A “Sleeper” in the RSA Niche
If you don’t know about the RSA, pull up a chair. Like a number of other limited production models, this 964-based special was one of Porsche’s best-kept secrets for years.
Endurance racer Vic Elford rightly claims birth parentage of the RS America. Elford worked for Porsche Cars North America for years as a high performance driving instructor and during much of that time he harped at PCNA president Brian Bowler about the need for a stripped-down 911 for the American enthusiast market. Elford had in mind an updated version of the legendary 911 RS 2.7 Carrera lightweights that directly injected adrenalin into Porsche drivers through their right foot. Bowler appeared to rebuff Elford repeatedly. Then of course, he ignored him.
After Porsche in Zuffenhausen introduced their 964RS as a 1992 model to commemorate the 1972 world debut of the 911 Carrera 2.7 RS to non-North American buyers only, feedback from U.S. Porsche customers was fierce. Porsche had created the model as a homologation car to legalize the 964 for international racing series. Zuffenhausen assembled something like 2,282 of these cars. These cars had no U.S.-mandated safety features, and while they retained catalytic converters, Porsche’s other engine and structural modifications rendered it illegal for U.S. markets. That mattered little to U.S. enthusiasts. They wanted the stripped fundamental 911 that this new car represented.
Bowler took Elford’s idea and the cries of aggrieved American customers to the factory and the result was the 964RS America, based on the series production 964 Carrera 2 coupe. In this 1993 model, Porsche removed power steering, sound insulation, rear seats, the full-leather interior, and they made air conditioning and the sunroof optional (along with a simple two-speaker cassette stereo and a limited-slip differential. The base 964 C2 weighed 3,020 pounds and developed 250 horsepower at 6,100 pounds. The RSA came in at 2,955 pounds with a simple black cloth interior and sport seats done in black corduroy. Porsche replaced the C2’s active rear wing with a fixed-in-place early Turbo-style “whale tail”. Ironically, it was Bowler’s replacement, Fred Schwab, who got to announce the new car.
But what was most incredible of all this was the pricing: Porsche charged its European customers the equivalent of $97,000 for the non-US-compliant version – essentially a road-legal racecar. Porsche’s price in the U.S. for the standard C2 (with A/C and all the other deleted bits) was $64,990 for the 1993 model. The RSA – available only in three standard colors – Guards Red, Black, and Grand Prix White – and two optional metallics – Polar Silver or Midnight Blue – carried a base price of $53,900, roughly $11,000 less than the standard C2. At the time, because some dealers just didn’t understand why any sensible customer wanted a “stripped, noisy” 911, some cars sold new for less than $50,000. According to the website RSAmerica.net, between January 1992 and August 1993, Porsche assembled just 701 of these cars. RSA Chassis No. 089 – this car – rolled out of the factory among the first series of 297 vehicles assembled between January and June of 1992 as 1993 models.
This particular car is a new arrival for us and it has come from one of our best clients. It presents a rare opportunity to own one of these cars that – judging by the overall condition of this car – is a great example; it is not your typical RSA found in today’s market.
We fell in love with chassis no. 089 the moment we got behind the wheel and experienced this RSA “sleeper.” It was the best-pulling RSA we have had come through our doors. And no wonder, after learning the history of this “stock looking” dual purpose 911! When the odometer showed approximately 10,000 miles, the owner had the engine pulled for a complete rebuild, instigated by a factory defect. This work included replacement of all worn items and internals, and at this time, this decision launched the effort to make this RSA a “sleeper”.
Upgrades included Aasco reworked heads with titanium springs and retainers, RS polished cams, balanced and blueprinted crankshaft, and RS lightweight flywheel and clutch. The upgrade team fully tuned and remapped the DME engine management system to Euro Cup specifications (FVD), and replaced the standard RSA motor mounts with RS “semi-solid” mounts from the Euro version. Subsequently, the team completed more upgrades including B&B stainless steel headers, B&B exhaust system with 200-cell removable cat, and a mass-airflow kit on the opened factory box that, all-in-all, help this engine develop almost 300 horsepower at the wheels (a noticeable improvement over the 250 horsepower stock output.)
The owner replaced the standard five-speed gearbox with a 993 6-speed gearbox and a rebuilt asymmetrical four-disc RSR limited slip differential. Bilstein PSS9 nine-way adjustable coil covers (installed and tuned by Bilstein) tightened the handling. The chassis was aligned and corner-balanced to Euro Cup Car specifications, and the owner’s team fitted it with an RS adjustable rear sway bar. Then they rolled the fenders. With the performance enhancements, better stopping power came from 993 twin turbo “Big Red” brakes with cross-drilled rotors. To best secure the driver, the team installed a Brey-Krause harness truss as well.
We at Road Scholars are advocates of originality and we do understand past modifications can frighten some of us Porsche enthusiasts. Due to the fact that this modified engine has a number of miles on it, we decided it was time to rebuild it once again. We have had the motor out. Our guys went through this RSA completely, not sparing a dime and pumping in approximately $12K to ensure the motor is as strong as ever.
Now RSA No. 089 is fully sorted.
But it still needs two more things: a new home and an excited new owner.
1993 Porsche 911 RS America
81,375 miles (Fully serviced)
Exterior Paint Color: Grand Prix White
Interior Material Color: Black (cloth interior)
Get RS Insights sent to your e-mail monthly.