legalize the Porsche 959. Reason being: Porsche AG will not provide up to 4 959s for crash testing. We all know the car is a street car, but without the mandatory testing, no 959 will ever be legalized.
Porsche built about 30 'US Spec' Sport 959s for US sale in 1987. The first 8 of them were shipped to Al Holbert's in Pennsylvania, where the EPA and DOT struck down hard and refused to let them in. 7 of the 8 were sent back to Germany with the other 22 to be held for the US owner to come drive in Europe. Most of the owners just put them up for sale in Germany.
The one 959 that remained in the US was legally imported. It belongs to Porsche aficionado Otis Chandler, who brought it in under a special US import clause that stated the 959 is for "Display Purposes Only" and cannot be driven on a track or on the street. It can only be displayed in Chandler's car museum in California.
Any other 959 seen in America is NOT legal (and there are quite a few).
Bill Gates, the CEO of Microsoft, has a 959, as does his partner Paul Allen. Supposedly those 959s are stuck in Customs somewhere in the US, although some people 'report' seeing him driving it around Seattle. Gates and Allen's are Comfort models which means they are not part of the 30 originally designated for the US market.а
Those 2, along with 2 more were brought in by Bruce Canepa, who claims (but has yet to) certify them.
There was one in Canton, Ohio and I believe that it is the one of the ones Canepa will certify.а It was damaged on private property by the owners son.а That's what I've heard.а Canepa is attempting to certify 4 or 5 including the race track restricted car owned by Otis Chandler.а
Although the 959 was originally legally allowed into the US as a street car, many found their way in as "converted" race cars. They are constantly spotted all over the States at club races, shows, and even daily drivers.
There was one advertised in Autoweek for $950,000 not too long ago. I've also seen them occasionally for sale in Hemmings Motor News for $595,000 and up. (The $595k one was a Sport, but did have some miles on it)
I have seen 3 others for sale on the internet, 2 of which were out of Florida.
Did you know that Porsche built two more 959s in 1996?а If you get to look at one, look under the front hood near the shock towers for a tag with the Braun or Bauer name (can't remember which).а This company apparently "built" the bodies for Porsche. Porsche pressed the body pieces and this other company assembled them. You won't find this any books!!!
I spoke with THE person at customs who signs yay or nay on 959s. The three "legal" ones done through Dick Fritz (a good man) were located and the owners fined $50,000.00 (approx) and the cars are impounded and/or off the road.а There are NO US legal 959s.а This person would have seen the paperwork.а Canepa is apparently still indicating that he may gain approval.а Since Porsche AG has personally gone to court to keep the cars off of US roads, Canepa is dreaming at this point.а The four cars he sold Gates are still impounded.