GT Spirit 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.0
Zuffenhausen’s Radical Homologation Special
No sports-car maker has a more prestigious racing pedigree than does Porsche, but ironically, the car that would become the single most successful sports racer in history—the 911—was not initially earmarked for competition when it was released in 1963. But the success of numerous privateer racers was noted by the factory, so Porsche engineers went to work helping hone the 911 for the track.
The first major development came in 1966 in the form of the 911S, which received sharper handling and a 30hp-engine upgrade. But Zuffenhausen was also secretly working on a purebred racer called the “911R,” an effort which focused on shaving the already svelte
911 down to featherweight by employing fiberglass body panels, adding Plexiglas windows, and drilling holes in every piece of metal not structurally essential. All the insulation and amenities were stripped out, resulting in a 911 that weighed less than 1,800 pounds—nearly 500 less than stock! And for good measure, they bolted in the engine from the 906 sports racer, which made 210hp—30 more than the 911S. Ultimately, just 19 911Rs were built, so it never met the production requirement of 500 units to homologate it for GT competition, but the exercise would serve Porsche well in just a few short years.
Fast-forward to 1972: Porsche’s Le Mans–conquering 917K was forcibly put to pasture by a rules change, and the
908 that helped deliver three consecutive FIA World Sports
Car titles had become obsolete. Porsche decided to step back from prototype racing and return to its roots in GT, but the 911S just wasn’t potent enough to compete for overall wins against the powerful Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona, so engineers went back to the 911R playbook. They stripped out the insulation and interior amenities, and installed thin-gauge sheet metal and glass to save pounds, and boring the motor from 2.4 to 2.7L got 210hp—same as the old R. They flared the rear fenders to cover wider wheels and tires in back, and the now famous ducktail rear spoiler was added for downforce. The car was not as radical as that first 911R. As it was somewhere between a 911R and a 911S, Porsche logically named it the
“RS 2.7” and resurrected the “Carrera” nameplate, established back in 1955 to celebrate victory in the Carrera Panamericana. The plan was to build the 500 cars required to qualify for the FIA Group 4 GT class for the 1973 season, but the Carrera RS 2.7 proved so popular that, by year’s end, 1,580 eager enthusiasts had signed up despite the nearly $14,000 asking price. Porsche was shocked but thrilled because that meant the RS had met the 1,000-unit requirement for Group 3 as well. That proved crucial as FIA rules stated that, after a car had met the Group 3 eligibility requirements, a variant could be homologated by building just 100 further examples. That meant that for 1974, Porsche could build a much more radical, expensive, and race-ready version of the RS without having to worry about selling 500 of them. Enter the Carrera RS 3.0.
One of the first things you notice when examining GT
Spirit’s RS 3.0 is the huge rectangular opening in the front air dam. The chunky front bumper with imbedded markers was new on all ’74 911s, but the fiberglass air dam was unique to the RS. The opening housed a large oil cooler, and GT Spirit does a nice job with the screen mesh that covers it. The round openings to either side route air to cross-drilled racing brakes that came straight off the 917. There’s a matching set of brake ducts for the rears just forward of the wheel openings. Radical weightsaving measures dropped the RS down below 2,000 pounds and included the 2.7’s thinner body panels, to which they added a fiberglass bonnet and engine cover, but those obviously aren’t visible on the model. Those familiar with classic 911s will note the wide fender flares needed to cover the 9-inch-wide rear wheels (2 inches wider than the RS 2.7’s). You’ll also note the larger, tray-style rear spoiler that replaced the ducktail on the 2.7.
Under that gigantic rear wing that actually overhangs the rear bumper lives a slightly detuned version of Porsche’s 3.0L racing flat-6. The block was cast in aluminum rather than magnesium, used single instead of dual spark plugs, and had mufflers installed, but otherwise was very similar to the RSR racing engine. It was conservatively rated at 230hp, which was channeled through a racing 5-speed to a limited slip differential. Like all GT Spirit replicas, this one is a sealedbody resin model, so nothing of that glorious motor can be seen save some rudimentary exhaust details molded in relief on the chassis.
The interior somewhat makes up for that. To save weight, the interior was completely stripped of carpeting and insulation—even the glove-box door and armrests are gone. The interior door trim was replaced with plain flat
panels, and the door pulls and latches were minimalist leather straps, which GT Spirit molds in relief. The seats are deepbolster racing buckets. The RS 3.0 was originally equipped with 4-point racing harnesses anda factory roll bar. The former have been replaced on the model with 5-point belts, but that’s a reasonable upgrade, especially since the woven material and etched metal buckles look great. The thick three-spoke wheel has the Porsche crest on the center button, and the gear lever has the 5-speed shift pattern on its chrome knob.
The gold spokes on the widened 15-inch Fuchs wheels match the “Carrera” scripts on the rockers, and behind the gaps in the spokes, you can see the drilled rotors borrowed from the 917. OEM tires were Pirellis; GT Spirit’s have no sidewall markings, but the tread looks pretty good. Because the race-spec suspension offered adjustable camber and sat on ultra-stiff Bilstein racing dampers, stance varies car to car. This one sits a little high to my eye, but I can’t say it’s wrong.
GT Spirit does a nice job with the mesh screen covering the large oil cooler mounted in the front air dam, bracketed by ducts to cool the brakes.
As a sealed resin model there’s no engine detail except for some rudimentary exhaust molding on the chassis.
The RS 3.0 replaced the ducktail with this larger tray-style rear spoiler that produced more downforce and less drag. Note the delicate work on the venting over the air-cooled engine.
The gold-tinted Fuchs wheels on the RS 3.0 were the same diameter (15 inches) as on the 2.7, but two inches wider, requiring enlarged fender flares. The cross-drilled rotors borrowed from the 917K are visible through the spokes.
Deep-bolster racing bucket seats have woven racing harnesses and etched metal buckles. The gauge detail is excellent, there’s a Porsche crest on the steering wheel, and the shifter has the proper 5-speed pattern on its chrome knob (not pictured.)
There’s a factory-installed roll bar and the woven racing harnesses are pinned to the rear deck—very realistic!