RS AMERICA - A BRIEF HISTORY
I thought it would be great time to highlight one of Porsches greatest limited production cars of the past. The RS America came out in the spring of 1992 as a1993 model. It was light with suspension and wheel upgrades found on the 965 Turbo. It came only in a coupe version with only 3 color choices - red, black and white (although you could special order it in midnight blue metallic or polar silver) and only with four options. It was made for the track and most of them happily found their way to a track at some point in their life. There were only 701 made in two model years, 93-94.
The only reason the RSA exists is because Porsche felt the European RS model was too aggressive for the US market so it was not sold here. Alas, the RS America was born - it was an RS made just for America. No power steering, no cruise control, no AC, no sunroom and no radio. It did come with a very distinctive 'whale tail' spoiler that still stands out today.
I am lucky enough to have two RSA’s in my collection. Here are the highlights of one of mine.
Porsche RS America 1993 WPOAB2966PS419115, 77 K miles Black with black, 1 of 701 made, Rare Car. Stock. Original engine & transmission: Options: AC, LTD, non-sunroof, package box, correct seats, Cup 1 wheels, tires ex, suspension upgrade to PSS 9, Euro ride height, Brake upgrade to 993 fronts and larger rears, chip, This is a fast car. Minor paint work, Well-maintained. No wrecks, no rust, no stories. It's a nice car, but aren't they all.
The Bike, The Scooter And The Twin Turbo
We were all headed to our last track even of the year. It promised to be one of the best, as twelve of us were going to VIR for a three day driving event. It is the longest trip for most of us, between 7 and 8 hours drive. However the track design, speed and setting are incredible. It rivals the Glen for all out speed and you get your speed fix three different times on each lap, whereas only once at The Glen.
My youngest son Matthew, who relocated to Charlotte, NC a few years back, decided to meet us there since it’s a short trip for him. Matty was going to drive my RS America Race car while we were building him his own race car. We decided that the 80% track and 20% street is just a little too much over the top Racer for his young family now. Or is this a ploy by him to drive my RSA? Anyway, I planned to build him a 50/50 car over the winter.
I was pleasantly surprised when Matty showed up on Friday morning, with his 5 year old son Mason in the 1996 KBF (Kills Bugs Fast) Twin Turbo he was borrowing while we built his new race car. I was not as happy when they began unpacking the Twin Turbo. He had it packed like a paneled station wagon on a trip to Disney. I questioned him about the need for a bike that he was extracting from the back seat area. He then reminded me that I have always touted the Porsche as a perfect family car with a wry smile. Ha. Now the kid is using my own stuff against me. I was afraid to look at the glove soft leather in the car. Oh well, it was great to spend time with Matthew and Mason and I guess that’s the price you have to pay sometimes.
There is a lot of walking a VIR due to the size of the paddock being long and narrow. This is the place I blew-up my knee two years ago from excessive walking. Now though I have a scooter to get around (A Christmas gift from Matty). This scooter is basically a gas powered skateboard with a fold up handle, in other words a broken shoulder and concussion waiting to happen. It is capable of 35mph with shaky steering, so it is nearly as exciting to ride as VIR is to drive. Fellow PCA member, Claudia thinks it is a hoot but she is a skier and we know how they live on the edge.
During the day I noticed that we were having trouble with losing air in the front right tire of the RSA. I had another tire and rim but this was a new set on the car and I wanted to wear this set evenly. Therefore, prior to every run session we had to add several pounds of air. The air was down at the other end of the paddock, so it was a pain. Just before the last run group of the day, I borrowed an air tank and headed on down to the air pump on my trusted scooter. The scooter handle bar has gas on one side and brake on the other. This means you need to carry the air bottle in the brake hand. I took it nice and slow down to the air pump; however coming back would be a different story. As I coasted the sandy parking area where we were setup, I realized I was carrying a little too much speed. I was headed for trailer ramp, not good. Mind you I am only going 2 or 3 miles an hour at most. Having a difficult time getting to the brake, I yelled ‘coming in hot’ and turned the handle bars to the right to miss the metal ramp that most certainly cause brain damage. That is all it took. The front wheel dug in and over the handle bars I went. I wish I would have just hit the sandy ground but no such luck. My knee hit the air tank on the way down and broke my fall. Most had seen the crash and came rushing over to see if I were still alive. They found me laughing out loud. Here I am at a race tack driving a car at over a 150mph and I get hurt on a scooter at 2 mph.
The problem is this is my bad knee, been cut twice due to injuries. I knew what I was in store for. Only one thing to do before the swelling flared up, pop two Motrin and strap myself in for the last run group of the day. At this point I could hardly walk but you don’t need to be able to walk to be able to drive.
I guess I was right about some things, like a Porsche being the perfect family car.
And wrong about others, like the scooter being a broken shoulder waiting to happen. Should have said broken knee. Either way, it’s a good story. See you around.
Dan Petchel is a Porsche driver, enthusiast and longtime PCA member and he's been tinkering with these beloved German sports cars for close to 50 years. He writes about Porsches, Targa Tops, vintage parts and the people he meets along the way