|Vehicle:||1973 Porsche Carrera RSR 2.8|
|Original List Price:||$18,000|
|Tune Up Cost:||$600|
|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|
|Alternatives:||Race-prepped Mercury Capri; BMW 3.0 CS "Batmobile"; Camaro, Firebird, Corvette Trans-Am race cars|
This immaculate race car sold for $171,600 at the RM Auction, Amelia Island, Florida, on March 11, 2000. A look at this price helps explain the striking difference in value between race and street cars.
Although appearing similar to a standard 1973 Carrera RS, don’t be deceived. The RSR is a full race car, never meant to be driven on the street. Its twin-plug engine, while just slightly bigger in displacement than the stock RS, produces nearly 50% more horsepower. It does this by throwing longevity out the window. This engine was not intended to last more than a few races between rebuilds.
From the factory build records we can verify this is one of the fifty-five genuine RSR cars, and, unusually, still with its original engine. We can also see the original colors were Grand Prix White with a black interior and Royal Blue graphics, and the factory options were a limited-slip differential and a large fuel cell.
As a race car, its value is calculated in an almost entirely different manner than a street car. For a street car, accident damage hurts the value; for a race car, some damage is a virtual certainty. For a street car, original paint is highly prized; for a race car, rarely expected. The original engine in a street car is required to obtain a top price; since race cars are often updated, even within a single season, it does not destroy the value if a race car has a non-original engine as long as it was correct for the car as last raced. Celebrity heritage helps a street car a bit; for a race car, it helps an enormous amount. Overall paint and interior detail matter plenty in a street car; for a race car, not nearly as much.
In this RSR, we have the unusual combination of a concours restoration of an original race car that previously suffered both an engine explosion and collision damage. While it was raced in its day, it never brought home any real glory for its owners. So what to do with this car?
As bought, it is over-restored for regular track work, but fine for the occasional historic race. The 2.8 RSRs were near the end of the non-Turbo 911 race cars, so they are quite a bit easier to drive than the Turbo monsters that followed. But with 300 or so horsepower, don’t think for a moment this car is tame. You can get an idea of the powerband and gearing by realizing that even with about 100 extra horsepower, the RSR is slower 0 to 60 than a touring RS (5.6 versus 5.5 seconds) but faster by 3 seconds in the 0 to 100 dash (12.0 versus 15.0). Those giant 9- and 11-inch wide tires are not there for looks, but rather as a requirement to translate all that horsepower into forward motion.
The price paid was appropriately at the low range of the 2.8 RSR market, as cars that have been off the road for a long period of time often require mechanical work due to their inactivity. Once made track-ready, the value of this 2.8 RSR should move with those of the top-level group of Porsche race cars, which are today enjoying strong increases in value.
(Photo and description courtesy of auction company.)