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Weird Fact: The Porsche 959 Has a Gear for Off-Roading

Here’s something you probably didn’t know: The world-famous Porsche 959 supercar has a zero-th gear. What I mean by this is that there’s a gear before first on the Porsche 959 gear lever. That gear is labeled as “G.” So the Porsche 959 gear pattern does not go 1-2-3-4-5-6. Instead, it’s G-1-2-3-4-5. This is completely true! See the Porsche models for sale near you

Of course, we have to discuss this G gear, but first let’s talk just a bit about the 959. Although the 959 is primarily known as a tremendously expensive, exceptionally rare, slightly odd-looking supercar, it was originally intended to compete in Group B rally racing, in which it would run the same crazy, dirt-road races as cars such as the Audi Quattro, the Ford RS200 and various other vehicles with many headlights mounted on the hood.

In other words, the 959 wasn’t really developed to solely be a sports car. It was going to be a rugged, terrain-traversing rally car, with some models designed to cruise around racetracks and others intended to take on the fjords of Norway, the deserts of Mongolia or wherever else those rally cars race — maybe an office park in Portugal. Either way, it would be the Audi allroad of the Porsche world. And this brings us back to the G gear.

You see, the G gear is designed for off-roading. The “G” stands for the German word “Gelande,” which means “terrain.” You non-German speakers may recognize the word from the Mercedes G-Wagen, short for Gelandewagen, which translates to “all-terrain vehicle.”

That’s right: The Porsche 959 — world-famous supercar, Porsche halo car, Ferrari F40 competitor — has a gear designed for off-roading.

So how do you design a gear for off-roading? As you might expect, the 959’s G gear is a crawler gear, designed to be shorter than all the other gears for situations when traction may be low and you might find yourself in need of low-speed grunt. This would occur, of course, if you happen to find your 959 stuck in the mud, you’re trying to cross a river, or you’re hanging out in the deserts of Mongolia.

With 959 prices easily approaching (and possibly exceeding) $1 million, I think we can safely say the G gear doesn’t see much use. Find a Porsche for sale

Photo credit:, which is currently auctioning a Porsche 959.

Porsche 959

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Doug Demuro
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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  1. It actually has something to do with Porsche not wanting to homologate a 6 speed gearbox…. so they shifted all the gearing down a bit and called 1st gear G.  More of a “get around some rules” things instead of a terrain gear.  I hardly ever use it in my 959 instead I start off in 1st.  Tough being me….

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