February 08, 2016

Sports Car Market's review – March 2016

Sports Car Market's review from the March 2016:

One hot topic in the auction world is the astounding growth of values of the Porsche 911. And of the 911 production cars, the RS is considered by many to be the quintessential 911. All of which led to a ’74 911 Carrera 2.7 RS MFI hammering at RM Sotheby’s Monterey this year for $374,000.

For those of you unfamiliar with the intricacies of the 911 world, you now have a source as detailed and informative as you can imagine in Ryan Snodgrass’ deep dive into the history of one of the rarer examples: the Carrera 2.7 MFI.

The Carrera 2.7 RS was introduced in 1973, as Porsche focused more energy on racing production cars (the RS is for Rennsport, or racesport).

Many of the original RS orders were part of a sleight-of-hand trick the factory used to get to the 500 cars needed for Group 4 homologation, with buyers lining out an order form for the race version, then amending it at the dealer for a con- version to the touring setup.

By 1970, the end of the “long-hood” era for the 911 was at hand, with the body redesigned to incorporate safety bumpers, and bringing in the famous whale tail spoilers on some models (not allowed in Germany thanks to the safety bureaucrats).

The Bosch mechanical-injected 1974 MFI was not sold in the U.S., with 2.7s coming here using CIS (Continuous Injection System) to meet federal smog laws and mileage standards, thanks to the first Arab oil embargo.

Bravely, Porsche continued to make high-performance cars in a world mad for economy.

Not being a domestic offering, the Carrera 911 RS 2.7 MFI has been a quiet outlier, though the auction world is catching up. For Snodgrass, the MFI was the perfect story, a way to tell the entire RS tale using a deep focus on one particular model.

It’s a massively researched and illustrated history — and as good as the car.

Provenance: There is amazing detail that can only come from factory records, and Snodgrass had great access to them, as well as to Porsche fanatics from around the world.

Fit and finish: Beautifully printed, with more than 700 color photos, all packed into a quality slipcover; the book is hefty, smart and well designed.

Drivability: There is no shortage of superficial motoring books, collections of images with the odd fact or two. These are the kinds of books that give you 10 minutes of pleasure and are never considered again. At the other extreme, there are the arcane, detailed single-marque or model collections of obscure facts and serial numbers — of little value except to the other guy with the car. But in Carrera 2.7, Snodgrass has created the middle ground, a readable look at a special time at Porsche, built around one special model. There is plenty of detail for the potential owner or restorer as well, but first and foremost, it’s a good read.