Porsche thrills

A 911 RS replica cap­tures the feel of the orig­i­nal, writesGRAHAMSMITH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Cars -

THERE are some clas­sics that, while very de­sir­able, are sim­ply too ex­pen­sive for all but the well-heeled col­lec­tor. That’s the way it is with the 1973 Porsche 911 RS, the race-tuned ver­sion of the iconic 911.

A gen­uine RS would com­fort­ably sell for half a mil­lion dol­lars on to­day’s mar­ket, which puts it out of the reach of most en­thu­si­asts.

But you can en­joy the thrill of an RS for much less in the form of a replica, a car cap­tur­ing the essence of the orig­i­nal but based on a more af­ford­able model like the later 911 3.2.

MODEL WATCH

THE 1973 911 Car­rera RS is one of the most de­sir­able and col­lectable Porsches, in its time one of the fastest pro­duc­tion sports cars on the mar­ket.

To cre­ate the RS, Porsche took the 911S, also a very de­sir­able sports car to­day, and put it on a diet that would see it shed 100kg by re­mov­ing the rear seat and dash­board clock and use thin­ner body pan­els, fab­ric pulls to open the doors in­stead of reg­u­lar han­dles and cover the floor in rudi­men­tary rub­ber mats.

The flat-six en­gine was then bored out to 2.7 litres, and with Bosch fu­elin­jec­tion de­liv­er­ing the juice, it put out a healthy 157kW.

With its power boosted and its weight trimmed, the RS was fast — just 5.7 sec­onds to reach 100km/h and 240km/h if pushed to the limit.

It also looked the part with its large bootlid spoiler, front air­dam, bold Car­rera graph­ics down each side and Fuchs al­loy rims.

It’s no won­der the RS is held in such high es­teem by Porsche afi­ciona­dos. Equally, given Porsche only made 1000 or so, it’s not sur­pris­ing RS prices are now so high. It shouldn’t be a sur­prise then that it has at­tracted replica mak­ers.

The RS is an ideal car to repli­cate. It was based on the reg­u­lar Porsche 911, which didn’t change very much from the 1960s to the mid-’80s.

ON THE LOT

WITH so few made in the first place the RS doesn’t of­ten come up for sale. When they do, as one did re­cently in this coun­try, they are quickly snapped up.

Prices asked range up to $500,000 and there seems to be no prob­lem get­ting them. Repli­cas are gen­er­ally priced be­tween $ 65,000 and $80,000, but some own­ers are ask­ing twice that.

IN THE SHOP

SYD­NEY com­pany ZAG Au­to­mo­tive spe­cialises in RS repli­cas. It takes a 911 3.2, mostly im­ported from Asia and does a com­plete bare body re­build with a range of gen­uine and re­pro­duc­tion RS parts to cre­ate a car that fits the im­age of one of Porsche’s most trea­sured clas­sics.

They usu­ally keep the 3.2-litre en­gine and the gear­box, but re­work the car vis­ually to recre­ate the cred­i­bil­ity of the orig­i­nal RS.

The cars are mostly left-hand drive when they ar­rive and are con­verted to right-hand drive in the build process.

Once com­pleted they re­quire the ap­proval of an en­gi­neer be­fore they can be reg­is­tered, and the re­quire­ments can vary from state to state.

IN A CRASH

PORSCHE’S body strength has never been ques­tioned and that’s the pri­mary crash pro­tec­tion in the early 911 and the repli­cas. There were no airbags, so safety re­verts to the construction, han­dling, brak­ing and road­hold­ing with the Porsche.

AT THE PUMP

IF YOUR pri­or­ity is fuel econ­omy read no fur­ther as the 911, and the repli­cas, are high per­for­mance cars and like to drink lots of fuel.

OWNER SAYS

RO­HAN Veal says he has wanted a clas­sic 911 for as long as he can re­mem­ber and set him­self a goal of hav­ing one by the time he turned 30.

He achieved his goal ear­lier this year when he took de­liv­ery of his 911 RS replica from ZAG.

He had al­ready owned a gen­uine four-cylin­der 912, but al­ways too wor­ried about dam­ag­ing it to en­joy the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. There are no such con­cerns about the replica.

‘‘I just want to drive it,’’ he says. ‘‘I won’t pay half a mil­lion dol­lars on a car to pol­ish.’’

BOT­TOM LINE

A REPLICA has the orig­i­nal’s thrill at a price that won’t break the bank.

De­sir­able: the 911 Car­rera RS costs about $500,000 and is one of the most de­sir­able Porsches. It is an ideal car to repli­cate. Copies cost $65,000 to $80,000.

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