Andreas Pohl is a wealthy and powerful man. The billionaire CEO of Deutsche Vermoegensberatung (DVAG), a German finance company, is also a car guy. One would think that with all the resources available to him, he wouldn’t get snookered on a car deal. Moreover, one would think no one would try. Unfortunately, he isn’t any better off in this regard than the rest of us.

In October 2018, he paid £390,000 to purchase 1973 Porsche Carrera RS chassis number 9113600936 from the former (see explanation below) Coys of Kensington, in a private sale ahead of a then-upcoming Coys auction in the U.K. He never saw the car or had anyone inspect it. Instead, Pohl claims that he contacted a Coys representative to inquire about the Porsche and, in a series of emails and text messages, was assured that the car was an authentic and genuine Porsche Carrera RS with its original first engine, and that Coys would take the car back if it was not. Coys also represented it is as being a “very good” car, according to Pohl, who relied upon that information when he bought the car.

Problems discovered

When the Porsche first arrived at his garage, Pohl claims that he was immediately disappointed with its condition. He then had the car thoroughly inspected and learned that his first impressions were correct. According to Pohl’s court filings, the Porsche had been modified from a “Type F” car (1972–73) to a “Type G” car (1974–up). The particular modifications include:

  • Aluminum crankcase instead of magnesium
  • Replacement doors
  • Reinforcing added to the engine compartment and rear-axle cross tube
  • Modified wheel housings, bumper mountings and parcel shelf

Pohl alleges that he is unable to register the Carrera RS because corroded brakes and axles and a leaky steering system make it unsafe to drive. He also alleges that a large piece of the body has been cut out and requires repair and that the transaxle does not have a number.

Pohl informed Coys about the problems with the car and demanded a refund. Pohl claims that Coys agreed to buy the car back but then welched on the agreement. Pohl did what you would expect — he filed suit against Coys to get his money back.

Coys denies almost everything except that it sold the car to Pohl. Coys also points to a document signed by Pohl at the time of the sale that states that Pohl understands the car “may well have had parts replaced and paint renewed or be made up of parts from other vehicles the condition of which is difficult to establish,” that Coys had to rely upon statements made by the seller and that Pohl had the opportunity to inspect the vehicle and satisfy himself about its condition.

Not much has happened with the lawsuit. It was undoubtedly delayed when, in April of this year, Coys entered administration, which is the U.K. equivalent of bankruptcy.

Two Coys

It’s important to note that we are dealing with two Coys here. The former Coys of Kensington, which was owned by Chris Routledge, is the bankrupt entity that is being sued by Pohl. Subsequent to the Pohl sale, that entity sold its business assets, including its name, to a new owner, which also uses the name Coys of Kensington. The “new Coys” is currently fully operational and is not involved in the litigation.

Amateur mistakes

Pohl ignored several buying rules that “Legal Files” has written about many times. Never buy a car sight unseen. Never buy a car that has not been properly inspected and documented by a specialist (a pre-purchase inspection or PPI). Never rely upon the statements made by the seller, especially when they amount to “the car is very good.” Always confirm the authenticity of the car if it matters to you.

We can speculate that this was not a large purchase for a man of Mr. Pohl’s means, and he shortcut the process. But even when the mistake doesn’t affect your standard of living, the recognition that you made a poor buy can really sting. It can be embarrassing. It can also make it difficult to sell the car, as you feel compelled to disclose all the shortcomings of the car to the prospective buyer.

Is this backwards?

With all due respect, it does seem to us that Pohl and his legal team may have this car’s story backwards. The chassis number for this car does belong to a 1973 Carrera RS, which is a Type F car. It seems crazy that anyone would take an F-series car and convert it to a G-series car, as that would destroy the authenticity and value of the car.

Based on Pohl’s allegations, and despite some confusing language in his court filings, we suspect that Mr. Pohl bought a fake 1973 Carrera RS based on a G-Series donor car. A deceitful shop could have fairly easily backdated that tub into a long-hood, low-bumper F-Series car and built it out as a 1973 Carrera RS in (based upon the auction listing photos) an also-incorrect-for-the-car Lightweight configuration.

That shop also used a later aluminum engine case, not the correct magnesium one. If we could see the car, we would likely find many other discrepancies that would indicate that the car was a fake. Further, the car was not in proper operational condition, with reportedly serious mechanical issues and a void in the structural metal, which implies rust issues.

Tip of the iceberg

The truth is that a lot of iconic collector cars such as the Porsche Carrera RS can be pretty scary purchases. They are easily and often faked, something collectors don’t always want to recognize or talk about. And the Carrera RS is unfortunately one of the most common problem cars.

If we have this right, then it would appear from the Coys auction catalog description that this fake RS had survived for many years in the U.S. and Europe without being debunked. That has probably happened more often than we know. In the past three years, we have seen about 10 fake RSs and RSRs, and about half looked to be old “restorations.”

The genesis of fake Carrera RSs

We found our first fake RS in about 1988, in Pittsburg, PA, a seemingly nice Tangerine car that had been imported from Italy. It was priced at $45,000. Although then a novice at RS PPIs, we could tell it was a fake. The raised serial-number section was too high, the font was incorrect, some body details were wrong, and the car had a paint-color change. When a chisel was put to the serial number plate, it popped off and underneath was a hammered-down 911T serial number. The honest owner sold the car as a replica for half of what he had paid.

In the early 1980s, the U. S. Department of Transportation allowed a once-in-a-lifetime one-car exemption from DoT rules. Porsche enthusiasts immediately started importing Carrera RSs. In those years, if it looked like an RS, everyone assumed it was one. In 1982–83, prices were $16,000–$24,000, a fair amount of money for the day, but not enough to get us worried about fakes. Moreover, a lot of Tourings that were imported were restored here to be Lightweights, since initially there was no way to confirm how Porsche had built any given chassis.

The RS encyclopedia is born

That changed when Londoner Fred Hampton hunted down the Porsche assembly-line worker who kept a handwritten book of RS production details. In the late 1980s, you could just telephone Fred and he would tell you what spec the car was — Lightweight or Touring — as well as give you the original numbers on the engine and gearbox, paint color(s), and options. That book eventually helped generate the encyclopedia on RSs, Carrera RS, by Georg Konradsheim and Thomas Gruber, first published in 1992, with updated editions since.

There’s a large financial incentive to build fake RSs, leading to a steady stream of fake RSs coming from Europe, mostly from Italy, but occasionally from name German shops. Today you find driver-quality Carrera RS Tourings priced at $500,000-plus, excellent Tourings at $700,000-plus, Lightweights well over $1m, and H cars up to $2m. Even more so today than in the 1980s, the temptation to make a fake RS out of an inexpensive 911T is strong.

Two varieties

Some fakes are built from scratch and others are rebodies of wrecked or terminally rusted original RSs. In northern Europe, many RSs rusted badly, some all the way up the C-pillars into the roofs. For the built-from-scratch RSs, the serial and engine numbers have to be faked, and those are easier to detect. For the rebodied cars, a shop will move over as much as they can of the original RS numbers and parts. Those fakes are more difficult to detect. Buyers today want an original tub and all original body panels — anything less is difficult to sell and prices suffer dramatically.

How do you protect yourself against buying a fake RS, or perhaps fraudulently reselling one you already own? Obviously, as all SCMers should know, you hire an expert. But few 911 PPI people are sufficiently expert in RSs. There are only three people in the U.S. we would recommend, and only two in Europe.

What a good PPI does for you

It starts with the aforementioned book, which gives you all the basic information by serial number: engine number, gearbox number, paint color, options, delivery country (remember that some equipment varies by country), and the running production changes which are so important to understand how a given chassis might have been built. In our experience, about 99% of the time if the car differs from the book, the car is wrong. The other 1% is accounted for by the rare Carrera RS customized in the Werks 1 Service Department (later the Special Wishes or Exclusive Department). “Show me the invoice,” is the best response to this situation.

The four varieties

To properly assess originality, your inspector has to know the build details of the four different RS models:

1. The 17 homologation cars were left in the uber-lightweight condition in which Porsche assembled all of the first 1,010 RSs. To get the homologation weight as low as possible (so they could ballast up the RSRs, putting the weight where they wanted it), Porsche used specially constructed thin-steel tubs and body panels, substituted unusable fiberglass bumpers and small wheels, and eliminated every possible extraneous interior piece they could.

2. The 200 Lightweights added back some basics such as door tops and one sun visor and mirror. They left off the glovebox door and the clock, and utilized a stripped interior with lightweight shell seats, thin Perlon rugs, no-back squab seats, no side decos, fiberglass front and rear bumpers, and very thin Glaverbel glass (including initially windshields that cracked at the first pothole).

3. The 1,308 Tourings added full 911S interiors with standard seats (Recaro sports seats were optional), steel rear bumpers, side decos and thin glass (but not Glaverbel-thin).

4. It all changed for the third series of RSs, cars that were not needed for homologation, but rather just to have more cars to sell. Porsche changed over to full-depth steel tubs and body panels, thicker production glass, steel front crossmembers, steel frames on the ducktails, and later on, steel (rather than alloy) trailing arms, and aluminum (instead of magnesium) engine cases. These cars were basically standard 911s with RS bodywork, drivetrains and suspensions.

It must be noted that Porsche did not produce RS cars in strict numerical sequence, and when changing parts they would phase them in, using up old stocks but also holding some lightweight pieces for later RSRs, H Cars, RSs intended for Group 3 racing or replacement parts.

Authenticating a Carrera RS

Your inspector will confirm that the stamped serial number is original and correct. That number is stamped into a metal crossmember above and to the left of the gas tank, painted black. It can be faked by grinding off and restamping the number, or by cutting out an original RS number and welding the piece into a donor tub, either just the tag section or the entire crossmember.

You also need to check out the build number. The build or production number is stamped into the rail that runs along the bottom of the dashboard, to the left of the ashtray hole. It is always messily done with a hammer and punches. That stamping is difficult to reproduce. It is even more difficult to get a source for matching that number to the car’s serial number. The build card is the source, and your inspector will need a very good friend at the factory to get a peek at one.

The originality of the engine number must be confirmed, but this one is easier. The number is on a boss under the fan facing to the right. RS engine numbers are 6630003 to 6631549. A fake will have a restamped number on a ground-down case or perhaps on a factory replacement 7R case.

Likewise, the gearbox number should be checked, although non-matching gearboxes are not as big an issue as engines. The gearbox numbers run 7830012 through 7831540, plus four early boxes with prototype numbers. The numbers are stamped into a boss on the bottom of the gearbox, which is about the lowest hanging piece under the car and thus the most frequently scraped. Vestiges of the number usually remain — enough to allow you to confirm it. On first- and second-series RSs, one also looks for the integral gearbox oil cooler.

Confirming an original tub is the toughest thing to do. The best PPI people have their own little tricks. These involve inspecting welds that are unique to RSs, looking in specific crevices for original body color paint, and confirming thin-gauge steel on a first- or second-series RS. This thin-gauge steel is the essence of an RS and critical to value.

Your inspector should also detect whether front fenders or doors have been replaced. They can use a micrometer on the fender steel, but this is difficult to do on a door. More easily, he will examine the fender bolts and washers inside the front trunk — similarly for the bolts securing the door hinges. Those doors do not have the DoT-mandated protective steel door beams nor holes for electric-mirror wiring. Further, inner door frames were drilled to take either the lightweight door panels or the stock 911 panels with door pockets. Both sets of holes should be on those door frames, along with a unique-to-RSs “captured nut” that was welded in place from behind.

There are more tricks too arcane to try to explain in this short article. But please take our word for it that a good PPI on a Carrera RS is a worthwhile expenditure.

Lessons to be learned

If Mr. Pohl had hired a qualified inspector, he would have passed on this RS. He bought the car pretty cheaply, based upon what it was thought to be, which should have been another tip-off. The car is now well known to be a replica and worth even less.

If you are looking to buy a Carrera RS, a sophisticated inspection is a must because there are far too many fake ones in the world. Most important, you have to be sure that the inspector you use is one of the handful who are highly knowledgeable about the Carrera RS. As you can gather from this discussion, the tip-offs of a fake car can be subtle, and there is no substitute for extensive experience with this particular model.

If you are thinking of selling your Carrera RS, it would behoove you to get the same-caliber inspection before you offer the car for sale. It doesn’t do you any good to sell the car and later have the buyer come back to you with a claim that the car was a fake and not what it was represented to be. ♦

John Draneas is an attorney in Oregon. He can be reached through His comments are general in nature and are not intended to substitute for consultation with an attorney.

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