What makes the Porsche 911 a Porsche 911RS?

The Porsche 911RS is one of the strongest outlaw contender of the modern sports car.  But obviously, as many must ask, what then is the RS?  What was its purpose?

RS is coined for “Racing Sport” and… if you wanted to be even more technical, it is better name is “Rennsport“.

A philosophy derived from Lotus innovator Colin Chapman who deducted that the more you decrease weight of a car, and do nothing else, you should get significant performance.  You should also get better handling and because the car is lighter, quicker braking.   This thinking was opposite to what was happening to cars from the 60’s.  All those cars were trying to be fatter, big engine performance, massive spoilers, huge grinding brakes and full tilt suspension.

Porsche’s earlier models such as the “356” was equally nimble and light as any Lotus, but like the remainder of the trend, started to get heavier and beefy.  Porsche Designers then realized that the small frame of the 356 wasn’t going to allow larger engines.  In the redesign, the 911 was born, those P-cars too found it irresistible to make more powerful.  It did not take very long to then wondered what would happen if the cars skimmed off weight with powerful engines.

Born was the 1973 Carrera 2.7RS.  Porsche’s Engineering Director Ernst Fuhrmann, knew he had something worthy of production and coined the “RS” designation.  He took the 2.4L engine, fattened it up while lightening the weight of the car.  The removal of weight wasn’t actually unique, a matter of fact, it had already been a ten year old concept practiced by Italian Porsche Tuner, Carlo Abarth, where he took a 356 Carrera and converted it to be an unbeatable winner.     Name the Abarth Carrera GTL, he altered his cars to be specific for race purposes.

A “tested theory” on an already fabulous 1973 911S,  the special attention for Rennsport race car development had already proved worthy.  So much so, Porsche produced 500 of them for general sales.

Expect the factory modifications to be included in the Carrera RS, and you will have 210hp@6300rpm and torque of 255@5100rmp.   Not only you get a very loud popping racing car, but you get hat lifting, white knuckle excitement at the seat of your pants.   Fuhrmann snagged racing technology from the very successful Porsche 917, and found using a larger 90mm Nikasil-coated aluminum cylinders which adaptations guaranteed hard, low friction surfaces.  So successful of quality all Porsche engines retained versions of “Niksil” technology forever from that point on.

It was then this savvy Engineering Director’s wish to lighten the load.    Carefully studied materials, structural shaping, plus other quickly asserted engineering measured equally effective by today’s standards change the Porsche 911S.   Thinner steel, thinner glass, larger wheels with light weight flares and a practical down force duck-tail were all employed into the car.

To better handle lighter weight and more power, suspension changes were altered to use stiffer Koni dampers,  with stiffer anti-roll bars and uprated motor mountings.  All bushings were also made to better lock the car’s wild tendencies to bay.

While some Porsche 911RS (M471) were pure race cars with that “hard teeth jarring ride, back riveting stack of bone crushing nerve pinching” performance.   It was the hope that privately used race tracks were ribbon smooth, unlike bumpy city streets and so you can gain in suspension.   In comparison to the 911S cousin, the interior was stripped of all comforts of home.   Manual windows, reduced soundproofing, no rear passenger seats, the clock deleted, and no passenger sun visor.  The engine-compartment duck-tail lid and unique looking RS front bumpers were made of sculpted lightweight fiberglass.   Simply put, about 220 pounds stripped away.    Racers would then find other ways to knock off even more weight by opting to remove and replace 40 lbs of rear tail lights for a lighter RS types, interior rugs for plastic mats, lighter door handles, and even drilling out steel plates to make them lighter.   Door pockets were deleted, as so were the interior handles, replaced by leather straps ingeniously acting as door latches.  Center board was removed, and shifter and all that heater stuff deleted.

A Porsche RS Touring (M472) had a softer ride for those that actually wanted to use their cars more than just a track.   With the interior exactly like the 911S, and with steel bumpers and engine lid, these would prove to be available for anyone who could afford it, to use.

In 1973, the Porsche 911S would sell for $10,065, while the RS Carrera version would run $10,895.   Today, you would need around $200,000 to touch one.

 RENNSPORT
      REUNION IV  p o r s c h e

End of story for outlaws?  Not exactly.   It is important to note that Porsche at that very time, also in 1973 created 109 more cars with the brand new 3.0L engine.    Don’t hold you’re breath if you are ever going to see one, but if you do take a photo of it and send it me.  Maybe you can let me use your time machine?

Go back to 1973 and trade this DeLorean for an RS.

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3 responses to “What makes the Porsche 911 a Porsche 911RS?

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