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06 Sep 2022

Photos by Rich Pearce

Rennsport reincarnation – one couple’s ultimate RS

Meet the freshly restored RS 2.7 and the passionate owners giving it a new lease of life  

Every RS 2.7 has a story; some well-known, others highly secretive. For Simon and Polly Webb, Club members for more than a decade and devotees of the whole RS family, theirs remains something of a mystery.
Their Porsche story started in childhood, like so many in the PCGB community, with Simon’s fascination arriving at a very young age. “My parents bought me a slot-car racing set back in the ’60s,” he says, “and I remember vividly a little cream-coloured 356. I’d always liked motor racing and started watching rallying when I was a little older. There’s always been that interest in cars, but the start of the slippery slope for us was buying a 987 Boxster. One thing led to another.”  
Polly also grew up around cars and her own interest took off upon meeting Simon, with the pair now being Goodwood members and regular attendees of Porsche events and trackdays around the country. It was the latter that would prove more formative, with a 997 GTS soon joined by a 964 RS better suited to the sort of circuit work that was becoming of increasing interest to them. This purchase would eventually lead to the acquisition of a 993 RS and, for many, the ultimate RS garage. But, for Simon and Polly, the Holy Grail was still out there somewhere…
“We’d been looking for an RS 2.7 for some years and had looked at one that didn’t prove to be quite what it claimed,” Simon explains. “Then, five or six years ago now, Alan Drayson at Canford Classics came across one in Tokyo. It was being sold by a Ferrari dealership who knew what they had, but didn’t have the necessary skills to revive it. It hadn’t been used for 35 years and needed a complete restoration. Alan flew to Tokyo for all of 36 hours and, between him and Carrera RS Register Secretary Fred Hampton, it was confirmed that the engine, chassis and gearbox numbers were all what they should be. And the clincher was the build number on the back of the dashboard, which Fred had the records for despite them not being in the public domain. Alan’s photo was a match and, with that, we really knew this car was what it purported to be.”
It would take more than a year to get the car out of Japan, however, ahead of a nut-and-bolt restoration at Canford Classics. Going back to bare metal would then reveal questions and answers in equal measure. The remarkable lack of corrosion suggested that the car had indeed sat for several decades, backing up its modest mileage. Six original lightweight panels, including the dashboard, also revealed themselves – something that was curious on a later build that would normally have used standard gauge steel. The presence of factory welds for a roll cage was also a puzzle. What’s more, this car had been ordered without any of the popular options such as the sunroof, making it seem increasingly likely that its original purpose was competition use.
With the limitations imposed by data protection today and the relative secrecy around provenance in Japan, all Simon and Polly have been able to establish so far is that the car was originally sold in Hamburg and travelled to Japan in the early ’80s. But, as Polly points out, the past is only half the story: “The detective work has been fascinating, but it’s nice that we are the first owners in the UK. When we go out in it, no-one says ‘Oh, I used to own that’, or knows someone who did. Its life here starts with us!’
And the couple have wasted no time in writing the next chapter. Not long after they collected the car from Canford Classics in December 2021, they took it on a tour of Suffolk, followed by a longer outing across all of their favourite Welsh driving roads. Then, in the spring of 2022, they made their maiden voyage to Le Mans for a long weekend in the company of the Porsche RS Club of France, which was celebrating the 50th anniversary with a series of special events that saw some 60 RS 2.7s arrive from all over Europe. Following a tour of the Sarthe Valley and a trackday on Le Man’s famous Bugatti circuit, Polly and Simon’s car was awarded third place in a concours they had not even realised they were entering. It’s a fitting testament to both their passion for this car and the skill and attention to detail with which it was restored in the UK.
Two of the guests at that event were ex-Porsche employees who had worked at Zuffenhausen and Weissach and the pair duly invited Polly and Simon to attend Porsche’s own 50th celebrations in Stuttgart in August, meaning the car will be stretching its legs once again in relatively short order. “They offered to put the car up on the ramp,” Simon says, “and get some of the people who were building them back in the day to look around it, which would be absolutely awesome.”
And, in the meantime, the latest addition to the Webb’s household is being equally admired at home among its RS descendants. “If you’re into Porsche and 911s,” Simon says, “the silhouette with that ducktail is iconic. It’s a beautifully proportioned car and, if you put it next to a modern 911, those look bloated by comparison. But there’s also the racing pedigree and the history, and we’ve already learned so many interesting things about this car during the restoration.”
Although much of the backstory behind this particular RS may be forever hidden, there is
something rather special about how its enigmatic past is now feeding into an unwritten future. During the restoration, a small wooden keepsake inscribed in Japanese was found at the back of the glovebox. A little more detective work by Polly established that it was a good luck charm from a temple, left there decades ago by the previous owner. They decided immediately that the charm would stay.

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