OP­PO­SITE EX­TREMES

Words: Dan Trent Pho­tog­ra­phy: Antony Fraser Can’t af­ford a real 993 RS? Recre­at­ing your own no longer car­ries the stigma it once did but how far are you will­ing to go?

911 Porsche World - - 993 Rs Clone Warfare -

Look­ing at the crazed six­fig­ure prices cur­rently com­manded by any­thing air­cooled and Rs-badged the idea of us­ing them as in­tended seems a dis­tant dream. Now very much in the realm of in­vest­ment trin­kets, their lucky own­ers can covet them as best-in-breed ex­am­ples of rare 911s and spend their days track­ing the up­ward curve of their val­ues.

All very well. But wouldn’t it be more fun to have them out on a track and be­ing driven as they were built to be driven? You don’t have to look too far back to a time when val­ues were such own­ers of 964 and 993 RS mod­els were swap­ping sto­ries on fo­rums about their lat­est track day out­ing, leav­ing tyres down to the can­vas and big grins on their faces without a thought to re­turns on in­vest­ment. They may not have bagged the big bucks when buy­ing or sell­ing their cars but they ar­guably had more fun with them.

So what’s the Porsche en­thu­si­ast with a crav­ing for a track-ready 993 to do now? Money no ob­ject you could still buy an orig­i­nal RS and drive the wheels off it, for which you’d get the undy­ing re­spect of ev­ery­one other than your fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor. If you’ve got the money there’s no rea­son not to though, even if the re­al­ity is most will now be re­sid­ing un­der dust sheets spec­u­lat­ing to ac­cu­mu­late.

But the re­al­ity is that if you want to drive an RS as an RS should be driven you may have to bite the bul­let and build your own from a reg­u­lar 993, two suit­ably colour­ful ex­am­ples of this phi­los­o­phy as­sem­bled here for our en­ter­tain­ment on a cold win­ter’s day by our friends at Spe­cial­ist Cars of Mal­ton. Both could pass as an ex­am­ple of a Club­sport-spec 993 RS but both started life as stan­dard Car­reras, the ques­tion of how far you’d be will­ing to go with such a con­ver­sion some­thing to be ex­plored on a windswept Blakey Ridge in due course.

There re­mains a de­gree of soulsearch­ing when it comes to repli­cas of course. Sym­pa­thy for those lucky enough to own a gen­uine 2.7 RS will be mea­sured but if you’ve in­vested in an orig­i­nal it must be galling to be con­stantly asked

if it’s real or a rep. Given how far val­ues have gone it’s an in­evitable re­sult of sup­ply and de­mand though, the sup­posed stigma of dress­ing a 911 up as some­thing it’s not (or wasn’t when it was first built) less­ened as the val­ues of the real ones dis­ap­pear out of reach. That the same is “now hap­pen­ing to later RS mod­els is per­haps in­evitable, Mal­ton’s John Hawkins mak­ing the sim­ple point that a gen­uine 993 RS would be any­thing from £350,000 up. Val­ues of reg­u­lar 993s are hardly scrap­ing the floor but even at cur­rent lev­els a pre-mod­i­fied Rs-alike rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant sav­ing, es­pe­cially if you’ve got dreams of us­ing it on track.

Re­turn­ing to the ques­tion of how far you’re will­ing to go to live the RS dream. Dress­ing a reg­u­lar Car­rera up in Aerokit op­tions or Rs-style wings is all very well. But you run the risk of look­ing like one of those peo­ple who self-con­sciously turns up at the pub in their gym kit in an at­tempt to prove their sport­ing cre­den­tials. Wear­ing the clob­ber is one thing. Hav­ing the tal­ent to do it jus­tice an­other. There’s also the re­al­ity that roll cages, har­nesses and sim­i­lar cir­cuit trim­mings can make a car a real pain to live with when you’re any­thing other than max­i­mum at­tack. Maybe there’s less shame in dress­ing your reg­u­lar 993 up in a track suit than purists might think…

And that was the ap­proach taken by a former owner of the yel­low car you see here. A clas­si­fieds list­ing printed and pre­served in its his­tory folder re­veals that a decade ago it out­wardly looked pretty much as it does now, com­plete with the full aero kit in­cluded with the prop­erly pared-back Club­sport pack­age and fit­ted as an op­tion to some ‘reg­u­lar’ 993 RSS to re­place the stan­dard whale-tail. The ma­jor­ity of the 1200 built were in this con­fig­u­ra­tion, some­times mis­tak­enly re­ferred to as ‘com­fort’ mod­els when no of­fi­cial dis­tinc­tion was made. Con­sen­sus has it a lit­tle over a hun­dred buy­ers went for the full Club­sport pack­age, which re­moved most of the in­te­rior, added a roll cage, swapped the stan­dard dual-mass flywheel for a sin­gle-mass item and ef­fec­tively left you with as close to a road-le­gal RSR as has ever been of­fered. Some­times re­ferred to as RSRS, these true Club­sports are now

John makes the point that a gen­uine 993 RS could be £350,000 plus

highly cov­eted, though not ev­ery 993 RS with a big wing is nec­es­sar­ily among their num­ber, the pres­ence of in­te­rior trim be­ing the main give­away.

Back then this car was very much the sheep in wolf’s cloth­ing though, the big wing and Techart wheels a skin-deep ex­pres­sion of the owner’s de­sire to look the part while en­joy­ing the leather-lined lux­ury af­forded to driv­ers of reg­u­lar 993 Car­reras. The cred­i­bil­ity of such a makeover is less stretched than it would be now, the on­pa­per dif­fer­ence be­tween the 270ps/266bhp Car­rera 2 3.6 this car started out as and the mod­est-sound­ing 300ps/296bhp of a proper 3.8 RS seem­ingly not that huge.

There is, of course, a lot more to a real RS than that, the 1270kg kerb­weight leaner to the tune of at least 100kg thanks to the re­moval of ev­ery­thing from airbags to head­light wash­ers, while torque in­creased from 243lb ft to 262lb ft in the RS, 0–62mph slashed by over half a sec­ond to 4.9 and top speed in­creas­ing from 168mph to 172mph. Num­bers re­main only half the story, though, the slammed sus­pen­sion (low­ered 30mm front, 40mm rear) with its stiffer springs, anti-roll bars and damp­ing and the fat­ter tyres on mul­ti­p­iece 18-inch rims all make the RS a much sharper driv­ing ma­chine and wor­thy of its ex­alted badge.

All the same, our man will have pot­tered around in his Speed Yel­low Rsa­like safe in the knowl­edge that, in raw num­bers terms, his car wasn’t ac­tu­ally too far off the pace of the real thing. What hap­pened next was a much more con­certed and com­mit­ted ef­fort to live up to the looks, the sub­se­quent makeover best de­scribed as go­ing full Club­sport with the re­moval of most of the in­te­rior, the ad­di­tion of a welded in cage and a full pack­age of har­nesses and other track-ready trim­mings.

As it now stands the car is a con­vinc­ing vis­ual rep­re­sen­ta­tion of a full Club­sport spec car, hun­kered down on its cor­rect 18inch RS wheels on H&R coilovers and more in keep­ing with its billing as a homage, rather than mere pas­tiche.

So it’s a bit of a shock to hear how

out with a great deal more se­ri­ous­ness than the yel­low car. The sur­round re­mains but the di­als have been re­placed with a dig­i­tal dis­play and the other switchgear has been swapped for ba­sic tog­gles or but­tons, their “lo­ca­tion and la­belling seem­ingly ap­plied with race car func­tion­al­ity rather than aesthetics in mind. A metal lock-out hinges over the hand­brake to keep it in place and be­side it is a brake bias lever with ba­sic in­struc­tions on its op­er­a­tion – one click for­ward for dry, two for wet – while start­ing it re­quires flick­ing a bat­tery iso­la­tor and a but­ton push rather than the fid­dly road car im­mo­biliser and key of the yel­low car.

The en­gine was re­built by Paragon Porsche two years ago as part of the car’s evo­lu­tion from road­go­ing Car­rera and into track-ready RS clone, ca­pac­ity in­creased to 3.8 litres with var­i­ous Rs-spec parts and an ex­ten­sive beef­ing up of all in­ter­nal com­po­nen­try. There’s a Motec ECU con­trol­ling it all and RS gear link­age to fin­ish the job, the fi­nal bill for the en­gine alone nudg­ing on five fig­ures. And it sounds an­gry. Re­ally, re­ally an­gry.

For all their su­per­fi­cial re­sem­blance these are two com­pletely dif­fer­ent cars in char­ac­ter. The or­ange car feels harsh, stiff and un­yield­ing, skip­ping this way and that over the bumpy moor­land roads but com­mend­ably well damped con­sid­er­ing. It’s busy, cer­tainly, and there’s limited wheel travel mean­ing it gets air­borne over even mod­est lumps. But it feels well set up and so, so ex­cit­ing to drive.

Whereas the yel­low car is happy to mooch the or­ange car is at max­i­mum at­tack, all the time. It just de­mands it, ev­ery con­trol tighter, more re­spon­sive and more di­alled in. The short-shift gearbox switches ra­tios quickly, the clutch is as­sertive and the brake pedal barely moves, which would be fan­tas­tic on a dry track with warm tyres but without ABS de­mands plan­ning and

The yel­low car is happy to mooch, the or­ange car is at max­i­mum

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