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Thread: My Martini RSR build project

  1. #1
    Senior Member patrick911's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Melbourne, AUS

    My Martini RSR build project

    In another topic someone indicated a lack of build projects on this site.
    I embarked on a big, ambitious project over 5 years ago now, and I figured this is as good a time as any to start reporting progress here.

    Let me introduce myself first. I’m a 48 year old Dutchman living in Melbourne, Australia.
    I bought my first Porsche, a yellow 1973 T coupe, in 2005, in the Netherlands and although I don’t like taking it out in the rain, I yearly clock up around 6,000km, driving it as they are meant to be driven.. hard!
    I am a project manager and even though I used to be an engineer, other than your average bulb -or battery replacement, I have no mechanical/car-building experience whatsoever, so embarking on this journey has been interesting and very educational.
    Just like probably any other teenager in the 80s I had posters of sexy models and cars on my bedroom wall. Mine (the car ones!) were of a green BMW 635csi, a white Lamborghini Countach, a blue Ferrari 512bbi and of the #8 Martini RSR driven in Sicily by Gijs van Lennep.
    You see where this is going…

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    second pic courtesy of the Maxted-page website.

    Obviously with there only being 55 or so real RSRs, and the associated sky-high prices, the chances of me ever owning one were less than remote.
    So the only options were to build a replica myself or, financially probably smarter, to buy a replica that someone already sank a lot of $$ in.
    The reasons why I went for building one were simple; I couldn’t find a project car to my standards, I didn’t have the funds for a proper completed project car and most importantly, I wanted to challenge myself.
    I want to get as close to the original Martini car as possible, but without an unlimited budget, which seems impossible, but more about that later.
    So in May 2014 I entered my midlife crisis, turned my garage into a workshop and bought a nice donor car; a Japanese delivered, left hand drive, 1976 911 2.7S non-sunroof coupe.
    Project RSR had started!

    I like to use this topic for two things:
    1) Share with you the process of building a fairly accurate works RSR car on a 1976 G-series body,
    2) Listing and sharing with you all the little facts I learned about (works) RSRs, and invite you to add to them, debate or repute them, because with these cars, nothing is that simple.

    I’m by no means an expert, but I have been researching 1973 RSRs - and the Martini works cars specifically - for over 5 years now, so I hope some of that work, and your feedback/help, can benefit others in the future.
    I’ll start off by setting out what I want to accomplish, then will provide some updates on parts bought and work done.
    I’d love your feedback, including constructive criticism.

  2. #2
    Senior Member patrick911's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Melbourne, AUS
    History lists various reasons on how the 2.7 Carrera RS (RennSport) – and its racing variant, the 2.8RSR – came to be.
    One reason obviously was that the 917, which brought Porsche its first Le Mans overall win in 1970 and great manufacture racing success in 1971, got pretty much outlawed from 1972 on, as FIA decided on a 3L maximum capacity for its prototype racing class.
    Upgrading the 911 to fill that up-to-3L category in combination with keeping the 911 interesting until its replacement the 928 came along, are probably the main reasons for the RS variant’s existence.
    So for 1973 Porsche increased the 911 engine capacity to 2.7L (up from 2.4 in 1972) for its most exclusive model, giving the ‘2.7 Carrera RS’ 210bhp, compared to 190 for the 2.4S of the same year.
    It got homologated for racing in Group 3 (production GT) and Group 4 (special GT), for which it needed to build at least 500 identical cars.
    In order to make the project viable, Porsche decided on multiple variants, so it could allow customers to buy the car as range topping model (RSL / M472 – touring version, equipment equal to that of the 911 2.4S) as well as lightweight model (RS / M471 – sport version) or specific racing version (RSR / M491) with wider fenders and wheels, 2.8 twin spark engine, roll bar, etc.
    This RSR version reflected the real goal Porsche had for the Carrera RS; to produce an ideal car for motor racing.
    The Carrera RSR incorporated every improvement allowed under the racing rules for Group 4. But due to the enormous amount of work involved in converting a RS to RSR, and the obvious associated cost that resulted from it, only 55 cars were ever specified as RSR (option M491).

    Porsche planned their strategy for the next season during the winter break of 1972/1973 and decided to enter a factory team in the ‘1973 World Championship for Makes’ and leave the GT European championship and various national championships to privately run teams.
    The factory team planned to enter two RSR race cars, for which they contracted Herbert Muller and Gijs van Lennep to drive the first, the second to be available to multiple different drivers over the season.
    Porsche struck a deal with spirits producer ‘Martini & Rossi’ in March of 1973 for the two cars, after Martini had already sponsored the (highly successful) 917 race cars in 1970 and 1971.

    Changes during the season:

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    The factory cars changed over the course of the racing season, as drivers provided feedback and engineers kept refining the car.
    Most obvious changes are in its body work (the ducktail, initially similar to that on the Carrera RS, morphed into a Mary Stuart collar; Fuchs rims got replaced with 917 centre-lock wheels for example) and in engine specification.
    Whereas the car started off as a 2.8RSR (the 2808cc capacity achieved by enlarging the bore slightly, using the magnesium block of the 2.7 as a basis), during the season it first went to 2994cc capacity with high butterfly mechanical injection (again by enlarging the bore from 92 to 95mm, to get the maximum out of the regulations for the under 3L class) to a similar engine but with slide valve injection, in the process raising performance from an already impressive 308bhp to 330, all on a stronger, more durable (but also heavier) aluminum block.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member patrick911's Avatar
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    Before we continue, a bit of an introduction of the subject of my build.
    The car I want to copy is the RSR with chassisnumber 911.360.0588, sometimes also referred to as ‘R6’.
    I’m not sure exactly where the ‘R’ stands for, but the factory racing cars all got a R indication (Racing?) and 0588 got allocated number 6.
    This car was taken off the standard 911 production line and turned into one of those M491 RSR versions, with the bigger fenders, wheels, and other modifications all done at the factory.
    The works racing cars differed from the ‘standard’ RSRs in some respects (a safety fuel cell instead of a 110L plastic fuel tank for example), but we’ll dive into those details later.
    R6 was one of the two cars allocated to the factory (werks) racing program, sponsored by Martini, and raced first at the 6 hours of Vallelunga (Italy) on the 25th of March in 1973.
    It wore a number 9 at that race and was recognizable by the front spoiler lip that was painted ‘green’, to make it easy to distinguish it from the other car.

    Sources seem to disagree on when exactly it all raced before it was entered wearing the number 8 at the Targa Florio, but the below table seems to be generally accepted.
    (There’s websites that indicate that R6 participated in the 4 hours of lemans (#61), but that car is quite different. #62 seems to be confirmed as R7.

    This car, chassis 911 360 0588 (R6), was used extensively that season in the ‘World Championship for makes’, which varying results in the Group 5 (Sport 3000 class, under 2900cc) category.
    There’s another great topic here on the site that discusses the other 3 Martini liveried cars that partook, but R6 and its history and whereabouts have never been disputed.

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    After the 1973 racing season under Martini sponsorship, where R6 was developed by the factory over the season to run as a group 5 prototype,
    R6 was sold to Roger Penske’s Sunoco team, who entered it at Watkins Glen where it came home 6th (in blue/yellow Sunoco livery) being driven by Donahue & Follmer.
    Mexican racer ‘Roberto Quintanilla’ purchased R6 apparently at Watkins Glen (with a suitcase full of cash as legend has it), and used it, together with John McClelland for the rest of the 1973 and 1974 seasons.
    But, because R6 wasn’t legal (being a group 5 prototype) to enter IMSA events, a lot of parts (trailing arms, titanium coil springs, centre lock 917 style wheels) were exchanged with RSR 0705.
    Quintanilla stopped racing in 1976 and according to sources R6 (damaged at this stage to some degree) and 0705 ended up with McClelland at his base in Kansas City.
    In early 1978 McClelland agreed to sell 0705 to Bob Johnson, owner of Autoworks and an experienced racer in TransAm.
    When Johnson arrived to pick up the car McClelland persuaded him to take 0588/R6 with him. While Johnson did nothing with R6 it continued to share a garage with 0705.

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    I’m not sure what exactly happened next, as the next item I found was that it was purchased in 1992 by Peter Kitchak and was subsequently restored in Mary Stuart form.
    Then in 2010 it was sold in Europe, in 2014 to the UK and subsequently restored back to Targa Florio winning form by Maxted-Page.
    R6 was shown to the public – in this fine TF winning look – at the 50 years of Porsche celebrations at Goodwood in 2018.

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    The subject of my project, which I will outline in this topic, was the car as it won the Targa Florio on the 13th of May 1973, driven to victory by Herbert Muller and Gijs van Lennep.
    The replica I’m going to build then is RSR Prototype R6 as it appeared at the Targa Florio ‘Recce’ (practice run the day before the race) on the 12th of May.
    On race day, it ran with extensions next to its ducktail for extra downforce, but I prefer the looks of the car as it ran during the reconnaissance run the day before, with standard ducktail as fitted on the 2.7 Carrera RSs of the day.

    Describing the plan on how to get there is up next…
    Last edited by patrick911; 04-22-2020 at 04:39 PM. Reason: new facts on race history of R6 found. table changed

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2006
    Corvallis, OR
    Looking forward to seeing your build.
    72S, 72T now ST

  5. #5
    Senior Member patrick911's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Melbourne, AUS
    Thanks Scott.

    About the donor car.
    In 2014 prices for early 911s were crazy already, more so even in Australia, because the market is so much smaller over here.
    And because i love my 1973 911T which is too good to be sacrificed for a replica, it had to be a G-series car.
    I was looking for a 1976 car specifically, because it had a 2.7 engine with a magnesium case. I also wanted a ‘76 because it was the first one to have its underside galvanized (less chance of rust) and also because these cars, being early G-series, were very unloved and relatively cheap. (which has somewhat changed since). It would cost to turn the G-series into an F-series (dash, front latch panel, hood, etc) , but it's still cheaper than finding a 1973 car here.

    Other criteria for the donor were that it had to be left hand drive, and a non-sunroof coupe; this because all RSRs were delivered left hand drive and removing a sunroof would just add cost.

    I did find what looked a good candidate fairly quickly; A 1976 non-sunroof, left hand drive 911S with the original engine, clearly owned by a guy that cherished it but needed to sell the car following a divorce. The fact that it was painted in a hideous purple, sparkly paint didn’t bother me, as it probably made it more affordable. The price was right, the only problem was that the car was for sale in Brisbane and I live in Melbourne.

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    I chatted with the seller, checked the numbers and that it wasn’t registered as stolen, and when it all seemed to check out, I flew over to inspect it, bought it – in cash – and drove it back to Melbourne over 2 days. It didn’t skip a beat, but little did it know this was going to be its last drive in a long, long time.
    It sat outside for a while whilst I was completing the workshop and only in 2016 did I move it inside and start taking it apart.

  6. #6
    Senior Member patrick911's Avatar
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    Taking it apart was scary initially, but once I realized that the worst that could happen was to admit defeat and sell it at a loss, I actually started to enjoy it…. mostly.

    Most things were self-explanatory, other things could be found in books, on forums or on Youtube. I think the only real costly mistake I made was that I overlooked a single screw when removing the dashboard, which meant that I applied too much pressure on it and it cracked. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but once it was finally off, there was not much dashboard left. Stupid.

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    ^^ dry-fitting the roll-bar & brackets

    The car emptied, the next step was to remove the underside protection.
    The RSRs did not have the underside protection to shed more weight; they apparently were already taken off the production line before that step occurred.

    I worked on this in one of the front wheel arches with a tiny screwdriver for a full day, after which I spent the next two asking around for easier options. The responses were all identical though; use a torch and scraper!
    It’s a horrible, time consuming job, but in the end, locked up in the workshop with good music, it’s kind of relaxing. I think I must have spend over a hundred hours just completed the 4 wheel-arches and the inside (including foot wells and underside dashboard, etc).

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    I bought a dolly from a local club member and a mate helped me get the engine out.
    Whilst the car sat on the dolly I could reach some of the more difficult areas, but doing the underside using one of those creepers was just not working. I needed a rotisserie.

    In the mean time I was continuing my research and bought some parts left and right. I’ll dive into that a bit later too. Now I had done a few welding classes since I started the project, but my welding was so crap I figured I needed to contract this to an expert. I got in contact with Jason Caroll from ‘Chequered Flag Restorations’ because he has worked on a few important Australian cars in the past. He’d won a few awards at car shows, and he impressed me with his knowledge on RSRs, and as it turned out, he has also worked – and still has access too – a real RSR.
    Last edited by patrick911; 07-01-2019 at 09:35 PM. Reason: pictures upside down

  7. #7
    Senior Member patrick911's Avatar
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    We agreed that I would bring the car to the workshop in January, so I had to hurry up to get the car ready.
    Half an hour before the tow truck arrived, I had finally finished scraping all the ‘schutz’ the front inside.
    The underside was still not done, but at Jason’s shop we could put it on the rotisserie at least; much more comfortable that way.

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    I had also taken the topcoat of paint off so the media blasting wouldn't be that difficult/costly. As you can see i didn't do the rear flares or front, because they would need to change anyway.

  8. #8
    Senior Member StephenAcworth's Avatar
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    May 2011
    Chelsea, Québec
    Awesome start to a thread and thank you for posting this! I look forward to travelling with you on this journey!!!
    1966 911 Coupe - Slate Grey - 304598 - still in restoration!

    Member #1616

  9. #9

    Another Martini RSR . . .

    . . . by Mike_Moore . . .

    Lotsa stuff, there . . .

    . . . HtH

    Cool project, yours. Looking forward to reading more!

    Attached Images Attached Images  


    We Can Be Heroes

  10. #10
    Senior Member patrick911's Avatar
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    Thanks for the kind words guys.

    And yes, I’ve read Mike’s topic on his build multiple times; he’s put the bar very high and although I’m aiming for something equally correct, I’m afraid I will have to compromise at places. I will however use this topic to indicate what the RSR should have, to build a reference source, when and where I deviate due to budget reasons.

    I’ve also followed Clyde’s green ST build closely, and have often asked him for advise or used his contacts. It’s great to learn from others and get motivated; This board has seen some great builds and I can only hope mine will eventually be rated amongst those.

    So the first thing to do is to transform the body. Because I start with a G-series donor car, the first thing is to change it into a F-series car. Second is the modifications that are required to make it an RSR; think reinforcements and wider flares, and finally, there’s things that are works RSR specific. For example, the Martini cars were fitted with fuel cells in stead of the 100L plastic tank.

    Using forums, books, Jason’s expertise and various topics, we landed on this list of things that needed to be done to turn the donor into an RSR chassis. This is an area where I hope you can help me pinpoint mistakes or inaccuracies; these cars varied though the season, and even restorations (including the most recent of the original R6 car) are often not 100% correct.

    I will generally use the dates provided by Konradsheim in his awesome ‘Carrera RS’ book for changes made during that model year, taking into account that this project is building a car as it did the ‘recce’ on the 12th of May; So any modifications introduced after the 12th of May will not be implemented on my project car.

    Things that I’m still unclear of for example are the battery boxes. I’ve seen pictures of STs and works cars that had blanking plates and those boxes removed, probably to save weight. However, Mike Curnow and some pictures of other RSRs indicate that they have either one or some even both battery boxes. I’ve decided to remove them both and put a single battery in the smugglers box as R6 had it.

    Another point of contention seems to be the front flares. Most replicas use metal ST/RSR front flares, whereas a lot of the tributes or hot-rods use fiberglass fronts. Jason is convinced that the later series of RSRs, including the 1974 cars uses fiberglass front flares and metal rears. I’m not sure, but I decided to go with real RSR metal flares on the rear and use GRP ST/RSR fenders for the front.

    With R6 being chassis 0588, it is likely it was still using the lightweight, thinner metal that was meant for the first series of 500 cars. (we know the factory kept on using parts until they ran out so exact switchover dates are difficult to determine). I will not replace chassis parts.

    So this is the combined list of changes that need to be made before we can sandblast, prime & paint:

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    This is it for the introduction, from here on I'll focus on the progress and will highlight why certain things are done.

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