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Carrera RS Book
1 of 7 Porsche Carrera RS Factory Prototypes
Designed by Tony Lapine (Head of Design at Porsche) for Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann (Porsche Chairman)
Owned by Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann and Hans Mezger
First street Porsche 911 with ABS
Featured in 000 Magazine and The Carrera RS Book by Thomas Gruber and Georg Konradsheim
The Carrera RS is one of the most revered cars in the Porsche pantheon, and is regarded as one of the finest sports cars of the 1970’s. Revealed at the 1972 Paris Auto Show, it was a factory special built to meet the homologation rules of FIA Group 4 racing. The RS ("Rennsport") was almost invincible at Le Mans, Daytona and the Targa Florio, often winning outright against pure racing prototypes. It’s not often you would see the same car on the podium one day, and passing you on the open road the next. The RS is conclusive proof that one of Porsche’s greatest skills was building a car that was immensely competitive at the track, and equally useable as a street car.
During the process of development for the RS, Porsche assigned 8 factory chassis as company development cars. These were assigned to various members of the Porsche family, and were used by internal departments to develop and test new concepts both mechanically, and aesthetically. Chassis 0781 was assigned to Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann, Chairman of Porsche. The car was developed with the iconic rear spoiler, wide rear fenders as well as the new RS suspension components, making it the first prototype car to have these features. The car was originally equipped with the 2.7-liter engine, and saw the first prototype of the KA (Kontinuuerlich antriebslos) which later became was known as the K-Jetronic system. 0781 also received the first street prototype of the Teldix antilock brake system in order to test it on normal road conditions, making it the first 911 street car with an ABS system.
Aesthetically, chassis 0781 was taken to the internal design department known as “Style Porsche”. Tony Lapine was the chief designer at Porsche, and was well known to push the boundaries on design to make Porsche stand out against other manufacturers. Lapine oversaw the development of design options with the new line for the RS model. With this, he had the opportunity to test different materials used for the interior, as well as integrating modern comforts such as Air Conditioning, and power windows. The final result was a car which includes style, performance, and comfort.
The exterior of the car was also used to develop different paint to sample options that would be offered in the future. Chassis 0781 was painted in a white pearl finish, using experimental techniques with Fischsilberweiss-metallic. This process uses fine ground fish scales to give the paint its unique look. The interior of the car also received a unique use of materials, that were also part of the development of options for future customers. The inside was lined with leather in a warm brown tone. The carpeting was done in a suitable brown and the roof liner was done with beige. To complete the entire interior, the seats were fitted with cowhide, as well as the door panels and rear side panels. To finish off the car, the design team decided to install a “Style Porsche” badge to commemorate the unique design style that was fitted to this car by the design department.
The final presentation of 0781 demonstrated various techniques and prototypes that would benefit generations ahead. The car made its way through different environments to test the durability and performance of the different components. The Fuhrmann car was, amongst other things, used for testing in the Algerian Sahara Desert, where it was the favorite vehicle among the workers since it featured the Air Conditioning system. After the car was done, Dr. Fuhrmann decided to sell the car, and it was passed down to Hans Mezger, the legendary Porsche engineer.
During his ownership, Mezger recalls the unique style and called it Lapine’s brainchild, due to the wild and very stylish design of the car. Before selling the car in 1975, he replaced the rear deck lid for the new owner, and kept the original RS deck lid for himself. Years later, it is now shown with its original paint at the Porsche Museum as one of the first panels developed for the RS model.
Mezger talking about the rear panel
Dave Imes owns a well know automotive shop Apex Classique that specializes in Porsches located in Colorado. One afternoon, he received a call from a person that found this 911 in a craigslist ad for sale. Mr. Imes made his way to inspect the car and realized some items stood out to him, such as RS reinforcements, and an oil cooler. After sending out the VIN to Porsche, they responded to him with a list of long and unique options that were original to this car, as well as its use internally at the Porsche factory.
3 years later Mr. Imes was in Germany for his birthday. One evening he attended a dinner with a friend where he was informed that Gerog Konradsheim, the author of the RS Carrera book was going to be with them. After many conversations and car stories, Mr. Imes asked Dr. Konradsheim regarding a car he had back home. After they talked about the unique features on the paint, and interior options, Dr. Konradsheim asked for the VIN number, and told Mr. Imes that he wanted to verify some details. He came back the next day to Mr. Imes and told him “That is the Fuhrmann car… that car’s got… look in my books. You have this magic thing”.
Back in U.S. Mr. Imes went back to the RS books, where in chapter 8 Special Editions, Chassis 0781 was called “Dr. Fuhrmann’s car”. This is where Mr. Imes discovered the special history of this car. Mr. Imes decided to do a complete ground up restoration of the RS back to its original spec. Since obtaining the list of options of the car, Mr. Imes went back to Germany to obtain the different materials that were used in the car. Since a lot of them did not make it to the final option list, Mr. Imes had to find replacements that would match as close as possible to the original components. After 3 years, chassis 0781 was assembled and completed. The car was driven by Mr. Imes and completed over 100 Miles after its restoration. It was also featured in 000 Magazine, issue 18.
Upon arriving at Canepa, vehicles are treated to the "Canepa Difference" This includes a complete mechanical inspection. Everything is serviced as needed, and road tested by Bruce Canepa. It is finished off with a concours show quality detail. The undersides and wheel wells are hand cleaned, ensuring that each surface was spotless. The trunk, interior and engine bay are also cleaned, ensuring that the RS is presented as though it had just rolled onto the showroom floor. With the remaining step being the exterior, the finish is polished and waxed to "as new" finish.
This Prototype Carrera RS is one of the rarest! Fitted with many components for testing and development, this car was 1 of 8 test mules for the production Carrera RS and future options in Porsches of newer generations. The RS platform is unique on its own, but this particular car is of significance importance due to its “one of one” styling and ownership history.