The 964 Carrera RS made its debut in 1991 as a limited-production, high-performance variant of the Carrera 2 production car. It was loosely modeled after the Carrera Cup Championship cars, offered in a limited selection of colors and offered to the Rest of World markets.
Unlike the RS models which preceded it, there is no telltale ducktail or whale tail spoilers or graphic treatments to make it immediately apparent that it is an RS model. Aside from the Carrera RS script at the rear and a noticeably lower ride height accentuating the magnesium Cup wheels, the 964 Carrera RS might easily be overlooked as a lightly modified 964 Carrera 2. While the exterior treatment may be minimalistic, as soon as one opens the door there is no mistaking that it is a no-frills, performance-focused machine.
All of the chassis seams were fully welded to minimize flex, thinner glass was incorporated in the doors and rear windows, the doors and front trunk lid were fashioned from aluminum, and sound deadening was removed entirely. The ride height was lowered by an inch and a half via coil-over shocks and stiffer dampeners and lightened alloy control arms and semi-trailing arms. Adjustable anti-roll bars at both ends helped to fine-tune handling characteristics.
Upon entering the spartan cabin, the RS-specific tri-color fixed racing buckets and minimalist door panels with fabric door pulls hint at the RS’s intent. Behind the front seats, the rear seats have been deleted and fitted with lightweight carpeting that has been embroidered with the Carrera RS script.
The 3.6-liter M64/03 air-cooled, dry-sump flat-six was tuned to produce 260 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 240 ft-lbs of torque at 5,000 rpm. The beloved G50 gearbox received close-ratio gears with steel synchronizer rings, modified shift sleeves, taller first and second gears, and an asymmetrical ZF limited-slip differential borrowed from the 911 Turbo that allowed for 20 percent lockup under load and 100 percent lockup under braking. The lightened flywheel adds to the Carrera RS’s racy demeanor, allowing for snappier revs and shifts.
In the end, Porsche produced a total of 2,276 examples of the 964 RS. 1,910 of the total production run were the bare-bones “Basics”, also referred to as Lightweight models. 76 examples were finished in Touring trim which added back some of the niceties of the street cars such as AC, sunroof, power windows, full interiors with sound deadening, and unique seats. 290 were finished as N/GT or “Sport” models intended for racing in the BPR GT Group N series.
Due to America’s strict emissions laws, the 964 Carrera RS models were never slated to arrive on US shores. This vehicle, Chassis 490667, was imported from Japan a few years ago and received a full respray in its original color of Polar Silver Metallic prior to being sold at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction in 2017. It is one of the “Basic” cars, but the eagle-eyed will notice something not typically seen in a non-Touring model. At the previous owner’s request, we retrofitted an air conditioning system using all factory Carrera components to combat the summer heat with a negligible impact on overall weight and performance.
Driving the 964 Carrera RS is what really sets it apart from other 911s of the time. At 350 pounds lighter than a standard 911 Carrera 2 and significantly stiffer, paired with a perfectly geared transmission and more powerful engine, it is one of the most enjoyable 911 driving experiences one could have.
Limited Slip Differential
17” Cup Wheels
Fully documented Canepa detailing from 2017
Get RS Insights sent to your e-mail monthly.