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Amelia Island

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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AT THE AMELIA ISLAND CONCOURS: RESURRECTION OF AN RSK

This year marks my sixth year at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance for FLATSIXES.com, and it has been quite the experience every year for both me and my family. Usually I try to add photos or some sort of other documentation of all the representatives of my favorite marque (Porsche), but this year I decided to do things a little differently. When I heard that RSK 718-018 would be attending, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to do an exclusive shoot with this very special and quite rare Spyder.

What Makes Porsche RSK 718-018 So Special?

Now you may ask yourself what makes this particular RSK so special? Is it its race history, its past owners? In my opinion it is neither of these two things that make this car special, rather it is the journey that this Porsche has weathered to end up sitting here, on the fairway at the Amelia Island Ritz Carlton.

Steering wheel of a Porsche RSK at Amelia Island

This Porsche RSK was delivered to its first owner, Californian Emil Pardee, in 1959. He raced it three seasons or 14 races, after which it was sold to various other drivers. Subsequent owners include Don Wester, a leading competitor in the USRRC Championship in the 1960s, and Chick Iverson, a VW-Porsche dealer in Newport Beach, California, well known for his social and business associations with actor John Wayne. The RSK won, or was competitive, in many sprint events though it was built with dual gas tanks and intended as an endurance car. It’s most significant performance was at Pikes Peak in 1960 where it finished second overall. At the end of its racing life, 718-018 became an autocross car. At this point, Dean Jeffries, the famed custom car designer and fabricator, added large fender flares and a VW engine was fitted. These aftermarket add-ons have now been removed to bring the car back to its original form.

Porsche RSK 718-018 Gets a New Owner

With its Carrera four-cam engine tossed into a box, the RSK and all its pieces were acquired by a family in North Carolina and moved into its 44-year home in a public storage facility. To rescue the RSK from storage and to bring the Porsche back to its former glory, Ray Morgan of Vintage Motorcar Restorations (VMR) in Jasper, Georgia took on the project. Three and a half years later here it sits, a stunning resurrection from the boxes of numbers-matching parts and disassembled bits that existed in storage.

4 cam engine in Porsche 718 RSK on Amelia Island

It should be noted that VMR did the entire restoration in-house rather than sending out pieces to individual specialists. Morgan himself rebuilt the complex Type 547/3 four-cam engine with its roller-bearing crank. This approach resulted in a Porsche that is nearly 100% original. Though trim pieces were lost, what was left, says Morgan, “is a numbers matching original body RSK and I doubt if you’re going to find another one like it. We saved everything and nothing has been replaced. We cleaned it all up, fixed it and everything here, even down to the windshield wiper, works.

It works for me too, and I think I speak for everyone when I say that I hope we see more Porshes like this in the future at Amelia.

Steering wheel of a Porsche RSK at Amelia Island 4 cam engine in Porsche 718 RSK on Amelia Island

About the Author: For the sixth year in-a-row the assignment of documenting the Porsche class on Amelia Island was handled by T.J. Kessler. T.J. Is finishing his sophomore year at Berry College in Rome, Georgia, majoring in geology and environmental science. His love of photography and his knowledge of Porsche comes naturally. He is the son of Lynn and Tom Kessler, owners of a 1974 911 Carrera, and the grandson of Betty Jo and Leonard Turner who for more than 40 years were the moving forces behind Porsche Panorama Magazine. T.J.’s work was recognized in Photographer’s Forum magazine’s « Best of College and High School Photography » in both 2015 and 2016. His dream Porsche would be a 914.

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First Turbocharged Competition 911 to Race at 24 Hours of Le Mans is 1 of 3 Historic Porsches At Gooding’s Amelia Island Auction

Fans of forced induction or Porsche Motorsports History, rejoice. Up for sale at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction this March are three of the most influential turbocharged racing cars to ever grace the Porsche stable. Estimates are all in the seven figure-range, and each of these important Porsches carry with them a special air, an unmistakable power—these cars shaped the way Porsche went racing for nearly thirty years.

1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 2.1 Turbo (Estimate: $6,000,000-$8,000,000)

Photo copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company. Image by Mathieu Heurtault

The first, and most expensive of this group, is the ’74 Carrera RSR 2.1 Turbo. Not only was this the first production-based racing car from Porsche to sport a force-fed engine, but this particular car—R13—was the most successful of the RSR turbos. With superhuman drivers such as George Follmer, Gils Van Lennep, and Herbert Müller having steered the 911, as well as a second-overall finish at the 1974 24 Hours of Le Mans, there’s an impressive provenance that comes with this historic machine.

What’s most important about this mile-wide RSR is that it showed that turbochargers could make a real impact in production car racing. Prior to the the design of this Porsche, few racing cars utilized forced induction to fire around the road course, and none of them sported full bodywork, a roof, and closed wheels. Additionally, this Porsche revolutionized the way road car powerplants were conceived, and without it, it’s unlikely we would’ve had the road-going Porsche Turbo.

Its Martini livery, wide haunches, gaping maw, and enormous wing give it an unmistakable sense of style and purpose, and the future owner of this gate-opening icon should rest assured knowing they’re in possession of a machine that changed the course of Porsche Motorsport for the rest of the century.

1976 Porsche 934 (Estimate: $1,200,000-$1,600,000)

With its clean lines, mesh wheels, Light Yellow paint, this 934 is a head-turner wherever it goes. Photo copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company. Image by Brian Henniker.

The racing version of the Porsche 930 Turbo, the 934, was the natural evolution of the RSR 2.1 Turbo, but kept a much tighter link with its road-going sibling. On both sides of the Atlantic, the 934 was immensely successful; winning both the European GT championship and the Trans-Am championship. This particular Porsche managed to win on both sides of the pond, as owner Angelo Pallavinci was able to compete in a slew of European events before contesting the 1976 24 Hours of Daytona, where he clinched 10th place overall and 4th in the GTO class. Serving as the building block for the dominant 935, this car marked the point in history in which the rest of the marques started trying to match Porsche’s turbocharged prowess in the world of the sports car racing.

1990 Porsche 962C (Estimate: $1,500,000-$2,000,000)

Photo copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company. Image by Mike Maez.

The last of these featured gems might be the quintessential Porsche racer. If any one particular car defined the success Porsche Motorsport enjoyed with forced induction, it would have to be the 956/962. With its career spanning well over a decade, this Porsche enjoyed a lifetime of professional competition three times as long as most cars. Reliable, robust, immensely quick, and accessible to the gentleman racer as well as the seasoned pro, this car checked all the boxes and possessed a versatility that thoroughbred racing cars almost never have.

This particular 962, campaigned by Brun Motorsport GmbH, nearly won Le Mans in 1990; leading with several laps to go when the engine coughed its last. Considering the 962 was getting on in years then, it’s a testament to the Porsche’s incredible performance, especially at high speed, which kept it a formidable force even late in its life. Even today, the 962 manages to run with the best at any vintage racing meeting, and with those unmistakable lines and the mouth-watering Repsol livery, the combination is simply irresistible to anyone with a drop of motor oil in their veins.

The Amelia Island Auction
Date: Friday, March 9 at 11:00 AM EST
Location: Racquet Park, Omni Amelia Island Plantation
6800 First Coast Hwy
Amelia Island, FL 32034
Public preview: Thursday, March 8 through Friday, March 9
Auction catalogues: $75, includes admission for two to the viewing and the auction
General admission: $30, includes admission for one to the viewing and the auction
Live auction broadcast: www.goodingco.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/GoodingandCompany
Twitter: @goodingandco #goodingamelia
Instagram: @goodingandcompany #goodingamelia
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/GoodingandCompany
Phone: 310.899.1960

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Actualité : Gooding : trois Porsche de compétition à Amelia Island

Les fans du constructeur de Stuttgart présents lors de la vente organisée par Gooding & Company à Amelia Island, en Floride, le 9 mars prochain, vont…

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Sales debate: is the used 911 market defined by auction results?

Let’s face it, the used 911 marketplace is a complicated and often bewildering prospect, punctuated by the basic rules of supply and demand with a number of factors, from international currency fluctuations to occasional speculators, all thrown into the mix. But is the used market driven more by auction results or dealer forecourt prices?

During the price boom of two years ago the former seemed to be the case, certainly at face value at least, with dealers known to have been storing air-cooled Rennsports away from the public eye during those particularly ‘heated’ months. This was for fear of selling themselves short week-to-week off the back of another spectacular auction result.

So does an auction house really have such sway on values? Will Smith, sales manager at Silverstone auctions, claims the entire market is simply driven by demand. “As an auction house, our prices are a reflection of what the market is doing. It can get quite distorted though, as dealers don’t always declare prices for cars they’ve just sold,” he tells us. “That said, at auctions several people may be after one particular car with great history and provenance, then everybody seems to think that all such examples of the same car are worth the same price. They’re not.”

Horizontal shot of the telephone operators bidding at Silverstone Auctions. Shot inside in a mix of natural and artificial light.

Horizontal shot of the telephone operators bidding at Silverstone Auctions. Shot inside in a mix of natural and artificial light.

Jamie Tyler, sales manager at independent Porsche specialists, Paragon, is affirmative that auction results don’t dictate dealer values, suggesting auction results have little impact on the market at large. “You just can’t go off auction results as it all depends on what crowd attended the auction on the day and how many egos were in the room,” he tells Total 911. “Moreover, auction results haven’t flattered so much this year, yet we’ve never been busier.”

So has either side adjusted their price book off the back of values advertised by each other? “We’ve definitely adjusted estimates ahead of an auction,” Smith says. “We’re having to constantly analyse and reassess our values of cars and so we get a feel for if the market is there for a particular car.” Tyler though, says the practice has never been reciprocated at independent specialists in his experience: “We’ve never adjusted our prices off the back of an auction. If the results aren’t good it’s probably because the right people aren’t there to buy.”

It seems then, that auction results should be considered with context in mind when it comes to the wider 911 market. Though authentic, they are a reflection, not a leading catalyst, of current Porsche values. As Will Smith aptly concludes, “It’s a very fluid and rapidly changing market. So you just have to stay on top of it.”

For market advice on any generation or style of Porsche 911, check out our full selection of sales debates, where we ask the 911 experts the pertinent market questions so you don’t have to.

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