The £1.5 mil­lion RS

Every Porsche bear­ing an RS badge is spe­cial, but none for the road are rarer than this one. With To­tal 911 in the pres­ence of true great­ness, we ex­plore the ul­ti­mate 964

Total 911 - - Contents - Writ­ten by Chris Ran­dall Pho­tog­ra­phy by Daniel pullen

It broke records at the Amelia Is­land sale, so here's what makes the 3.8-litre 964 RS spe­cial

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 en­gine­m­an­age­ment 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.

The re­sult was a 964 that dipped be­low five sec­onds in the sprint to 62mph and would carry on to 170mph, both no­table im­prove­ments over the 3.6 RS. Although the gear ra­tios in the G50/10 five-speed trans­mis­sion were un­changed, it was fit­ted with steel syn­chro­mesh for greater strength, and power was de­liv­ered to the road via a lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial with a more ag­gres­sive 40 per cent lock­ing fac­tor. And the up­grades kept on com­ing, the 3.8 vari­ant fea­tur­ing up­rated, cross-drilled brakes bor­rowed from the Turbo S, along with the fit­ment of split-rim Speed­line wheels mea­sur­ing 9x18-inches at the front and a steam­roller-sized 11x18-inches at the rear. Those brakes re­tained the ABS and high-pres­sure hy­draulics found in other 964s, and the low­ered, up­rated sus­pen­sion mir­rored that of the 3.6 RS, although the power-as­sisted steer­ing gub­bins had been junked, both to save weight and to pro­vide the driver with the ul­ti­mate in feed­back.

As for price, you could hardly ex­pect a car boast­ing this level of en­gi­neer­ing and mo­tor­sport in­put to come cheap, and the RS didn’t dis­ap­point. Had you held the nec­es­sary sway with the racing depart­ment and been one of those lucky 55 then Weis­sach would have re­lieved you of DM225,000, which was just a lit­tle north of £90,000. And had you in­tended to go racing, DM270,000 would have se­cured an RSR that needed no fur­ther readi­ness be­fore tak­ing to the track. It’s fair to say that the sum of all these parts added up to a dev­as­tat­ingly ca­pa­ble road weapon, but the thing that re­ally mat­tered to Weis­sach, what had driven the project from the very be­gin­ning, was what the 3.8 RSR achieved on track, and here it was to prove its met­tle straight away.

It was back in 1988 that Jür­gen Barth had orig­i­nally pro­posed the idea of a 964 RSR to com­pe­ti­tion di­rec­tor, Peter Falk, so it was fit­ting that Barth (along with co-driv­ers Do­minique Dupuy and Joël Gouhier) was be­hind the wheel when the new model won its

GT class first time out at the 1993 Le Mans 24 hours. And that was just the be­gin­ning; suc­cesses went on to in­clude class vic­to­ries at 24-hour races held at both Spa and the Nür­bur­gring, proof, if any were needed, that Porsche had thor­oughly nailed the 3.8 RS brief. But, hav­ing spent time ex­plor­ing the be­gin­nings of this mag­nif­i­cent Rennsport, it’s now time to turn our at­ten­tion to the ex­am­ple you see in the pic­tures.

Up close, the blend of com­pact 964 di­men­sions – even with that swollen Turbo body – and barely con­tained racing in­tent is re­ally quite breath­tak­ing, and know­ing that it is one of so few built only adds to the sense of oc­ca­sion. Ac­cord­ing to the fac­tory records it was com­pleted at Weis­sach on 27 Oc­to­ber 1993, although its first owner, a P Gon­soir who was based in Alt­dorf, didn’t take de­liv­ery un­til 5 April

1994. Leaf­ing through the list of op­tions re­veals that this M004 model (the code that de­noted a road­go­ing 3.8 RS) ben­e­fit­ted from lit­tle that would have de­tracted from its fo­cus as the ul­ti­mate in light­weight 911s. Codes M384 and M385 show that leather bucket seats were spec­i­fied, while anti-theft locks for the wheels (M455) and the 92-litre fuel tank (M545) also fea­tured. And in the spirit of keep­ing weight and com­pli­ca­tion to a min­i­mum there were no air bags for driver or pas­sen­ger.

You’d also like to think that Gon­soir in­tended to en­joy the de­lights of the RS in all weath­ers, as he also had a dig­i­tal VDO out­side tem­per­a­ture gauge in­stalled in the cen­tre con­sole. That last item aside, this par­tic­u­lar ex­am­ple is just as it left Weis­sach a quar­ter of a cen­tury ago. By the time the car was sold in July 2005 to its present – and only sec­ond – Bel­gium-based owner it had cov­ered just over 20,000km, and its use since has been spar­ing. A cou­ple of longer trips in­cluded one to the home of

Ruf but, more in­ter­est­ingly, it was driven for an ar­ti­cle by none other than Gijs van Len­nep, who came to the con­clu­sion that the 3.8 RS was a bet­ter car to drive than the 3.6. Com­ing from some­one that had twice won Le Mans at the wheel of a Porsche, that’s high praise in­deed. But with our time in the com­pany of this amaz­ing car al­most up, all that’s left is to pon­der on what Porsche achieved.

There’s no doubt that its sta­tus as the rarest Rennsport earns it a place among the pan­theon of great Ne­unelfers, but it’s more than just a pro­duc­tion num­ber that im­presses. The 3.8 RS un­der­lines Porsche’s com­mit­ment to the pur­suit of per­fec­tion when it comes to achiev­ing mo­tor­sport suc­cess and, for a com­pany built on the leg­end of racing vic­to­ries, that makes this car spe­cial in­deed.

They could have re­laxed, con­grat­u­lat­ing them­selves on a job well done with the 3.6 RS, only such an ap­proach just isn’t in their DNA. In­stead, they took a car that seemed to rep­re­sent the zenith of the 964 gen­er­a­tion and then ap­plied all of Weis­sach’s en­gi­neer­ing prow­ess to pro­duce some­thing of true ex­cel­lence. Those vic­to­ries at Le Mans, Spa and the ‘Ring are tes­ta­ment to that, and if any re­in­force­ment of the Rennsport ethos were needed, then you’d find it right here.

LEFT Wide body, fixed wing and Speed­line wheels vis­ually mark the 3.8-litre RS from the 3.6

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