15 February 2022
GT Spirit’s growing 1/18 scale documentation of the Porsche 911 story
In Racing Tales (Diecast Collector January 2021 issue), I looked in detail at GT Spirit’s then recently-released Carrera RS 3.6 Club Sport (GT060) and its must-have display companion, the 911 2.8 RSR Street (GT106). Both had their roots in Porsche’s longstanding interest in the development of lightened versions based on series production models intended, specifically, for motorsport use that dates right back to the early 1950s. So now we have two more recent releases from GT Spirit that add a lot more weight (no pun intended) to that coverage of the production history of the 911 lightweights.
Porsche 911 SC/RS (954) - 1984 (GT320)
At first glance this, one of the very latest GT Spirit releases on the 911 theme, may look unassuming or even perhaps an identity mishmash. It is, however, a superbly authentic representation of a disparate and very serious part of Porsche’s development of the G series 911 model for motorsport use – a model that, until fairly recently, seemed virtually unknown and overlooked. Development was initiated after Porsche’s 1983 Rallye Monte-Carlo participation, with a proposal that a short run of 20 cars be configured for road and (primarily) rally use. With just 20+1 examples built by the Porsche Motorsports department in Weissach, in 1984, to satisfy the FIA’s Group B competition homologation rules, this was indeed a low-volume production model.
One was retained by Porsche, now part of its Museum collection, whilst the other 20 went were sold directly to motorsport customers. Of these, five were sponsored by Rothmans and retained by the factory for works competition. This came about after Rothmans terminated its relationship with Opel at the end of the 1983 season and wanted to expand its sponsorship of the highly successful Porsche 956 endurance programme to include rallying. Indeed it was Rothmans interest in expanding its relationship with Porsche that gave additional impetus to the development of the 911 SC/RS – development that followed in the tracks of the 911 “F” series based Carrera RS and RSR from a decade earlier.
Introduced in 1984, with the outgoing contemporary 911 SC as its starting point, the SC/RS badging embraced the car’s Carrera heritage through the “SC” (Super Carrera), combined with its intended motorsport use through the “RS” (Rennsport). Preparation of the cars involved a (very) long list of modifications that entailed the wide ranging sourcing of parts from across Porsche’s contemporary manufacturing output, including front brakes from the 917. Weighing in at just 1,057 kg and powered by a 3.0-litre, air-cooled, flat-six engine, delivering 255 bhp @ 7000 rpm, the power to weight ratio of the SC/RS meant that it could achieve 0-62 mph in 5.3 seconds and a top speed of 158 mph (255 km/h). Preparation that resulted in a very much lightened 911, with a frontal look that fairly resoundingly masked its “G” series 911SC origins thanks to a specially-prepared front panel section merged with the wide turbo-look body sections and spoiler all so perfectly captured on GT Spirit’s resincast 1/18th replica.
Whilst its white, rather than traditional black, finish to the centres of the Fuchs alloys now, in retrospect, looks distinctly mid-80s influenced, the matching deep gloss white paintwork of the body is also totally authentic. All 21 cars of the SC/RS production run were painted white in a deliberate move to give Porsche’s motorsport customers a blank canvas onto which sponsorship liveries could be easily and quickly applied.
In conclusion, another beautiful model from GT Spirit that totally captures the look and feel of a truly rare 911 lightweight.
Porsche 911 (964) Carrera 4 Lightweight - 1991 (GT319)
Moving on then, to just seven years later, but staying with Porsche’s Weissach Customer Racing Department, brings us to the next generation of 911 lightweight - or ‘Leichtbau’ - produced also in similarly small numbers to the SC/RS with just 22 examples in 1991. Unlike the SC/RS, however, the extensive modifications that included the body shell being re-welded to RS specifications, fitting of aluminium doors and front bonnet, a fibreglass engine lid and Plexiglas windows with sliding panels, did nothing to disguise the Carrera 4 RS hereditary.
Just one issue hangs over this equally superb model from GT Spirit - should its display companion be the white SC/RS or the red Carrera RS 3.6 Club Sport (GT060) of 1992 that I reviewed in the January 2021 issue? Certainly the pair of white lightweights make a perfect pair - but there again so do the two 964s.
A distinct benefit of the model’s Grand Prix White paintwork, is that it provides an excellent background against which the detail of the interior really stands out. An interior in which the carpet and insulation were deleted and into which factory Recaro racing seats with Sabelt harnesses were installed, together with many other lightweight fittings, including RS style door cards.
What very readily distinguishes the Carrera 4 ‘Leichtbau’ from the RS, are the sliding panel Plexiglas door windows. And whilst of course GT Spirit’s model cannot depict the fact that this version of the Carrera 4 had the adjustable four-wheel drive system from the 953 Paris-Dakar car to transmit the power from the 265bhp RS-specification 3.6-litre air-cooled, flat-six engine to the road, the model just exudes the feeling of that potential.
Although challenging to capture in the photoshoot, another undoubtable benefit of the white paintwork is just how well the 964’s characteristic bumper-mounted front fog light, indicators and side markers are set off by it - as is the classic Porsche shield bonnet badging.
With clean crisp mouldings, high quality finish and superb detail, both these Lightweights are yet again great examples of why GT Spirit has such a dedicated collector following.