1974 Porsche Carrera RS 3.0
Competition was implicit when Porsche designed the replacement for the 356, the Porsche 911. In fact the design of the 911's engine for the stresses of racing made it over engineered for road use and was a major factor in the remarkable reliability which quickly characterized the production Porsche 911.
The first racing 911 wasn't, as it turned out, a 911 at all but rather a modified version of the two-litre 911 Typ 901/20 engine installed in the mid-engined 904 sports-racer in which Umberto Maglioli and Herbert Linge finished second in the 1965 Targa Florio.
By 1972 major changes in the complexion of worldwide racing brought the opportunity for Porsche to develop the 911 to race-winning potential. The nearly invincible 917 had conquered every international endurance racing frontier, leaving Porsche with vast experience and a parts bin full of highly developed performance components. The 911 Carrera RS 2.7 – the Rennsport 2.7 – with 2,687cc displacement and only 8.5:1 compression ratio developed 210 bhp (DIN) at 6,300 rpm. It was the first Porsche with wheels that were wider at the rear (7") than at the front (6"). More importantly, the RS 2.7's wings were flared even wider and with the 2" extensions permitted under CSI rules would (barely) cover 11" rear wheels and 9" fronts.
The wider wings, wheels, racing tyres, front bumper that extended down into an air dam and 'ducktail' spoiler on the engine cover all were designed to counteract the 911 body's rear lift at high speeds. Interior trim was minimal, doors, luggage compartment lid and engine cover were made of lighter materials, the front 'bumper' was a flimsy fibreglass moulding and lightweight glazing materials were used in the windows and windscreen. Racing versions (designated 'RSR') displaced 2,808cc, had big valves, aggressive timing and lift and produced more than 300 bhp when tuned to sprint specifications.
Variants were developed for specific events, including a special RSR developed for the 1972 Targa Florio which won the race outright against the Alfa Romeo factory supported Autodelta team. The concept and performance of the Carrera RS 2.7 proved so successful that production 'Touring' versions with more luxurious interiors and equipment were ordered in quantity, reportedly 1,360 of them against only 200 lightweight competition RS 2.7s.
The next evolution was to see Porsche achieve not just success but dominance in 3-litre GT and Touring class racing. The 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.0 is to this day the highest development of the naturally aspirated Porsche 911 for competition use, combining the lessons learned with its predecessors in the 911 line with attributes of the all-conquering Porsche 917.
Developed directly from Porsche's experience with the modified Carrera that won the 1973 Targa Florio, Porsche achieved 2,993cc displacement by increasing the cylinder bore to 95mm, still retaining the 70.4mm stroke used since 1970. With 9.8:1 compression ratio it produced 230hp at 6,200 rpm and 204 lb-ft torque at 5,000 rpm. The body owed much to the Porsches built for the International Race of Champions series organized by Roger Penske.
Inside 15" diameter wheels were cross-drilled and ventilated brakes taken from the fabulous Porsche 917 sports-racer with a balance bar to adjust the front-rear braking pressure. The body's luggage and engine cover and bumpers were lightweight fibreglass, incorporating brake cooling ducts and provisions for an oil cooler in the front 'bumper' and air dam. Thin gauge steel was used in the roof and door panels. Soundproofing was strategically neglected in pursuance of light weight. Other developments included a wide 'tea tray' rear spoiler that nearly eliminated rear lift at high speeds, revised suspension with wider mountings and other suspension features that nearly eliminated camber change in roll. The transmission had its own oil pump and cooler.
Tested for Road & Track magazine's October 1974 issue, Paul Frère noted "perhaps the most endearing feature of the Carrera RS [3.0] is its air of thoroughness, quality and perfect workmanship, even in this lightweight version." Only its full-race counterpart, the 911 RSR 3.0 Carrera, challenged the performance, handling, comfort, reliability and satisfaction of the Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.0 for the title of the ultimate naturally aspirated 911 as following generations of 911-based competition GTs would rely on turbocharging for maximum performance.
Porsche built just fifty-five 911 Carrera RS 3.0s. Most of them served their original buyers well in Group 3 competition and only a few found their way to first owners who used them as some of the most explosive, exhilarating road cars ever built. Chassis '911 460 9094' is one of those. It was sold on 21st March, 1974 through Garage Mathis in St. Moritz, Switzerland to celebrated orchestra conductor and Porsche connoisseur Herbert von Karajan and was specially refinished in his trademark red livery (footnote: Kidston SA sold his red Porsche 959 in 2007). After only a year von Karajan sold the RS to independent Swiss racer Jean-Claude Bering who finished first in class in nine of ten European Hillclimb Championship events entered to capture the 1975 series title. Bering repeated that notable accomplishment in the 1976 season, winning seven of eight events and again earning the European Hillclimb Champion's title in the Production Car class.
Later sold to Rolf Goring of Lorrach, Switzerland, it was rebuilt and updated with the 1978 style interior. It subsequently had two further owners before it was acquired from a Japanese collector's widow by the present Italian owner, a lifelong Porsche aficionado. Following re-importation to Europe, he commissioned a complete restoration by RS specialist Marc de Siebenthal at Mecacomponents in Lausanne in which every part was rebuilt, refinished or replaced to factory fresh condition.
Remarkably for its high performance configuration, but consistent with its early history with famed conductor Herbert von Karajan, this 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.0 retains all its important original components from the engine to its rare finned gearbox casing.
Tested during restoration, the engine delivers 285 horsepower on the dyno. With a kerb weight of just 950kg, its performance with 3.3 bhp per kg of mass is exemplary. It has been inspected and authenticated by Porsche authority Jurgen Barth and is a welcome and anticipated entrant in the most enjoyable, exclusive, demanding and exciting events including the Tour Auto, Le Mans Historique, Modena Cento Ore and many others.
Brilliantly presented and meticulously restored to its original presentation, it is an example of the best and most highly developed naturally aspirated Porsche 911 of its era, one of just 55 built but acclaimed nonetheless by contemporary authorities like Paul Frère, Motor editor Roger Bell, Nick Faure and Sports Car World tester Jerry Sloniger who described it as "incredibly easy to drive at eight or nine tenths".
Offered here with impeccable provenance, documented history and a restoration by respected experts, this is the ultimate 1970s Porsche 911 road/ racing homologation special.