Market Finds: Is This Porsche 911 RS The Perfect Blend Of Modern And Classic?

Is This Porsche 911 RS The Perfect Blend Of Modern And Classic?

By Andrew Golseth
April 8, 2016

Photography courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

With the original 2.7 RS fetching high six to low seven figure digits, buying a no-frills factory spec early 911 has become an expensive hobby. The P-car fanatic’s saving grace? The 2016 991 RS. Oh, wait…that’s already sold out? I’m here to help—actually, RM Sotheby’s has you covered. If a 2.7 RS is out of monetary reach and the fanboys beat you to the 991 RS, this 1991 Porsche 911 Carrera RS could be the classic/modern cocktail you’ve been yearning to drink.

That’s right: a 964 RS—if you don’t consider the 964 a classic, you should. What better way to celebrate early air-cooled styling with more-modern power and underpinnings? I checked, there isn’t one—at least not in stock trim. Sure, PCA members went on a hiatus demanding the hardcore RS forbidden fruit from Europe and Porsche threw us a bone with the RS America—but us Yanks only received 701 examples. And as cool as the RS America was, it was essentially an option delete package—not quite the hardcore homologation European equivalent.

This European market only 964 RS is an early Guards Red on grey example with just over 12,000 kilometers since new—less than 400 kilometers a year since assembly. The 3.6-liter flat six was recalibrated to the tune of 260 hp and a livelier throttle response. In line with the RS nameplate, adding power wasn’t the primary goal: it was just a slice of the pie.

As much as the phrase gets overly used nowadays, Porsche has always modeled the RS as a true “driver’s car”. In addition to the extra power, the body received aluminum doors, frunk lid, and bonnet. Thinner glass was fitted to the sides and rear window and the RS also received unique lightweight magnesium five-spoke Cup 1 type wheels wrapped in soft compound Michelin rubber. The suspension was revised for a stiffer, lower ride complete with uprated stabilizer bars and front strut brace.

Front grey-tri-colored fixed buckets keep two occupants tightly in place, the generally worthless-anyway rear seats are non-existent, and the door panels are reminiscent of the original 2.7 RS featuring simple shut straps and red pull-loops. On a determined diet, the airbags, radio and speakers, power windows, air conditioning, cruise control, and sound deadening were left out. The added lightness resulted in a ~2,690-pound curb weight. Well over 300 pounds were shaved off from the standard 964 heft, which should help with the lack of power steering!

Porsche Zentrum Kiel—the car’s original dealer—held onto the car for years before selling it to an Italian enthusiast. The second owner registered the car in 2001 with just 7,500 kilometers. The current seller acquired the car in 2004 and has driven the car sparingly since. With the odometer tallying a few clicks over 12,000 kilometers, this could be the most factory fresh 964 RS left.

The car has been well maintained exclusively by Porsche dealers and the original tool kit, owner’s manuals, and fully documented service booklet accompanies the sale. If you’re preferences are like mine, this is the ultimate expression of a factory 911. No excessive styling, no extra unnecessary amenities, and no wonky rear spoiler—wings belong on aircraft. This is arguably the purest, undiluted Carrera concoction mixed straight from Stuttgart.

Classic colors, driver focused, and finally of age for legal U.S. importation, I’m not sure what you’re waiting for?

~260 horsepower, 3,600 cc SOHC air-cooled horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine with Bosch Motronic engine management and fuel injection, five-speed manual transmission with LSD, front and rear independent suspension, and four-wheel power-assisted disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,272 mm.

Vehicle information

Chassis no.: WP0ZZZ96ZNS490280
Engine no.: 62N80712


– Includes all original books and owner’s manual
– Documented service history; stamped warranty and service booklets
– Porsche Certificate of Authenticity
Auction house: RM Sotheby’s
Estimate: TBD
Price realized: Auction on April 14


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Ron Joy
Ron Joy
6 years ago

I went from a 911sc to a 964 and was disappointed that the feel of a real 911 seemed, to me, to have been engineered out. Recently I was able to buy a low mileage Carrera 3.2 and am delighted to have found exactly what I’ve looked for over a span of 30 some cars. Like my ’65 C coupe all the minor complaints have been addressed (like a real heater). With luck this car will be with me for a long time

Barney Hylton
Barney Hylton
7 years ago

I scoured the earth (literally) to find my perfect 964RS. My search had me view multiple cars in the UK and Europe. The low mileage options were invariably Japan sourced. Several disappointing PPIs later, I decided to search in Japan itself. Having previously lived in Japan for many years, I was able to conduct the search myself, using a variety of local search options. After many months of searching, a failed viewing where the seller decided to hold onto it, eventually I found an absolute gem! A ‘Rubystone Red’ gem. Just 5,500 miles and one owner. The car came with a very effective APR suspension and exhaust system mod, which I determined to remove, until the test drive after which there was no way they were coming off. I own an RSA (1 of 4 in FLY) and love it, but I was blown away by the responsiveness of this 964RS. The engine spins up incredibly quickly and the overall drive feel from the body fitting buckets, the lower ride, reduced weight and sound dampening, all add up to make a Euro RS incomparably better than the RSA. Any of you out there looking for the perfect Euro RS and yet frustrated with what you are are viewing, keep heart and keep looking. If you can find a box fresh or well maintained car, it will be well worth it. They are out there. Barney (Singapore)

David S
David S
7 years ago

A friend just sold a 964RS, and he informs me that the G50/10 close-ratio gearbox is what really makes the car sparkle. I’d love to convert my own G50 to the G50/10 gear-set, but the three gears needed to tighten-up the ratios cost $1,000.00 — each. Plus labor…

Turning wheels
Turning wheels
7 years ago

Owning a 964RS NGT with 325 hp and short 993-gearbox, I confirm that the 964 RS is a terrific combination of vintage and modern. Driving it is like racing at Le Mans. You ask yourself whether you are fit enough for the car before every drive.

Before the RS, I used to own a 964C2 which by far has been my loveliest Porsche: great for the road and effective on the track. It was extensively modified and I certainly regret selling it, even today.

Even though the stock RS is quite close to a well modified C2, this does not apply to the RS NGT. If you are man enough, go for it. It will test you!

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
7 years ago

The 964 is most definitely the last remaining air cooled bargain left in Porschedom . Make sure you buy one thats had all the 964’s ill s sorted out and you’ve got yourself one hell of a mighty fine Porsche at a price many can afford .

As for a 964 RS ? Hardly worth the extra money . Buy a plain Jane 964 and invest the extra funds into a bit of resto modding / outlawing .. guaranteed if done right you’ll wind up with something twice as good as the factory’s back then somewhat pretentious RS offering .

But … do yourself a favor … buy one from an owner … not an auction . Auctions all but guaranteeing what with all auctions promoting their alcohol addled synthetic sense of urgency atmosphere … that you’ll severely over pay for the car .. not to mention not having a clue what condition the car might actually be in … as well as being unable to have the car looked at by a professional Porsche specialist mechanic before laying your hard money down .

That last part being the key . NEVER and I do mean never buy a used or classic Porsche before having it thoroughly looked over by a specialist . Repairs are expensive and the price of parts is even worse .

One last suggestion . Join the PCA before buying . You’ll be pleasantly surprised not only how much her the club and its members can be .. but how much money in the long run you’ll be saving .

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
7 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

…. typo correction .. ‘ her ‘ in the last paragraph should of read ..

Help !

7 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

I agree with this line of thinking in some ways but speed and performance isn’t what it’s all about, it’s just a bonus. These are appreciating, IMHO, due to the smells, imperfections, etc. Not necessarily due to pure performance.
Just got my first P-Car, 964 C4 Targa, almost mint condition with 58k miles so I was torn between hot rodding it or keeping it original. But ive decided to leave it (for the most part;)) because my friend said it smells like an old leather golf bag. He meant it as the biggest compliment a guy approaching 40 could give. Leather has been replaced with nylon and other synthetics, which are admittedly better, but it’s just not the same. Few things bring back the nostalgia of our German car loving youths like burning oil and thick leather. It simply can’t be replicated. And people will pay a lot of money to bring back those feelings.