Gear: This Is The Ultimate Book On The Ultimate Vintage 911

This Is The Ultimate Book On The Ultimate Vintage 911

By Benjamin Shahrabani
December 17, 2015

A derivative of the production Porsche 911 S 2.4, the Carrera RS was conceived as a 911-based race car for the FIA Group 4 Special GT category. Compared with the standard 911S, the RS—for rennsport (racing sport)—was more powerful, lightened, with bigger brakes and a stiffer suspension, and, of course, also sported the unmistakable “duck tail” spoiler. An instant icon.

Still, at the time, the sales department was worried it would not be able to market and sell the necessary 500 homologation units. They needn’t have been anxious: the RS generated so much good publicity that the entire first run of cars was sold out a week after the car debuted at the 1972 Paris Auto Show, and the company soon committed to manufacturing a second series of cars to satisfy demand.

Don’t forget: it’s not like enthusiasts found out about the new Porsche via Instagram. Like the car, word on the RS traveled fast.

All in all 1,580 RS models were built by the end of the 1973 model year. The additional sales also let the company reclassify the car for the Group 3 Grand Touring race category where it notched several more wins and further cemented its legend. Today, both in driving and worth, the RS is tremendously valued and considered by many to be one of the greatest 911s ever.

Much like the car it is based on, we could say that Carrera RS by Dr. Thomas Gruber & Dr. Georg Konradsheim, should also be tremendously valued—should you be able to lay your hands on a copy.

With only a limited number produced upon its original publication in 1992, Carrera RS is considered the bible for this very special model. Indeed, copies of the green Carrera RS book became so highly sought after that some trade hands for thousands of dollars. It was the most comprehensive tome ever written on the RS model. Until now…

Thanks to efforts of publisher and designer Christoph Mäder of T.A.G. Verlag, Carrera RS is back in print. The 2015 edition is no mere reprint however, but a thoroughly reworked and expanded version. With the two co-authors being constantly hounded by collectors if there were any more RS books hidden away and unsold, Gruber, who was already working with Mäder on a new book about the Aston Martin DBR9, looped in co-author Konradsheim, and the now trio went about republishing the book, which still took about three years of work.

The effort has paid off, as many new insights and discoveries have been included in the updated version, such as many previously unseen internal factory documents and other recollections from people intimately associated with the model. These additions posed challenges, however.

Mäder recounts, “The story is 40 years old, and people recount things differently. Very differently at times. So it was up to Georg to play the judge on which version resembled the truth. If he couldn’t see a clear judgment, that particular part would not show up in the book”.

These challenges also extended to the menagerie of unpublished photographs. “Some of the photographers are well past the age of 80. So some odd situations came up. ‘Scanning? Well, I don’t have a scanner’ …and we’d have to sit and wait and see whether he got them scanned,” said Mäder.

These and other challenges overcome, the original book has grown by almost 40% to 434 pages. The revised contents include the technical aspects of the development, engineering of the RS model, special models (such as the RSR), press and marketing, its motorsport career, and, lastly, an appendix listing of all 1,580 RS chassis numbers—complete with notations on the colors, equipment, and interior the cars were originally born with.

New additions include chapters on the stillborn 916 prototype, which was cancelled at the 11th hour (but opened the door for the RS to exist) and another chapter about the production of the car in period. There is a tremendous 821 photographs in color and a further 519 in black-and-white in the book, which, while extremely pleasing to the reader created one other obstacle to the publisher. “Georg was very keen on not including anything that would bear a resemblance to today. So, in our studio shots I had to make sure that the pictures looked like a photographer of the ’70s would have shot them,” said Mäder.

The attention to detail in Mäder’s work, as well as the authors, makes for an almost unparalleled reading experience—automotive or otherwise. This lavishly-produced 434 page book has been published in both English and German, with both editions individually numbered (just like the original) and limited to 3,000 copies. The English version is yellow clothbound and is protected by a brown cloth slipcase. Considered the spiritual father of the Porsche 911, the late Professor Helmuth Bott once said, “An infallible scale for automobiles with character is the appreciation they receive after their expiration of production”.

Without a doubt that statement could be applied to Porsche’s iconic 911 2.7 RS, as well as this book. At almost $475 dollars, it is not an inexpensive investment, but if you should be lucky enough to own an RS, or are just an über enthusiast wanting the definitive word on the model, consider it a small price to pay: these will surely sell out again.

Visit to purchase.


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Amir Kakhsaz
Amir Kakhsaz
8 years ago

My old boss has one of these with a green colored sheath. Back in ’05 or ’06 I think he turned down $1500 for it from the guy who owned the car number that matched the book. It is an AWESOME book, I looked through it a few times after washing my hands first.

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