No water cooling and analog everything; that was the beauty of the Porsche 911 Carerra RS (993)

It’s been over 15 years since Porsche started selling 911 with radiators, but now, perhaps more than ever, the simple, mechanical nature of pre-996, air-cooled 911s is more desirable than ever. In world of sports cars with numb electro-hydraulic steering racks, hybrid drivetrains and idiot-proof chassis management systems, an old 911 offers a purity of purpose that’s extremely desirable and increasingly hard to find in a new car.

The 993 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.8 is arguably the logical and ultimate conclusion of this philosophy. We automotive journalists like to throw around the term “racecar for the road,” but in this case, it’s justified. A direct ancestor of modern RS Porsches, the Euro market-only Carrera RS 3.8 is based on the Carrera Cup competition car and was built as a homologation special to allow the enlarged 3.8-liter engine to be fitted to the 911 RSR racers competing throughout Europe in the late 1990s.

This is no boulevard cruiser. Porsche engineers put the Carrera RS 3.8 on a ruthless crash diet by removing the headliner, electric windows, electric mirrors, central locking, intermittent windshield wipers, radio speakers, power-adjustable seats, rear defroster, airbags and sound insulation. By comparison, it makes the amenities available for modern GT3s and GT3 RSs look like a Maybach. It’s a car for driving for the sake of driving.

Click past the jump to read more about the Porsche Carerra RS (993).

  • 1995 - 1996 Porsche 911 Carerra RS (993)
  • Year:
    1995- 1996
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    flat-6
  • Transmission:
    6-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    292 @ 6500
  • Torque @ RPM:
    262 @ 5400
  • Displacement:
    3.7 L
  • 0-60 time:
    5 sec.
  • Quarter Mile time:
    13.6 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    172 mph
  • 0-100 time:
    12 sec.
  • Price:
    200000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

1995 - 1996 Porsche 911 Carerra RS (993) High Resolution Exterior
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1995 - 1996 Porsche 911 Carerra RS (993) High Resolution Exterior
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1995 - 1996 Porsche 911 Carerra RS (993) High Resolution Exterior
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The first thing anyone will see is the massive adjustable fiberglass Sport Group 1 wing sprouting from the engine cover

You won’t have to worry about anyone mistaking the 911 Carrera RS 3.8 for a lesser 911, but like all 993s it still uses all the same hard points (most obviously the greenhouse) as the very first 911 introduced way back in 1963.

The first thing anyone will see is the massive adjustable fiberglass Sport Group 1 wing sprouting from the engine cover—the traditional Porsche whale-tail wing on steroids—with integrated ram-air intakes. The front uses a deeper front spoiler with winglets on either side. The bumper has cooling ducts where you would normally find parking lights. The three-piece “Speedline for Porsche” wheels are 18 inches at all four corners with 225/40ZR18s on the front and massive 265/35ZR18s on the rear. Big red brake calipers peer from behind.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase 89.4 Inches
Track/tread (front) 55.6 Inches
Track/tread (rear) 57.2 Inches
Length 167.1 Inches
Width 68.3 Inches
Height 50 Inches

Interior

1995 - 1996 Porsche 911 Carerra RS (993) Interior
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With no air-conditioning, stereo, electric windows, electric mirrors or power seats, it’s completely void of most creature comforts.

One wouldn’t describe any pre-996 911 interior as cosseting, but with the Carrera RS, there’s absolutely nothing to distract you from the task at hand: driving the wheels off the thing. The leatherette bucket seats with exterior color painted seatbacks are about the only nods to luxury you’ll find.

The steering wheel is just a steering wheel—no volume control, no infotainment control, not even an airbag, making it look strangely spare, even for a car built in the 1990s.

With no air-conditioning, stereo, electric windows, electric mirrors or power seats, it’s completely void of most creature comforts. The lack of sound deadening material and also means it’s a rather loud place, but did you really want to listen to music with that howling flat-six behind you? It’s also worth mentioning that many owners have since fitted their Carrera RSs with a few comforts they left the factory without to make daily driving a bit more tolerable.

Drivetrain

1995 - 1996 Porsche 911 Carerra RS (993) Drivetrain
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if you want hair-trigger throttle response and linear power delivery, the normally aspirated, 3.8-liter flat-six in this car is what you want.

If it’s outright acceleration you’re after go for the 911 Turbo, but if you want hair-trigger throttle response and linear power delivery, the normally aspirated, 3.8-liter flat-six in this car is what you want. Based on the 3.6-liter engine first seen in the 964 911, this race-bred lump had its bore increased by 102 mm to 3.8 liters and produces 296 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Stroke remained unchanged, but lighter pistons and rocker arms helped sharpen throttle response.

As you’d expect, there are three pedals driver’s side foot well. The six-speed shifter is linked to a Type G50/31 short-ratio gearbox that prioritizes acceleration over top speed sends power to the rear wheels. Thanks to weight saving measures, the Carrera RS 3.8 does 0 to 60 in five seconds and tops out at 172 mph. Not exactly Earth-shattering number by today’s standards, but I promise you’ll never get bored.

Type Flat 6
Capacity 3746 cc
Bore × Stroke 4.02 × 3.01 Inches
Maximum power output 296 HP @ 6,500 RPM
Maximum torque 262 LB-FT @ 5,400 RPM
0-60mph 5 seconds
0-100mph 12 seconds
Top speed 277 km/h (172 mph)

Prices

1995 - 1996 Porsche 911 Carerra RS (993) High Resolution Exterior
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In the pantheon of 911s this one is a unicorn. Only 1014 Carrera RS 3.8s were ever built. RM sold a pristine 35,000-mile example for the equivalent of $325,000. These things don’t appear in the classifieds too often, so it’s difficult to get a read on what they’re worth, but this is sure to be a sound investment, even you decide to put a few miles on it.

Competition

1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary

1973 - 1990 Lamborghini Countach
- image 7057

If Italian exotics of similar vintage are more to your liking, RM has a few upcoming lots you might be interested in. A 1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary will be crossing the block in Paris in February and is expected to fetch between $300,000 and $350,000. With only about 5,000 miles on the clock and a recently overhauled engine, it’s an exceptionally pristine example.

The 25th Anniversary was one of the final iterations of the Countach ever made and was built to honor the company’s 25th anniversary. With a 449-horsepower, 5.2-liter V-12 it’s considered to be the most well-rounded of all Countaches. Plus, you can tell people your Countach has bodywork designed by Horacio Pagani.

1984 Audi Sport Quattro

1981 - 1991 Audi Quattro
- image 158469
1980-1991 Audi Quattro

Like the 911 Carrera RS, the 1984 Audi Sport Quattro RM is a homologation special. Only 214 were ever built for homologation into Group B rallying. This one has a mere 5,100 miles on it and is probably one of only a hand full that live in North America since they were never officially imported here.

It’s five-cylinder engine produces 302 horsepower and drives all four wheels (obviously) through a five-speed gearbox. It you’re interested, bring somewhere $350,000 and $475,000 to Scottsdale, Arizona.

Conclusion

1995 - 1996 Porsche 911 Carerra RS (993) High Resolution Exterior
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A quick search on any used car site will reveal that even fairly tatty 911s command prices of over $30,000 depending on the vintage, and these air-cooled things can’t seem to stop going up in value. $325,000 is way more cash than any of us have to spend on a car, but it’s also representative of the anomaly of used Porsche 911s. It’s like they exist in a completely different economy.

Economics aside, this is a hugely desirable car for Porsche geeks. If I were a 911 nut with some considerable funds to play with (Full disclosure: I’m halfway there) this car would be pretty high on my list.

  • Leave it
    • Way more expensive than any new 911
    • Stripped-out interior probably not for everyone
    • Not quite completely original
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