The model that made the marque into racing royalty
Porsche hasn’t officially called its core sports car ‘911’ for years, but it remains the halo name for arguably the biggest-selling sports car of all time. And while the GT and RS labels adorn a bewildering stream of today’s variants, the tag ‘2.7 RS’ implies one very special brick in the arch of the company’s history – the Carrera RS model built over the 10 months up to July 1973.
This was not the first racing-orientated factory variant of the rear-engined flat-six sportster – small numbers of the 270bhp ST model were built for competition a couple of years earlier – but this time Porsche aimed to homologate its punchy machine into the Group 4 category. As well as a 2.7-litre 210bhp motor with Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection, the Carrera RS boasted wider rear wheels, bigger brakes, stiffer suspension, and most obvious of all, a flip of a tail spoiler that interrupted the graceful slope of the rear deck, but significantly cut rear lift and made it plain this car meant business. Added to Stuttgart’s legendary reliability, this car and its brawnier RSR nephew would go on to cement Porsche’s name into both race and rally results across the globe. Porsche’s intention was to build only the 500 needed to homologate the car, but all were quickly snapped up, even at 33,000 Deutschmarks (equivalent to about £5500 then, and almost £200,000 in modern terms) so the firm commissioned another 500, which sold just as fast. Some 1500 Carrera RS left the works, most in icy white, some in lurid 1970s shades of yellow, blue or orange, but almost all sporting that ‘Carrera’ sill stripe.
Despite such luxury as interior trim and a rear seat, standard or ‘Touring’ RS cars weighed just over the tonne, and many lived their life on the road. But less weight equals more performance, so Porsche constructed about 200 lightweight Sport models with thinner gauge steel shells, alloy external panels, thinner glass and interiors stripped of sound-proofing, trim and unneeded electrics.
That saved a good 100kg, perfect for something that was to be built into a race car. Today these rarities are extremely desirable, recent auction prices reaching the three-quarters of a million pounds area. You have to contact William Loughran for a price on the LHD one he has for sale, but it is a highly original example of the Sport variant, which went hillclimbing in Germany in its youth but more recently moved to balmy Guernsey. Already fitted with a roll hoop and harnesses, it would be an exceptional track-day car.