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Return of the Carrera

September 21, 2017

 

 

 

 

The name "Carrera" was first used by Porsche in 1956 for the most powerful model in the 356 range, and it recalled a famous class victory by the German make in the Carrera Panamericana Mexico 2 years prior.  The word is Spanish for "race" and racing, and the Panamericana event was the daddy of them all, involving road racing, usually on dirt roads, from the north to the south frontiers of Mexico.  After Two previous attempts Porsche succeeded in winningthe 1600cc class in 1954, which was actually the last time the race was run.  Hans Herrmann finished Third overall behind the big Ferrari's of Umberto Maglioli and Phil Hill, averaging no less the 99.3mph.

 

On and off the Carrera designation was given to the fastest Porsche in the range, and after the best of a decade it was allotted to a new model introduced at the end of 1972.  Overnight this became a most sought after car, though production was strictly limited for homologation purposes, based as it was on the 911S bodyshell.

 

The capacity of the engine was lifted to 2,687 cc by increasing the bore from 84mm-90mm, the stroke remaining at 70.4mm and with the retention of  mechanical fule-injection the power output was increased to 210 bhp at 6,300 rpm. Stripped out to a bare 900 Kilogrammes, the Carrera RS had amazing performance accelerating from rest to 60mph in under 6 seconds, and comfortably reaching 150mph.

 

It was, of course intended as a competitions car, and plans were laid to build 500 examples for homologation into the Group 4 Special GT Category, though in fact a total of 1600 Carrera's were to be built so that the car so that the car could be homologated into Group 3.  Of these, 1036 were lightweights, and some had normal 911s road trim installed after production.  Just 100 Carrera's were imported in to Britain in 1973.

 

Experience had previously shown that the normal six-cylinder engine could not be bored out beyond 87.5mm without getting dangerously near the limit, so to produce the Carrera engine Porsche eliminated the Biral cylinder inserts altogether. Instead they relied on a process which their engineers had perfected with the 917 power unit Two years previously, using the nickel-silicon carbide  ( Nikasil ) to coat the alluminum cylinder walls. Although only a fraction of a millimeter in depth, this Nikasil process almost entirely eliminated wear and actually reduced the friction, thus finding a little more power.

 

Other than the capacity increase the power unit was identical to that of the 911S, including the cylinder-heads. It had around 10 per cent more power than the "S", but no less than 18 per cent more torgue, necessitating the use of a heavier clutch spring.  The rev limit was increased to 7,300 rpm, and with a tremendous rush of power coming in at 4,000rpm it was by far the most exciting road car produced by Porsche to date.  Indeed even now, some sixyears later, a Carrera RS  is the most sought after  of all used 911 models, and a good example can fetch thousands and thousands of dollars.

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