Bayerischer Wald Nationalpark

“I remember it was good, but not this good” 1993 Porsche 964 RS 3.8 with Walter Röhrl

“This Automobile is a real Pleasure”, these are the exact words Walter Röhrl used to describe the Porsche 964 Carrera 3.8 RS when he wrote the famous article on Christophorus Magazine in 1993. He said more, on the engine for example: “This engine responds spontaneously to the throttle, the intake noise pleases me”. But, reading the Christophorus article almost 30 years later made us feel how would it be for Walter to drive this very car now, and how would it be to take the same exact photos Michael Möesch took for the article and that became the official photos of one of the rarest and most desirable Porsche ever made? Well, since here at ISSIMI we like to take things seriously, when we found the car in 2022 somewhere in Europe, we wanted to recreate the same pictures and have Walter to describe the car now, after almost 30 years.

But let’s take a step back and explain why the Porsche 964 Carrera RS 3.8 is in a league of its own when we talk about rarity and performance. The yellow car we’re talking about is chassis 401064, so it’s the very first prototype of the RS built by Porsche on the chassis of a “normal” Carrera 2. The engine has been upgraded to 3.8 litre, producing 300hp on wide body and a lightweight treatment. But why did Porsche decide to build these 3.8 RS after the 3.6? Well, it was the desire to race an RSR variant in the bigger-engined GT category, so this yellow prototype we feature here happened. Constructed by the Porsche racing department at Weissach and only available by special order, the official numbers were never clear, but we can say that just 104 examples of the 3.8 RS were built and, and only 55 were road legal. The rest were a bunch of RSR used to race. That’s why this 3.8 RS can be considered among the rarest Porsche ever, and this special chassis here, it’s the very first one. How did Walter find the car after almost 30 years? Well, in his own words: “the car is so lightweight, so predictable, so enjoyable and so fast there’s nothing like it in the market now”. It was special before and it is even more special today.

We are near Walter’s house in the Bavarian hills, near Straubing. The roads here are pure heaven: “I’m used to driving all the cars that Porsche gives me around these roads here, and you can find me doing 300km/h easily on these tight roads, I know them pretty well”. Walter is a 2 meters tall 75 years old man that drives faster than any of us and any of you. We’ve never seen something like this before, his ability to predict and control the car is supernatural. Absolutely incredible. We have been friends with him for a long time. We invited him to drive the Lancia 037 (Full Story) we bought in 2019 that he used to win the Monte Carlo in 1983 in the hills on top of Verona and now we’ve reunited for the 3.8 RS.

We arrive the night before, and the car is already at the hotel, the next morning we are at Walter’s, or better, garage, where he’s kind enough to show us his collection. More on that in future articles, let me say two words: special Porsches. He’s definitely on the driver’s side of collecting, preferring cars that mean something to him in terms of driving (some cars are heavily modified by him) then just garage queens with delivery miles. We like that, a lot. The 3.8 is there waiting for him and us. After all the photo sessions, the measurements for our Inspection, we set off for the drive. He’s not scared to push it since the start, after a well conducted warm up, and the car it’s already alive. The sound of the exhaust is intoxicating and the presence of the car on the street is absolutely stunning, I mean, look at the pictures. After two corners he’s already sideways (see the picture, that was literally 2 minutes after we left his house).

He blames the tires when we stop for the first time: “I’ve never driven a car with tires like these, they are absolutely rubbish, two wheels made of stone in the back would do a better job”. But even if the tires were so bad, the car is amazing to drive, he flies from corner to corner like a butterfly “this engine is a masterpiece, combine it to this lightness and you’ll find the definitive Porsche”. “I remember it was good, but not this good, even with these tires. Imagine how it would perform with modern ones”.

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