The Porsche 964 RSJun 23rd, 2020
I remember it vividly – from time to time back in the early to mid-'90s, you would catch the support races to the F1 Calendar on CBC. Particularly the Porsche Supercup races. I remember them so well – a bunch of colourful 911s dicing it up and smashing off the curbs as they wrestled around super-tight tracks like Monaco. It seemed a world away, and so special. The Porsche Supercup started with the 964 chassis and has since grown into a one-make series that runs in just about every continent.
Fast forward to 2014, and I was lucky enough to manage our first standalone effort in the series' Canadian equivalent, running a 991 GT3 Cup car. Those were great days I will remember forever – but let's rewind back to those 964 days.
When the 964 was launched back in 1989 with the Carrera 4, the classic 911 had finally gotten the upgrades it deserved to compete with all of the other big hitters. I was in love with the traditional shape, accompanied by modern one-piece bumpers, upgraded front, and rear lights, and finally a high-mounted center console and shifter. It was by far the best-looking 911 to me then – and it still is today.
Through my years, I've handled every 964 from a simple 89 C4 all the way to a 94 3.6 Turbo S. But, five years ago I got my first taste of the stuff that never made to this side of the pond. I took in on trade a 1992 Carrera RS – the car that bridged the gap from road car to those 911's I would watch on TV late at night, racing around Monaco.
Fast forward to just last week, and I got a double dose of 92 RS again. One of our good clients invited us out to his track day, where his 92 RS would be there for me to try. Finally, I thought – I'm gonna be the guy wrestling this thing around the track! Better yet, after the track that day, I had a meeting to assess one for inventory; it was raining 92 RS's.
First things first, let's talk about enjoying it on-track.
Step into the Arctic Silver RS and drop into those Porsche buckets. Turn the key and listen to the 3.6-litre mill come to a tinny life. There is something particular about the 964 powerplant and the sound it makes. It's got a lot of bass, with a very mechanical sound. The RS's is even more so, as the sound insulation and single-mass flywheel transfer even more soul through the cabin. Set off, and feel the thicker RS wheel in your hands. It requires strength and grit to turn the wheel, as there's no power assistance. As I hit the pit-out lane, I start to lay in, and immediately the disconnect from my personal 964 C4 to this 92 RS was evident – she stands up with more torque and an ease of movement that is completely different. It's amazing how much you feel the lightness of this car, and how directly it transfers to its performance.
On track, she was an absolute treat and, on the CTMP DDT, the power was perfectly suitable – blast around the carousel, and the front remained hooked up, keep on the throttle, and surprisingly, it still kept turning in. So impressive!
The other marvelous thing you'll notice is the slightly taller shifter, bringing your hand that much closer to the steering wheel. The distance between these two hand-held devices is critical when on-track, and it made the RS a joy to thrash around.
As I started getting more comfortable with the car, I was asking it for more. Being a customer's car I probably drove it about 8/10ths, but you could feel it coming more alive – the brakes were so strong, the steering so true and solid. I felt zero disconnect between the steering wheel and what the actual wheels were doing. Touching the curbs through the esses, and the wheel needed to be held firmly as the transfer was so direct. Two things are guaranteed with a 964 RS: you need to work out to drive this car, and it’s a workout to drive this car!
Pulling into the pit and extracting myself from the hot cabin, and you notice that tinny, feather-light door. I share my thoughts with the friends that have gathered; it was a great day to experience such a car.
But, my day would take me even further into 92 RS land. After the track day, I hopped on my trusty Ducati and headed back to Toronto, where I met up with another good client who decided to part ways with their 92 RS. How does that happen on the same day? I reached his storage unit to review his breathtaking Summer/Lemon Yellow 92 RS with just 20,000 original kilometers on the clock. The car was an absolute joy to even look at– I've handled a few RS's, but nothing this clean! Leafing through the records, it's very rare to find one with this level of documentation. Truly a track virgin, it is meticulously preserved, and I couldn’t find anything that made the car a question. It is the best RS in Canada, I was sure, and likely one of the best in North America. We struck a deal, and I hopped into yet another bucket seat.
Driving this thing around town was the absolute most pleasurable thing I've done for a long while. The car felt so special – the car IS so special, but nobody really knows HOW special. You cruise around and people love the colour, it makes everyone smile, which is great – and yet you're so under the radar.
The beautiful thing about this car is it's true Porsche Motorsport at work. Every little piece of the car has been nibbled on to make better or lighter. From the engine's 13-hp bump, tighter gearing, RS door panels with signature red pull straps, the bare front trunk area, the RS rear seat delete, magnesium wheels, and fully updated suspension. Visually, the car is not transformed – just touched by the engineering gods to make it better.
In 1992, 1992 RS's were produced for the world. They've always been a great piece of the Porsche experience and will forever be in the minds of collectors. It's a top-five car for me.