Market Watch: 1973 2.7RS.

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Why do I need one?

The 1973 2.7 RS was Porsche’s first production sports-purpose 911 built to homologate parts for racing the likes of the BMW 3.0 CSL. As such, it was a car of many firsts for Porsche. that set We can consider this homologation special the template for the many production road-going race cars, continuing which continue to this day with the GT3 series.

Held to very high esteem, collectors and car enthusiasts consider the 1973 RS as the grandfather of road-legal race cars. A lightweight RS famously won the 1973 British Production Sports Car Championship in factory specification with Nick Faure at the wheel.

Today, its looks, drive and mystique still bring the car an aura that few Germanic cars possess; aficionados consider the 1973 RS one of the best cars ever built. That’s even compared to cars worth ten times its value! Pitched against the afore-mentioned BMW and Ferrari’s Daytona from those days, the car fared well in terms of design and dynamics.

A well-sorted ‘73 RS is still a rapid car today. Featuring an eager, revvy engine and controlled by a very responsive throttle pedal and superb steering, there are not many cars considered more exhilarating by keen drivers, certainly from that era. I’m sure you’ll agree that the car’s styling has aged well. Its arched appearance and that distinctive ducktail have become somewhat iconic.

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Which 2.7 RS do I need?

The RS is generally regarded as being built in 3 batches. Just over 1500 were built in created across three series with slightly different manufacturing processes and quirks due to upgrades and the materials available. The last seventy or so cars receiving received engine cases cast from a new alloy to improve reliability.

RS cars were was generally configured in ‘lightweight’ or Touring spec. These are akin to the Clubsport and comfort options of the modern GT3. There were other subtle differences, but the interior trim and an option to junk both soundproofing and underbody sealing were the main points. In Porsche-personalising tradition, extras could be mixed-and-matched during production. Choosing the race-focused options resulted in a lighter, noisier car. Fewer than 250 were built as lightweight cars and, as they were a shoe-in for racing, very few now exist in unmolested form. This is the collector’s car of choice.

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The first five hundred

The distinguished collector venerates the first 500 cars as since, generally speaking, Porsche only committed to this quantity of cars as per the homologation rules of the time. As such, production of the first 500, whether lightweight or touring, was based on a truly lightweight body shell using thinner-gauge material. If you can find a homologation-satisfying car that still possesses its original body panels, that’s a car to squirrel away. You’ll be pleased to hear that, for the last few years, Porsche has remanufactured these original lightweight panels, but they come with a decidedly heavyweight price tag!  

If you find a ‘first 500’ car and it has been restored, it’s wise to find out whether the work has been carried out using normal heavier-gauge panels. It’s not an issue in itself, but just something to bear in mind when agreeing price.

Homing in on Specification

Which one to choose? As is the case with all old sports cars one should judge every car on its merits. Usually, that would mean undertaking a specialist inspection. The 1973 car came with a fair few options for the day (sunroof, electric windows, sports seats etc.) and, considering the rarity, you should not be too fussy providing the car you’re looking at is a good one.

With this car, Porsche broke out the colour palette, so, although light yellow was the most popular - followed by the iconic grand prix white and colour-coded wheels package revived for the 996 GT3 RS - there were also several lovely bright colours available. If you’re no shrinking violet then these may be the ones for you. These are certainly cars allowing you to stand out!

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RHD vs LHD  

Just over 100 cars where were made with the wheel on the right as we use in the UK, so if you live in a RHD country then you must be prepared to pay slightly more unless you’re willing to drive a LHD counterpart. It has been said that there is a difference in the driving position, but this is minor and, on the whole, both cars appear to drive identically save for some very subtle differences.

Widely varied prices

Over the years, the RS has climbed steadily in value. From as early as 1975 it was always a highly-regarded car and, therefore, always commanded a premium. In fact, prices usually kept up with that of the current halo model of the time. Whilst it’s always a big ask to purchase an old car for the price of a new one, there was always a queue of buyers. As a hand-assembled car built with lightweight panels, when required, restoration has always been an expensive business - often exceeding the car’s value – nevertheless, you still need to look closely at the quality of any work done to these cars over the years.

As the classic car market has boomed during the last 15 years, prices have increased from circa £100k for the touring and £150k for a lightweight to nearly five times that. Indeed, the more comfortable versions have price tags nearer £500k these days and you’d better feel flush if you want a stripped-out lightweight. The very best examples can reach £750k!

Knocking on a cool million, this may sound mad for one of the lowest levels of performance within the RennSport (RS) lineage. But don’t forget, the 1973 2.7 RS is the true daddy of all range-topping 911s…

Specification

Engine: 2,687 cc, air-cooled horizontally flat six
Production dates: November 1972 – July 1973
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Power: 210.0 bhp @ 6,300 rpm
Torque: 188.0 ft lbs @ 5,100 rpm
Weight: 975 kg (2149 lbs)
0-60 mph: 5.6 sec (est)
Top Speed: 150 mph (est)

Sanjay Talwar

One of the founders of Garage Sportique, keen Porsche nut and beard scratcher, often seen at shows boring even the most enthusiastic and polite.

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