PH Blog: Porsche 964 RS


It's yet another undeserved perk of this incredible job that the carefully deployed 'golly, you know I've never driven a <insert name of dream car here>' can, if you're lucky, result in the offer of a steer of just that. Well, it worked for Harris in the case of the Sport Quattro.

And in thanking 964 RS owner Julian Perry for his kind contributions to the Carpool story we ran on his car I played just that joker. To which he, rashly, answered 'well, you should have a go with mine then.' An offer he may have regretted after seeing his beloved Porsche pirouetting past the paddock at Bedford Autodrome in a cloud of spray and expletives from yours truly.

Just another old Porsche, move along...
Just another old Porsche, move along...
Plea for fresh rain/worn 888s mitigation and the full story is to follow but yes, the 964 RS would be an easy top five in my all time 'wants' and, almost certainly, top billing (this week) in my fantasy 911 league. What, not everybody has one of those?

I know, declaring 911 fanboy allegiances isn't exactly hold-the-front page stuff. But all the stuff I love about them can be found in the RS.

In 2012, 260hp (officially) is hot-hatch stuff, but if ever a car summed up the 'it's about more than just the numbers', the RS is it. I love the unadorned looks, the fact that it's just another old 911 to the uninitiated . Much as I love my modern GT3s, RSes and 4.0s, they all look a bit chintzy compared with this. And by heck does it go.

I always take a while to dial into 911s, perversely another reason I like them so much. You can never just jump in and give them full beans, even the new ones. There's always something to make you think, be it the pedal spacing, the gearbox, the throttle response or whatever. The RS had all of them and, after sitting beside Julian for a couple of sessions and enjoying the fruits of his 15-year familiarisation process with his RS, I was more than a bit intimidated. It's always nice to see an owner pushing their car hard but, by gum, even on fat 888s the RS is a lively beast and Julian was pretty busy at the wheel.

No pressure then.

Hold on tight and don't blink
Hold on tight and don't blink
Julian's car is a left-hooker and doesn't have power steering, so felt immediately physical to drive. As you'll have seen and read from his Carpool, his car has been tweaked over the years, most obviously with the addition of some 18-inch BBS wheels. Behind them are KW dampers set up by Porsche race gods Manthey and on Bedford's flat surface they brilliantly complement standard RS features like the stiffer engine mounts and more rigid shell. A quick run on the rough B-roads surrounding Bedford revealed quite how stiffly sprung it is, but on track the damping is beautifully optimised, with surprisingly delicate body control even during violent, full-bore direction changes in the chicanes. Lovely stuff.

With that much rubber on the ground - 888s at that - I didn't expect the RS to have such a lively rear axle, but even with the relatively modest power I was heartened to find how easy and predictable it was under power. Turn-in was wickedly strong too, the RS really chomping hard into Bedford's surface.

Operate with due consideration
Operate with due consideration
Physical stuff though. It's pocket-sized by modern standards, but the RS isn't flickable like a Lotus and needs properly manhandling. Julian commented that I was braking too early and too timidly, blipping down through the gears rather than standing it on its nose and block shifting as he was. Fair enough, but to get that right took commitment and confidence in finding the slot first time, and timing the blip and clutch release just so. I tried a couple of times, but the consequences of getting it wrong - missing a gear, over-revving, mis-timing the clutch and grabbing the back wheels on turn in - didn't appeal either.

But that's what I loved about it. I was having to really, really concentrate. And those few times a sequence of corners, shifts and mini-drifts all came together will stay with me a long time.

And then it rained, I had my moment on the worn 888s and Julian really started having fun. A video below to that effect that, sadly, doesn't show much of the track due to the camera angle but demonstrates quite how lively the RS is and how good it sounds.

I couldn't afford one when they were at their cheapest and I definitely can't afford one now. But, reality be damned, it's still top billing on my 911 wishlist.

Dan


 

 

Comments (86) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Neil Perkins 07 Mar 2012

    PORSCHE 911 964 FABSPEED RSR SYSTEM - FITTING PROBLEMS

    Guys - I need some help....I have bought a Fabspeed RSR exhaust system for a 911 964 C2....single outlet tip (RHS) with new headers, muffler and sport 200 cats....there is a fitting problem with this system - the right-hand cat (RHD car) catches on the oil filter pipe and Fabspeed tell me that I need to acquire the modified oil filter pipe assembly to fit the exhaust. The LHS is okay.

    Has anyone here got a similar system, either from 911co.uk or Porsche World or direct from the USA? If so, how did you get around the oil filter pipe catching the sport cat and what is the verdict?

    Thanks, Neil

  • EdM 24 Feb 2012

    Agree and sat in traffic the other day when such a car pulled up next to me - tastefull done, it looked the absolute puppy's xxxx.. a 964 C2 lowered with RS rear bumper, sports pipe, reacaros, roll cage and front vents,BBS alloys and painted in a metallic grey...(Banstead area..you know who you are)..

  • ///Mike 23 Feb 2012

    EdM said:
    robm3 said:
    As owners start upgrading classics like the 964RS it makes me wonder if the RS experience can be achieved with a standard 964 for far less.

    If Manthey or the like got a hold of a regular 964 and applied all the usual upgrades; suspension, tyres, weight loss, strut brace towers and engine improvements could you not have similiar performance and feel albeit without RS badge?

    Just wondering really.
    In a nutshell yes, had a 964 C2 with some minor mods and it was a fantastic car to drive and companies like ninemeister whom I frequently toyed with spending bucketloads of cash with can do all sorts of further mods to make standard 964's 'better' like suspension upgrades strut braces, cages and motec engine mods even 400bhp+ engine rebuilds..it'll never have the provenance of an RS mind so spending this sort of money on a standard car will always be an indulgance..
    Provenance I could forgoe if there was the ability to create the feel of a 964 RS for £40K when the real thing costs at least double that. Its the sort of car I would buy to keep for the rest of my driving days for the raw pleasure it offered as opposed to being an object of vanity with all the right badges. smile

  • Sub5s 23 Feb 2012

    Joe911 said:
    Some further pics:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/111413842378719944465...




    ---
    Pics are from tracksideimage.com - I think they're really good.
    Ahrweiler plates, eh smile
    Used to live in the area. Was great to have the 'ring just around the corner. It never got old or boring.

  • EdM 23 Feb 2012

    robm3 said:
    As owners start upgrading classics like the 964RS it makes me wonder if the RS experience can be achieved with a standard 964 for far less.

    If Manthey or the like got a hold of a regular 964 and applied all the usual upgrades; suspension, tyres, weight loss, strut brace towers and engine improvements could you not have similiar performance and feel albeit without RS badge?

    Just wondering really.
    In a nutshell yes, had a 964 C2 with some minor mods and it was a fantastic car to drive and companies like ninemeister whom I frequently toyed with spending bucketloads of cash with can do all sorts of further mods to make standard 964's 'better' like suspension upgrades strut braces, cages and motec engine mods even 400bhp+ engine rebuilds..it'll never have the provenance of an RS mind so spending this sort of money on a standard car will always be an indulgance..

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