Remember last month’s cover car, the 991.2 GT3 RS? Well this is the granddaddy to all things RS – the 1973 Carrera 2.7 RS. Unlike the original n01 356 that’s here at Goodwood to provide a starting point to 70 years of Porsche, this is here to celebrate the birth of RS. So this yellow and black Porsche museum car is fairly special… I heard someone say it might be worth a million pounds on the right day. It’s been up on the monument before for 50 years of 911 in 2013 and is still considered the high water mark of 911s.
No idea why I’ve got the keys to it. And frankly this is not one of the cars that turned ordinary people into driving gods. Breathe deep.
But ohmygosh does it stand out in a parade of 959s, Carrera GTs, 930 Turbos, 962s, 917s, a 919 EVO… A purity of proportions typical of the period; crisp, petite, lack of myriad composite materials yet still light at 1093kg. A special lightweight version was also built, bereft of extra sound deadening, shedding the mass to under a tonne.
Sufficiently mutated for racing in a category under 3 litres of engine capacity – rules which began to make the 917 obsolete – it stands out as the halo model; the formative years of aerodynamics and rear-engine balance. Porsche initially thought they’d make 500 of them but soon realised they’d underestimated the instant demand and that final production tally trebled.
Wider Fuchs wheels under extra side-mirror-view wheelarch and the ducktail spoiler was the most pronounced piece of aerodynamics, reducing lift by 75 per cent and now would easily fit under the struts of a new GT3 RS’s wing. The 2.7 moniker referenced a bored version of the 2.4-litre flat six which gave it around 157kW. Power increases in those days wasn’t the work of a minute – nor did it enter a willy waving contest.
But no time to stew over the facts. Push the key in, (unassuming small shard of metal), give it a twist and instinctively, for any car pre 1990s, prod the throttle. Stop your clutch pedal leg from shaking as you turn the big thin-brimmed wheel into a gap between a Porsche GT1 and a 959. Someone has messed with the timeline but who cares. How is this even happening? Pinch me.
You probably want to know how comparably fast a Carrera RS is in the year 2018 but under the parade lap I briefly hooked into fourth, then back to second for most of the run. The gearing is long but the H-pattern is one we’re familiar with so although it’s a bit rubbery, you can imagine just how much fun it would have been to charge through the gears, engine racing, initiating physics and mopping up the slight excess on the way out.
A hot hatch of the 90s might just pull its nose out in front for the first few gears but this is intimate. It wants to dance on its toes. Rather than converting everything to silly microseconds, it happy to stretch them out and let you absorb every nuance.
And here’s what I take away from the drive; that view out of the steering wheel between the raised fenders and focused down those headlights… to this day it’s what makes a contemporary 911 so easy to place on a twisty ribbon of tarmac. And the meatiness behind it; Porsche famously over-engineer their cars so while it can seem docile at these speeds, it never goes numb or vague, especially the steering which seems to work on instinct alone. A package that engages 100 per cent letting you know that underneath is a car of respected driving reputation.
But today is not that day. I don’t know if it ever will be now that it’s so valuable. The legacy it spawned however, well that’s still there for the purists.