For decades Porsche has created some of the most intriguing and desirable road cars on the planet. But even with all that excellence, there are still certain machines that stand out from this very exemplary crowd.
The ingenious and complex 4-cam 356, the original 911, and then the 1973 RS, were a collection of world class cars. In 1992, the RS designation appeared again in the form of a European market, lightweight, rear-wheel drive 964, based on the Carrera Cup racecar. The U.S. did not get the benefit of this one as Porsche North America felt the tuning was a bit too aggressive for the American market. Thanks a lot!
The USA got its own version, the RS America, a less radical version of the Euro-spec ride.
Then came 1995 and a real stand-out raised its racy head.
The 993 was a total redesign from the 964 it would also be the last of the line of air-cooled Porsches. The air-cooled swan song was going to be a good one because the RS designation returned at full throttle.
Again, the ’95 RS was based on the Carrera Cup competition car, it was created in numbers (1000 examples) to homologate the 3.8 RSR into BPR GT3 and GT4 racing, but again the U.S. was denied this unique gift.
The factory was fanatical about making the latest RS as light as possible. Practically everything that wasn’t necessary was tossed aside. Gone was the central locking system along with the power adjustable seats, electric windows and mirrors, sound insulation and rear defroster. In its stead was even thinner glass, an aluminum trunk lid and doors with lightweight door panels with fabric door pulls. This reduced the weight down to a sleek 1,289 kilograms.
Some creature comforts and safety items could be added as options, such as AC, stereo, electric windows and airbags.
At the heart of the ’95 RS is a naturally aspirated, 3.8-liter, flat-six that boasts multiple improvements over the previous 3.6 motor. This allows the 3.8 (Type M64/20) to produce 300 brake horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 262 foot-pounds of torque at 5,400 rpm, with extra low-end grunt courtesy of the extra displacement. It is fitted with Porsche’s innovativ Variocam variable-length intake system and also features newly designed forged pistons of a reduced height and a relocated wrist-pin, this keeps the piston weight under that of the standard 3.8-liter engine. The new engine also sports dual oil coolers and lightened rocker arms. All this is kept in check by a Motronic engine management system.
The suspension was tweaked, as well. The RS received a front strut brace, ball-joint front damper mounts, and adjustable anti-roll bars with 5 positions for the 24-mm front and 3 positions for the 21-mm rear. The ride height was also lowered by 30-mm in the front and 40-mm in the back.
For good measure, a limited slip diff was added along with 322-mm, cross drilled and ventilated discs brakes front and rear with four piston calipers from the 993 Turbo, and last but not least ABS traction control.
The RS also employs a 6-speed G50/31 manual gearbox with a short shifter and modified gear ratios for the first three gears.
All this was attached to a seam welded body to make up one very solid piece of equipment.
Driving the RS
You are in familiar surroundings when you sit in the drivers seat of the RS, it has the tried and true five VDO gauge layout that makes you feel right at home. Like other Porsches, everything is right where it should be and you can just get in and go.
The RS inspires confidence and does everything right. You put it on the track and it doesn’t even break a sweat and then you can just as simply drive it home. This wouldn’t be at all hard to daily drive. Some might think it too harsh a ride for that, but they just don’t get it.
In the years since this RS was created there have been faster, more technically advanced models. Where would the GT3RS be without its older brother? But there is something elemental about the RS. It’s analog in a digital world, it’s brash where some have become genteel. It’s fast enough, wild enough, and dangerous enough to make it the absolute perfect Porsche.
Generation 993 offered up some badass machines. There was the Turbo and the GT2, but it is the normally aspirated RS that really grabs your attention. It’s the Jack Russel terrier of the three. Light, quick and ready to rip out the throats of its competition. It is the ultimate 993 911.
My thanks to Chris Turner and Gaswerks Garage for the wild ride.