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Porsche Reviews Its Five Greatest American Icons

Just five years after the war ended, Porsche started importing small batches of cars into New York City to plant its feet for the first time on American soil. News traveled quickly on a westward wind and the Californians, free from harsh weather, soon after demanded their own style of Porsche.

Now, ostensibly this video was created as a way for Porsche to celebrate American Independence Day, but there’s never a bad time to check out these totally radical race and road cars with Porsche’s incredibly quick factory racer, Patrick Long. Give it a watch!

356A 1600 S Speedster

We associate the 356A Speedster with those gruff, squinty-eyed men from yesteryear who embodied independence and individuality. Steve McQueen and James Dean, two actors who actually raced Porsches, are forever linked to this gorgeous piece of rolling artistry from half a century ago. Even though it only had ~75 horsepower, its pared-down frame made it quick and relatively cheap. Considering the prices they fetch now, it’s hard to believe that this was once one of the more affordable Porsches around.

964 America Roadster

Fast forward thirty years, and the wide haunches of a Turbo model made its way onto an open-top Carrera for those balmy Los Angeles evenings. With serious performance and a relaxed character, what better car to suit a blitz along Mulholland Drive?

A shape any red-blooded Porschephile would be happy to see.

964 RS America

For those who wanted more for their trips to Willow Springs, Porsche built the 964 RS America. Since us yanks couldn’t get the 964 RS, Porsche answered our track junkies’ calls with the RS America. Stripped and spartan, this 2,975-lb machine offered no frills but plenty of thrills.

917-30 Can-Am

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning this gem. A conservative estimate of 800 horsepower, a ferocious power delivery, and less than one ton of weight made this one of the most successful cars ever, and the only car to win Can-Am that wasn’t powered by a Chevrolet engine. Even the driver’s feet were positioned ahead of the front wheels! They were certainly brave back then.

To set a quick lap in of these monsters, one needed a double-dose of courage and a dash of recklessness.

934.5

Rounding out this list of greats is the 934.5—the car which ushered turbocharging into American GT racing. Though the 600-hp 934.5 was designed to run in IMSA Group 4, it was banned and instead used in SCCA Trans-Am, where it won 6 of 8 races it competed in. Following in the 917’s footsteps, this beauty changed the direction of American road racing in the 1970s and 1980s. What a wonderful path these cars paved.

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What Was It Like To Drive A 964 RS America When It Was New?

The 964 RS America is an enigmatic part of Porsche’s history. Americans weren’t exactly suffering from an over abundance of money in the early 1990s, and Porsche Cars North America was suffering as a result. Prices of Porsche cars increased dramatically as the US Dollar weakened, and Porsche needed a way to get lower-priced cars into dealer showrooms to draw folks back in. The bargain basement Porsche of the day was the 964 RS America, which stripped a bunch of expensive standard features from the Carrera 2, and dropped the price nearly $10,000.

These days RS America models regularly trade hands for around twice what a standard Carrera 2 can fetch. What is it about this car, what was once the least expensive 911 on the market, that calls out the big buyers? Well, for starters, only 701 examples were sold. The car came from the factory without leather seating, power steering, rear seats, or a speed-activated rear wing. It was a little bit lighter than a Carrera 2, but less than 100 pounds differentiated the two. The manual steering rack provided slightly more feedback to the driver, but I’ve never known a Carrera 2 to be a particularly numb experience to begin with. But it doesn’t have any more power or higher revving engine or any of that. So it pretty much boils down to rarity.

This video below gives us a look at what the contemporary Motorweek program thought of the RS America in-period. They stuck Brian Redman behind the wheel and let him loose at Roebling Road in Savannah, Georgia, which is always good for a few laughs. Brian seemed to have liked the experience, and the review team decided that the loss of standard equipment was a fair trade for the low down price. Back in 1993 the less-than-Carrera-2 price made a lot of sense. Today, the double-a-Carrera-2 price seems absurd.

What do you think? Does the RS name on this car inspire envy in your heart, or are you fine with a bog standard Carrera 2?

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The Porsche 964 RS Euro Vs. RS America- Is There Really Any Comparison?

This European spec 964 RS is the subject of a restoration by the marque experts at Freisinger Motorsport in Germany. We have featured the shop several times before in the past since they are at the absolute pinnacle of their craft, which just so happens to be everything cool Porsche related. While there is no description …

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