Guide: Porsche 911 3.8 Carrera RS (993)

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After a 19 year gap the Carrera RS-badged 911 made a welcome return in 1992. Although not universally well received on account of its overly harsh ride, the 964-based 911 Carrera RS nevertheless sold quite well. Over 2000 were built between 1991 and 1992, especially good numbers considering the recessionary mood of the times.

By early 1995 Porsche was emerging from a troubled few years. The new 993 had won critical acclaim and order books were starting to fill once again. Markets had turned from downbeat to optimistic and an all-new model (the Boxster) would soon be released to replace the unpopular 968.

To compliment the two and four-wheel drive 993 Carreras that were available in Coupe and Cabriolet body styles, Porsche launched a new RS variant at the Amsterdam Motor Show in February 1995. Available only as a rear-wheel drive Coupe (and not legal for sale in the US), it was the ultimate normally-aspirated 911.

Lighter, faster and more aggressively styled than those other 993s, this latest iteration of the Carrera RS also addressed the criticism levelled at its unrefined predecessor.

Although not designed purely for homologation, Porsche knew a 1000 car production run would see the RS approved to compete in the N/GT competition class. This figure was ultimately met with ease, but Porsche’s main racing focus was the turbocharged 993 GT.

When purchasing a Carrera RS buyers could choose from one of three variations. Option code M001 was for an RSR Cup racing car, M002 a standard RS and M003 an RS Club Sport.

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The 993’s steel bodyshell was already a big improvement on the outgoing 964. All 993s came with a new multi-link rear suspension arrangement and an uprated MacPherson strut assembly at the front.

Performance modifications made to the RS included a cross-brace between the two front strut towers, ball-joint mountings for the spring/damper units, thicker and fully adjustable anti-roll bars plus stiffer track rods. Stiffer springs were also used and the ride-height was dropped by 30mm at the front and 40mm at the rear.

Cross-drilled and ventilated brakes with four-piston calipers were sourced from the 993 Turbo. The discs measured 322mm all round which compared to 304mm at the front and 299mm at the rear on the standard car.

Bigger wheels were also fitted; the new three-piece split rim alloys were supplied by Speedline and had an 18-inch diameter. They measured 8-inches wide at the front, 10-inches wide at the back and originally came shod with Michelin tyres.

The RS was the first 993 to come with Porsche’s new 3.8-litre VarioRam engine. Another all-alloy unit with two valves per cylinder, the VarioRam system used a variable length intake to boost torque throughout the lower and mid-range.

The Type M64/20 single overhead camshaft Flat 6 engine used in the RS was bored from 3600cc to 3746cc. Stroke was left unaltered as was the 11.5:1 compression ratio and Bosch Motronic M2.10 engine management. RS upgrades included bigger intake and exhaust valves and a strengthened valve drive mechanism. There was also a re-mapped ECU and dual mass flywheel to reduce drivetrain vibration.

All told this resulted in a 28bhp gain over the standard Carrera. Peak output was now 300bhp at 6500rpm and 262lb-ft at 5400rpm.

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The standard 993 six-speed gearbox was given higher ratios on the first three gears and a new type number; G50/31. Transmission was via a Sachs clutch and limited-slip differential. There was no Tiptronic option.

Each Carrera RS was built around a seam-welded non-sunroof bodyshell. All four wheelarches were subtly rolled to accommodate the big Speedline wheels. To save weight, thinner glass was used along with a lightweight aluminium front lid.

New lower quarter panels with wraparound spoilers were installed at the front. They were painted body colour as was the unique fixed rear wing. To give the car a slender profile, deeper side skirts were finished in matt black.

The 993 was already a handsome design but the cosmetic modifications made to the RS elevated it to a new level. The discrete spoilers, bulbous wheelarches and bigger wheels arguably made it the best looking 993 of all.

Inside, black leather Recaro bucket seats usually came with grey centres and body coloured backs. Seat belts were also often coloured to match the exterior. Door trim panels were simplified for lightness and the combined storage bin / armrest / grab handle was discarded. Instead there was a simple canvas loop to open the door and a basic handle to close it.

A small diameter three-spoke steering wheel was fitted but the instrumentation and switchgear remained unchanged.

To save weight the rear seats were deleted along with the airbags, most of the sound insulation, the central locking and electric mirrors. An interior light from the old 911 3.2 Speedster was installed along with a smaller 1.2-litre washer bottle (down from 6.5-litres). Electric windows and a stereo were standard.

In M002 trim the Carrera RS weighed 1320kg. It had a top speed of 173mph and 0-62mph time of five seconds. It also drove much better than the old 964 RS with a more compliant ride and improved handling.

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Customers could enhance their cars with a variety of optional extras.

Comfort features included air-conditioning and standard leather sports seats (instead of the RS buckets). Driver and passenger airbags were also available along with a top-tinted windscreen. When the driver airbag option was specified a standard four-spoke steering wheel replaced the small diameter three-spoke item normally fitted.

The optional RSR aero kit comprised a wraparound full width front spoiler and adjustable dual plane rear wing.

The Club Sport pack (option code M003) included the RSR spoilers and an even lighter specification. Cockpits were fully stripped of all interior trim (even the passenger sun visor). Porsche then added a welded in roll cage, fabric bucket seats with six-point harnesses, a fire extinguisher and RSR front strut brace. Seats and windows became manually operated. Other changes included torsional vibration dampers instead of the dual mass flywheel and a G50/32 gearbox with vented clutch chamber. All told the Club Sport pack saved an additional 50kg.

However, it was possible to request practically any combination of parts. For example, some cars came with nearly all the Club Sport equipment plus a carpeted interior, electric windows and air-conditioning.

RS production started in late 1994 and ran until early 1996. 1104 were built including 49 right-hand drive vehicles for the UK.

As the subsequent 996 switched to a water-cooled engine it meant the 993 Carrera RS went down in history as the most potent normally-aspirated air-cooled 911 ever built.

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