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