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?
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