Well, I certainly didn’t expect to see this. When you say “W204 Mercedes-Benz C-Class” to me, I think of an incredibly milquetoast car that was made to a price point for the masses and it certainly reflects that. Yes, the range-topping C63 AMG was a bonkers car that is a ton of fun, but at the same time almost equally as terrifying if you haven’t fixed the headbolts on them. Back to the standard models, you were offered up various V6s with an automatic and a very rare manual that is nearly impossible to find. Well, it looks like someone found one and decided to turn it into a full blown race car to compete in the Trans Am series, along with various other series that it qualified for. You know what they say about racing: To end up with a small pile of money, start with a really big pile of money.
It would be easy to assume that the ’92 Carrera Cup USA was a turned up version of the RS America, but actually it shared more DNA with the European market Carrera RS. Porsche intended to continue the trend of its successful 944 Cup and 944 Turbo Cup support series races with a 911 Carrera Cup in the U.S., but after luring 45 buyers and converting 25 to full race spec by Andial funding for the series fell through. Many of the Andial-converted cars were then returned to full road-legal spec and the legend of these lightweight 911s has been circulating ever since.
he RSA was actually the least expensive 911 version in showrooms in the early 90s too, while the Cup was a substantial 20% premium. Why? Well, it was a lot more than just removing a few extra items. While the RS America lopped 70-odd pounds off a standard C2, the Carrera Cup was 200 lbs lighter. The Cup wore bigger 24mm 5-way adjustable front/ 18mm 3-way rear sway bars, stiffer progressive-rate springs that were 50mm front/45mm rear lower than a standard car, aluminum hubs, ball joint upper spring mounts, and Bistein rear shocks. The engine was the M64/03 rather than the RS America’s M64/01, and featured a lightweight flywheel, only one accessory belt, a remapped DME and solid rubber mounts to channel more of the extra power to the ground. The Cups had a lightweight battery and master electrical shutoff, along with a more simple carpet and rear shelf layout. The gearbox was also different, as the Cup for the G50/10 with longer first and second gears, hardened synchros and mounts, and a standard variable locking differential. Brakes? Yep, different too – the Cup wore Turbo calipers with 322mm front vented and cross-drilled rotors. They kept the standard retracting rear spoiler rather than the RS America’s fixed unit, but had no undercoating and thin glass as well. These were racers through-and-through. And today, they’re not cheap:
While for some the Turbo S and GT2s are the pinnacle of 993 performance and desirability for understandable reasons, for me it’s the Supercup cars that really excite. Building on the 964 Cup design, the 993 received a special version of the Carrera RS’s 3.8 liter M64/20. Dubbed the M64/70, a plastic intake, hotter cams, no cats and a unique non-MAF Motronic computer yielded 315 horsepower. Then, just as they had with the 964, Porsche upped the ante again with the 3.8 RSR. The RSR had an even more unique motor – the M65/75 – which went to a aluminum resonance manifold and individual throttle bodies and hot cams to produce 349 horsepower. You could opt for three different specifications for sprint or endurance, and two different transmission options (one with additional cooling). Outside, in addition to the Cup splitter and giant rear spoiler, the RSR featured GT2-esque tacked on flares covering massive 18″ BBS center-lock magnesium race wheels. It was, in all, a very special package and a claimed 45 were produced.
The thing is, this isn’t one of them. Well, sorta…
Let’s say for a moment that you came into an extraordinary amount of money and wanted to go vintage automobile racing. Of course, to prove your worth as an enthusiast, you’ll want to buy a historically significant car that will impress all the long bottom jaws, and few raise more eyebrows in the German realm right now than the 911. Truth told, the 911 is really the ‘new money’ of the vintage world – go try racing antique Bugattis or Ferraris, for example, and you’ll soon laugh at the budgets of Porsche racers…but I digress.
Ironically, there was a point in history where your scenario from today wouldn’t have been all that different from the past. Take the case of Diego Febles. Diego was born in Cuba under the notorious dictator Batista, but left in 1957 for “political reasons” you may have heard of at one point. Finally landing in Puerto Rico, Diego took to racing, and specifically racing Porsches. In the 1970s, this led him to be linked up with Peter Gregg’s Brumos Porsche group, and Diego proceeded to buy and build cars which mimicked Gregg’s famous liveries.
In his own right, Febels was fairly accomplished as a racer. He raced some of the most famous races in the world; of course the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring were naturals that Gregg and Brumos had excelled at, but he also raced at Road America, Mosport, Mid Ohio and finally even at Le Mans. This particular car is claimed to be his last ‘RSR’, but looks can be deceiving:
While the US market had to settle for the RS America, a lightened low-option version of the Carrera 2, other markets enjoyed the full-on Carrera RS. The Carrera RS used the tried-and-true method of more power/less weight, combining a higher output version of the 964’s 3.6 liter flax-six with significant weight reduction – coming in 155 kg lighter than a standard Carrera 2 – to provide the sort of no frills performance that 911 enthusiasts had long craved since the original RS. Under the rear hood was the M64/03 rated at 260 horsepower which doesn’t sound like a lot by today’s numbers. But the lightweight RS made good use of all of them, proving itself not only to be a class-leading sports car but also one adept at racing in keeping with the 911’s heritage. Suspension was lowered half an inch and stiffened, while the limited-slip differential from the Turbo was borrowed. Power steering was dropped for a manual rack, and while there were packages to add back in road-going manners, this ultimately was a bare-bones racer at heart.
Some 2,276 964 Carrera RSs were made, with a fair chunk of those heading to the track. There were a limited group of these cars imported to the U.S. for a failed race series and a few more since 911 mania took off, but the bulk of production still lies in Europe, just like this ’92 being offered today from France:
Recently I took a look at the ultra-exclusive 968 Turbo S. With only 14 produced as far as anyone can tell, they are just about as good as the 968 got:
1994 Porsche 968 Turbo S
I say “just about” because, of course, there was an even more special model – the Turbo RS. This was the ultimate front-engine 4-cylinder Porsche, and it was intended just for racing. Perhaps ironically, Porsche introduced the 968 Turbo RS first and then brought the Turbo S to market in order to homologate the RS for racing. They were intended to compete in the ADAC GT series, and Porsche developed two different models – one for sprints, and one for endurance. At least one car went on to travel to the famous races of Le Mans and Sebring, but although these Turbo RSs were the ultimate 968 they were never developed fully to win races. Four were produced; one red ’92, one yellow ’93, one blue ’93, and one black ’94. That’s it.
Almost completely forgotten by nearly everyone including Porsche, one of the four Turbo RSs is for sale today:
Update 3/1/19: This 944 Turbo Cup has a huge price drop for March, lowering from the original $149,995 ask to $109,900 today.
While Rob has left us, that doesn’t mean Porsche coverage will be! So I’d like to start the year with the counterpoint to Rob’s 911 Club Sport. I recently looked at a 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo S, the details of which were sussed out by Porsche in the Turbo Cup race series. While the Club Sport purported to be track-ready, the Turbo Cup was a turn-key racer straight out of the factory.
Porsche built a limited group of 944 chassis each year which were heavily upgraded with lightweight parts, roll cages and turned up engines. Weight was dropped thanks to extensive use of magnesium for the intake and sump, along with deletion of most luxuries. Manual windows, no door pockets, no air conditioning or sunroof here! The engine was upgraded with more boost and a revised turbocharger, along with a strengthened gearbox. Inside a Matter cage reinforced the structure, a Recaro seat cradled the driver and of course the suspension was upgraded as well. Later Turbo Cup cars also featured magnesium Phone Dial wheels, alone saving on the order of 18 lbs, though early models were delivered with forged Fuchs. These cars were not only raced in the one-make Turbo Cup series around the world, but also utilized by Porsche and privateers in race series such as the SCCA Escort Endurance Championship in “Showroom Stock”. Each year only a handful were produced, making these cars some of the most sought transaxles out there:
I have yet to look at a Golf R32 in 2018. It’s not for lack of examples; any given day, there are usually about 10 or so for sale on eBay and plenty more via Volkswagen-specific fora. But it’s the crazy asking prices that usually put me off from the first generation. I just can’t get on board, especially as Golf R prices have dipped down in to the low 20s. Heck, there are two Golf Rs below $20,000 right now. It’s therefore pretty hard to stomach the high teen ask on many first-gen R32s even with many hundreds of thousands of miles. They’re not the E30 M3, after all. Not even close.
So how do you get into an affordable R32? One way is to consider the second generation. Perhaps it was the styling, perhaps it was the DSG-only transmission, but even a very clean 2008 Golf R32 comes to market generally under the asking prices of the first generation. Still not your bag? Well, then you could get into this no reserve first gen – but a warning, some assembly is required…
Very rarely do I check out Mercedes-Benz race cars because I don’t see many publicly for sale out there and just don’t have a ton of knowledge on them either. One does pop up for sale once in a blue moon and it usually is a pretty unique and purpose-built car. They also don’t come cheap at all. Today’s car, a 2017 AMG GT3, is all of those things. This car was built to go IMSA racing at the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship against other exotics that are built off production chassis that you probably recognize from Porsche, Ferrari, BMW, Audi, Lamborghini, Ford and a few other brands. Not a cheap endeavor at all, but nothing is cheap when it comes to racing unless you buy a $500 car from Craigslist, spray paint some numbers on the door and go drive around on some dirt until the radiator starting boiling.
Update 7/30/18: After being listed for sale three years ago at $34,500, this BMW 700 racer is back – now listed as a 1961, oddly, and with an opening bid at $32,500. It still seems very unlikely to sell but is neat to see!
Though Germany has gained a reputation as a nation of drivers, the reality is that in both pre and post-World War II periods, the average German couldn’t afford many of the cars that are synonymous with German engineering. However, the “German Economic Miracle”, in part assisted by the Marshall Plan as an attempt to avoid the pitfalls of what had created World War II in the first place (thanks, Versailles Treaty!) put Germany at the forefront of European economies as the 1960s got rolling. It was then that we saw the growth of the German automobile industry into what we associate it with today. BMW also grew during this period, from near collapse in the 1950s to a viable – albeit small – company in the 1960s. At least part of that success is thanks to the development of the 700. Rear engine, air cooled and powered by a BMW motorcycle “twin” flat-2, the body was penned by Giovanni Michelotti – responsible for some of the most celebrated designs from Ferrari, Maserati and Triumph. However, he’s probably better known by BMW fans for developing the Neue Klasse designs including the venerable 2002. To my eye, though, the simple BMW 700 in Coupe form was the best looking of the Michelotti BMW designs: