If any two letters have encapsulated Porsche’s sporting prowess over the years, it is these – RS.
It is now forty-seven years since the introduction of Porsche’s first RS, the iconic 911 Carrera RS 2.7, back in 1973. For Porsche, the letters RS, which stand for Rennsport, brings to mind today rich images of sporting achievement and excellence, and of impressive roadgoing performance earned the hard way through countless racing victories. To its credit, the Stuttgart manufacturer has ensured that since ‘73, each successive major evolution of the 911 has featured the RS badge in its line-up, and each has in turn taken the sub-model to a new level of performance.
Two decades later, at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1993, Porsche unveiled its all-new 3.6-litre Type 993 model, the first 911 to be completely redesigned from the ground up. It was, however, only in ‘95 at the Amsterdam Auto Show, that the Carrera RS was introduced featuring a larger 3746 cc engine with Porsche’s innovative Varioram induction system. The motivation for producing the 993 Carrera RS was for homologation in the N/GT motorsport class. It was developed from the outset as a street-legal two-seater sports car, much along the lines that has inspired the design and manufacture of top performing road cars at Porsche since the early days. In the mid-90s, the 993 Carrera RS represented the pinnacle of road-legal performance in the 911 non-turbo stakes, and with the 993 being the last of the air-cooled cars, that elevates the model still further.
Weighing in at 100 kg (220 lbs) lighter than the standard Carrera, the higher performing Carrera RS ran on three-piece 18-inch ‘Cup’ wheels by Speedline as standard equipment. The weight saving came through the elimination of items such as electric windows, electric mirrors, central locking, headlamp washer system and audio speakers. The windshield washer fluid bottle was reduced from 6.5-litres to just 1.2-litres, the driver and passenger airbags were eliminated, and a much-reduced interior lighting system was installed. The rear seat with seat belts was omitted, while the doors featured a fixed handle for closing the door, and a blue pull strap for opening. With the electric window feature deleted, the windows could only be lowered/raised by means of a traditional mechanical winder. However, the 911’s power-steering system was retained as this feature significantly improved the drivability of the car.
The 3.6-litre 911 Carrera engine was increased to 3.8-litres in the RS by increasing the bore from 100 to 102 mm while retaining the same 76.4 mm stroke. The increased performance of the Carrera RS was transmitted to the road through the same 6-speed manual gearbox fitted to the standard Carrera. The front suspension was lowered by 30 mm and the rear by 40 mm. The Carrera RS could brake from 100 km/h to zero in just 2.7 seconds, and this was achieved by means of 4-pot aluminium fixed callipers operating on 322 mm ventilated and perforated discs on all four wheels. This vehicle is fitted with the optional and much larger Clubsport adjustable rear wing.
Just like the 911 Carrera RS 2.7 of 1973, the 911 Carrera RS (993) was one of those sports cars that as a young boy, you would dream of having one day. Each RS iteration, in its time, has played an important role in the wider 911 family, as the Rennsport theme has ensured the continued transfer of technology from race track to road car. The 993 Carrera RS was produced in limited numbers and is revered as arguably the ultimate 993 alongside the GT2.
The road to 993 Carrera RS ownership
Steve Kings’ road to owning a 993 Carrera RS was in fact a fairly long one, and one that was filled with trials and experiments along the way.
His first foray into 911 ownership started with a Guards Red 3.2 Carrera in 1996. This relationship lasted about a year, at which time a Black 930 Turbo caught his eye. “I had the Turbo for around five years, and I spent more on modifications than the original purchase price. The end result was a highly modified 450 bhp+ fire-spitting beast,” Steve recalls.
At this time, a friend owned a Maritime Blue 964 RS, and after having driven that car Steve knew that this was the 911 to own. “The normally aspirated experience was totally different from the turbo lag, followed by an explosion of power. The power delivery was instant and quite alarming in the RS, it was a more planted ride and I felt more at home with the RS,” Steve admitted.
“Around 2004, I came across a Speed Yellow 993 Carrera 2 with full factory Turnwald Clubsport wing pack, which I duly bought. More money was spent on suspension, interior, brakes, wheels, engine remap and a single mass flywheel. It was a 993 RS ‘re-creation’, but it was not the real deal,” he revealed. To exacerbate matters, during the Brands Hatch 2005 Porsche Festival, Steve parked the 993 Carrera 2 in a line-up with other 964 and 993 RS cars, but he was politely asked to move it from the display! “Looking back, that was the precise moment when the decision was made to buy a 993 RS, so the C2 was sold almost immediately and the winter months of 2005 were spent searching for a 993 RS,” he explained.
“In December 2005, an email arrived with photos of a 993 Carrera RS in Switzerland in the colour that I wanted, Riviera Blue. A few more emails followed back and forth, a bank transfer was made, and the car was finally mine,” Steve recalled with a broad smile.
The Carrera RS was shipped to Germany then eventually delivered to the Oulton Park RS track day in March 2006. Steve still recalls the moment his 993 RS arrived, “I still have vivid memories of the trailer ramp being lowered to expose the Riviera Blue paintwork of the RS shining in the spring sunshine, and the sound of the raucous, intoxicating, air-cooled flat-six coming to life, the smile on my face and the intriguing glances of those nearby. The RS had arrived and curiously I felt, so had I.”
Our feature car ‘RSR 9’
The RS has always represented the top-performing Porsche models, and can be traced back to the company’s pre-911 days of motorsport. As such the 911 has a rich lineage and the 993, being the last iteration of the air-cooled 911s, holds a very special place in the hearts and minds of Porsche enthusiasts.
Getting into the 993 RS was a bit of a squeeze, but once seated it was comfortable and a long journey would not be tiresome. The fire extinguisher was tucked out of the way under the passenger’s legs but one is conscious of how low you are sitting. Firing up the engine is an experience as the soundproofing is minimal and the cabin is a good deal smaller than in more recent models, which means the engine is closer to your ears.
Even after a relatively short drive, it is easy to identify the hereditary link between the 993 Carrera RS and earlier RS models. It has the same sort of pointing in terms of precision and steering, and the play into the gears is short and very precise, but the brakes need a lot of warming up. As one Porsche enthusiast commented, “With the 993 Carrera RS there is you, the car, the rubber and the law of physics…and that is about it. I think that in itself brings out the character in the car, that is why it is loved so much.”
Because of its current gearing, the 993 Carrera RS will top out at 150 mph. “You had the option of the small wing pack or the Clubsport wing pack as it was called. On my car, the rear wing is not a genuine Porsche one, it’s carbon-fibre which is a lot lighter than the Turnwald unit fitted by the factory,” Steve pointed out.
Our feature car has been fitted with an 8/32 ring and pinion which gives it a low ratio, so this car has lightning acceleration. “The car’s previous owner, a dentist in Switzerland, did a bit of tracking and sprints with it and he also did the Swiss Cup, so it was actually a bit of a race car in Switzerland. The engine is modified as well because a standard 993 Carrera RS develops 300 bhp, but this one pushes out 342 bhp. It is a pig to start in the morning! When you start it up, it will cut out on you, but if you give it about 30 seconds, then it will pick up,” Steve explained.
The car has standard brakes but it is fitted with GT2 track rod ends. “It has got original 993 RS Recaro seats which are finished in grey and it has blue colour-coded leather bound dial bevels. I believe all this was done by the factory Special Wishes Department. The reason I bought that car more than anything, is the colour. I had the option of quite a few different ones, turquoise, black and silver, but I just think there is something about Riviera Blue that is special,” he added. Steve has owned his 993 Carrera RS for fourteen years now, but as he admits with a smile, “The noise is okay up to a point, but as an everyday car, you can get a bit fed up with it,” Steve added.
‘RSR 9’ today
After Steve’s RS was delivered to him that day at Oulton Park back in 2006, he continued to use it for track days throughout 2007, 2008 and 2009. However, as market values started to escalate, it became too valuable to continue, which he admits is unfortunate, because that is what the car is made for. So, it is a victim of its own success in terms of value and today he limits his usage to just 3000 miles a year.
However, the Carrera RS certainly gets around, which is evidenced by the number of trophies it has been awarded over the years. Amongst many others awards, it has received the PCGB NW Region Concours Winner ‘Class 3’ Air-cooled in 2006, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014 plus overall points on the day three times, which earned it the Vincent Mansueto Trophy (the only Porsche to win this trophy three times). It was also the Yorkshire Porsche Festival PCGB Winner Visitors Class 2011, 2012 and 2016 and was runner up 2014. It was awarded Haigh Hall German car show Best Porsche 2012, and Tatton Park VW Show winner best Porsche 2018.
Attending the many events and race meetings that I do each year, I can vouch for the fact that ‘RSR 9’ is usually present at most of these. The car is quite easy to find amongst the rows of other 911s, not only because of the car’s striking colour, but because there is usually a huddle of admirers around it. Steve and his 993 Carrera RS are a regular at many events around the country, and it is always a pleasure to stop and have a chat with him, and to find out what he has been up to. If you see ‘RSR 9’ out and about, stop to have a word with Steve, he is always willing to talk Porsches…
|Model||911 Carrera RS (Type 993)|
|Engine capacity||3746 cc|
|Maximum power||300 hp at 6500 rpm|
|Maximum torque||355/262 at 5400 rpm (Nm/lb.ft)|
|Transmission||6-speed, Type G50/31|
|Suspension front||Individually suspended light-alloy lower wishbones, McPherson struts with coil springs, dual-tube gas-filled shock absorbers, anti-roll bar|
|Suspension rear||Individually suspended on light-alloy multi-wishbone axle with LSA*, with progressive coil springs dual-tube gas-filled shock absorbers, anti-roll bar|
|Wheels & tyres front||8J x 18, 225/40 ZR18|
|Wheels & tyres rear||10J x 18, 265/35 ZR18|
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||4245 x 1735 x 1270 mm|
|Top speed||172 mph|
|Price when new**||£68,495; Clubsport £74,795 (200 units)|
*Lightweight, Stability, Agility
**Incl. VAT and country specific fittings
Written by: Glen Smale
Images by: Virtual Motorpix/Glen Smale, Steve Kings, Lukasz Dulski & Porsche-Werkfoto