Porsche took over in sports car racing where Ferrari left off in the early 1970s. After winning the World Sports Car Championship in 1970, 1971 and 1972, Porsche reacted to the FIA decision to swing from sports-prototypes to more production-based machinery by selecting their eight-year-old street-going 911 to be further developed as a racing car. For the car to be homologated, they needed to deliver a batch of 500 cars-something the sales and manufacturing people thought might be impossible. For several years, starting with the 911R of 1967, Porsche had built and sold highly limited runs of 911s modified for either race or rally use. But making and selling 500 looked to be a formidable task. However, the cars sold so fast Porsche decided to add two additional runs of 500 plus some extra cars bringing total production to 1,580. Production was achieved by "converting" stock 2.4 911S cars into Carrera RSs. Body changes included thinner steel for many components, and rear wheel flares were welded on by hand. Lighter than standard glass was used on some cars. The Carrera's characteristic ducktail spoiler was added in order to stabilize the car at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour. The 2.4 S engine was enlarged to 2,687 cc, with different pistons and cylinders, and the S mechanical fuel injection was calibrated to provide greater fuel flow. As a result of these changes, the RS gained 20 horsepower. The torsion bar springs were stiffened and special shocks were fitted, along with 7-inch-wide wheels at the rear. The RS offered here has been modified to RSR specifications. The Munich-based firm of Reuttmaier completed the work. Since the conversion, the car has traveled just 2,500 miles and remains in very presentable condition. It is finished in Grand Prix White with Signal Red graphics and a black interior. Although the car has its original engine, it has been enlarged to 2.9 liters. Fitted is a host of RSR equipment, including a correct RSR interior, factory roll bar, brake bias adjustment knob, factory front and rear flares and bumpers, a front-mounted oil cooler, 9x15 and 11x15 factory RSR wheels, 917 brake calipers, a balsa front hood insert, airport gears, lightweight glass with original Glaverbil quarter windows, a twin pipe sport muffler, and an original Le Mans center-fill plastic fuel tank. Although this example has been modified, it is important to note that this car began life as a factory lightweight. Today, modified to the correct RSR specifications, this 1973 RS offers a tremendous amount of race-car excitement at a reasonable price.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS/RSR 2.9 Lightweight
Years Produced:1973 (for 911 Carrera RS Lightweight)
Number Produced:200
Original List Price:$11,000
SCM Valuation:$100,000-$200,000
Tune Up Cost:$300
Distributor Caps:$22
Chassis Number Location:On horizontal bulkhead under front lid, just aft of gas tank
Engine Number Location:On vertical fan housing support passenger side of engine
Club Info:Porsche Club of America, 5530 Edgemont Drive Alexandria, VA 22310
Alternatives:BMW 3.0 CS Batmobile; Corvette, Camaro Trans-Am race cars
Investment Grade:A

This modified lightweight Carrera RS sold for $93,000 at RM’s Amelia Island, Florida, sale on March 9, 2002. This figure was quite short of the pre-auction high estimate of $120,000. After you wade through all the fluff, this car is still a badge special, or a clone in American muscle car terms.

Consequently, the market didn’t have much respect for the tens of thousands of dollars spent on upgrading the car. Consider that an original lightweight RS sold earlier this year at Barrett-Jackson for $127,000. Why did our car here, with so many high-dollar RSR modifications, do so much worse?

There are three potential reasons for the price difference: the condition of these two cars, the difference in venue, and the RSR modifications. As to condition, both of these lightweights were decent but not top-of-the-world cars. If anything, the one at Amelia Island was a bit better, with a nicer interior. However, the car in Scottsdale had more eye appeal, with stronger paint. As to venue, certainly Barrett-Jackson brought some very strong prices this year, but RM had a good sale as well. And if anything, foreign cars were more in favor at Amelia than in Arizona, with Barrett-Jackson’s emphasis on American iron.

That leaves the modifications and, at least in my mind, the answer to the value question. Collectors today continue to strongly devalue modified cars of any type. As they become more sophisticated in their acquisitions, they are realizing that anyone can modify any car to nearly any configuration. Hence, a modified car, no matter how exotic, has been stripped of at least some of the original intent of the manufacturer and the first owner. In nearly every case, a car has its highest value when it is presented either in its original condition, or properly restored to its original configuration. The days of boy-racer flares, spoilers and handling kits adding value to 911s are gone.

If this were my car, I would take it back to its original lightweight configuration and sell the highly desirable RSR pieces to finance the restoration. I’d start by changing the front and rear flares to stock RS specs and continue through the suspension and wheels.

As part of the restoration, I would also reset the suspension to its factory specifications. As currently configured, this car is far too stiff to drive on an everyday basis.

When complete, you’d have a handsome, tractable, well-balanced, high-performance 911 that offered a great driving experience. And isn’t that what Porsches are all about?

The price paid for this car was market correct for a modified RS. However, if the restoration of the car to original specs is thoughtfully and economically carried out, there will most likely be some financial upside for the new owner when the project is done.-Jim Schrager

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