Classic Porsche 911 - Surveys owners, repair and operation of 911 news stories and page model, sales and much more in ou...
Classic Porsche 911 - Surveys owners, repair and operation of 911 news stories and page model, sales and much more in our club fans and fans of the legendary series cars Porsche 911. All about 911-901, 930, 964, 993, 996 and new era 997 and 991-series.

If you're buying a used 911 as an investment, send me your address so that I can arrange a visit from the boys. Investors who never drive their 911s bring a word to mind. That word is 'pimp'. As 911 diehards, the boys don't like pimps, so when they arrive, make sure your engine is still warm, the exhaust system is making that tinkling noise and there is evidence in your tyres of some recently accomplished brisk cornering.

All 911s, from 1963 to this afternoon, share a characteristic 911 'feel', but that varies greatly in degree. Bog-standard used Coupes from the late 1970s or 1980s once delivered the goods for sensible money but they might demand some restoration work now.

Choosing a 911 is such a very personal matter. Just go for what you really want, get the best straight car you can find and look after it. Reliability is legendary but repairs can be costly.

My choice is currently the 993 Carrera 2 Coupe of 1993-98. Its predecessor, the 964, was respectable but dull. The 993's different, agile feel makes it terrific to drive and good ones go for less than £30,000 - this week, anyway.
It's the last air-cooled 911 model but so what? Later models lost nothing by being water-cooled. No, pick a 993 for its exhilarating agility, and its price.

A friend of mine paid £26,000 for a superb 1994 993 Carrera 2 in late 2013. He loves it, whether he's tootling about the shops or on a 300-mile blast through the remote Highlands of Scotland, where it truly excels. And that's no more than it deserves.

Porsche 911 Carrera RS
1973 // £500,000
The eternally great, ultimate development of the original 911 concept, it combines high performance and low weight with inch-perfect precision handling. Superb but the price of this model now, sir, is officially‘through the roof'. If you buy one, promise us you will use it.

On an autumn day in 1972 the salesman from Porsche GB came to visit our house. 'We're making a special car,' he told my father. 'Only 200 will be built, and we're offering them to our best clients first as demand is sure to be strong.' They built more than 1500 in the end, and demand was so great that, instead of management having to use them as company cars to use up unsold stock as expected, Porsche sold out the first batch of 500 immediately and had to build two more series.

Why the fuss? Because the RS is so much more than the sum of its parts. It was derived from the relatively humble 2.4S, but with flared rear arches and wider wheels (a 911 first), bored-out engine (at 2.7 litres Porsche's biggest road car motor to date), a rear spoiler (another first, and not just for Porsche, so initially illegal in some markets) and, last but not least, weight-loss that took the RS under the magic 1000kg in 'lightweight' trim.
The result: 150mph, 0-60mph in 5.0sec, handling to die for (and you would if you lifted off mid-comer) and a string of victories on every continent including rallies, Le Mans and the Targa Florio. Oh, and you can drive it to the shops.

Mine's been in the family for 42 years and has never once 'failed to proceed'. Beat that, Enzo...

Porsche 911 GT3 (997-series, generation II)
2009-12 // £80,000-120,000
The 997-series Generation II cars were terrific in their time and the naturally aspirated 997 GT3 was a hugely powerful, seriously fabulous machine, subtly better in fast corners than previous GT3 models.
A classic in waiting - bound to be a sound long-term investment.

Any brand new 911
2015 // From around £75,000
Admit it, they are absolutely brilliant. If you don’t want one, you should. Buy it, keep it, service it properly. One day, it will be a classic but, meanwhile, enjoy a few happy decades driving it. The best of all worlds.
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  •   Antonio Ghini reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    There are forms that can only be changed very cautiously, because icons must be immediately recognizable as such. If there is a revolution, then please especially under the sheet metal and in the interior, where Porsche wants to surprise us with a new operating concept and additional assistance systems. #Porsche-911-992 / #2019-Porsche-911-992 / #Porsche-992 / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche / #2019 / #Porsche-911-Turbo / #Porsche-911-Turbo-992 / #Porsche-911-Carrera / #Porsche-911-Carrera-992 / #2020 / #Porsche-911-Carrera-S / #Porsche-911-Carrera-S-992

    An icon at the crossroads: How do innovations like the plug-in hybrid and digitization change the rear-engined classic with the sawing voice and the impossible weight distribution? We have the story - for those who do not want to wait until October 2018.

    Beetle, Mini, Land Rover, 911. All classic without expiration date - or the last Mohicans before the big paradigm shift towards E-Mobility and autonomous driving?

    Probably something of both. Porsche has to take care of the 911 without scare the purists and ignore the signs of the times. "In the 911 there will be no four-cylinder in the medium term," promises chief conductor Oliver Blume. "But we are working on a plug-in variant and will probably use it later." What Blume does not say: Model 992, which debuts at the LA Auto Show in late 2018, is the last of its kind. Because the generation after next generation is already based on the completely new, in all essential elements scalable sports car platform of the future (SAZ), which was developed earlier this year. Lamborghini remains initially out, but Bentley, Audi and probably even Bugatti are considered set in the SAZ network.

    Before the eighth in Zuffenhausen conceived rolls from February 2019 to the dealers, Porsche still wants to tell the story of the 991 to an end.

    The penultimate chapter takes place in March at the Geneva Motor Show, where the winged GT3 RS, which is said to have 520 hp, celebrates its premiere. As part of the racing reunion, a classic event scheduled for September near Paris, Porsche wants to draw the last 991 derivative from the hat in the form of the strictly limited Speedster GT.

    After the 911 T, the Speedster is the second model in the Heritage range. The next 911 generation hears the abbreviation 992 and builds in essential elements on the current series. So it remains at the rear engine - the rumored exchange of boxer and transmission should be completed in 2025 with the so-called Ferrari Fighter (Project 960), the future of course, is still uncertain. Since the duo 996/986, Elfer and Boxster / Cayman share a modular architecture. This constructive approach is in principle, but it is still unclear to what extent the successors of Cayman and Boxster are knitted after the proven pattern and whether Audi is allowed on board. As of December 2017, everything from the big facelift to the radically innovative electric sports car is in the realm of possibility.

    The new 911 is born in uncertain times. As early as next fall, legislators are tightening the exhaust gas standard for gasoline engines with the Otto Particulate Filter (OPF). The measures to comply with the two-stage RDE (Real Drive Emissions) limits cost engine power and money. Quite possibly, that's why Porsche also takes the BMW M-way in the next step and has to provide the expensive water injection. Against the background of the exhaust gas discussion, the classic naturally aspirated engines of GT3 and GT4 inevitably become discontinued models.

    Because at the same time more stringent noise protection regulations threaten, also the intake and exhaust systems must be quieter. A tightening on a broad front brings the upcoming fleet norm of on average only 95 g CO2 / km. But do not worry: the enemy picture of a 911 with four-cylinder boxer without e-module is a chimera, at least in the medium term.

    The graduated start-up of the 992 is based on its predecessor:

    • Carrera 2S and Carrera 4S Coupé, Presentation 10/2018, launch 2/2019;
    • Carrera 2S and 4S Cabriolet, presentation 1/2019, sale from 4/2019;
    • Carrera 2 and Carrera 4 as coupé and convertible, presentation 4/2019, at the dealer 7/2019;
    • 911 Turbo Coupe and Carrera GTS, presentation 9/2019, start of sales 2/2020.

    Together with the new car, a revised engine generation (EA9A2) goes into production.

    The 3.0-liter boxer mobilizes as #MHEV (Mild Hybrid) 15 kW more power and 70 Newton meters more torque, provides additional variability in the mixture preparation and reduces the already hardly measurable particulate matter emission by a factor of 10. The base Carrera 400 PS Strong twin-turbo propellant brings it in the S versions to 450 hp. From 2022 will be increased as part of the facelift again by 20 hp.

    In the GT3 successor it remains at 3.8 liters of displacement, but the first-ever artificially ventilated six-cylinder in the sharpest 911 should increase in the first stage of development from 500 to 550 hp. Spearhead of the series remains the 911 Turbo; he stands with up to 620 bhp / DIN even better in the feed than before. In most cases, a new eight-speed double clutch (8DT 80HL) from ZF will provide the power transmission.

    Inside there's an exciting mixture of classic and modern. Porsche was the only mechanical round instrument to rescue the centrally positioned tachometer into modern times. Although it remains at a total of five clocks, but the two displays on the left and right of the heart rate monitor can be partially configure freely. We know the big touch screen and the panel for the air conditioning from the Panamera. New are the optional head-up display and a long list of comfort and safety features. For example, the adaptive laser light, which illuminates far into the next bend, cleverly avoids reflections and self-glare, selectively illuminates pedestrians and animals, and works its way 700 meters into the darkness wherever it is possible.

    Starting in 2022, the countdown for the 911 #PHEV is underway, but the market launch has not yet been fixed. This model integrates two propulsion concepts: the gasoline rear engine and the electric motor, which turns this 911 into a low-emission 4x4 coupe when needed. The compact E-package consists of four elements: power electronics, lithium-ion battery with 10.8 kWh, Stromer with 70 kW and 310 Nm and a special e-transmission with eight gears, freewheel and recuperation. In total, extrapolated 485 hp and 760 Nm are available. That should be enough to track to (0-62MPH) 0-100 kmh in less than 3.5 seconds and to be 315kph fast.

    Depending on the driving style, the electric range should be up to 50 kilometers. If you like rushing rather than gliding, you can boost for 20 seconds at the touch of a button or swear all the drive components up in Sport Plus for maximum performance - then the Sport Response Button finally makes sense.

    The #Porsche-911-992 has to be able to do better than its predecessor, has to be faster and more agile, at the same time wilder and more confident, quieter and - in spite of the Otto particle filter - more efficient. The means to an end: less weight, a stiffer body and a new eight-speed #PDK for the more powerful boxer. There's a new infotainment and various assistance systems. First test runs from February 2019 .
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  •   Antonio Ghini reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    / #1973 / #Porsche-911-Carrera-RS-2.7 £POA. Autofarm, Weston-on-the-Green, UK / THE MARKET / Showroom Stars / #Porsche-911-Carrera-RS / #Porsche-911-Carrera / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche /

    If we had been asked to guess the location of the last right-hand-drive RS 2.7, we’d probably have suggested Narnia before Trinidad, but the little island was indeed until very recently home to chassis 1576, one of only 16 Royal Purple cars built.

    Had we been asked to guess who had extracted it from the Caribbean, however, we would pretty quickly have suggested Josh Sadler. The founder of Oxfordshire-based Porsche specialist Autofarm has a knack for turning up interesting cars, and with the help of US contact Rikard Asbjornsen he was able to strike a deal to repatriate 1576, which was sold new to the UK back in 1973.

    If the car is not immediately recognisable as that most desirable of all 911s, it is because a previous owner sought to ‘improve’ it in the 1980s with a cosmetic modifications including a tea-tray style rear wing and aftermarket seats and steering wheel. Fortunately the latter are not visible through the tinted windows.

    The car was laid up at some point in the late 1990s, and its present condition is the result of being left to sit outside for more than a decade following the murder in 2002 of its most recent keeper, whose family subsequently covered the 911 with old furniture to deter nosy locals and, presumably, potential thieves.

    ‘It had literally baked in the sun,’ Sadler says. ‘The fuel tank was completely dry and I’ve never seen that.’ He quickly established that underneath its incorrect, greed-is-good-era exterior, the car was remarkably original; unlike many RS 2.7s that were raced hard, 1576 retains its original engine. The right short rear trailing arms are still present, and the original Silumin crankcase, too. ‘It remains a very good car. Retaining matching numbers is remarkable, and we are in contact with the original exporter to gather more details of the car’s fascinating history.’

    Just what will become of 1576 now is unclear. Sadler is yet to decide whether to sell or restore the car, or simply to sort the mechanicals and drive it as is. Would be buyers, then, should probably get in touch before he has time to conclude that he’d like to keep it…
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  •   Antonio Ghini reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    A LIVING LEGEND / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche / #1973 / #Porsche-911-Carrera-RS / #Porsche-911-Carrera / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche-911-Carrera-RS-2.7 / #Porsche-911-2.7-Carrera-RS / #Porsche-911-2.7 / #Porsche-911-Carrera /

    The life and times of the most successful Carrera RS competition car ever. Calling any car ʻthe most successful of all timeʼ is quite a claim, but in the case of #AUI-1500 , the ex- #Cathal-Curley 1973 RS, it is perfectly true: no other similar Carrera can match this legendary Porscheʼs competition history. After a hard life and an exacting restoration, it is now back on the road thanks to the exhausting research of marque specialist, Mark Waring. Words: Mark Waring. Photos: Antony Fraser and Mark Waring.

    AUI 1500 is immortalised in Mark Copelandʼs book, The Porsche 911 in Irish Rallying, as ʻThe most successful 2.7 Carrera RS of all timeʼ. In my research of over 1200 records of Porsches in rallying, I concur. There is quite simply no other RS that has achieved anywhere close to the success AUI 1500 has enjoyed in rallying without any modification, straight off the showroom floor.

    AUI 1500 is unique in winning three international rallies outright – The Circuit of Ireland, The Donegal and The Manx – against the stiffest opposition found anywhere in the world, competing against fourteen other RSs, at the same time ending the dominance of the works-backed Ford Escorts. This achievement was nothing short of sensational, but AUI 1500 is also a very special car due to its continuous competition history and miraculous survival.

    Registered initially as OM 77, the last RS with Sport Equipment delivered to the UK, this car was the highest placed Porsche in the RAC Rally in 1973, winning the Team prize driven by 1972 Motoring News Rally Champion Harold Morley. Only a few other RSs have ever completed this gruelling world rally championship round in period out of the 11 that have tried.

    By 1975, most RSs were entered as Group 4 cars with at least 2800cc and utilising other homologated parts, such as twin brake cylinders and larger brake discs. To succeed without these modifications proved to Porsche and the world a standard RS was a winner at a time when Porsche was, regrettably, concentrating on other forms of motorsport deemed more important for impressing the American market for which the RS was not eligible.

    In 1974 AUI 1500 won events in three different formats, among them the Circuit of Ireland. This is the third oldest rally in the world and the jewel in the crown, for nowhere else was there a round of the European Rally Championship lasting five days and covering 1200 miles, of which 600 were stage miles. Two of those days, the rallying continued through the night and AUI 1500 won by a margin of 5 minutes 48 seconds, a record that still stands today. Its pilot Cathal Curley followed this with a win on the threeday June Donegal Rally, and the September Castrol Manx rally, beating the great Roger Clark at the peak of his career into third place in a works-backed Escort.

    The first international rally win for a 1973 Porsche 911 RS came at the hands of Jack Tordoff in 1973 on the Circuit of Ireland. He was one of three foreign drivers to return after it was cancelled in 1972 due to the political situation. His direct competition came from one other RS and a 911S. Adrian Boyd, driving a Ford Escort, led then retired on the penultimate stage, leaving the way clear for Tordoff. The following year eleven RSs entered the Circuit of Ireland. The touch paper had been lit and was to burn for six more years, lighting up fierce competition between the Porsches.

    AUI 1500 changed hands several times after 1974, returning to England and eventually competing in over 42 rallies, fourteen of which were at international level. When homologation finally ran out for its eligibility as a rally car, it was subsequently sold to a buyer in South Africa. Briefly rallied again, it was converted to an RSR with parts supplied by Porsche that included a full 3.4-litre twin plug ʻwerksʼ engine. AUI 1500 evolved from a Group 3 2.7 RS to Group 4 RSR.

    For three years, from 1984 to 1987, commercial property developer Albert Van Heerden raced the car in the Rolo Motors Historics Championship and PSCA events, by all accounts proving to be a very quick driver. In its last race, he achieved pole at the old Kyalami Formula 1 racing circuit, but in a 155+mph accident, the car hit the wall separating the circuit from the town of Johannesburg.

    The ensuing impact caused the car to cartwheel, ending on its roof with the engine running and on fire. Albert escaped unhurt but was so traumatised by the experience he never raced again. #Porsche-911-AUI-1500 ʼs long career as a competition car effectively ended, as it was deemed uneconomic to repair. The ʻwerksʼ engine and gearbox survived, however.

    A private Porsche collector bought the damaged car and stored it for 23 years unbeknown to anyone save two of his closest friends. A private man, he wishes to remain anonymous but without his intervention AUI 1500 would have been lost forever. For that, every Porsche enthusiast should be eternally grateful.

    And so began the rebuild. There is nothing original about a successful competition car. The legal identity of a vehicle is defined by its original chassis number for that is the process the registering authorities identified the car in period as meeting the type approval for its use on public roads. I bought the entire damaged shell, so in that respect I had no concerns. But there was little else of the original car that survived.

    The due diligence I carried out revealed the gearbox had been damaged on the second attempt on the RAC rally in 1978, and the right hand front strut on the Scarborough Stages in 1979. Front spoilers were damaged and replaced rally to rally, and several sets of wheels were used, both Fuchs and Minilites. The ducktail frame was replaced later, due to corrosion.

    The tired engine was not suitable, or required, for an RSR and found its way into a 912 and, latterly, a 2.4T. It was rebuilt before, finally, the crankshaft broke – it was irreparable. I inspected the damaged cases but the engine number did not appear original, and were magnesium not siluminum alloy cases, as expected.

    I located 911/83 crankcases and rebuilt an engine of the correct type.

    To complete the transformation to RSR, the bodywork had been replaced with wider arches to cover 9J and 11J wheels, the front inner wing and struts modified for coil-over shock absorbers and holes cut for brake cooling ducts. Both battery boxes were removed, and a front oil cooler installed. Instruments were necessarily replaced due to the increased top speed and rpm.

    In the accident all the glass was broken, the engine loom was burnt and the roof damaged. My trip to South Africa was successful, though, as I purchased from the first owner the two original seats and a prototype rally navigation aid trialled in the car.

    On the matter of authentication, before restoration began the VIN numbers were inspected by Porsche AG and a new alloy chassis plate reissued. A letter was received stating all the requirements for doing so were met in full. The MD of Porsche Cars GB and the Register Secretary of the Porsche Club GB both wrote letters supporting the car and the reunification with its registration number AUI 1500.

    The first task was to straighten the ʼshell and after seven days of pulling and relaxing the metal, the car was sitting once again on a factory-spec jig. To ensure I had all the correct style of panels, I bought a very late M-registration accident-damaged RHD 2.4T which provided common parts; most critically it was a rare non-sunroof model.

    The dials bearing the correct dates required only to be refurbished and the speedo and tacho recalibrated to read 150mph and 7200rpm, respectively. Three of the 6J wheels were also in date range, so were ideal. Everything else was correct and most probably manufactured in the same batch, or close to the manufacturing date, as everything originally fitted to AUI 1500. Clear glass I sourced along with the – unusual for an RS – two-stage rear screen that had originally been ordered for AUI 1500. A thinner front screen without manufacturerʼs marks was purchased new because of safety issues, and is complete with Glaverbel identification.

    The roof from the ʻTʼ was removed, leaving all the factory welds in situ, and reattached using stronger invisible welds on the RS chassis. A third-series RS would not have been fitted with any thinner panels, so the donor roof was perfect.

    Alternatively, I could have bought all the individual roof panels from Porsche and assembled a new roof but without the appearance of an original, and that was never going to be acceptable.

    Regrettably, the floor of AUI 1500 had been modified with twin brake master cylinders and seat braces, and had been the subject of numerous repairs. It was impossible to straighten the battered floor, but a new RHD floor panel has not been available from Porsche for twenty years .

    I received a tip-off suggesting Porsche had two new old stock RHD floors lost somewhere in its warehouse. With an appropriate part number they could be located, but which one? I ordered every superceded part number from 1973 until 1976 until I hit the jackpot. I bought them both!

    The inner rear wings were more difficult. Only 1990s versions were available and required extensive modification. The 2.4Tʼs inner rear wings were corroded beyond use. I was determined to fit new old stock wings and when I did locate a pair they were initially not for sale, but nine months later the owner changed his mind. It was game on!

    Planning the restoration was helped by an improving market, but even in 2010 there was no guarantee costs would not exceed the ultimate value. Despite increased knowledge, better technology and improved parts availability since 1987, it still took a year in the planning as nothing of this magnitude had ever been undertaken before. What followed was executed with military-style precision and is almost certainly the most extensive and sympathetic restorative work carried out on a 1973 RS completed by a private individual.

    The principle of restoration was a simple one, to reuse as much of the salvageable metal from the original damaged shell as possible. To establish this every panel was removed piece by piece and before long I had a full-scale ʻAirfix construction kitʼ of an RS on the floor in front of me!

    Decisions had to be made about what metal to cut in order to leave factory welds on the panels I was going to reuse. The floor, for example, was cut 10mm from the edge and the metal ground away from behind the inner sills to leave them intact.

    Refitting the panels was achieved by drilling holes in between the factory welds and welding panels together with a weld in the new hole, then grinding these flat. This resulted in only factory welds being visible, and a stronger chassis.

    Where new panels were used, we counted the old welds and their position, and replicated them. This approach was necessarily much more time consuming and the bodywork took two years to complete.

    My sanity was questioned, especially after fitting the perfectly good inner rear wings and then instructing my bodywork specialist to cut a third away and reinstate the original metal we had saved. I can honestly say the people that built AUI 1500 would not be able to tell their work from ours as we even copied their less than perfect work that had been original to the car!

    With the bodywork complete, a factory-manufactured ducktail was fitted, along with a rare front bumper. The car was then finished in Glasurit Grand Prix White. A periodcorrect date stamped wheel and rear half cage were installed, the latter extended as it had been in 1974 to a full cage, with period-style fixings.

    The exterior is as it won the Circuit of Ireland, complete with alloy sill covers, which are immediately recognisable in photographs. Unlike the original full undertray, they are for show only and attached with industrial Velcro, thus avoiding making any more holes in the bodywork. The rally equipment is period-correct and mounted on a removable board utilising the original mounting holes under the dashboard.

    Finished in April 2014, AUI 1500 was unveiled in a special ceremony at Porsche Centre Isaac Agnew in Belfast. I had promised Cathal Curley throughout the four year restoration he would be the first person to see the finished car. Joined by navigator Austin Frazer the car was kept under cover whilst the waiting press and invited guests turned their back as it was unveiled. The following day it was photographed on the start/finish ramp of the 2014 Circuit of Ireland, which celebrated 40 years winning the event.

    Returning in June for the Donegal International Rally and the Manx Rally in September, I was honoured to be invited to drive as a ʻDouble Zeroʼ car ahead of the rally on several stages before being photographed on the start/finish ramp of both events. No other RS has ever received this accolade.

    AUI 1500 gained high level sponsorship after winning the Circuit of Ireland, when Porsche Cars GB provided a full engine rebuild kit, offering to carry out the work. Porsche AG sent a letter of congratulations and an unexpected cheque equivalent to £1000.

    So impressed were they by mechanic Patsy Donaghy that they flew a representative over especially to offer him a job. Patsy was looking after eleven RSs at the time, had just got married and bought a new house, so turned down the offer.

    I visited the garage where he rebuilt the engine and we drove the test route he used. Even when AUI 1500 raced in South Africa it managed to obtain the patronage of importers, Lindsay Sakers, providing service and mechanical support. AUI 1500 became quite the media star. An RS rarely appears in adverting, Pirelli being the exception, but AUI 1500 appears on rally tyre sponsor Dunlopʼs advertising campaign, plus Porsche direct advertising. There is little actual film of any Porsche RS in rallying in the 1970s but when it was recorded, it was courtesy of the BBC/RTE. As the winner of three events there is naturally footage of AUI 1500, affectionately described thus or simply ʻAUIʼ. This footage can now be seen on five different DVDs.

    The most iconic photo ever of an RS rallying is arguably AUI 1500 landing from three feet high and appears on the front cover of Marc Copelandʼs book in which several pages are dedicated to the driver and car. Motor magazine, one of several that covered the continued success of the car, depicts AUI 1500 in a water splash, and most popular motoring press reported all the wins with accompanying photos.

    Bizarrely, AUI 1500 was also the inspiration for a pop song! Written by longtime friend and fellow Porsche rally driver Phil Coulter, ʻHey CBʼ chronicles the struggle by fellow competitors to keep up with ʻCʼathal ʻBʼrendon Curley and his car. ʻHey CBʼ was released on vinyl by ʼ70s pop sensations The Bay City Rollers. Phil Coulter wrote two Eurovision Song Contest winning songs, ʻPuppet on a Stringʼ and ʻCongratulationsʼ, performed by Sandy Shaw and Sir Cliff Richard, respectively.

    In 2014, AUI 1500 joined by special invitation a selection of Porsche factory Museum cars performing display laps at Brands Hatch. It has recently been filmed at the same circuit for a TV programme and displayed at two Porsche Centres and various club events.

    In a re-enactment in Ireland April 2016, AUI 1500 joined 172 rally cars on six special stages and was displayed in the hotel headquarters at the gala banquet. Both Cathal Curley and co-driver Austin Frazer drove the car before a delighted and enthusiastic public. AUI 1500 has now covered 2000 miles, mostly on Irish and Isle of Man stages, including a special lap of the TT circuit with seventeen-times side-car champion, David Molyneux.

    As owners we are just custodians of the cars we cherish and, by restoring AUI 1500, I hope I have preserved a legacy of Porsche that will endure for ever. AUI 1500 is now a permanent reminder of what Porsche could have achieved in rallying with the car most collectors now consider the most iconic 911 ever produced. But in hindsight, with the Suez Crisis in 1973 affecting European sales, it was the correct decision by Porsche to focus on the US market with the impact bumper model, thus ensuring the companyʼs survival.

    Undeniably AUI 1500 is a very special RS. It is a testament to Porsche of the quality of a car built so well 43 years ago that it survived to be restored, and throughout its life protected its drivers from injury. It proved its versatility as a Group 3 and 4 car but should be remembered most for what it achieved straight off the showroom floor, doing exactly what Professor Porsche designed it for. Most of us could never afford an RSR but we all could have owned this car and thatʼs probably why we all identify so much with the 1973 2.7 Carrera RS. For more photos and details visit

    Thanks to: Esler Crawford, Leslie Ashe, Fergus McAnallen, Robin Parkes for the period photos; my wife Sarah and all like her who enable enthusiasts like me to enjoy and realise our dreams; Chris Craft, Managing Director PCGB; Joe Duggan for his unequalled depth and knowledge of rallying history in Ireland, and for being a true and valued friend; Fred Hampton, PCGB; Richard Clarke for pushing himself to achieve work at the highest level; Paul Robe of Parr for help finishing the car in time for Ireland; all my friends (you know who you are) for the unstinting support and belief in my abilities during the challenging moments of the restoration, and help sourcing parts; Porsche AG for continued support and making a great car in the first place – and for making available the parts to repair it; Carl Russell, MD Porsche Belfast, for hosting the unveiling, vacating half his showroom to display the car at short notice during the week of the Macan launch; the 1000s of rally enthusiasts in Ireland and the UK that have made me and the car so welcome.

    Engine was rebuilt using correct 911/83 cases – AUI 1500 was mechanically stock, although prepped to withstand the rigours of international rallying Driver/navigator list reads like a whoʼs who of Irish rallying in the 1970s.


    Original seats were purchased from its former South African owner. The restored AUI 1500 is a timecapsule, perfectly capturing the golden years of rallying in the 1970s. If only Porsche had stayed in the game, but the US market was deemed more important, and promotion of the ʻimpact bumperʼ models took priority.

    AUI 1500 is testimony to the exhausting research carried out by Mark Waring (left) who refused to let this legendary RS die. No wonder he looks pleased to be behind the wheel!

    Opposite page:

    01. On the final stage of the 1974 Circuit of Ireland
    02. Flying high! Greatest photo ever of AUI 1500 – Circuit of Ireland 1974
    03. Cathal Curley hits the watersplash on the 1974 Manx Rally
    04. To the victors, the spoils: celebrating victory in the 1974 Circuit of Ireland
    05. Tarmac stage on the Donegal International Rally
    06. Life as an RSR in South Africa in the hands of Albert van Heerden at Kyalami
    07. 1974 Circuit of Ireland
    08. After the big crash, AUI 1500 ends its first life…
    09. …before beginning its resurrection in the hands of Mark Waring
    10. The guts of a legend – an immortal one at that


    Cathal ʻCBʼ Curley

    Cathal, or ʻCahalʼ Curley, as he is also known, was Ulster Rally Champion in 1968 and 1969 in a Ford Cortina and won the Galway international in 1971 in a Ford Escort Twin Cam. In 1972 he won three more rallies in a lightweight BMW, including the inaugural Donegal International Rally, and changed the BMW in 1973 for the ex-Ronnie McCartney Dalmatian Blue RS Touring, taking delivery in the car park prior to the 1973 event.

    Complaining that it didnʼt handle after the first stage, he soon changed his mind when informed he was already leading by ten seconds! He went on to win the Donegal Rally in June 1974 for the second time in a row. It was the first RS Touring to win an international rally outright. Jack Tordoff beat him to the first International win in an RS by two months. In April 1974, Cathal Curley won the Circuit of Ireland International Rally in AUI 1500, when eleven RSs were entered, and returned to the Donegal International Rally in June, winning for the third time in a row.

    Cathal also led two other rallies before retiring the cars. Using AUI 1500 in 1975 and leading the Galway International Rally, he slid into a ditch and the car rolled onto its roof. He sold it shortly afterwards and, after a brief spell in a Lancia Stratos, which he described as ʻhandling like a cat walking on wet linoʼ, he led the Donegal Rally for the fourth year in a row until damaging a rear trailing arm after hitting a rock. Both cars were supplied by London dealer Chequered Flag.

    He did, however, win the Cork 20 Rally in 1975 (upgraded to an international a year later) with the 3.0RS. His total international rally wins in three different RSs was four, all in period against the stiffest opposition, by then over 15 different RSs. Only two other drivers achieved an outright win at international level in period in an unmodified RS in Irish rallies, matched by only three drivers on mainland Europe. Only one other driver achieved three, but not against the same level of competition.

    Cathal also won the Ulster Rally in 1976 one year before it was upgraded to an international rally and was second twice in the Manx in 1973 and 1976. He is without doubt one of the greatest Porsche RS rally drivers, a fact overlooked by Porsche who had by that time turned its focus away from rallying, the discipline that earned its reputation as a world leader in sports car manufacturing.

    Porsche was about to dominate Prototype racing for years to come. The 956 era was dawning.


    Photos courtesy Mark Waring AUI 1500: A LIFE WELL LIVED
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  •   Darren Tompkins reacted to this post about 4 years ago

    Our cover car in all its glory: Darren Tompkins’ wonderful ‘Mongrel’ outlaw. Although it may have started out as a simple no-frills hot-rod, Darren Tompkinsʼ ʻMongrelʼ project quickly morphed into something far more complex. After countless hours of research, the end result is a perfect example of a ʻsports purposeʼ Porsche 911. Words & Photos: Darren Tompkins.

    / #1973 / #Porsche-911-Carrera-RS / #Porsche-911-Carrera / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche-911-Carrera-RS-2.7 / #Porsche-911-2.7-Carrera-RS / #Porsche-911-2.7 / #Porsche-911-Carrera /

    Heavily into the restoration of an F-Series 911, the last thing I needed, or could afford, was another project. Like many before me Iʼd been badly bitten by the early 911 bug and set out to build a ʻsports purposeʼ 911 ST-style hot-rod. I stumbled upon a very nice 1973 2.4E, but the one fly in the ointment was that my nice car was, well, a little too nice! I switched course and set out to restore the car to as close to factory perfect as I could.

    Two years into the costly full-on rebuild (which was featured in issue #21 of Classic Porsche), a friend mentioned he knew of an early Porsche requiring restoration that had been stored in a garage since 1989! I was slow to respond, badly feeling the financial pain of my current project, but eventually made arrangements to view the car back in April 2012. Basic homework confirmed the car as a RHD 1972 911T Sportomatic, first registered in the UK in December 1971 and finished in Light Ivory.

    At first glance it certainly appeared rough, having lost its original engine and gearbox, the seats had been changed to 924 ʻtombstonesʼ and it had gained the obligatory ducktail and glassfibre spoiler for an RS look. The car had been vandalised just prior to being taken off the road in the late 1980s, with the half-hearted repair never completed. But the car also had plenty going for it: it had new sills, wings and rear quarters that looked in good shape, but best of all it was being disposed of by a ʻmotivatedʼ seller.

    A deal was done and, filled with excitement, I called Nick Fulljames at Redtek to ask what could be done with what I thought was a Japanese-spec SC engine and sent him a couple of photos. An even more excited Nick called back telling me I had a highly-desirable complete 2.2S engine with the potential to be transformed into a 2.5 short-stroke screamer!

    While I started with the intention of building a budget hot rod, what followed was a three-year journey that became ever more obsessive, detailed and uncompromising in the quest to build my ultimate ʻsports purposeʼ early 911.

    One of the most refreshing things with this project was the ability to do exactly as I pleased; nothing could be ʻwrongʼ. My inspiration was to come from all of the great racing 911s Porsche had ever built, along with many hot-rods Iʼd been studying. I set myself the fictional criteria of the car being built in 1978, allowing me to use any parts that had been introduced up to that point, including the Turbo brakes I wanted!

    Deciding on the basic spec was easy as Iʼd been planning this in my head for a long time: it had to be lightweight, narrowbodied, with a hot engine coupled to a performance gearbox with limited-slip differential. A stripped-out interior with half cage and racing harnesses, and as many period racing features as I could muster. Oh, and not only did I want my car to look like a period racer but I wanted it to drive like one, too.

    For me, Porscheʼs own period race manual ʻInformation Regarding PORSCHE Vehicles Used for Sports Purposesʼ became my Bible, with the suspension set-up lifted from the manual and the guidelines closely followed. The other thing the car had to be was orange – 1970s in your face orange!

    Barry Carter was charged with the task of making the car solid and straight again. Heʼs a metalwork genius who never really promotes himself but is revered in early Porsche circles, having rebuilt dozens of early bodyshells, including my previous project. The plan was to restore the body using all steel panels, followed by switching to glassfibre panels and race car strengthening as needed. Barry suggested carrying out the modifications with a little more care and finesse than most race builders and building in a little more detail. That worked for me.

    Specification for the build was for a narrow-bodied car which retained steel rear quarters and front wings, with a glassfibre front hood, engine lid and bumpers. We were to add strengthening to all suspension points, torque tube and engine mounts, along with a unique design for the jacking points. Inner door skins were to be cut out, opened and lightened with a nod towards those in the 911R, and we added twin harness brackets welded into the rear parcel shelf. The floorpan was modified to allow gearbox removal without the need for an engine drop, and final touches were the fitting of a factory-correct 40mm half roll- cage, along with an RSR-style front strut brace.

    The car was taken to Barry after blasting in March 2013 with an expected four month build time. Now you never really know the true extent of a ʼshellʼs condition until you have it media blasted. This one turned out to be a horror! At this point, if I knew just what I was getting into I could never have justified the cost, and probably would never have started…

    The new front wings and rear quarters had disguised what lay beneath, as the car was pretty much rotten to the core – and it transpired that the whole front nose was pushed a full 19mm to the right! Barry also commented that the car was probably on its third set of sills and heʼd never previously seen these air-chiselled off! One of the the crowning glories had to be the holes cut into the front bulkhead so that speakers could be fitted under the hood.
    The ʼshell was first pulled straight and then received new front inner wings, doors were fabricated and re-engineered, the inner rear wings were lovingly recreated, a complete new roof section was added, deleting the previous sunroof, along with new sills, sections of floors and countless other repairs and modifications. The newly-fitted rear quarters were carefully unpicked at the seams and perfectly refitted onto the final solid ʼshell.

    It was a full 11 months before I collected the car following more than 600 hoursʼ work on the bodyshell. It was well worth the wait, for the car returned as straight and true as the day it left the factory, although this time ʻraceʼ strengthened with a number of discreet modifications. While the ʼshell was being prepared, the engine was delivered to Nick Fulljames at Redtek, who suggested building a twin-plugged 2.5, boring out the butterflies and stacks to suit.

    One way to achieve the engine size, and by far the easier option, was to fit 90mm pistons and 2.7 barrels, however the true short-stroke engines were built using 89mm barrels and pistons and this is the way I wanted to go, although these are came from FVD in Germany who stated that they were one of the last two sets available from Mahle. With such a small market and no plans to produce any more, they were a pretty lucky find.

    Around this time a discussion was started on the DDK-online forum about the ingredients of an authentic ST engine. I asked Nick how mine would differ: ʻJust the induction system, reallyʼ, came the reply! This led to a whole new chapter of learning for me and I was soon to appreciate the ingredients of what made a real race-spec engine. My slippery slope was about to become a vertical drop!

    A key ingredient for my engine build was now to fit the correct high butterfly injection. My search led to Ben Coles, who showed us his range of high-butterflies, racing oil filter housings, Magneti Marelli twin-spark distributors, and much more. All had been produced copying genuine original items, using the same processes and materials, and in minute detail.

    My engine wouldnʼt be what it is without him; at one point I realised the distributor Iʼd purchased only fitted later engine cases. ʻNot a problem – Iʼll make you oneʼ. And thatʼs what he did, from scratch and exactly as per the original! The one item that was missing was a racing MFI pump, and I planned to modify the pump that came with my 2.2 S engine.

    However, I started to explore the possibility of finding the correct 2.5 ST pump I needed. From my research on the Early 911S Registry forum in the USA, Gus Pfister at Pacific Fuel Injection, an old school MFI specialist, came highly recommended.

    This is when luck and timing all play a part. After a conversation with Gus, it transpired he could supply it in just eight weeks – that subsequently turned into five weeks when I discovered a relative was visiting San Fransisco, so Gus pulled out all the stops to ensure my pump was ready in time!

    With Redtekʼs engineering, machining and build skills, along with parts from Ben and Gus, I now have my ideal 2.5 ST-style engine, the spec of which is as follows: 911/02 2.2 S shortstroked, twin-plugged, bored, fully balanced, blueprinted and taken to 2.5-litres with new 89mm Mahle barrels and pistons, the barrels having been modified and gas flowed. It also has GE60 cams, Pauter lightweight forged steel con-rods, Patrick Motorsport lightweight flywheel and Sachs racing clutch.

    High-butterfly induction fed by the Gus Pfister 2.5 RSR-spec pump is used in conjunction with early Magneti Marelli twinspark distributor, while a racing oil filter housing with disc filter and twin front-mounted oil coolers keep things lubricated, a 226mm small-diameter fanhousing and ʻclearʼ lightweight shrouding keeping things cool.

    Custom race headers can be used with straight-through megaphones, but a twin-outlet sport muffler is usually fitted for ʻquietʼ days.

    With up to 250bhp now available, the 915 gearbox required a meatier build. Mike Bainbridge was chosen to take this on, specifying a stronger side-plate with 930 bearing and bearing retainer, while the main-shaft was upgraded to an SC type with aluminium selectors. Mike suggested a plate-type limited differential from Matt Monson at Guard Transmission and, with Matt and Mikeʼs input, Guard Transmission custom gear ratios were fitted to make the most of the characteristics of the short-stroke engine. To cool things down, a Ben Coles RStype oil pump and spray bar kit was also fitted.

    We set about painting the car in our own small bodyshop, this work being carried out by Richard Deegan, our bodyshop manager. Rich is a perfectionist who cares deeply about the quality of his work – probably too deeply, as these projects give him sleepless nights!

    No underseal has been added to ʻbuild inʼ lightness, and the bulk of the ʼshell and complete interior have been painted satin black, as have the engine bay and door shuts, as per factory race cars. The body was then painted in 018 Tangerine (or Blood Orange), with slots cut into both sides of the front bumper to increase airflow to the oil coolers. The front and rear bumpers are excellent quality EB Motorsport items that have been modified to fit.

    The gauges were refurbished by North Hollywood Speedometer, copied from an old photo of a racing RSR, complete with 180mph speedo and 10,000rpm rev counter. The oil level gauge has also been flipped, with the fuel sender gauge omitted and replaced with a warning light. The clock has also been deleted.

    For headlights, I sourced a set of Cibie Biodes, a preferred choice for early rally cars. These resembled little more than a collection of tired, worn parts which were sent to Genius of the Lamp in Birminghamʼs jewellery district, coming back looking as good as new.

    When it came to seats, I learned that Vintage Seats produce the most accurate reproductions available. I chose their ST driverʼs seat, with an R-type passenger, both finished with German black vinyl bolsters and basket-weave insert, all mounted on lightweight Recaro sliders.

    For wheels, I had the idea of replicating a wide-body ST look by fitting 7R-type Minilites to the rear, but hit a stumbling block when I discovered they werenʼt available in the required 7R offset. After talking to Harvey Weidman he suggested that ʻdeepsix ʼ front and 7R rear Fuchs in a racing finish would give me the look I was after. The quality of the finish is superb and they look fantastic fitted with Avon CR6ZZ 185/70s on the fronts and 215/60s on the rears.

    Marek Lappock is a keen early Porsche enthusiast who helps many specialist suppliers, including Porsche themselves, by manufacturing obsolete and hard to find parts. When I learnt he was displaying the first prototypes of a 100-litre fuel tank, another rare race part, at Techno Classica in Essen I decided I had to get there first before these tanks were snapped up! This involved a round day trip of nearly 1000 miles, where I secured my tank and was also able to collect a number of other parts I needed.

    Through this journey, I have developed a passion for early steering wheels, with my favourite being a flat black Momo from the late ʼ60s or early ʼ70s. Itʼs the first thing I notice when looking in an early Porsche and for me enhances any hot-rod build. Thereʼs something about a well-used early wheel that I find intoxicating with its worn leather holding on to secrets of a life well spent.

    When it was time to start the assembly, Nick Fulljames introduced me to Gary Cook. At the time he was working freelance for a number of early Porsche specialists, having spent 17 years working at Autofarm, and I was told he was very knowledgeable when it came to early Porsches. That has proved to be an understatement, for this guy knows everything!

    Parts were sent to Gary for cleaning, re-plating and powdercoating. The wiring loom was taken apart and carefully restored, front A-arms strengthened and all the other parts needed for the build finally acquired.

    Gary has now opened his own workshop – GD Automotive near Buckingham – and I soon learnt to have full faith in his ability, knowledge and attention to detail. Being a modified car thereʼs a whole host of items that have needed to be fabricated or adapted. For example, the 930 calipers were shaved to fit behind the Fuchs wheels, and re-engineered to fit the early 1973 aluminium rear trailing arms.

    Special brackets were also made to mount the twin ATE brake fluid bottles and an adjustable brake bias set-up was added, with a modified pedal box. With every detail Gary has kept to the pre-1978 ethos and ensured all is period-correct. When it came to the interior we received the help of Dave OʼConnor. Dave is building his own ST and is a stickler for detail.

    He reproduces authentic Repa harnesses using the correct webbing and labels, and all original restored hardware. Gary has carefully cut and glued Daveʼs own correct needle-felt lightweight carpet into the car with unbound edges as per earlier STs which, along with the ribbed matting and a black headliner, provides a stark race look. Finishing touches included a period Butlers map reading light, a Halda Twinmaster and a Heuer Master-Time set, all essential equipment for rally cars of the period.

    Finally complete, the car was sent to Center Gravity for geometry set-up and and corner balancing, where it spent a whole day with Chris Franklin, who knows just how to tune the suspension perfectly for fast road use.

    Was all the heartache, mental anguish and financial pounding worth it? Well, as soon as the car was complete, I spent a frantic few days piling on some miles to get a running-in service out of the way in time for a planned tour of Wales. It turned into a two-day, 700-mile trip with several other early Porsches, including two genuine 2.7 RSs, a 993 RS and a very quick 930 Martini tribute hot-rod. Road trips donʼt come any better than that!

    Since completion late last year Iʼve enjoyed the car on track at Oulton Park, along with other trips and another Welsh tour, hanging with friends and clocking up nearly 4000 miles in the process. The drives, community and friendships are what itʼs all about. Itʼs certainly been worth all the effort to get here.

    The restoration process is a love/hate experience for me. I find it too intense and the guilt I feel from it taking over my life is difficult to live with. But no-one got harmed in the process – there are many worse vices. Iʼm finally cured of my restoration addiction and have promised my wife thereʼll be no more projects… Well, not quite yet!

    Slots cut into the front bumper are a Darren ʻsignature touchʼ, allowing air through to the front-mounted oil coolers. Panel fit is exemplary throughout…

    Halda Twinmaster and Heuer Master-Time help add to the period race/rally look that Darren was keen to replicate. ʻFrostedʼ finish on the Fuchs wheels was courtesy of Harvey Weidman in the USA. Tyres are Avon CR6ZZs.

    Interior features seats from Vintage Seats, with one of their ST-style perches for the driver, an R-style one for the passenger. Period Momo steering wheel adds a touch of patina to the interior.

    World-famous Pendine Sands in Wales was the photo location – 5.00am and the lighting is perfect to bring out the best in this spinetingling symphony of detail.

    Early morning sunlight shows the lines of Darrenʼs narrowbodied hot-rod to perfection. Car is impressively detailed throughout – check that slotted rear apron.



    A trip to an Oulton Park trackday gave Darren the opportunity to wind those high butterflies wide open…

    Opposite page: photo montage only hints at the amount of effort that went into this build, but check the state of the original car, and how much work was required to put it right! Strengthened ʼshell is full of neat touches by Barry Carter. Nick Fulljames built the engine, Mike Bainbridge the ʼbox.

    Things donʼt come much better detailed than this. Note cross-over pipes running between twin frontmounted oil coolers. Engine is a short-stroke 2.5-litre ʻscreamerʼ running highbutterfly injection, and pumps out 250bhp.
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  •   Adam Towler reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Weight Lifting / #Porsche-911-Carrera-RS / #Porsche-911-Carrera-RS-2.7 / #Porsche-911-2.7-Carrera-RS

    The #Porsche-911-2.7-Carrera-RS is perhaps the most coveted and iconic #Porsche-911 of all time. We didn’t need much of an excuse to bring one together with its Lightweight counterpart. Story: Simon Jackson Photography: Gus Gregory / #Porsche-911-Carrera

    For all the magnificent advances in technology, the tremendously fast, wonderfully efficient, proficient incarnations of the Porsche 911 to have emerged over the decades, there is one model that remains absolute ruler. Is it the quickest? No. Perhaps it’s the rarest? It is not. Might it be the dearest? Well, it might be, but that’s extraneous here… This Porsche has remained king of the 911s for over 40 years through sheer status, and it’ll probably continue that way for another 40 to come. It’s an automotive icon, and for many the very definition of the term ‘sports car’. The Porsche I’m talking about is the 2.7 Carrera RS. Reputations don’t come much greater, or Porsche driving machines a great deal purer, but exactly what makes these cars so revered, and are they really that outstanding?

    Like so many of Porsche’s iconic model variants, the 2.7 RS was born through racing. Its genesis can be traced back to the 911 R of 1967, Porsche’s first dabble with the concept of a lightweight 911 built expressly for racing. The R was derived from the 160hp 911 S of 1966, and made use of timeless automotive weight-saving devices such as fibreglass panels and thinner glass to tip the scales at a measly 830 kilos. The car was extensively modified, running a 2.0-litre flat-six engine from the Carrera 6 producing 210hp, a prototype #Teldix anti-lock braking system, and certain key aerodynamic alterations – the car fleetingly served to quench the appetites of those wishing to race Porsche’s popular coupé in suitable top-level competition, just 22 were built. Certainly short lived but not lacking in achievements, the 911 R chalked-up some eyeopening endurance racing results in a short time; amongst them a win on the Targa Florio.

    Ultimately, though, with the 911 R a point had been proven by #Porsche , and it would add ammunition to an already burning blaze raving between #Stuttgart and the #FIA , inherited by #Ernst-Fuhrmann when he rose to power at Porsche in #1972 . The motorsport’s governing body seemingly refused to grant the 911 #Touring-Car homologation eligibility, something Porsche so desperately wanted in order to support its efforts competing in the rather expensive business of #Can-Am racing with the #Porsche-917.

    At the time, Porsche could scarcely afford to race in such high-level motorsport, and the costly nature of the 917 wasn’t reaping direct sales rewards in the showrooms. The brand needed a more relatable racing car, and despite its scheduled upcoming obsolescence (the 928 and 924 were already at drawing board stage), the 911 was the car Porsche wished to wheel into position to plug the perceived PR gap.

    Fuhrmann’s predecessor, Rico Steinemann, had long been losing the battle with the FIA, but he and Fuhrmann figured there was nothing the French authority could do to prevent the homologation approval of a new car, which would become the 2.7 Carrera RS, as a Group 4 Special Grand Touring car. And they were right – finally the 911 could go GT racing. Under Norbert Singer, boss of motorsport at the time, Porsche devised a plan to create a series produced 911 built for racing, all that was left to do was determine exactly what form that car might take and to work out the logistics of building the required 500 road-going vehicles required under FIA homologation regulations. In October 1972 Porsche displayed its new car at the #Paris-Auto-Show . The 911 2.7 Carrera RS joined together a pair of nomenclatures not seen in unison before, Carrera and RS. ‘Carrera’ to commemorate Porsche’s exploits in the Carrera Panamericana, ‘RS’, or Rennsport, having only previously been deployed on full-bore Porsche racers like the 550 Spyder. You could argue that it was a brave move to attach such significant monikers to this new car, but as we now know, the 2.7 RS was more than worthy. Using what had been learnt through the 911 R project, the 2.7 RS was stripped down to its bare essentials. Anything superfluous, like sound deadening or undersealing material, was deleted as was the case with the R model before it, thin glass was employed and lightweight bucket seating fitted – the rear seat was removed altogether and the glovebox lid binned. Even the passenger sunvisor was removed! Fibreglass panels were also used (the engine cover and rear apron amongst them), even the existing metal panels were reduced in thickness by around 0.30mm. The strictly competition cars featured laminated safety glass in place of the traditional stuff. For the first time Bilstein shock absorbers were fitted, saving 3.5kg of weight.

    Singer’s RS Lightweight was just that at 960kg, but it wasn’t the only version of this particular 911, there was also the Touring filled with a few more creature comforts, itself weighing just 1037kg. In order to meet homologation regulations, all RS models rolled from the production line in lithe Lightweight trim, and were later converted to Touring specification. What was the difference? Well, the Touring models came complete with an interior akin to that found in the 911 S; a fully trimmed cabin, steel bumpers, and a host of ‘optional’ extras, such as electric windows, sunroof, an aerial and speakers, and so on. Whichever version was purchased, the same 2.7-litre engine was fitted out back, derived from the 2.4-litre mill in the S, bored-out to 2687cc, an engine designed to be versatile providing Porsche with the option to further increase its capacity out to 2.8 or even 3.0-litres in future.

    It’s quite an achievement when you consider that this is the same engine which was first conceived as a 2.0-litre unit, its incredible expansion only plausible thanks to Mahle’s Nikasil-coating technology allowing Porsche to increase the block’s bore from 84mm to 90mm (the biggest used for a 911 at the time). When applied to the cylinder bores, the Nikasil-coating provided strength and reduced friction, a technique honed on Porsche’s 917 race cars. The engine featured the same compression ratio (8.5:1) as the 2.4-litre engine and the same 70.4mm stroke. Once more Bosch mechanical fuel injection was utilised, the valves and timing were cribbed across from the 911 S of 1972/3. All this equated to peak power of 210hp at 6300rpm, a 20hp gain on that of the 911 S. Likewise torque rose from 159lb ft to 188lb ft, and the whole lot was linked to a 915/008 five-speed gearbox.

    The body of the 2.7 Carrera RS was significant thanks in part to its increased width. The rear end of the car featured bulbous rear arches, designed to accommodate a wider rear track (up by nearly an inch) and Fuchs wheels (seven inches) providing this particular 911 with a very distinctive silhouette. Naturally it had a practical function too, allowing the 2.7 RS to record the highest lateral G-force during cornering than any other Porsche vehicle before it. Further aiding that ability were changes to the car’s aerodynamics package. Most notably amongst them was that iconic ‘ducktail’ rear spoiler, which dated back in some form to 1970 when its properties had been investigated during wind tunnel tests in Stuttgart. Numerous versions of the ducktail were tested in an attempt to reduce the standard car’s rear lift at speed, the final design was found to reduce the car’s drag coefficient to 0.40 – in turn reducing high speed oversteer through the increased downforce. As an added bonus the tail plane also directed more air into the engine’s intake, increasing performance, and keeping the rear light clusters cleaner! During a 1000-kilometre race at the A1 Ring, a prototype RS equipped with a ducktail spoiler managed to circulate at 2.5-seconds per lap faster than one without. All that was left to do then was to apply the car’s name to the body, and given the ban on any non-essential weight, graphics were decided upon instead of metal badges. After some consideration, the words ‘Carrera RS’ were splashed down the flanks of the car – a move that would become synonymous with an utterly iconic Porsche.

    Despite concerns in Porsche’s sales departments at #Zuffenhausen over the popularity of its new stripped-back racer, and an unforeseen hurdle when the bureaucrats at the West German National Motor Vehicle Authority refused to grant blanket type approval for the modifications made to the 911, especially that ducktail rear spoiler (which was deemed a potential hazard to pedestrians), Porsche discovered it need not have worried about meeting the 500 sales deemed necessary by the FIA for Group 5 racing. Skirting around the red tape, Porsche went to the extraordinary extent of having each RS individually type approved at its local office in Stuttgart. Some 51 RSs were already sold prior to the Paris Motor Show in 1973, and by the time the doors had closed and the show wrapped, all 500 were spoken for, and it wasn’t long before Porsche announced that a further 500 would be built, which would allow the 911 to achieve homologation certification for Group 3 racing, too. This second series of cars came without the ducktail spoiler as Porsche’s type approval loophole had now closed, but owners could purchase them for retrofitting at their dealers if they so desired. All told by summer 1973 1580 Carrera RS cars had been built, comprising 1308 Touring models and 200 in Lightweight form, some 55 cars were in RSR specification for racing (with a larger 2.8-litre 300hp engine) with 17 further homologation cars. Of those cars produced, colours were limited to non-metallics due to the use of fibreglass panels, except a few which were bespoke built entirely from metal. Grand Prix white was the most popular choice of paint, with contrasting blue, red or green graphics, some 62 black cars were built, and even fewer in Gulf orange (25). The suits at Porsche need not have worried; the Carrera RS was a roaring success, but hindsight’s a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

    As soon as its wheels touched the ground the 2.7 RS began building a legacy that survives to this day. On track the racing incarnation battled with the likes of V8 Corvettes and 4.4-litre Ferraris, but despite its power deficit its deft nimbleness and handling proficiency made it a competitor able to punch well above its (rather feather) weight. The David versus Goliath Porsche regularly beat its opposition in period and it’s maintained that reputation into today’s historic racing circles.

    On the road the 2.7 RS was famed for its ability to eclipse previous 911s, most notably when exceeding 100mph thanks to that ducktail spoiler. It was this ability to exceed the sum of its parts that ensured the 2.7 RS stood out from its peers at the time, the 210hp offered little in the way of persuasion on paper. In the real world 62mph was clocked up in just 5.8-seconds, pushing on to top out at 150mph, but it was the way it used that power that charmed all who drove it. The flat-six engine had teeth, but it was progressive in its power delivery, not vicious or intimidating. And that remains true today. The RS was fabled for being loud, which it is, but it’s not ridiculous, and it was known for snap oversteer mid-corner, but like any 911 you’re probably driving it all wrong if you manage to get bitten by that character trait. Slow-in, fast-out achieves the best from the RS, allowing its incredibly tractable, if not mind-bendingly quick, engine to pull you out and onwards up through the rev range to the 7200rpm redline. In period road testers reported an eye-wateringly hard ride, but when compared with a contemporary sports car the RS is actually quite tame and flexible. The brakes are not servo-assisted, but they provide composure and (fade-free) poise to scrub any excess speed off as required.

    The view from inside is a familiar one for any classic 911 aficionado, despite the lack of complexities in the Carrera RS, something true of both the Touring and Lightweight versions. This car does not feel delicate in either guise though, rather it feels reassuringly competent, not the threatening old girl you might be expecting. Its petite dimensions make it thoroughly enjoyable to drive on the road too, whether that might be during a cruise or a charge. This is a racing car for the road which you could use everyday, and one which you wouldn’t hesitate to take away for the weekend – well, at least that was true back in period, today things are slightly different.

    The two examples you see here are both offered for sale with Specialist Cars of Malton, and while the Touring model demonstrates its historical relevance with a beautiful mix of period patina and evidence of unadulterated care and attention having been lavished on it over the years, it’s the history of the Lightweight alongside it which is more important in many ways. A matching numbers Touring is a car that will set you back in the region of £500,000 today, and its history will not differ dramatically from a more run-of-the-mill classic 911, a Lightweight however should really demonstrate a level of historical provenance from back in period. The left-hand drive car you see here is one such automobile, as Malton’s Sales Manager Mark Mullen explains: “For many people the 1973 2.7 RS Lightweight is the pinnacle of the iconic Porsche 911, a stripped out road legal racer whose heritage has founded a whole series of RS models,” Mark said. “This particular car has been used as it was intended, for rallying, throughout its life. Originally light yellow in colour the car was painted white at some point and now looks superb with its red graphics and wheels. Period spotlights show off the purpose of the car. An iconic 2.7 RS Lightweight with a competition history is a sought after collector's piece today.”

    The car was purchased in 1995 from a dealer in Munich by the owner of a Porsche garage in Portugal, the purchaser’s family had been involved with Porsches both in business and in motorsport for in excess of 40 years. A year later he sold the car to another Portuguese man, who in 1999 swapped the car with a further Portuguese collector. From 1999 to 2014 the Portuguese collector campaigned the car in historic race events, including the Volta Portugal, where it achieved a seventh, fifth and second overall during his tenure with the car and in 2004 the car placed fourth in the Rali ACP Veteranos.

    The 2.7 RS story is an epic one you never tire of hearing. This car’s legacy created one of the most important lines of Porsche product for the past 40 years, and delivered to us some of the greatest driver’s sports cars ever conceived. The 2.7 Carrera RS may have been born out of necessity to take the fight to the likes of Ferrari, Corvette and Pantera on the track, but these original road cars spawned as a result remain part of the building blocks of modern Porsche culture as we now know it.

    Today these 911s are trading hands for huge sums of cash, but of all the Porsche vehicles created over the brand’s history, it’s the rare 2.7 RS that deserves to be valued so highly without quarrel. Perhaps the only point of contention here is that as these cars have become so precious, they have led owners to becoming too afraid to use them as they were initially intended, with purchasers preferring to wrap them in cotton wool inside secure collections, never to turn a wheel in anger again. That’s a sorry state of affairs if that notion continues to propagate. We can think of at least three important Porsche men who would take umbrage at that concept; Fuhrmann, Steinemann and Singer.

    It feels reassuringly competent, not the threatening old girl you might be expecting.

    It’s an automotive icon, and for many the very definition of the term ‘sports car’

    The 2.7 Carrera RS is a special 911, even in road trim.

    Lightweight’s cabin is track ready and tells a story of har fought battles won.

    Thanks: Specialist Cars of Malton ///
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  •   Adam Towler reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    All together - #1990 #Honda-NSX against #Porsche-911-Carrera-2-964 and #Lotus-Esprit-SE-Turbo , #Ferrari 348tb . Honda’s first supercar versus Europe’s best. #Porsche-911-Carrera-2 #Porsche-911-Carrera #Porsche-911-964 #Porsche-964 #Ferrari-348tb #Lotus-Esprit-SE

    If you can beat them, join them. Fresh from whipping Ferrari. #Porsche and #Lotus on the track - which the ad-men keep telling us is the 'ultimate' challenge - Honda now wants to join them on the road. And why not? Despite the magic names, engineering finesse, and all those years of tradition and hype, there is no sensible reason why Honda replete both with cash and talent - can't try to tackle the supercar sacred cows.

    Much of testing done on Durham moors, where both #Ferrari and Lotus were hard work at speed.

    It has gone about building a supercar in a different way from Ferrari or Porsche or Lotus, as you'd expect. You can bet that the new #Honda NSX. Honda's and Japan’s first supercar, cost many times more to develop than Ferrari's equally new 348. And you can bet it will earn its maker less money (if any at all), for profit is not the point of the NSX. It’s all about image; all about cashing in on the success of Honda’s formula one programme, and making the world view the Civics and Concertos and Accords in a new, more respectful light.

    How can the Honda NSX be as profitable as a #Ferrari-348 , when it costs about £15,000 less to buy in Britain (£52,000 versus £67,499), and yet is built of more costly materials (an aluminium alloy monocoque and body, plus absolutely gorgeous forged alloy suspension components) and has more high-tech mechanicals?

    The Ferrari and Honda are the new cars here, but who would dare dismiss the two old-timers? The #Porsche-911 may well be the oldest sports car in the world but, for most of its 26 years, it has been, in my view, the best. And jus; a year ago it received the most comprehensive revamp in its history. Many new body panels, a brand-new engine (but still a flat-six, still air-cooled), yet all the old-time charm. It’s still not bad value, either, at £45,821 (even if, as with all Porsches, it’s much cheaper in most other markets).

    The #Lotus-Esprit made its debut back in 1976, was Improved by a turbo engine in 1981, and competed hard with the Ferraris and Porsches for a while. Then its act floundered in the mid to late '80s, shackled by insufficient development funds. But, just over a year ago, the financially revitalised company (bought by General Motors) announced the SE variant, the best Esprit of all. And one of the fastest supercars ever: offering Lamborghini Countach-busting performance, now for £44,900.

    Deserted Durham Moorland Road, bright sunny day. Ferrari 348tb underneath you. What better, more invigorating way to travel? The quad-cam 3.4-iitre 32-valve V8 engine, good for 300bhp, and just a few inches behind you. serenades with its magic; the little yellow Prancing Horse shield on the steering wheel boss does a jig on the bumps and undulations, animate like the rest of the car; and all around you is the most gracefully simple cabin you'll ever sit in.

    It is not like driving a normal car; that is the charm of a Ferrari. Always has been. There is a delicacy, an intimacy, about the car. You can feel the cogs mesh when you change gear. You can sense the pads biting the big discs when you push the middle pedal. The right pedal is even more responsive: a millimetre of throttle movement means a discernible difference in speed, a quantifiable change in that wonderful engine note, which always rides with you - always reminding you (even when you may want peace and quiet, such as on a long run) that you are driving something quite different from a Ford or a Vauxhall (or a Honda).

    The keen throttle response is crucial to the car’s character. Apart from the 911, the Ferrari is the only car here that can really be steered on the throttle (aided by its short wheelbase, which helps a car's propensity to change direction quickly). Turn into a corner, using the steering, and the throttle control car, fine-tune the attitude of the car. If the nose is running a little wide (unlikely, for the Ferrari has the best turn-in of the group), you can adjust it by backing off. Want the nose to run a little wider? Simple, squeeze on more power, and observe the whole handling composure change. The throttle of a Ferrari does so much more than merely make it go fast.

    And then when it s over, when you’ve driven the Ferrari hard and fast, when you have enjoyed a moment of driving pleasure rare in today's sanitised world, you can get out and just look at the car. It’s a piece of sculpture, a thing of beauty. Try as the others do, no-one can make a supercar as beautiful as the Italians. The 348 is one of the loveliest Ferraris.

    After driving the Ferrari, you won't believe that anything could be better. No other car, surely, can give that close conjunction between driver and car; or the intimate relationship between the car and the road. None of the others is a Ferrari. Who else but the Italians could make so expressive a machine?

    Well, none of the others can: let's make that clear right away. Which is not to say, they can't win this comparison: there is more to a supercar's repertoire than the richness of the driving experience, important though that is.

    The Lotus is not tied down to the road as tightly, and its turbo four-cylinder engine - which actually produces more straight-line urge than any other car here - is smooth and refined. But it has no music, no magic, and th8 throttle response of a turbo car is never good.

    Porsche’s 911 is the only German sports car on sale now with real spirit, real élan, partly because it's old, and was conceived before the Germans got carried away by science. But, characterful old car though it is, it doesn't serenade you with the same richness as the Ferrari.

    What chance do the Japanese have of matching the vivacity of a Ferrari? They have certainly shown no signs of being able to breathe life into machinery before. Besides, how can Honda, maker of blue-rinse saloons, suddenly hope to produce a red-blooded sports car?

    The Japanese can't pull their old trick - of measuring all the rivals, copying in some cases, refining in most of the others - this time. You can't measure a Ferrari's virtues, let alone copy them - any more than you can analyse Mozart's music or Shakespeare's plays and. thereby, hope to duplicate them. Some things cannot be measured: neither the Japanese nor the Germans have learnt this.

    Okay, so the Honda isn't as much fun to drive as the Ferrari, cither. So be it. But when you put your brightest engineers onto a project (and there are no brighter bunch than Honda's), employ your finest workmen to build the car in a brand-new factory, and come straight out and say, hang the cost, we are going to build the best supercar in the world, and we don't give a monkey's whether it makes money for us or not because it's jolly good for our image, you've got to take them seriously. The NSX may not interact with you as richly as the Ferrari. But that doesn't mean it's not as good.

    On that wonderful Durham road, drive the new Honda NSX. Power comes from a 3.0-litre, quad-cam 274bhp VS, enriched by variable valve timing and variable valve lift thus, on paper, offering terrific low-end tractability and lively big-rev performance - it's red-lined at 8000rpm.

    Feels like a normal car at first. No intimidation. You don’t have to climb over a massively wide sill (which helps duct air to the mid-mounted twin water radiators of the 348) nor do you have to climb down into the seat, having vaulted a high sill, as you do in the claustrophobic cabin of the Esprit.

    It just feels like a normal car. A CRX almost, except you're sitting lower, and the windscreen is deeper, and the tail higher. You don't have to steel yourself, prepare yourself, for a new and vastly different experience. You just get in (entry and exit is easy), sit straight-ahead (none of the askew nonsense that the other three demand, thanks to the absence of front wheel-arch intrusion), adjust the steering wheel to suit (it's the only one with reach and rake adjustment) and go.

    And go fast! Faster, on any winding moorland road, than the other three. Easter to drive fast, what's more. The softer and more yielding nature of the suspension (double wishbones all round, although unlike the Ferrari's prosaic steel set-up. the Honda's are by elegantly forged aluminium alloy arms) means the car has nothing like the Ferrari's nervousness on sinuous British moors - about the only public roads where, in this country, cars like this can be pushed hard

    Whereas the Ferrari feels fidgety, a little headstrong, the Honda just absorbs the bumps and crests and dips as it charges insouciantly on its way. Unless you take real risks, or unless you have the skill of a Senna, the Honda is the quicker A-to-B public road tool. And that surprised us all.

    Yes, it floats a little more on the crests and, yes, its wheels don't enjoy quite the same close relationship with the tarmac that the Ferrari's huge and beautiful 17-inch alloys enjoy. And the steering - the least sharp of all these cars, and the one that weights up most at speed - doesn't chatter to you the whole time, talking to you, blabbering away.

    Mind you, like most hyperactive things, the Ferrari's steering can get tiresome. On long trips you may curse the 348's wrist-jarring character, and the slight high-speed nervousness, preferring a quieter, gentler companion.

    But it's fast, this Honda. Seriously fast. In real terms, quicker than the Ferrari, both on the public road and, as we discovered before venturing to Durham, quicker on the racing circuit as well. On the track, at Castle Combe, the NSX was the quickest of the bunch (best lap, 1 min 14.4, compared with 1min 15.3 for the 348). What's more, it was the easiest car to drive on the bumpy Wiltshire track. You could lap all day at the NSX's best time, no fuss, no worry, no danger of spinning off and bending expensive aluminium alloy bodywork on crude steel barriers.

    Not so the Ferrari. It is much harder work, at the Combe, just as it is on a winding moorland road. It's firmer sprung, more of a racer, much more throttle-responsive, a car that wants to duck and weave. It has to be manhandled, quite physically, to make it go fast (heavy steering, heavy clutch, heavy slow-shifting gearchange, heavy brakes). It taxes and tests you. Drive the Ferrari fast-very fast - and you’ll sweat. The Honda is easy. Impressively, antiseptically easy.

    The NSX will understeer at the limit, in a safe, controllable way that will frighten no buyer (whether they be serious racers, or poseurs who want nothing other than a pretty set of wheels). Stray near to the 348’s (very high) limits and you can just start to feel the rear - so well anchored down at medium-high speeds – getting pendulous. Push a little harder and you'll be doing a blood-curdling, no-holds- barred, oversteer slice which will look wonderful (if you don’t lose control) and feel wonderful (if you don't lose control). And while all this excitement is going on, the Honda will be going just as fast, in its unexciting understeering way.

    On a less bumpy circuit than Castle Combe, the Ferrari would almost certainly have matched the Honda’s lap time. The asperity of the Castle Combe surface upset the nervous disposition of the Italian car: its steering kicked our wrists, and it seemed to be darting around, nervously and uncomfortably, even on straights. Its very firm suspension - the Ferrari has noticeably less body roll than its rivals, and the biggest tyres - does it no favours at a circuit like the Combe. You can tell the car has been set up for Ferrari's glass-smooth test circuit.

    The Porsche got nearest to matching the Honda's lap time at the Combe (best lap. 1min 14.9), and got nearest to matching the Ferrari's entertainment value on the Durham moors. What an extraordinary sports car the 911 is! Despite its age, and its unprepossessing mechanical layout (it is the only car of the group without a mid-mounted engine; instead its motor sits out the back, out there in no man's land, where no self-respecting modern engineer would ever consider siting the engine of a modern car), the 911 competes hard and fast against a brand-new Ferrari, and the mightiest effort yet from Japan’s boldest car maker.

    Its great virtue soon becomes apparent, when you take up station behind the wheel. It's small. How refreshing to find a supercar maker that realises you can have speed and presence without length and girth. But how depressing that Porsche knew this 30 years ago, but seems to have forgotten it now (judging by the Sumo-sized girth of its more recent offerings, such as the ungainly 928).

    The 911 is actually slightly longer than the 348 (the shortest but yet widest car here), but almost 10 inches narrower. It is six inches narrower than the NSX. Less body width means you've got more road space to play with; it’s a big difference. On a narrow B road, this Porsche has no peer. Even on the wider Durham moorland roads, its manoeuvrability, its lissomness, is entertainingly impressive.

    As with both the 348 and the NSX, the 911 has a pearl of an engine. Capable of pulling from about 800rpm in fifth gear (the Honda can dig even deeper into its rev range), and yet perfectly composed when the rev limiter silences it just before 7000rpm (it feels as though it could rev much, much higher, were it allowed), the 3.6-litre flat six is the feeblest engine in the comparison (250bhp), but doesn’t feel it.

    The 911 964 is marginally Quicker than the 348, in the standing start figures (0 60mph in 5.3sec, Ferrari 5.6; 0-100mph in 12.8sec, Ferrari 13.0). It’s faster than the Honda, too which, despite its speed on the track and on the road, is the tardiest off the mark (0-60 in 5.7sec, and 0-100 in 13.1). Next to the 348, the 911's engine feels the most throttle-responsive. There is absolutely no slack m that throttle pedal and. when you're tanking on, the car's cornering attitude can be beautifully manipulated by the accelerator pedal.

    Next to the Ferrari’s, the Porsche’s steering is the most communicative, the one that delivers the richest messages to the driver. What's more, it's better damped than the 348's, doing without the kickback and frenzy. With just over two turns lock to lock, it’s the highest-geared set-up too. Don’t let the power assistance, standards ware on the Carrera 2, put you off: although a useful adjunct at parking speeds, it deadens none of the high-speed sensations.

    No car is better made, either, although the Ferrari - beautifully solid and superbly finished - comes closest. The Honda is not Quite as good, and, during our week-long test, was the only car to give trouble: it ran on five cylinders for a bit, and its traction-control system (one of the many technical novelties of this most technically intriguing car) started to misbehave, before correcting itself.

    The 911 has the best brakes. Apart from the Ferrari, they have the most feel, and they stood up to fast laps of Castle Combe with greater decorum than any rival (the Honda's are closest for fade-free behaviour).

    Next to the NSX, the 911 was also the easiest car to punt on the racing track, and on those sinuous Durham moors. It is a forgiving car, unless conditions are damp (when all that weight over the tail can betray it). It has the best ride quality, marginally edging out the Honda (the Ferrari is easily the firmest; the Lotus is supple yet noisy when wheelsdrop in and out of holes). The steering; the throttle response: the excellent grip; the terrific visibility (top marks hero, although the NSX and the 348 are not far behind): the wieldiness. They all add up to make the Porsche a fast and easy high-speed drive, as well as an exhilarating one.

    But the Porsche has one serious shortcoming, compared with the Ferrari and Honda. Pressing on, it feels less stable. It rolls more, it (eels more on tippy toe. its front wheels have less of a grip on the road. And, at very high speed, the Porsche gets light at the nose. It gave one of our testers a helluva scare on the high-speed bowl at Millbrook, where we did the performance testing. It's a corollary of that rear engine, of course.

    The Lotus has its engine in the right place, but it doesn't have the right engine. A good turbo (and by turbo standards, it is geed) just cannot hack it with three of the best normally aspirated engines ever made. True, it revs briskly and smoothly to 7300rpm red-line. And it packs a mighty wallop - all from 2.2 litres and only four cylinders (it's good for 264bhp). But it matters little whence it came; what matters is how it gees.

    Drive hard on a public road, and the engine drifts on and off boost, denying you the Instant acceleration always available in the other three. There is far less engine braking, too, another corollary of turbo engines - and that means you cannot delicately balance the car's handling by using the accelerator pedal. To boot, the gearchange is easily the worst of the four (our test car. not the finest Esprit SE we have tested, had a really vague shift) and the engine got boo my on the motorway.

    More surprising is how far behind the others is the Esprit's chassis. On Castle Combe, the car understeered badly when pressing on: the main reason its lap time was the worst (best: 1min 15.6sec). On the Durham moors, the front end never felt securely tied down, the steering feeling peculiarly lifeless. The brakes felt dead, although they worked well enough. It just didn't compete, this Lotus, in any area other than straight-line urge (0-60mph in 4.7 sec, 0-100mph in 11.9 - the best of the bunch). Given all the nice things we’ve said about the SE, this car was a major disappointment. It finishes a poor fourth in this comparison.

    Less disappointing was the Esprit’s interior, if only because we already knew this was pretty awful. The Lotus gets plenty of leather - although it's not of the same quality as the Ferrari's Connolly hides - and seats which look inviting, once you can get into them (access is horribly limited, owing to the insufficient sweep of the door, and to the high sills you have to hurdle). But what really spoils the show is the appalling quality switchgear, no better than you'd get on an average kit car.

    The door handles come from an Austin 1800, the column stalks have a second-rate feel and action, and the VDO instruments are too small, and badly sited. The walnut facia also looks rather tacked on: token arborealism, a crude attempt to give the cabin more class. Inside, the Esprit shows its age.

    So does the Porsche. The 911’s cabin is easily its weakest suit - an important consideration, after all that's where you'll be spending most of your time in this car's company. The seats look cheap and lack both lateral and thigh support, the dashboard is a mess (you have to grope for some of the fiddly switches, scattered willy-nilly all over the cabin), the steering wheel doesn't look anything special (although it feels nice enough, and is well sized), there is no left foot rest (a major omission on a performance car), and some of the trim standard is dire (most prominently that awful Elastoplast that is the roof lining). Given so much of this car was changed during its metamorphosis into a Carrera 2 last year, why did not the Stuttgart engineers do anything about the car’s most glaring weakness? At least the switches and the whole cabin have a chunkiness and a solidity rare today.

    The Honda also has a disappointing cabin. It’s dashboard has a nice sculpture, and the seats are easily the most comfortable and supportive of this group. The cockpit is roomier than the Ferrari's (although it lacks the 343's rear parcel shelf) and the Lotus’s. And the pedals are perfectly placed, good for heel ’n’ toeing, well spaced, and supplemented by a wide left foot brace.

    But the whole thing just looks so ordinary. You don’t get those lovely hides of the Ferrari, which feel and smell so good. The leather you do get is the second-rate stuff, which may as well be top-quality vinyl. The dash is swathed in cheap-feeling plastic (don’t be fooled by the genuine stitching), and the carpets are nothing special. The roof lining is cheap plastic, so disappointing on a car of this worth.

    There’s nothing wrong with the big, boldly displayed instruments - never mind that they look as though they're from lesser Hondas: many Ferrari switches are from Fiats - but there's plenty wrong with the satellite control pods, either side of the wheel. It's a variation on the Citroen CX theme and, like any copy of a wonderful original, is nowhere near as good. The arrangement looks messy, and is not easy to use. The hard plastic switches have a poor tactility, as well. You just don’t feel as though you're somewhere special, when you’re ensconced in the NSX. It’s a shame, because you are: this Honda is a wonderful car.

    If I've sounded less than effusive about it so far, that is entirely intentional. It is not an effusive sort of car: instead, it s a massively competent one, a car whose strengths can be rationally explained. They are many.

    On most public roads, and on the race track, it is the quickest. It is the most comfortable car all round (best seats, and a surprisingly supple ride). It is the most restful on a motorway. It is the easiest and least demanding to drive fast, an utterly unintimidating mid-engined supercar that really could be used for shopping at Sainsbury's, were its boot bigger. It has the most benign high-speed handling, and is almost impossible to unsettle in sharp lift-off manoeuvres performed mid-corner. It is the most technically intriguing, and has the juiciest mechanical detailing. Those forged aluminium alloy wishbones are mechanical artistry. And it proved the most economical on test (23.0 mpg; Porsche 21.6; Ferrari 20.2; Lotus 19.7).

    There is no avoiding it: the #NSX is a breakthrough, a supercar that furrows new ground. How can a car with so many compelling virtues be anything other than the best? It can't be. And it is. It’s better than the Ferrari, and by some margin.

    And better than the 911, by an even bigger one. Honda has done a formula one, in the supercar field.

    Yet, I just don’t want one; it's not special enough. It doesn't look that good, to my eye: rather like a poor pastiche of a Ferrari. Honda's boldness seemed to have run out, when it came to the styling. But, much more important driving the NSX just isn't enough of an event. By exorcising that lovely sensitivity and nervousness endemic in a mid-engined car. Honda has partly negated the point of buying a mid-engined car. It just doesn't interact with you richly enough; it doesn't bewitch you, intoxicate you, win you over, warts and all.

    The 348 and the 911 do. They are special cars, and driving them is a special experience. You will savour every occasion you punt these cars hard on a deserted road, even if you may not be going as fast as the NSX driver. You may have to exert more effort, but so what? That’s what sporting cars are supposed to be about. You have to drive the 348 and the Porsche 911 964, instead merely of letting a wonderful car do the work for you.

    Of the pair, the Ferrari wins - if you can afford the extra 20-odd thousand pounds, and can wait five years to take delivery. There is nothing like it. It communicates so richly, involves you so completely. And. when you have finished driving it - cocooned in that exquisite cockpit - you can get out and feast your eyes on one of the loveliest cars ever designed.

    Honda and Porsche (left) easiest cars to drive quickly on moor roads. They're most supple.

    Porsche more on tippy-toe at speed than rivals, but is still prodigiously fast on winding road. Lotus understeers doggedly, steering mushy at speed.

    Lotus gels masses of leather in cabin, but controls look cheap, and visibility is bad. Flat front screen gets bad dash reflections.

    Nice steering wheel (although It's non-adjustable), but instruments too small, scattered about facia almost at random. But car feels special.

    Ventilation controls are typical of poor quality switchgear.

    Poor fit of sunroof. Esprits now better built, but not as good as rivals.

    Ferrari is flattest handling, fools most like racer, but gets nervous at the limit. Honda is inveterate understeerer, lacks throttle sensitivity of 348.

    Steering wheel looks nothing special but it fools good, and the steering itself is sharp and communicative. Crummy switchgear.

    Porsche cabin is unsatisfactory. Seals look cheap, and arc uncomfortable on long runs. Only car in group with roar chairs.

    Radio has removable front which deactivates unit. Very easy to carry.

    Rear chairs have fold-forward squabs, to increase carrying versatility.

    Porsche rolls more than rivals, understeers most of time, except when it’s wet. Lotus feels good at medium-high speed, less so when going hard.

    Porsche's engine biggest (3.6 litres) but least powerful (250bhp).

    Lotus has only 2.2-litres, yet delivers 264bhp, thanks to intercooled turbo.

    0-30 0-40 0-50 0-60 0-70 0-80 0-90 0-100 30-80
    Ferrari 2.1 3.0 4.3 5.6 6.9 9.0 10.9 13.0 6.9
    Honda 2.1 3.0 4.3 5.7 7.1 8.5 10.9 13.1 6.1
    Lotus 1.8 2.5 3.6 4.7 6.3 8.0 9.8 11.9 6.2
    Porsche 2.0 3.1 4.1 5.3 6.9 8.6 10.5 12.8 6.0

    IN FOURTH GEAR (sec)
    20-40 30-50 40-60 50-70 60-80 70-90 80-100
    Ferrari 5.8 5.2 5.1 5.0 4.9 5.1 5.7
    Honda 5.7 5.4 5.4 5.4 5.4 5.6 6.0
    Lotus 8.8 5.9 4.3 4.1 3.9 4.0 4.4
    Porsche 5.7 53 5.3 5.3 5.2 5.4 5.5

    TOP SPEED (mph)
    Ferrari 169
    Honda 164
    Lotus 159
    Porsche 161

    Ferrari 1:15.3
    Honda 1:14 4
    Lotus 1:15.6
    Porsche 1:14.9
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  •   Keith Adams reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    #Autofarm 3.2/3.5 #Porsche-911-Carrera - classic pre- #1974 #Porsche #911 body style
    Price £23,336 (1984)
    Max power 231bhp
    Max torque 209lb ft
    0-60mph 5.3 secs
    Top speed 153mph
    Mpg 15-20 (est)

    This is an early example of the now-common practice of giving later #911 s a retro makeover. It looks convincing, but it given away by the standardsize #Porsche-Carrera 3.2’s 16in rims rather than the RS 2.7’s narrower 15-inchers, yet wears correct bright window trims and small mirrors. Autofarm built it in 2006 for a customer who specified left-hand drive, air-con, no sunroof and G50 ’box, which meant an #1987 - #1989 car – one of which was found in Italy.

    It now has a 3506cc motor and puts out “around 250-260bhp”, but with a lot more torque than standard. The suspension has the early-type adjustable anti-roll bar, but with four-pot #Brembo calipers all round on vented discs, plus there’s a well-protected oil cooler under the chin.

    It looks like a new car, because it was all rebuilt including the gearbox. The shell – #Dinitrol cavity-injected and undersealed – is absolutely rotfree, with perfect paint protected at the front by clear film. The seats have been changed for something more in keeping, although the standard door trims and pockets remain, which makes it more practical than a doorcard #RS rep. The tyres are #Michelin Pilot Sports, about a third used on the front and hardly worn on the back, plus there’s a mint spacesaver spare.

    Off with the immobiliser and it starts on the first turn of the key, with a gruffer than standard note from the sports exhaust. The chassis is firm, thanks to stiff Bilsteins, and it hurtles almost like a turbo, with immediate throttle response flicking the needle around to 6000rpm and super brakes – although they squeal a little. There’s a slight hesitation just off tickover, which Autofarm is going to sort. When the engine’s warm, the oilpressure gauge shows the ideal just over 4bar at 4000rpm (with 3bar at anything above 1500rpm). The electric windows work and the air-con blows cold after a while. It even has (invisible) reversing sensors.

    There’s a full service history, the last Italian stamp being at 64,500km in #1999 and three more from Autofarm since the build. Lovely.


    Rust-free; no stone chips.

    Unworn, with ’70s-style Recaros.

    Only 11,000 miles from ‘new’.

    VALUE ★★★★★★★✩✩✩
    For Performance; fantastic build by the best in the business.
    Against Maybe the twin-outlet exhaust, but it’s easily changed.

    Amazingly drivable and pleasantly addictive, it could last you a lifetime – and the price has recently been reduced by £8500.

    Autofarm 3.2/3.5 911 Carrera
    Year of manufacture #1987 / #2006
    Recorded mileage 18,177km
    Asking price £89,000
    Vendor Autofarm, Weston-on-the-Green,
    Oxfordshire; tel: 01865 331234
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