In this essay, we’ll examine the illustrious past of the Porsche Rennsport, which is German for “racing sport.” starting in 1954 and remaining in this position until 1974. It’s difficult to capture such history in words, but just as Porsche has repeatedly met this challenge, so will we. This first piece will cover the RS name’s history beginning in 1954 and continuing through 1974. After that, a second post will be introduced illustrating the continuity of one of the most storied nomenclatures in racing history.
The 550 Spyder, which is highly well-known in terms of driving performance and popular culture, was the vehicle on which the RS moniker was originally used. This already legendary car underwent revisions to produce the 550A-RS Spyder, a masterpiece. The RS became known as a result of this. This vehicle was equipped with a fully revised and more sturdy frame as well as significant suspension upgrades, and it was powered by a 135 horsepower flat-4 engine. 35 of these race cars were created by Porsche for the road, and some of them ended up in the United States, as seen in the image above.
The 718 was created in 1957 to replace the storied 550 Spyder. Porsche created the 718 RSK in 1978, the first model to carry the “RS” moniker. RSK stands for “Rennsport” and the letter “K” represents the contour of the improved Torsion-bar system. This vehicle, shown in the image above, had a lightweight body with an open canopy and a more centralized cockpit. having a 1.5 liter flat 4 engine that produces 142 HP and only weighing 1,260 lbs. The RSK finished third overall in Le Mans in 1958, won the European Hill Climb Championship in 1958 and 1959, and took first place in the 1959 Targa Florio.
To comply with FIA regulations, various adjustments had to be made over 1960–1962 The Porsche 718 RS60, shown above, with its 1.6-liter flat-4 engine, won the European Hill Climb Championship for a third consecutive year in 1960. It also destroyed the competition in the Targa Florio and the 12 Hours of Sebring.
The 718 RS61 version, shown above, won yet another European Hill Climb Championship in 1961, cementing its place among the all-time greats of the sport.
The final incarnation, known as the W-RS, was powered initially by a 2.0 liter flat-4 engine and later in its life by the flat-8 engine from the 804 Formula 1 car. These revisions continued throughout 1961. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found this vehicle therefore I can’t upload a picture. This car competed in competitions until 1964, finishing eighth at Le Mans and winning a brand-new European Hill Climb championship.
Something worthy of carrying the RS name was introduced as a result of the RS name’s enormous popularity. regarded as one of the best 911s ever made. The Porsche Carrera 2.7 RS was created. having a 2.7-liter flat-six engine that produces 210 horsepower while weighing only 2,370 pounds. The mechanical fuel injection, firmer suspension, wider fenders with bigger wheels, more powerful brakes, and possibly the most recognizable feature of all are the “Ducktail” rear spoilers on this car. Porsche developed 1,580 homologations despite only needing 500 to compete in the FIA group 4 division. Porsche went on to create many versions of the 2.7 RS, including the Carrera 2.7 RS Lightweight, which, as seen above, weighs 220 lbs less than the standard 2.7 RS thanks in part to lighter materials like race seats, fiberglass bumpers, and thinner glass. To further reduce weight, even amenities like sound insulation, rear folding seats, sun visors, rear opening windows, dashboard clock, radio, and glove box door were removed. Even the “heavy” Porsche crest was replaced with a sticker because of the weight reduction; this practice is still followed in many Porsche RS models today.
Porsche created a 1974 RSR racecar homologation for a production vehicle in 1974. The 911 3.0 RS, shown in the image above, was equipped with many of the lightweight features found in the 2.7 RS. The 3.0 liter flat six engine produced 230 horsepower while weighing only 1,984 pounds and featured improvements over the 2.7 such as a higher compression ratio, a 5mm increase in bore, new cylinder heads, and ports. A magnesium crankcase could also be installed to allow the vehicle to produce 330 horsepower in race-trim. This car was able to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under 5.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 155 mph. Some claim that 54 of these cars were ever constructed, despite a disputed development run of only 53.
It may seem like the most heinous of sins to motorsport aficionados to wrap up part 1 of this lengthy history of the prestigious Rennsport “RS” brand with such a little piece, but the mythology of these cars continues to cement its place in history, both on the streets and the racetrack. A compilation of their fabled past might require hundreds or perhaps thousands of pages. Thank you for reading; the second half of this article, which continues the amazing RS name in 1984, will be published soon.