07/06/2012 One of Three: Rennsport Special RHD 1973 Carrera RS in Black
Back in 1973, when Porsche launched the Carrera RS to compete in motorsport, it had no idea it would achieve such iconic status.
Today, the Porsche Carrera 2.7 RS is regarded as one of the ultimate sports cars of all time and is arguably the most important 911 ever built. With its classic rear ducktail spoiler, special livery and uniquely flared rear arches, it has often been replicated – so great is its popularity among Porsche fans. However, no one will ever mistake this black right-hand-drive model for anything but the real thing.
Meticulously restored with as many new old stock (NOS) factory parts as possible, an example of this quality is rarely seen, let alone offered for sale. As one of just three right-hand-drive (RHD) ’73 Carreras produced in black, #9113601288 is even rarer because it was ordered with a sunroof. ‘One of a kind’ might be a description that’s casually used these days but, in this case, it easily applies.
Porsche RS #1288 started life in Stuttgart as a touring (M472) model. Of the 1580 Carreras built, 62 were produced in black. But of the total production of 117 RHD ’73 RS cars made, only three were painted black. This one was exported to Hong Kong on 1 June 1973, as confirmed by the factory certificate of authenticity (COA) and its entry in the RS list. The ‘bible’ for these cars, the green ‘Carrera RS’ book by Gruber and Konradsheim, confirms this information.
Over the intervening years, #1288 has had an interesting history. At some point it was sold to Japan and then, in the late ’80s, to the San Francisco Bay area. Along the way it was converted to a short-hood, slant-nose, turbo-look 911, but the chassis kept its original VIN, ID plate, RS trailing arms and torsion tube reinforcements.
When Dave Buhain of Los Angeles had the opportunity to purchase the car in 2001, he had to be convinced that this was in fact #9113601288. To that end, he inspected every inch of the car, researched it thoroughly, and contacted Porsche authorities at the factory in Germany and elsewhere. Only when he discovered that the secondary number on the car’s lower dash matched the one listed for RS #1288 at the factory, did he begin this most expensive of restorations.
To ensure that this 1973 Carrera RS was restored with complete attention to detail and accuracy, both the Porsche COA and the green ‘Carrera RS’ book were referenced.
What many people don’t realize is that all RHD Touring Carreras came with a standard steel fuel tank and tinted glass – rather than the usual plastic RS tank and clear lightweight glass. So that is what is present on the car today – all in NOS form.
In fact, every fastener and part that could not be returned to as-new original condition was replaced with the correct NOS Porsche part. Several original-condition RS cars were referenced during this car’s restoration. It was in this way that the car could be assured of being accurately returned to its original specification. The only exceptions are the use of Pepita (houndstooth) seat inserts in black, white and red, which exactly match the factory fabric, a vintage rear seat delete, and the addition of above-bumper, through-the-grille fog lights. All these changes can be easily reversed if the new owner wishes it.
Since the original 2.7-litre MFI engine case had been lost in the past, a correct 7R replacement case was sourced and all parts used in its construction came from an original RS or were proper factory pieces. The RS-spec MFI is tuned perfectly, the car pulls hard and clean, and the motor doesn’t drop a speck of oil. The full 210bhp at 6,300rpm – and 188lb ft of torque at 5,100rpm – are on tap. The original gearbox has the correct limited-slip differential and external oil pump as specified on the car’s COA.
The suspension was completely intact when restoration began in 2004. Included were the unique trailing arms specific to this vintage RS. Any worn suspension items were replaced with period-correct NOS parts. All others were given the appropriate refurbishing and refinishing to appear as they left the factory in 1973.
Like every other part of this car’s restoration, nothing was spared when it came to the exterior and interior. A genuine 1973 Carrera fiberglass and steel ducktail was sourced, along with genuine front fenders, RS rear-quarter panels, bumper ends and front bumper. Thousands of hours were spent preparing for the finish and NOS trim pieces that would bring it back to as-new condition. In particular, all metal was used in its restoration. The correct primer and Glasurit paint was applied at the well-known Kundensport facility in Camarillo, CA, over a period of time that would ensure complete and correct curing and presentation.
All parts installed to the interior are period-correct NOS for a ’73 RS, from the RHD dash to the seats and the harness. Vintage Pirelli CN36 Cinturato tires of the correct size adorn the appropriate 7 and 8x15 Fuch wheels, painted India Red to match the Carrera stripes.
NOS trim installed includes all deco, rubber, seals and the Bosch Euro turn signal lenses.
Correct engine compartment decals and foil stickers are present and accounted for. The appropriate window decal was even applied to the passenger-side, rear-quarter window, just as the factory did when the car was new.
When Buhain received the car back in 2007, he slowly checked off each box on his extensive list to ensure that everything possible had been done to make RS #1288 perfect.
Another 2,000 hours were spent after June 2011 to make sure the car was ready for Rennsport Reunion IV in October of the same year. To help in this process, Autobahn Interiors, Art Berian, Tony and Marco Gerace of TLG, Ed Palmer of Kundensport, Charles Coker and several sources in Europe all pitched in.
The condition of #9113601288 today is a delight to behold. The paint is perfectly applied and the total package is of concours quality. It is essentially a brand-new car. It’s as if you were able to step back in time and purchase it straight off the Hong Kong showroom floor in June of 1973. There is no question that RS examples like this one are highly sought-after by Porsche collectors. Its handling precision, high-revving motor and classic lines are what make it the ‘holy grail’ of early 911s.
Porsche decided to resurrect the label ‘Carrera’ in 1973, because the marque had a model that was reminiscent of the 1955 356 of the same name – a name inspired by the 1953 Carrera Panamericana class victory. That 1973 model is the car you see here. A lightweight version in RSR trim went on to win literally thousands of races. Its crowning achievements were the 1973 overall wins at the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Targa Floria, and the European GT Championship.
When Porsche enthusiasts speak of ‘limited edition’ 911s, they usually refer to a special run of cars that vary from the standard edition in some minimal way. This is not one of those 911s, although they only made 1580 of the ’73 Carrera RS, three of which match this example. What RS #1288 represents is a truly unique specimen of the most famous 911 Porsche ever produced. Restored to original condition, without compromise, RHD, black and sporting a sunroof as ordered, this is a car that can take pride of place in the most discriminating of automotive collections.