21st Nov 2022
Selling The Rarest RS 911s
by Collecting Cars
In mid-November, Collecting Cars sold an impressive 991 GT2 RS Weissach Pack; the eleventh example of this sensational track-focused supercar to find a new home on the platform. Today, the GT2 RS moniker might be associated with a riotous 700hp machine, but the roots of the ‘RS’ name are in much less powerful and far rarer sports cars – all of which are among the most sought-after 911s.
Much like very early Ferraris, the first production Porsches found buyers predominantly among serious motorsport enthusiasts in Europe. The brand gained more traction in the market after its first racing successes; most notably securing the class win with the lightweight 356 ‘Gmünd Coupe’ at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1951.
Porsche’s dedication to ‘Rennsport’ meant the 356 saw further development, including partnerships with Abarth, to create winning road racers; notching up class victories at the 1960 Targa Florio and 1962 12 Hours of Sebring.
With the launch of the 911, Porsche began to put more effort behind Works rally entries, and it took three back-to-back victories in the Monte Carlo Rally between 1968 to 1970. In 1973, to homologate a 911 for racing in the Group 4 GT class, Porsche offered the Carrera RS 2.7 as a roadgoing special. Initially a production run of just 500 cars was planned, but demand quickly overtook expectations, and eventually more than 1,500 were built. Today, it remains among the 10 rarest ‘Rennsport’ 911s ever built, and half a dozen have been sold on Collecting Cars over the last few years.
The 1973 Carrera RS 2.7’s rarity is roughly on par with that of the acclaimed 997.2 GT3 RS (1,500 built); the last generation GT3 available exclusively with the manual transmission, and powered by the legendary ‘Mezger’ flat-six in 450bhp 3.8-litre guise. It is rightly regarded as a supremely balanced and absorbing analogue sports car, and Collecting Cars has sold a handful of superb examples.
Just 1,106 examples of the earlier 997.1 GT3 RS were built, and despite being rarer than the 997.2 car, it is around 25% less costly to buy. Several very well-maintained examples have found new homes on the platform, including this stunning 17,000-mile car in Pure Orange.
The 993 Carrera RS is rarer by a whisker (1,104 examples), and represents the very last air-cooled ‘Rennsport’ model built. These cars featured an uprated 3.8-litre engine, a limited-slip differential, and the larger brake discs and four-piston callipers from the 911 Turbo. Collecting Cars has sold seven genuine 993 RS cars, ranging from £158,000 through to £285,000.
With significantly lower production volume, the 996 GT3 RS is more than twice as rare as the 2.7 RS; just 682 cars left the factory. The 996 RS featured a raft of lightweighting measures, including a polycarbonate rear window, composite bucket seats, and a carbon-fibre bonnet; as well as lowered and stiffened suspension, delivering a level of purity and precision rarely seen since. Prices achieved on Collecting Cars have ranged from £90,000 from a well-used example to £200,000 for an exceptional 3,500-mile car.
The fifth rarest ‘Rennsport’ 911 ever is the 997 GT3 RS 4.0 (600 built). This hallowed sports car is considered by many to be the zenith of modern 911 models, featuring the swansong for the ‘Mezger’ engine. Writing about the car at its launch, Evo magazine’s Roger Green said: “It is the ultimate 911, and you could easily argue it’s all the car you’ll ever need. It will become an icon”. Values support this statement, with the RS 4.0s sold on Collecting Cars ranging from £233,000 through to £430,000 – the latter a world record for an example sold outside the US.
With just 500 examples built, the 997 GT2 RS ranks at number four on this list, and at the time of writing a left-hand-drive GT2 RS with just 8,762 miles from new is for sale at No Reserve on the platform. With rear-wheel drive and a twin-turbocharged engine producing a mighty 620hp, its performance and dynamics quickly gained notoriety, with Chris Harris noting it was “Always on the edge of some misdemeanour”.
The exceptionally rare end of the RS back catalogue begins with the 911 3.0 Carrera RS in third place. Built to homologate the development of the Carrera 3.0-litre racer, and produced in both ‘RS’ and ‘RSR’ racing specification, just 109 cars were completed. Lightweighting was taken significantly further than with the 1973 RS, incorporating thinner gauge steel for the roof and doors; fibreglass for bonnet, engine cover, and bumpers; and the elimination of soundproofing material.
Not to be confused with the 3.6-litre 964 Carrera RS, the 3.8 RS model of 1993 was conceived to homologate a new 3.8 RSR racer, using a seam-welded widebody 964 Turbo shell. The car was strengthened and lightened, and much of the suspension and braking systems were carried across from the Carrera RS. Thanks to its 3.8-litre motor, power was up some 15%, and it also featured 18-inch magnesium alloy split-rim alloy wheels, and a composite engine cover panel with adjustable rear spoiler. Just 55 of these 3.8 Carrera RS models were built, making them especially sought-after today, with prices exceeding $1m.
The pinnacle of the ‘RS rarity’ list is the 911 SC/RS of 1984. Learning from feedback of privateer rally teams, a project was launched to create a limited build run of highly developed ‘evolution’ versions of the 911 SC, with the intention to campaign the car in international Group B events. It used a lightened 930 Turbo body shell, fibreglass bumpers and aluminium doors, bonnet and engine lid. The SC’s 3.0-litre motor was revamped with a higher compression ratio, forged pistons and 935 cylinder heads to produce 255bhp. All up, the car was reported to weigh just 1,057kg.
Only 20 examples of the 911 SC/RS were constructed, with five retained for the ‘Works’ entries prepared by Prodrive, and the other 15 offered to selected private customers. As the rarest ‘Rennsport’ model, it is incredibly hard to find an SC/RS for sale, and when one of these cars does appear on the market, it commands a substantial six-figure sum.
Collecting Cars has sold numerous examples of seven of the 10 rarest ‘Rennsport’ 911 models of all time, finding new homes for iconic and acclaimed sports cars of both the classic and modern eras. Will we offer one of the three rarest 911 RS models during the coming year? We can only say ‘watch this space’.