Gallery: Martini Porsche 911 RSR replica
Ask anyone to name the great sportscar races and they’ll inevitably mention the twice-round-the-clock events at Le Mans and Daytona, the 12-hour thrash at Sebring, the 1000-mile epic of the Mille Miglia, perhaps any of the great 1000km races of the world sportscar championship’s heyday. What they might not mention – without prompting – is the incredible Targa Florio road race, the challenging blast around the mountain roads of Italian island Sicily.Fought over by the world’s most iconic racing brands Alfa Romeo, Bugatti Ferrari, Lancia, Maserati and Porsche, the Targa had counted towards the world sportscar championship between 1955 and 1973. A series of high-profile accidents and fatalities involving drivers and spectators in ’73 sounded the death knell for the event in its existing form. And that final ‘proper’ Targa was won by Porsche, the German firm securing their 11th win to seal their place as the race’s most successful marque.There was something special about Porsche’s ’73 Targa victory, too. The winning car was not one of the all-out prototype monsters. No, they all fell by the wayside that year, allowing a production-based 911, the Carrera RSR driven by Swiss Herbert Muller and Dutchman Gijs van Lennep, to win. And that fabulous, #8 Martini-liveried machine lives on. Well, sort of.Craig Drury has achieved a lifelong ambition to own an example, by lovingly recreating the car. Here, Craig tells the story of how his RSR came to be.“I’d always loved the 1973 RSR 911. I had a replica based on ’72 911 that was a road-registered race car, complete with full rollcage. It was fast, of course, but not that pleasant to drive on the road.
What I really wanted was a replica based on a more modern car to blend the developments of the 911 over the past 40 years with the superb looks of the early cars, especially in wide-arch RSR form.
On a visit to the Porsche Museum I saw the car I wanted to recreate: the 1973 Martini RSR #8. Out came the camera for numerous reference pics!”He continues: “My goal was to create a road-going car that was as close to the ’73 Targa winner as possible. That meant I had to get the detail spot on, including wheels, bumpers and, of course, those legendary Martini stripes.
The answer to my prayers came in the form of Sydney-based Porsche specialists ZAG Automotive, which produce the best early-model Porsche replicas in Australia, and are probably equal to the best in the world. We discussed the various options and details and the project kicked off.I chose a 1989 3.2 Carrera as the donor car and a 993 Varioram engine with a custom-made exhaust to give that angry 911 growl and idle and intoxicating howl at high revs.The bodywork was modified to accept RSR brake vents, cut-down overriders and exhaust location holes, as well as a fibreglass ducktail rear spoiler.I had a problem with wheel and tyre sizes, as it’s impossible to get road tyres to fit the original 9/11×15 inch wheels, so the wheels are 17″ diameter, while retaining the 9″ and 11″ widths. The brakes came from a 930 Turbo and feature matching brake booster to ensure the correct brake bias front to rear. As far as suspension goes, the front struts have dropped spindles and Bilstein shock absorbers, just like an original RSR. I had the struts modified to accept light, period-style coil overs, which add to the torsion bars front and rear. The magic was done by East Coast Suspension.The interior of the car is full leather with aircon to make it a comfortable experience – certainly more that Muller and van Lennep would’ve experienced on the Targa. The instruments were sent to North Hollywood Speedometer for refurbishment and back dating. The tachometer was changed to the 10,000rpm
My ‘RSR’ is painted in original Porsche silver red roof. The front and rear bumpers were quite challenging in terms of getting the right shade of bright orange. As with the rest of the car, ZAG did fantastic job matching colours from the photos and the finish is outstanding.Most people’s favourite bit – the Martini stripes – came from various sources. The decals on the sides, front, and back were custom-made by Magnagrafik, while the roof and spoiler-top stripes were sourced locally.
All that left were the all-important Martini door decals. There were hand-made using pictures of the Museum car, and cut in vinyl. I think this adds to the authenticity and period look. They really set the car off.
On the road, the car has a firm, well-controlled ride. It weighs less than 1200kg, so the Varioram engine gives the car ample plenty of go, with brakes to match. East Coast’s suspension set-up gives the car excellent balance and grip – even the non-power steering is usable with the large 255-width front tyres.It’s a wonderful tribute to a great car – but I would say that! With air con, electric windows, leather seats, and bluetooth stereo it could be used every day, but the attention it gets wherever you go makes that a bit difficult. It’s certainly no shrinking violet, but I love it.”
Photos by Jayson Fong at Form and Function