London

6 September 2017

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Lot 125

1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Lightweight

  • Chassis no. 9113601501
  • Engine no. 6631453 AT

£825,000 - £1,000,000

To be auctioned on Wednesday, September 6, 2017


  • Widely considered to be the most successful Carrera RS 2.7 in international rallying
  • Winner of the 1974 Circuit of Ireland, Donegal International and Castrol Manx International Rallies
  • Exhaustively researched rallying history of nearly 40 rallies, including 14 international events
  • The last of 17 RHD 2.7 RS Lightweights
  • Four-year highly authentic restoration overseen by an acknowledged RS specialist


Boasting a hugely successful rallying career in Ireland and Great Britain, this late-production Carrera RS is the beneficiary of a recent four-year restoration that has returned the car to stunning, factory-authentic condition. Chassis number 9113601501 is one of just 17 lightweight examples configured with right-hand drive, and the final one sold in Great Britain. The car was therefore equipped with many of the latest homologation racing features concurrently utilized on the factory-campaigned RSR examples, including the shorter suspension trailing arms that desirably improved handling.

Finished in white paint with red Carrera script, the 2.7 RS was sold new to Harold Morley, a British rally driver who had won the 1972 Motoring News Rally Championship. This car is the second of two Carrera RS Lightweights that Morley purchased from Porsche of Great Britain in 1973, registered on 1 August as ‘OM 77’. Morley entered the 911 in three international rallies during 1973, including the final round of the World Championship, the RAC Rally, where the car was the highest-finishing Porsche and winner of the team prize.

In January 1974, Morley sold the 2.7 RS to Cathal Curley, a highly accomplished Irish driver. Borrowing £8,500 to finance the purchase and with no money left over for insurance, Curley re-registered the Lightweight ‘AUI 1500’, and with this designation the car achieved its greatest feats, which were widely captured in media and the popular imagination, even being the subject of a pop song! At the gruelling five-day, 1,200-mile Circuit of Ireland Rally in April 1974, Curley emerged victorious, beating some half-dozen other RSs.

It then went on to win the Donegal International Rally in June, beating one of the new alloy-bodied Carrera RS 3.0 examples while earning Curley his third annual victory at the event. It was during this momentous win that photographer Esler Crawford snapped an iconic image of AUI 1500 as it launched several feet off the ground from a rise in the course, a picture that has been widely reprinted.

In September 1974, Curley entered the RS in the Castrol Manx International Rally, and once again managed to defeat some of the period’s greatest rally drivers, including Roger Clark. The victory marked Curley’s third outright win on a major tarmac rally, and he finished the 1974 season in 4th place in the RAC Championship, and 8th in the Castrol Autosport Championship. The season was also notable for the sponsorships that accompanied it, with AUI 1500 being featured prominently in period print advertisements for Porsche and Dunlop, and receiving support from Porsche GB and Porsche A.G. in Stuttgart. After flirting with retirement following the season’s conclusion, Curley entered AUI 1500 for a final race at the Galway International Rally in 1975 and led the event until retiring.

The Lightweight then passed to several British owners over the next four years, continuing an arduous racing career that saw almost 40 rallies, including 14 international-level events, including the 1978 RAC Rally. After the model’s homologation eligibility expired in 1979, AUI 1500 was sold to an enthusiast in South Africa, where it was entered in several local rallies.

The 2.7 RS was acquired by South African Albert Van Heerden, then upgraded in 1984 to Group 4 RSR specifications (including a 3.4-litre twin-plug werks engine) and raced in events such as the Rolo Motor Historics Championship. Van Heerden’s racing resume came to an inauspicious end leading from pole at the Kyalami circuit in Johannesburg in 1987, when an accident rolled the car and left the driver unhurt but badly shaken. Too damaged to warrant repairs at that time, the RS Lightweight was sold to a private Porsche collector who domiciled the car in unrepaired condition for 23 years. In 2010, the collector offered the 911 for sale, and it was purchased by the consignor, a well-known RS expert residing in Great Britain.

He meticulously planned, then commenced, a comprehensive restoration, returning it to original factory specifications utilizing as many new original-stock parts as possible, which were sourced at great effort. The roof, wiring loom and dated parts, for example, were sourced from donor cars made in the same period, carefully installed and attached. Particular care and attention was given to repairing the original shell retaining factory welds where possible and replicating new welds carefully completed to look identical to the originals they replaced. The last two available original right-hand-drive floor panels were obtained from Porsche’s Parts department, and a proper 911/83 crankcase was sourced for a rebuild of a correct engine, which was then re-stamped with a proper AT (abschrift) replacement suffix.

To authenticate the RS’s identity, the car was fully inspected by Porsche AG and issued a new factory chassis plate. The managing director of Porsche Cars Great Britain and the registry secretary of the Porsche Club of Great Britain both wrote letters testifying to the importance of the car. Completed in April 2014, the meticulous restoration is believed to be the most comprehensive private refurbishment ever conducted on a 2.7 RS.

AUI 1500 immediately commenced a celebratory exhibition tour, photographed the day after the restoration’s completion on the finish ramp of the Circuit of Ireland, 40 years after winning the rally. Commemorative appearances at Donegal and Manx soon followed, as well as a special invitation for display among Porsche museum cars at Brands Hatch when it returned to the UK.

In April 2016, chassis number 9113601501 returned to Ireland for a race re-enactment, joining 172 rally cars through six different stages. Curley and his co-driver, Austin Frazer, were able to drive the car again and reunited with Donegal co-driver, Terry Harryman, and autographed the underside of the front decklid. The RS was also prominently featured in the August 2016 issue of Classic Porsche magazine.

One of just 17 2.7 RS Lightweights distributed to Great Britain, and one of 200 built for worldwide use, this distinguished 911 makes a solid claim as ‘the most successful 2.7 Carrera RS of all time’, as writer Mark Copeland described in his book researched over 20 years. Meticulously restored, authenticated by the factory and respected Porsche experts, and benefitting from an incredibly detailed restoration that has maximized and reinstated originality to a remarkable degree, this outstanding 2.7 RS is also accompanied by an FIA Historic Technical Passport that qualifies it for numerous vintage events worldwide. It should expect a warm welcome at club events and Porsche gatherings, as one of the most impressive examples of Stuttgart’s most celebrated 911s.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more