CCC Status Report- Porsche 964 RS

CCC STATUS REPORT for Porsche 964 Carrera RS

HISTORICAL FACTORS

Porsche had made the 911 2.7 RS before the 964 RS and so continues a tradition of lightweight homologation specials. Porsche introduced the 964 RS in 1992 the second RS in Porsche's history.

FORM FACTORS

Its hard to call any Porsche truly beautiful but the iconic shape has rather evergreen appeal. The 964 shape is the last of the true 911 shapes with the upright headlamps. It was a controversial item back then and the trend was to flatten those lamps which they did in the 993 and there are those rare flat-nose 911s that tried to emulate the front end of a Ferrari. What were they thinking?

On the inside the cabin is robust and functional. The large round analog dials are modern enough to stand muster even today. The seat shape though uninviting has become equally iconic. The optional Sport Recaros are just fabulous and are a must have item.

Because we cannot say the shape had attracted all the buyers (maybe a few) so it really has to be the other attributes by which it achieves cult car and indeed will reach classic car status.

MECHANICAL ATTRIBUTES

The legendary robustness of Porsche's air-cooled engines is its main attraction. At 260 bhp from 3600cc it is not stressed like the cars of today. The engine has been blueprinted and this results in a 10 bhp advantage over the stock 250 bhp motor. Mind you it is at the very least a 10 bhp increase. However if one drives the 964 RS hard it is abundantly clear that there is a special quality to its delivery that is addictive.

With just 5-speeds to play with the engine needs less peakiness but a wider spread of torque and this flat six delivers the goods. Besides the air-cooled sound is just so charming, so mechanical so involving. Just powering through the rear wheels via an LSD the 964 RS feels like a proper Porsche. There is an “air-cooled” movement among the cognizant and rightfully so.

The 964 RS was a real labour of love. The body in white was carted off the production line and rewelded at the Motorsport division as Weissach to enhance body rigidity. Its sound-proofing is completely removed and it goes through an extensive weight loss program which jettisons items like the air conditioning system and power windows, items which owners invariably ordered as options. (which leads to the GT3 later on) This rewelding and stripping of the soundproofing is a much sought after feature not reproducible in the same manner on ordinary 964s.

The dampers and springs were suitably uprated and lowered by 30mm though it looks more than that. It is firm to the point of becoming uncomfortable but it reduces the snap oversteer of the normal cars. The front end damping is perhaps too aggressive. The characteristic odd cockscrew motion over undulating roads is also reduced but still evident. But Porsche was aware of it and were working hard on reducing it so they could keep the rear engine layout. Big brakes are part of the package. Bilstein together with Walter Rorhl have come up with a suspension kit that cures those problems.


PERFORMANCE AND HANDLING CRITERIA

With the weight loss program the 964 RS tipped the scales 1230kg and the stiffened body this Porsche was the first indication that the engineers were on the right track to modernizing the 911.

The standard 964 was truly a handful in the corners expecially when was not so committed and backed off mid-corner. This would surely bring the tail around and while that is expected, it is often uncatchable and terminal. The 964RS did not cure that so much as tame that characteristic. This being the first indication that the engineers at Porsche were begining to grasp what needed to be done to cure the tail's sting.

With just 260 bhp the RS was pretty brisk and needed to be stoked hard to deliver. The unassisted steering and heavy controls and pedals meant one will get a real workout but its a real life-affirming one as the intimate connection between driver and car is at its purest. And often it forms a permanent union that lasts and lasts. There are even more tales of woes from those who sold off their treasured 964RS.

TIME AND MARKETING FACTORS

The 964 Carrera RS had a limited production run of 2364 in both LHD and RHD versions and the RHD versions only numbered a paltry 250 in all making this an instant collectors item though it wasn't obvious at the launch. RS stands for Rennsport and was a direct development of the Motorsport division. The bodies of the 964 were pulled off the Stuttgart line and transported to Weissach where the Motorsport department was and it was then outfitted and blueprinted there by Motorsport technicians. This was both a hugely inefficient but noteworthy step. Its quite different nowadays when the RS models are all made on the same production line and the Motorsport engineers only design via computers and magically it gets assembled at Zuffenhausen.

The numbers to begin with are small and there were only two allocated for sale here in Singapore. The car featured here is still with its one and only happy owner, lucky devil.

CONCLUSION

While the 964 RS has the desirability factor, the limited numbers make it difficult to attain a real tangible cult following locally but worldwide it is a jealously guraded possession with a healthy following of cognizant buyers. Cult status is worldwide. Collectible too. - mp

 

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