1973 Porsche 911
Year of manufacture1973
Number of seats2
Offered from the collection of Jay Kay. One of only 200 examples built
1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7-Litre 'Lightweight' Coupé
Registration no. ABW 331L
Chassis no. 9113601097
"Nothing that is desirable comes easily or cheaply and the Carrera RS is no exception, but without question it is one of the great cars of the 1970s; the personification of GT motoring and race breeding." - Motor Sport magazine, February 1973.
Referencing past successes in Mexico's fabled Carrera Panamericana road races, Porsche revived the evocative Carrera name for its luxuriously equipped, top-of-the-range 911 in 1973. Designated 'Carrera RS' (RennSport), the newcomer was intended as a limited edition 'homologation special' to enable the factory to compete in the Group 4 Special GT category, a class that required a minimum of 500 built. However, the resulting demand for this fabulous car proved so great that the production run was progressively extended, eventually ending up at 1,580 units and allowing homologation in Group 3 for standard GT production cars.
After 17 RSH (for Homologation) ultra-lightweight (960kg) cars had been completed, production of the slightly heavier (975kg) but still very basic RS Sport began. Designated M471 and also known as the Lightweight model, the RS Sport featured minimal undercoating and sound-proofing, simple door trim, manually operated windows, no rear seats, Recaro bucket seats for the driver and passenger, felt carpets, and rubber footwell mats. Only some 200 RSH and RS Sport models were made, the majority of cars being ordered with the more civilised and practical RS Touring (M472) package, which cost an extra DM 2,500 and offered the greater comfort of the 911S's trimmed and upholstered interior.
Based on a lightened 911S platform, the Carrera RS featured revised suspension and wider rear wheels (beneath flared wheelarches) for improved handling, while the 2.7-litre, mechanically fuel-injected (MFI), air-cooled six-cylinder engine's 210bhp boosted top speed to around 150mph. Not merely styling gimmicks, the Carrera's trademark 'duck's tail' spoiler and front air dam made a vital contribution to high-speed stability, a virtue of increasing importance as power outputs continued to rise. They represent Porsche's first serious experimentation with aerodynamic devices on a production car. But above all it was the reduction of weight that transformed performance.
The Carrera RS immediately proved itself a winner, devastating the competition on the racetracks of Europe and the USA, and would turn out to be a surprisingly effective rally car to boot. Based on the 911 Carrera RS Lightweight announced the previous year, the RSR GT-category racer collected overall wins in the World Sportscar Championship at Daytona and the Targa Florio in 1973, defeating 3-litre prototypes from Ferrari, Matra, and Mirage-Ford in the process, an outstanding achievement for a production-based car.
"The power and torque of this engine, and the wide rev-band, really do make this latest Porsche a shattering performer without the necessity of 'doing a Vic Elford'," reckoned Motor Sport's inimitable scribe, Denis Jenkinson, who also appreciated the Carrera's well-sorted suspension. "The joy of such suspension is that you can ignore road surfaces, undulations, irregularities and so on, and put all your driving concentration into speed judgement and direction, and it is no wonder that Porsches excel in the Targa Florio or round the Nürburgring."
For 1974, Porsche introduced a new body incorporating impact-absorbing bumpers - a US requirement - after which the earlier body became known as the 'long hood' type. In the USA, though, the Carrera had to make do with an electronically fuel-injected engine producing 'only' 175bhp (to meet emissions legislation) while elsewhere Porsche's customers continued to enjoy the legendary 2.7-litre MFI RS-specification 911/83 engine producing 210 horsepower. Needless to say, the earlier, 'long hood', 'full power' Lightweights like that offered here are by far the most desirable and sought-after.
Chassis number '1097' left the factory in April 1973 and was delivered the following month to its first owner in Germany, one Hans-Werner Schwab-Pepperhoff (see German Fahrzeugbrief on file). The Carrera was delivered in Lightweight (M471) specification finished in Tangerine (Blood Orange). After approximately six to eight years use, the owner had the car repainted (mainly the outside) in the more commonly seen white. It was then put into his private museum where it remained unused for around 10 years. The Porsche was then brought out of the museum to be used again, but although running well, the engine was leaking oil, its lack of use having resulted in dried seals and gaskets, etc. The owner was a long-time Porsche customer, a friend of the Porsche family and well known to the factory's racing department, and so the engine and transmission were sent to the latter for rebuilding. It is understood that during the rebuild the engine was 'blueprinted', at the very least, and as a result this Carrera RS is said to perform like few others. Post-rebuild, the car enjoyed very little use before passing to a new owner in the UK where it was first registered on 17th June 1999. There are sundry invoices on file and 10 MoT certificates covering the subsequent 20 years to date, during which the car has covered only 4,543 kilometres.
Its new owner used the Carrera for several months, including trips through France, Germany and Italy, and then sold it to a friend (a prolific Porsche collector) who put the car into his collection of some 25 fine Porsches, which included another eight RS models in various specifications. In the mid-2000s, '1097' was bare-shell repainted and returned to its original Tangerine livery.
Commissioned by Bonhams, respected marque specialist Josh Sadler's report on the car's specification and condition is on file. Founder of renowned Porsche specialists Autofarm, Josh inspected '1097' in November 2019, finding it to be "a generally correct, standard specification 1973 Carrera RS 2.7 M471 Sport or 'Lightweight'". Importantly, he is of the opinion that the bodyshell is the original, as is the engine crankcase. The report concludes: "For now it is a generally correct and attractive example of this important model, and one that I am advised drives well". Prospective purchasers are urged to read Mr Sadler's report prior to bidding.
Jay Kay acquired the Carrera from Mr Andrew Stevens of Norfolk in April 2008, since when it has been registered in his company's name. While in Jay's care the Porsche has been serviced and maintained by renowned marque specialists Maxted-Page Ltd. Works carried out include an engine rebuild in February 2015, and there are bills on file totalling in excess of £8,000 together with a V5C Registration Certificate. The car has covered only some 1,000 kilometres while in Jay Kay's custodianship. A rare opportunity to acquire an historic Porsche 911 to the ultimate RS Lightweight specification: a veritable 'Holy Grail' for the serious Porsche collector.