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Porsche 964 RS 3.8: the rarest Rennsport

If, like us, you’ve a keen eye on 911 values and auction results in particular, RM Sotheby’s recent Amelia Island sale would have made for a fascinating watch. While many Porsche struggled to build on their lower estimates, lot 167 reached well into seven figures before its frantic end, the sale transporting us back – momentarily, at least – to the explosive heyday of the Porsche auctions of 2014 to 2015.

The car in question was a 964 RS that set a new record for the model by fetching an eye-watering $1.65million. This wasn’t any ordinary 964 RS though, but the rare, wide-bodied, 3.8-litre 964 RS. Achingly desirable having covered just 800km and looking stunning in Paint-To-Sample Ferrari yellow, the car is just one of 55 examples ever built by Porsche.

But what do we really know about Porsche’s rarest road-going Rennsport? It’s worth a reminder of the car that sired this very special Neunelfer, and that model was the 3.6-litre 964 RS. Appearing in 1991, it was born from Porsche’s need to go racing in the Carrera Cup – a series that had been conceived by Roland Kussmaul and talented engineer, Helmut Flegl – and pared a mildly fettled flat six producing 260hp with an obsessive focus on weight saving. The result was a 911 that exhibited a purity of focus not really seen since the seminal 2.7RS.

Naturally, Porsche felt the need to take things a step further, and it would again be motorsport that lay at the heart of their decision. More specifically, it was the desire to race an RSR variant in the bigger-engined GT-category, and the result was the car you see here. Constructed by the racing department at Weissach and only available by special order from them, there has tended to be some dispute around the actual numbers made, although our information tells us that just 104 examples of the 3.8 RS were built and, of those, just the aforementioned 55 were for road use. The remainder were RSR racers, and of the total production all except two were left-hand drive. 

But anyone thinking this was little more than a warmed-over 3.6 couldn’t have been more wrong, and by the same token if Porsche had set a budget for this project, then it seemed the engineers had ignored it. For one thing it differed markedly in appearance, being based on the wider Turbo body shell and featuring a more extreme aerodynamic package that encompassed a deeper front spoiler and a biplane rear wing that was both adjustable and formed in one piece with the engine lid. The shell was also strengthened over the 3.6 and contained additional welds, while aluminium was used for the doors and luggage compartment lid. Along with lighter glass, and a cabin stripped of all extraneous trim and equipment, Porsche quoted a kerb weight of 1,210kg, made all the more impressionable given the larger brakes, body and wheels.

Whatever the actual numbers, it could still be considered extremely lithe compared to any other 964 variants (the 320hp Turbo was a positively porky 1,470kg), and then there’s that engine. The M64/04 unit gained its extra capacity via an increase in stroke from 100mm to 102mm – the bore remained at 76.4mm – although that was just the beginning. Developing 300hp at 6,500rpm and 360Nm of torque at 5,250rpm – both notably higher crank speeds than required by the 3.6 – the new motor featured a raft of careful developments, including an increase in compression ratio (up from 11.3:1 to 11.6:1), a revised intake with individual throttle butterflies to sharpen the throttle response and tweaks to the engine-management system. Bigger inlet and exhaust valves were fitted, too, with sizes increased to 51.5mm and 43.5mm respectively, and gas flow improved with polished ports.

For the full, in-depth article on Porsche’s rarest Rennsport, order your copy for delivery direct to your door here, or download the digital issue to your Apple or Android device. 


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The Total 911 team’s ideal £30,000 Porsche 911 garage

You don’t have to be a millionaire to afford a Porsche 911. In fact, just £30,000 ($45,000) will allow you to get your hands on one of Zuffenhausen’s finest, even in this rapidly appreciating market.

You might not get a showroom-fresh example, so it pays to go in with your eyes open, but you can still find some interesting Porsche 911s without breaking the bank.

So, without further ado, here are the cars that the Total 911 team would splash their theoretical cash on:

Porsche 997.1 Carrera 2S – Lee Sibley, Editor
Porsche 997.1 Carrera S

The choice here came between a good 996 C4S, a good Porsche 997.1 C2S, or a high miles 996 Turbo. I’d take the 997 in light of its more traditional 911 exterior styling and a hugely reformed interior that hasn’t aged as badly as the 996.

£30,000 will also comfortably get me in a manual, and this black on black example from RSJ is pretty much my perfect bag.

Porsche 911 SC – Josh Barnett, Senior Staff Writer
Porsche 911 SC

I was close to choosing a 997.1 Carrera 2S like Lee, however the (very unlikely) possibility of IMS failure still puts me off. As a staunch classic Porsche 911 fan, the Porsche 911 SC was, therefore an easy choice.

With its sprightly 3.0-litre engine and more traditional interior, I prefer the SC over a 3.2 Carrera and this particular example in the Netherlands looks gorgeous. With £4,000 change I could even afford an extended road trip back to the UK.

Porsche 997.1 Carrera 4S – Steve Mumby, Senior Designer
Porsche 997.1 C4S

At this budget, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to Gen1 Porsche 997s. Unlike Lee, I would go for a 997.1 Carrera 4S. I’m a man of aesthetics and the wider body of the C4S really helps it stand out.

Also, with the benefit of four-wheel drive traction, the C4S really is the epitome of a ‘do-it-all sports car’ meaning that I could still get behind the wheel even in the depths of winter.

What do you make of the Total 911 team’s picks? Which Porsche 911 would you choose if you had a £30,000 budget? Add your choices in the comments section below or head to our Facebook and Twitter pages now.


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