Every year before the Geneva Motor Show, we post about some peculiar yet highly thought-out concept from Swiss company Rinspeed that will debut in the city by the lake. Thing is, these fantastical Geneva jewels aren’t new; company founder Frank Rinderknecht has been working them up since he founded his company in 1977, and back then they were a lot less conceptual. Take this, the Rinspeed 969 being auctioned by Gooding & Co. during next month’s Monterey Car Week. Despite its looks, the coupe predates the Ferrari Testarossa. According to a history written by Silverstone Auctions for a different 969 sold in 2018, Rinspeed started building these babies as early as 1982. The Ferrari didn’t bow until 1984. The source of the name is a mystery; Porsche began developing its 959 in 1981, but that 1980s super coupe didn’t debut until 1985. An American owner bought this car and its sibling R69 from Rinderknecht’s outfit in 1985.
It started as a 1984 Porsche 930 turbo given the slantnose treatment, tucking a 3.3-liter flat-six shifted through a four-speed manual under its whale tale. Just about everything but the interior and body-in-white got thrown in the bin. The bodywork flares way out over the rear wheels, swapping its rear spoiler for a roof spoiler and a flat deck. A Porsche 944 donated its pop-up headlights and its taillights. The wheels are 15-inch Gotti split-rim alloys, massively deep front and back. Stitched two-tone leather covers almost everything inside, the deeply bolstered and hugely adjustable Recaros also embossed with Rinspeed’s cheetah logo. The four-tier Pioneer stereo in the center console can be controlled by custom buttons placed in the center of the steering wheel, a feature not shared by any other 969 we could find online. But there were only about 12 of the 969 and its sibling R69 built, so that’s believable.
The later Rinspeed R69 shed the side strakes and featured cleaner bodywork, and sat on BBS RS wheels. One of them supposedly found a home in one of American singer Lionel Richie’s garages.
The original owner held onto this 969 for 36 years, putting less than 10,000 miles on the clock. This one comes with all documentation, manuals, records, put up with a pre-sale estimate of $125,000 to $150,000. That’s quite a bit above the $83,764 sale price another 969 sold for in the UK in April of this year, but the Gooding & Co. example is being sold without reserve, so this Swiss-flavored monument to the 1980s will find a new home.