By the early 1990s, the 911 had put on weight. Extra creature comforts and sound insulation meant that the 964 Carrera 2 weighed 1350kg (and the 964 Carrera 4 with its four-wheel-drive came in 100kg heavier). Inspired by the Carrera Cup racecars, then, Porsche put into production a lightweight 911.
A worthy successor to the 1973 RS, the new car was named ‘Carrera 2 RS’ but commonly known as the 964RS and like its predecessor, weight reduction was paramount, especially in the case of the Sport (also known as Lightweight) version. Around 120kg was shaved from the car by deleting ‘luxuries’ such as a sunroof, electric windows, electric mirrors, rear seats, door pockets, and much of the sound insulation, while the side windows were made of thinner (and therefore lighter) glass and a simple two-speaker radio/cassette player was optional. Seats were lightweight Recaros and there were simple, racecar-style pull-straps on the doors.
Further weight was saved by the fitment of magnesium alloy Cup wheels, which were 17-inches in diameter, 7.5-inches wide at the front and 9.0-inches at the back.
The lightening process went a long way to make the 964RS feel faster and more nimble than the standard Carrera, but it was only part of the story. The engine was given a modest 10bhp power boast to 260bhp simply by tweaking the engine management system, while a lightweight, solid flywheel helped the engine to be more responsive and was linked to a harder clutch plate.
The power went through a G50 five-speed gearbox modified with revised ratios, stronger synchromeshes, shorter gearlever and a limited slip differential.
The suspension was lowered by 40mm to give the car a more purposeful stance and to improve handling. The latter was further enhanced by rigid rear swing arms, larger antiroll bars (24mm front and 18mm rear), front strut-brace, and much stiffer springs and dampers. The brakes, too, were uprated with a mix of 911 Turbo front discs and Carrera Cup rears.
The 964RS bodyshell looked like the standard 964 Carrera item, but was seam-welded for added strength and rigidity, while the wheel-arch returns were rolled to give clearance for the larger wheels and tyres. At the rear, a new-style lightweight bumper was used with protrusions each side of the numberplate to house the lights for said plate. The bonnet was made of lightweight aluminium instead of steel.
The 964RS in stripped out Sport guise was a no-compromise machine that was most suited to track use, which is why Porsche also offered a Touring version. This was much closer in spec to the standard Carrera 2, but retained the thinner side window glass and aluminium bonnet of the Sport, not to mention the uprated engine and suspension. However, it still didn’t have rear seats. The weight saving was around 50kg compared with the standard car, but the Touring didn’t’ offer the raw excitement of the Sport.
It is believed that Porsche sold 2051 964 Carrera 2 RS cars, and just 76 of these were Touring versions. Some say that the Sport is too extreme for road use and they could be right if you want a car for everyday use, but for weekends and trackdays a 964 Carrera 2 RS is hard to beat.
Compression ratio: 10.3:1
Maximum power: 260bhp at 6100rpm
Maximum torque: 310Nm at 4800rpm
Brakes: Front: 322mm discs; rear: 299mm discs. Servo assisted with ABS
Suspension: Front: Lower wishbones and MacPherson struts with combined coil springs and dampers, plus anti-roll bar
Rear: Semi-trailing arms with combined coil springs and dampers, plus anti-roll bar
Wheels & tyres: Front: 17×7.5J with 205/50ZR17 tyres. Rear: 17x9J with 255/40ZR17 tyres
Weight: 1230kg (Sport)
964 Carrera 4 Lightweight
In 1991, a small number (around 20) 911s were built that had, in effect, Carrera 2 RS bodyshells, suspension and engines, but with four-wheel-drive. These cars were designed for track use and were not put into production.
The Carrera 2 RS was not sold in the USA. Instead, that market got the RS America. This used a standard Carrera engine and bodyshell but a reduced specification which was similar to (but not identical – electric windows remained, for instance) that of the Carrera 2 RS. Suspension was the M030 Sport option which was available for the Carrera 2 and 4. At the rear was a fixed whaletail spoiler. The RS America sold for less than the standard car (unlike the European Carrera 2 RS which was more expensive).