1986 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 based replica 1973 911 RS 2.7

1986 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 based replica 1973 911 RS 2.7

Mike Flannery’s Carrera RS 2.7 evocation makes use of Carrera 3.2 mechanicals and a raft of wide-ranging improvements to be even better than the real thing… Words Emma Woodcock. Photography Dan Sherwood.



If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, the Carrera RS 2.7 must be blushing. A Porsche icon lauded for launching the Rennsport philosophy to the road-car public in the early 1970s, the Group 4 sports car homologation special keeps backdate builders coming back for more. The debut model for the ducktail spoiler has plenty to savour, combining lightweight construction with wider rear wheels, sharpened suspension and a bored-out 2,687cc flat-six producing near 210bhp to create early air-cooled perfection. Is there room for improvement, though? Enter Mike Flannery and his faster, lighter Carrera RS 2.7 tribute.


The raw figures make compelling reading. Peak power reaches 255bhp and kerb weight is down to an estimated 1,050kg, giving a power-to-weight ratio of 243bhp/tonne. An original Carrera RS 2.7 can’t get close. Even the two hundred M471 specification Lightweight variants – adding fibreglass wings and thin glass while subtracting the rear seats, radio and glovebox door – each tip the scales at 975kg to produce 215bhp/tonne. Swap to the more habitable, more common M472 Touring specification and the figures get even further apart: 1,075kg renders the Touring heavier than Mike’s car and drops power-to-weight down to 195bhp/tonne.

All this goes to show the importance of choosing the right foundations. Built across three years at the behest of an enthusiast in possession of a genuine Carrera RS 2.7 Lightweight – an owner who wanted a similar machine he could enjoy on the public roads without worrying about preserving originality crucial to the £750k-and-rising valuation of his iconic Porsche – the replica seen here is based on a 1986 Carrera 3.2, pairing period-accurate RS 2.7 features with an easy, convenient ownership experience. Torsion bar suspension and a 915 five-speed transmission evoke the real deal, but the fully galvanised bodyshell, servo-assisted brakes and Bosch Motronic electric fuel management offer advances the original does without.


Behind the rear wheels is where fourteen years of development really tell. Performance comes from a 3,164cc 930/20 flat-six producing 231bhp with effortless delivery. Power peaks at 5,900rpm and the 209lb-ft of available torque arrives by 4,800rpm, giving more force at lower revs than the highly tuned RS 2.7 unit can muster.

Mike’s car features a selection of choice alterations to liberate more urge, with a Dansk full exhaust for extra airflow and a Steve Wong performance ECU chip pushing the engine electronics into a 24bhp upswing. SSI heat exchangers are also at play. The noise is sublime.

As far as the engine and transmission are concerned, these are the only modifications, though it’s true to say time and age had wearied the flat-six in its earlier life, problems compounded by an earlier failed renovation, prompting the previous owner to entrust a complete overhaul to Stockton-located marque specialist, Redline Racing. The six-time Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain champions worked to perfecting standards. After initial testing exposed multiple major leaks, the company stripped the engine down to its core components before checking and cleaning each item. Regrinding and polishing the crankshaft followed.

Copious new components came next, imbuing the six-cylinder boxer with fresh life. Replacement crankshaft bearings and valve springs, cam carriers and piston springs, rocker arms and shafts all feature, supporting the new pistons and barrels forming the heart of the refreshed powerplant. Constructed with no expense spared, total receipted expenditure with Redline Racing exceeds £20,000. From the moment Mike set eyes on the finished build he knew wouldn’t find a Carrera RS 2.7 better – replica or otherwise.

“It was like brand-new car,” he marvels. Sparkling with the fruits of its multi-year construction, the car was offered for sale by historic sports car aficionado, Robert Barrie. The exchange of money for Porsche was quickly agreed. “He was acting on behalf of the owner,” Mike continues. “Robert couldn’t have been more friendly, helpful, knowledgeable or personable.” Discerning, too, as closer inspection revealed. “Often, a done-up Porsche looks less than perfect in one or two places, but it doesn’t matter where I peer with this RS replica. The underside, the engine bay, and the interior are all pristine.”

Mike isn’t an easy enthusiast to impress. Buying an SC Targa when the semi-open-top 911 was nearly new sparked his love of Porsche and he’s been a dedicated owner of air-cooled Stuttgart sports cars ever since. Highlights of his near four-decade ownership history include an early two-litre 911 S and a Maritime Blue 964 Turbo 3.6 with a factory Powerkit.

He’s also been the owner of a 964 30 Jahre Anniversary (often referred to simply as a Jubi), a limited-run special edition launched in 1993 and carrying a Turbo-look body, four-wheel drive and available only with Viola, Polar Silver or Amethyst paintwork. His association with our magazine stretches back as far — we’ve featured Mike’s cars in our past issues and the Carrera 3.2 Speedster he ordered new starred on the cover of the Winter 1990 issue of our sister title, 911 & Porsche World.

Check the colour chart and a theme emerges, tying the Carrera RS 2.7 replica you see here to the Speedster, the SC Targa and a stripped-out 1977 machine with 3.2-litre power and RSR evocation bodywork, not to mention the 964 Carrera RS 3.6 Lightweight he owned until mid-2021: Mike likes his Porsches finished in Grand Prix White. Original paintwork, however, can be, well, too pristine — every panel of his 3.6 Lightweight stayed untouched and undamaged for the duration of his quarter-century ownership. With prices of air-cooled 911s rocketing during that time, especially so for rare special editions, the all-original, 49k-mile stunner simply became far too valuable to use as Porsche intended.


“I really looked after my Lightweight, but every single drive became a worry,” he explains. “If someone was to run in to the back of the car, even gently, then it would lose its complete originality and would never be the same again.” He parted with the collector-quality classic Porsche for a market-topping price and abdicated himself of the responsibility. “I wanted to swap back to an air-cooled 911 I could actually use!” he laughs. His Porsche-mad grandson spotted the RS 2.7 replica in classifieds and Mike was soon happily behind the wheel. Measuring up to one of the most hardcore and track-oriented models in air-cooled history is a tough ask, but upgraded suspension gives this Carrera 2.7 lookalike the bite it needs to make an impression. Uprated shock absorbers and polybushes sharpen the chassis, an SW Engineering strut brace firms the front end and custom geometry keeps handling predictable. “A 964 feels more modern, but my RS replica provides an old-fashioned and really enjoyable drive. I only use it to whizz around on sunny afternoons, but even then, I can tell this is a very sharp 911.”

Period-style Avon CR6ZZ street-legal historic motorsport rubber (supplied by Birmingham Motor Tyres) gives the backdated machine a distinct advantage when the roads run rough. The rubber measures 185/70/15 over the front axle and 215/70/15 at the rear, with generous sidewalls creating the rounded comfort which sets classic sports car apart from their modern counterparts.

“The ride is just beautiful and so much more comfortable than my 964 Carrera RS 3.6 Lightweight ever felt over bumpy asphalt.” Genuine fifteen-inch Fuchs alloys benefit from £1,000 in recent refurbishment.

Mike is more taken by the MOMO Prototipo steering wheel, the crowning glory in a cabin echoing its inspiration without slavishly following the original. An 180mph RS speedometer, simplified door cards, fabric door pulls and a stereo system delete with a Porscheshop-supplied radio blanking plate conform to Carrera RS 2.7 specification, but the three-spoke rim and Cobra Classic bucket seats (complete with headrests and custom houndstooth trim) offer a fresh, visually arresting interpretation of the era. “I’ve never owned a car equipped with a MOMO Prototipo before. It’s a very attractive thing to use and feels very comfortable — the perfect antidote to modern, chrome, switch-laden devices.”

The installation of a WEVO 915 shifter brings matching pleasure to every gearchange. “The shift is so tight and far shorter than the 915 norm. It isn’t quite a 964-generation transmission, of course, but it really does help to make this 911 feel like a new car.” Cutting lever travel by almost a third and introducing dual-sided spring loading adding reassuring weight and guiding the lever into the centre of the gate (not to mention the integrated reverse gear lockout), the kit transforms the imprecise Porsche original into a robust system encouraging enthusiastic driving.

Good looks are matched with an interior weight saving regime junking the mass of redundant electronics and the heavy, leather-laden original Porsche seats in an effort to slim down from the 1,160kg of a standard Carrera 3.2. Body panels from Redditch-based independent marque specialist, Pro-9, drive the other half of the onslaught, swapping the steel bonnet, engine lid and bulky bumpers for lightweight fibreglass items. That the substitute pieces create the shape of the Carrera RS 2.7 doesn’t hurt either — one element no backdate can improve upon is the early Rennport’s evocative shape.


A jigsaw of smaller alterations add to the exterior illusion, not least the pair of new pre-impact bumper front wings sent straight from Porsche, giving the front end an accurate stance. The removal of the oh-so-eighties rubber sill finishers and the substitution of black Carrera 3.2 metalwork in favour of aluminium window surrounds and matching mirrors create the filigree delicacy of an early 911, with horn vents and the kink of the Dansk exhaust finisher completing the job. “The previous owner spent a fortune chasing absolute perfection,” says Mike. “He achieved it,” he adds, showing us the Autofarm-sourced Durant door mirrors and new headlights ordered direct from Porsche Classic. The manufacturer-owned brand also supplied the car’s new fuel cell.

This immaculate Carrera RS 2.7 replica is externally indistinguishable from the real thing, yet the concours-ready bodywork hides a mechanical specification which – whisper it – is even better. “Of course, I’d swap this car for the real thing if anyone offered,” Mike reasons, “but then I’d be right back where I started — unable to drive my Porsche!” Far better to enjoy this fabulous replica for every one of its enhanced talents. Who needs the real thing, anyway?!

Above There are worse cars to hop into after time in charge of a 964 Carrera RS 3.6 Lightweight.

Above and below Interior is sublime, but look closely and you’ll spot giveaways betraying the car’s true identity as a Carrera 3.2. Above The exquisite finish was precisely what encouraged Mike to buy the car after selling his 964 RS. Above Restoration has been carried out with no expense spared, as demonstrated by receipts for twenty grand’s worth of engine work. Above Underpinnings from a Carrera 3.2 combine with the classic RS aesthetic to give this 911 a split personality


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