964 RS

 

 

 

964RS – A Buyer’s Guide

There have been buyers guides to most of the Porsche range in many magazines and
the 964 range has been covered well. However the 964 RS is such a different
beast to the Carrera 2 and 4 that I thought it was about time to cover it in
more detail. The following applies to the basic/lightweight versions of the RS
and LHD specifically. I will touch on RHD and touring versions at the end of the
text.

So lets start by looking at the obvious and the not so obvious changes that set
the RS apart from the standard C2. From the outside, the most obvious change is
to the ride height of the car. Lowered 40mm with the use of 40% stiffer springs
and uniball solid top mountings, the RS has a purposeful stance. Wheels are 7.5?
front and 9? rear and are of the Cup design and made of magnesium alloy.
Underneath you will find adjustable anti roll bars front and rear. The rear
trailing arms are also shorter than the C2 items to produce more positive
handling. One interesting note about the attention that Porsche paid to detail
with the suspension is that they specify that the locking wheel-nuts should fit
opposite the tyre valves and this locking nut should in turn, be fitted to the
red dot marked wheel stud! What is not so obvious to the eye is the fitting of
an aluminium front bonnet and a revised rear middle section to the rear bumper.
Both bumpers incidentally are made of de-formable plastic and you can confirm
this by light pressure on these panels. Thinner gauge glass is standard except
to the front screen. Front wings have beaded edges around the arches for tyre
clearance. Do not go thinking that those front fog lights work either as they
are just covers! Many owners replaced the fake fog lights, for brake cooling
ducts. If you take more of a look underneath you will find that there is no
under-body sealant although the plastic wheel arch covers remain. Brakes are
from the 3.3 Turbo at the front and sport four pot callipers and drilled and
ventilated discs. Rear brakes have four pot callipers but with smaller pistons,
discs are drilled and ventilated. Incidentally the RS keeps the Carrera 4?s high
pressure braking system for better braking response and ABS is standard but
features a modified program more in keeping with a race car. That just about
covers the outside. What about the engine, drive-train and interior?

The engine is designated M64/03(which should be stamped on the case) and
basically is a standard Carrera 2, 3.6l flat six. However the engine uses
matched pistons and barrels and does away with the dual mass flywheel for a
free-er revving standard single mass item. The revised ECU extracted an extra 10
hp making 260hp total. The gearbox marked G50/10 features a limited slip
differential, revised gearing and the gear stick is actually slightly taller and
offset for a smoother shift. Steering in LHD cars has the ?benefit? of no power
assistance, except arm power!

The interior of the RS is spartan to say the least. Two leather covered Recaro
bucket seats replace the Carrera 2/4 electric items, there are no back seats
(just a lighter carpet with the Carrera RS logo) and the steering wheel has the
RS log embossed. Door panels also received the racing look with no door bins and
a simple pull strap to open the door. All carpet is of a thin weave material. A
radio was an option and cars came with provision for fitting but no speakers and
a simple blanking plate. There is no interior light but the glovebox light
somehow escaped the bin. In terms of electric luxuries, forget it, there is not
even a heated rear screen! Although the element remains the wiring is not there.
The standard heater does however remain (thank goodness). You will also have to
master the old art of winding down the windows and adjusting the mirrors by
hand!

A simple stay holds up the front bonnet and the luggage compartment itself is
sparsely trimmed. You will also find a master battery kill switch. The
windscreen washer bottle only holds a couple of litres and is on the left.
Contrary to some articles there was no strut-brace as standard! However, this is
a popular addition fitted by many owners.

Further to all the above the bodyshell was stiffened and modified to make
allowance for lack of rear seats.

So now you know the differences, what should you do when viewing a potential
purchase? The first step should happen before you ever see the car. First,
attain that the car has a full service history. Do not touch a car without a
service history, ask yourself why it does not have one, and remember these are
cherished supercars. Histories just aren?t lost! Try also to get an idea from
the owner about the cars condition and whether it has had money spent on it.
Enquire about whether the car has suffered any crash damage, do not necessarily
be put off by a car that has had repairs but try to ascertain that it has been
repaired properly. Porsche designed the RS to be used on the race track and many
owners take part in track day events or even races and hill climbs. Accidents do
happen and because the RS lends itself so well to track day fun and the fact
that the car can be tricky and demands respect and skill at the limit, their are
a lot of accident damaged RS?s out there (in fact there are very few now,
without some crash damage). However, the cars are very strong and a well
repaired example will give you rewarding service even if it is not quite
concourse anymore.

So you have now chatted with the owner and you decide to go for a look. Take a
good look around the car, check shut lines and obvious damage, if the owner has
been honest he might even show you around the car and point out repairs. Do not
forget that the front and rear bumpers should deform with light pressure, if
they do not they have been replaced and the car has had some drama front or rear
or both! Open the bonnet and remove the carpet the spare wheel area should be
clean and tidy. Look for the compressor for the spare wheel and the tool kit,
then check that the tool kit has all the correct tools (particularly the towing
eye and fan belt nut spanner) these can be expensive to replace. The floor panel
should be free of ripples. Seam sealed welds should not show excesses of sealer,
indicating a possible poor repair. The bonnet should have its original paper
data sticker, expect a repair if not. A magnet will confirm that the car has the
correct aluminium bonnet! Check that the car has its original magnesium wheels
and that they are in serviceable condition (you will not want to pay for a new
set!). If the wheels require refurbishment this can be expensive and is a good
haggling point, likewise the tyres should all be legal and preferably with
plenty of tread left. If the car has after-market wheels but you are not
concerned with originality all well and good but do try to ascertain that they
have the correct offsets and are not fouling the wheel arches!
Whilst under the bonnet check the chassis number matches both the log book and
the service book and that it matches the plate found under the tank (or on later
cars on the windscreen pillar). Make sure that it is an RS chassis number! The
number should begin WPOZZZ96ZNS49???. Close the bonnet and check the shut lines,
are they even! Now look around the roof gutter line and windscreen pillars,
over-spray and cracking paint etc all suggest crash damage and in the roof area
suggests that the car could have been on its roof! Now open the engine lid and
cast your eyes down the flanks of the arches. Do all the spot welds look even?
Is there excessive seam sealant more one side than the other? Again, suspect
drama at the rear. Good quality repairs will largely be free of these faults and
indeed a top class repair will be very hard to spot! Whilst in the engine bay
take a look at the engine and check it?s engine number, which can be found (with
a torch) on the RHS on the fan pedestal. Does it look well looked after! Grubby
engines do not necessarily mean poorly looked after, but a clean engine gets
brownie points in my book.
Now lets look at the interior. First of take a general look around does it look
clean and tidy. Many owners fit roll cages and harnesses and these can be a good
or bad selling point depending on your view. My own view is that you will almost
certainly take the car on track at some point and as your enthusiasm and
experience grows, harnesses become necessary and the cage will give you piece of
mind. Take a look under the dash, is it tidy or spaghetti junction. Poor wiring
will give you problems and there should be no reason for a car so young to have
it is wiring pulled about, ask yourself why!
Do the seats and gearshift reflect the car’s mileage. There are many clocked
Porsches out there. Do the colours match the original spec! Do all the switches
knobs etc work! What there are of them!

Once satisfied with the above checks it is time for the fun bit. The test-drive.
Lets not get carried away, first things first. Start the engine, it should start
first time and all warning lights except the spoiler should go out within about
15 sec. If the engine is cold a small cloud of oil smoke is perfectly normal on
start up, but should not persist. Do not confuse oil smoke with water vapour
either, condensation gathers inside the exhaust and after a few minutes will
burn off. The engine should idle cleanly but may stall easily when cold. You may
hear a chattering from the gearbox whilst still at rest this is normal and is
the clutch release mechanism, if you depress the clutch the noise should go! Be
prepared, engine and gearbox noise will be much greater than in a standard car
due the lack of soundproofing. A certain amount of diff chatter at low speed is
normal. There should obviously be no clunks from the suspension or steering when
on the move. The ride will be ultra firm; I recall one contemporary tester
describing the action of the suspension over potholes as like a rubber mallet on
wood! Steering at low speeds will be heavy but lightens up nicely when pushing
on. Check that the clutch action is smooth and that the engine pulls cleanly.
The car should track straight and true on flat un-cambered roads but will almost
certainly wander a little if the surface becomes poor or rutted. Try the brakes
on straight and level ground and well away from other traffic. The stopping
power should have your eyeballs out! Do not expect to get the ABS working in the
dry unless driving like a maniac (not recommended). A flat grass field may work
if the owners willing (would you!). If you can persuade the owner, get the car
put up on a four-post lift and take a good look at the underside. Even the most
mechanically inept can spot an oil leak! Whilst your there check the cars
underside and suspension for damage and general condition.

Test drive and checks over and suitably impressed, now go and study the service
history and logbook. Be sure to take a thorough look and try to establish
through the records that the mileage is genuine and that all things ?add up?,
phone a previous owner if you can to ascertain that what is written is true. The
next part is up to you and largely depends on, your expertise, bravery or
stupidity! If you are at all doubtful of your ability to asses the car or you
require extra piece of mind, then the next thing to do is get the car checked
out by a specialist. This step is most recommended as he/she can confirm the
engine and mechanical state of health and may be able to comment on body
condition and crash damage repair.

If you have come this far, I guess you want to know how much to pay for the
object of your desire. At the time of writing excellent low mileage 0-30k km
crash free un-tracked cars are becoming like rocking horses and I would advise
if you own one, LOOK AFTER IT (I speak from bitter experience) £29k is probably
the lowest your are going to find an RS in that condition, £32k should buy you
something truly like new and a car you will want to own forever. Next level down
is the higher mileage car probably tracked but not crashed and the nicely
repaired lower mileage cars. All should have good histories and the crashed
examples should be repaired well, possibly with a Porsche Body shop warranty.
Expect to pay between 24K-28k depending on condition, mileage. Next level down
from this are the generally high mileage cars with some damage and lower mileage
cars with repairs that are sound but not pretty, or cars that require work to
bring them up to spec. These aren?t basket cases and are good usable buys and
represent something of a performance bargain and a potent track day weapon,
though possibly not the nicest looking examples. Expect to pay £21-24k.
RS?s can be found for less but there is usually a reason for these cars being so
cheap and often these cars can be highly suspect in one way or another! Anything
in the sub £20k bracket will probably be a poorly repaired black hole for bank
notes. My advice would be to steer clear, unless you are particularly brave or
stupid (just delete what does not apply). Finally, have a contingency fund,
about £1k-5k depending on the condition of the car for unexpected bills. Even
the nicest low mileage like factory new car will probably want a suspension set
up and some new tyres! A not so low mileage one will almost certainly need it,
especially if you intend to get the most out of your new charge on track.

I said at the beginning that I would touch on RHD and touring. The main
difference to RHD spec is power steering. There were very few UK RHD examples
made and some cars were imported from Japan and other RHD markets. Expect to add
at least £10k to the average LHD price for any RHD car. The touring model was
basically a Carrera 2 with the RS body and suspension, more comfortable sports
seats and dual mass flywheel and all the electric toys you could wish for, even
a sun roof. This article has perhaps just skimmed the surface and I have not
even touched upon the Club sport and similar spec cup models. Until next
time???..
 

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