Remembering One of Porsche’s Most Influential Models, the Iconic 911 Carrera RS 2.7

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The 911 made its public debut at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show as a replacement for the aging 356. It was a hit from the start and as the years went by, it became one of the most popular sports cars in the world. Porsche continually improved its new flagship in the years that followed, but the first, true, high-performance version would hit the streets a decade later. Created to homologate the 911 for the European GT Championship’s Group 4 class, the Carrera RS 2.7 was a lighter, more powerful iteration of the 911S, which, at the time, was the company’s most capable production vehicle. Both models shared the same body, but to make the RS considerably lighter, engineers shed weight in every way conceivable. Most of the panels were fabricated from thinner sheet metal, whereas the windshield, side, and rear windows were also made from thinner glass. Furthermore, both bumpers and the new engine cover that featured a ducktail spoiler for improved aerodynamics were all constructed using fiberglass. Next, the interior was stripped of elements deemed unnecessary such as the rear bench seat, glovebox lid, sound insulation, sun visors, or door handles which were replaced by pull cords. Even the front seats found in the 911S were replaced with lightweight buckets that came with almost no padding. All these modifications translated to a curb weight of 1,985 lbs. (900 kg), 390 lbs. (177 kg) less than the 911S. The 2.4-liter, air-cooled, boxer-six from the aforementioned model was a bored-out version of the original 911’s 2.0-liter and many argued that this was its limit. Porsche engineers proved everyone wrong by increasing the bore once again, this time to 90 mm (3.54 in.). They achieved this by removing the thick cast iron cylinder liners and replacing them with a nickel carbide layer (called Nikasil) that was applied directly to the aluminum cylinder bores. Now displacing 2.7 liters, the engine had a flatter torque curve and could produce up to 210 hp, 20 more than the 2.4-liter. This might not seem like much today, but thanks to its lightweight construction, the RS could accelerate to 60 mph (97 kph) from a standstill in 5.6 seconds, reach 100 mph (161 kph) 7.1 seconds later, and achieve a top speed of 150 mph (241 kph), impressive figures for a 1970s sports car. The way it drove was even more impressive. Thanks to a stiffened suspension system, bigger brakes, and wider rear wheels, this rabid 911 stood planted to the ground during high-speed corners and according to the experts that reviewed it, the maneuverability it offered was unrivaled. The first 911 to don the Carrera nameplate and the first to introduce the RS moniker (Racing Sport or Rennsport in German), this outstanding piece of engineering entered production in 1972 for the 1973 model year. It could be brought for around $11,700 ($71,700 today), which made it just a few hundred dollars more expensive than the 911S. To sweeten the deal even further, select dealerships offered an optional Touring Package that added a steel rear bumper along with the upholstered and trimmed interior or the 911S. Initially, Porsche planned to build 500 units to comply with the European GT Championship’s homologation requirements and management was skeptical about its marketability. In October 1972, the car made its debut at the Paris Auto Show and it generated so much excitement that all of the 500 units were sold just a week after the event concluded. This encouraged Porsche to kick off a second production run and by April 1973, the 1,000th RS left the factory. Until the end of the year, that figure rose to 1,580 and 55 of them were converted into even more capable monsters dubbed RSR (Rennsport Rennen). With 280 hp on tap, these wide-bodied, factory-built race cars would go on to win numerous titles in the 1973 season, crossing the finish line first in prestigious races such as the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, or the Targa Florio. Fifty years after its introduction, the Carrera RS 2.7 is considered the most influential 911 of all time by the vast majority of Porsche enthusiasts. It opened the street-legal, high-performance door for the German manufacturer and paved the way for the subsequent RS models, as well as the modern GT3 range. If you want to learn more about this magnificent car and see it being driven down a winding road, we recommend the video below posted on YouTube by Petrolicious.