Even Better Than The Real Thing

It has become more or less a given that in the automotive enthusiast world, we encounter vehicles that bring out our innermost expressions of jealousy.

While the phrase “green with envy” certainly has its place in our society, the color green can also convey a great many other associations – money (and by extension, greed), fresh vegetables, traffic lights, and reptiles, among others. For Porsche fans, some of the most iconic road and race cars featured paint with varying green hues, including the recent 997 GT3 RS, David Piper’s #70 917, the #5 911 GT1 race car, and of course the legendary 2.7RS. In this case, green is a reference to this stunning classic 911, or “Kermit”, as it quickly became known around Wisconsin.

2018 Erik Langerak Porsche 1973 911 RS Kermit-34
2018 Erik Langerak Porsche 1973 911 RS Kermit-42

When I first learned of Pat Sullivan’s immaculate 1973 2.7 Carrera RS replica, a darling of local Cars & Coffee events, and then discovered that the only existing photos were taken by a low quality phone camera, I rather hastily dropped what I was doing to find out more. Along the way I discovered a distinctively epic transformation, an amazing finish, and got to know one of the nicest, most authentic individuals walking the earth.

2018 Erik Langerak Porsche 1973 911 RS Kermit-37

A decade ago Pat was looking for a new car to celebrate his 50th birthday, and ended up purchasing a silver 1973 Porsche 911E from Kelly-Moss Motorsports co-owner David Stone, who had intended to use it for racing. After a generous amount of hints and suggestions from David and his brother Jeff, Pat took the plunge and began a lengthy journey toward RS perfection. Today, as it turns out, there are a good half-dozen such examples that have rolled out the doors from what is now called Kelly-Moss Road and Race.

2018 Erik Langerak Porsche 1973 911 RS Kermit-36

The 911E was placed on a rotisserie, taken down to bare metal, cleaned and prepped for complete respray, a build process that ultimately took over two years. Ideas flowed forth from Jeff, were heartily agreed upon by Pat, and promptly materialized in the build.

2018 Erik Langerak Porsche 1973 911 RS Kermit-26

As an example, instead of replacing the existing 2.4L engine with the usual 2.7L, Jeff located a same-era 2.8L race engine at Foreign Car Services in Kalamazoo, Michigan and recommended using that instead. Pat naturally thought that was fantastic, so the pistons were machined to lower compression to 10:1 for running on pump gas, the motor was shipped to Kelly-Moss, and it was carefully installed. Along the way, the twin Bosch ignition system was upgraded to twin MSD 6AL with twin MSD Blaster 2 coils.

2018 Erik Langerak Porsche 1973 911 RS Kermit-05

Everything you see in these photos that makes you think of an RS is the result of using genuine RS parts from Porsche. Kelly-Moss doesn’t do business by halves, and Jeff Stone wouldn’t have it any other way. The single driver side mirror, the wheels (painted, of course), expertly grafted body flares, that iconic Momo steering wheel – they’re all authentic. Even the paint technique is period correct, the Viper Green being applied in single stage to every part of the car, including the engine bay and underside.

2018 Erik Langerak Porsche 1973 911 RS Kermit-16
2018 Erik Langerak Porsche 1973 911 RS Kermit-19

Inside, the theme continues with all Porsche original carpets, dash, trim, and even the unpadded competition roll bar. Everywhere you look or place your hand is an ode to single-mindedness of purpose and race-bred minimalism. Dare to inquire about a radio or air conditioning, or even cruise control, and you receive one of Pat’s signature looks of pity while he reminds you of the added weight and complexity such daft luxuries would add. As it sits, curb weight is a fly-weight 2204lb (999kg), including the driver. Take that, Lotus.

2018 Erik Langerak Porsche 1973 911 RS Kermit-35

All of this magnificence is situated directly above some modern upgrades. The team at Kelly-Moss installed modern aftermarket coilover suspension and then performed a race-spec corner balance. Originally designed from the iconic Porsche 935 platform, it is this set of components and accompanying geometry working in harmony that allows Kermit to corner on rails. Bringing the compact, lightweight package to a stop are a new set of OEM 930 Turbo brakes.

2018 Erik Langerak Porsche 1973 911 RS Kermit-41

What truly makes this entire package sublime, however, is the inch-perfect stance. That specific body placed just so over those specific wheels with this specific rubber – the end result is nothing short of a visual shot to the solar plexus. Remember, this car was completed before the world saw the first Singer 911, and while those may have a bit more public cachet these days, many purists would argue that this is the proper way to create an RS/RSR replica. After a 500-mile shakedown by none other than the famed Price Cobb to iron out any remaining niggles, the striking machine was ready for delivery to its delighted owner.

2018 Erik Langerak Porsche 1973 911 RS Kermit-45

From the outside, this car has a presence that at once awes and inspires, but it’s the driving experience that truly stirs the soul. Step down – way down – into the seats, and reach for the door handle that isn’t there, out of habit. In its stead is an alarmingly flimsy-looking leather door pull strap, which as any seasoned RS owner will tell you is required equipment for a motorsport-themed lightweight road car. Aside from the rather necessary manual window handle, the entire door panel is as flat and barren. This is but a faint clue as to what happens next.

2018 Erik Langerak Porsche 1973 911 RS Kermit-11

With little warning besides a mischievous twinkle in his eye, Pat clutches in, heaves the industrial shifter into first gear, and the car is catapulted down the road by a moving brick wall of glorious air-cooled noise and tire smoke. The invisible giant hand shoving us in the back doesn’t let up as Pat goes for second, and we are simply swatted toward the horizon. With an epic wail, the motor burns a hole in the consciousness through third gear and then fourth, accompanied by a palpable electricity in the air. This is driving at its purest and most raw, and it is impossible to get enough.

2018 Erik Langerak Porsche 1973 911 RS Kermit-27

It is quickly apparent that even with reduced compression, this 2.8L engine is absolutely ferocious, and has full use of all 300 rampaging German stallions lurking within. Pressing the long pedal results in such an instantaneous engine response, it would be easy to convince passengers that this powerplant is capable of mind-reading and uncanny prediction. While the exhaust note is decidedly raucous, there is a finely-tuned note of pure classic Porsche motorsport that only grows and swells as the revs increase. The flywheel must be made of plastic, because the tachometer needle spins around like a top.

2018 Erik Langerak Porsche 1973 911 RS Kermit-06

A corner approaches. Without hesitation, Pat turns in, and the front instantly follows. Thanks to its drastically reduced weight and the competition suspension setup, Kermit has entered the realm of telepathic when it comes to handling. Twisty bend after uneven surface after decreasing-radius turn, this 911 demonstrates the reflexes of a housefly detecting an imminent swat. Grip is prodigious, body roll is nonexistent, and even the rubbish road conditions commonly found in the northern Midwest hardly faze this green mosquito.

2018 Erik Langerak Porsche 1973 911 RS Kermit-24

It may escape the casual observer how heavy many of the inputs are compared to today’s whipped cream steering and fluffy shifting. There are no compromises, and thus no assists for ease of use. That anvil of a shift lever takes a hefty shove to move within the gearbox, pulling the steering wheel through a corner at low speed is like trying to convince an angry bear that it needs to leave your neck of the woods, and the clutch pedal will not budge without most of your body weight crashing down on it. However, and you probably saw this coming, the end result more than justifies the effort it takes to get there.

2018 Erik Langerak Porsche 1973 911 RS Kermit-40

The car pulls into a quiet area and the photographer, a bit green himself from the ride, hops out and scrambles around in the fading sunlight to get the best angles. Even stationary, it bristles with excitement.

Coming from modern machinery, it is a true joy to rediscover all the amazing attributes that make a classic 911 such a pleasure. The noise, watching the front fenders to accurately place the front wheel during cornering, the noise, vivid amounts of steering feedback, utter simplicity and driving priority. Have I mentioned the noise?

2018 Erik Langerak Porsche 1973 911 RS Kermit-07
2018 Erik Langerak Porsche 1973 911 RS Kermit-09

Despite its unmistakeable motorsport qualities, Pat never raced the car in any way, its longest journey having been to Road America in Elkhart Lake and back to Madison. “At this point, I’m nearly to my 60th birthday, and it is time for something different,” laughs Pat in his easy way. “But there’s something about this car that will also be very difficult to part with. Even with the stiffer ride around town, it just puts a smile on my face every time I get behind the wheel.”

We all can relate to that. He notes everything the next owner will receive, including the Certificate of Authenticity from Porsche indicating its birth as a 1973 911E listing the vehicle and the optional equipment. Along with at least 20 pages of receipts for parts at over 30 lines per page, Pat will ensure whoever owns this machine in the future will have thorough documentation of its journey and upkeep.

2018 Erik Langerak Porsche 1973 911 RS Kermit-44

All too soon, the encounter with Kermit is over, and we reluctantly concede that grabbing the keys and heading for the border would not be a wise move. With his usual smile and wave, Pat roars off on a wave of mechanical symphonica, leaving me positively green with envy.

Erik Langerak
Instagram: cineframestudio

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33 comments

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1

Absolutely beautiful car, simple perfection inside and out. Though, I can't be the only one in thinking this... But I hate when I see a car so well done running such shit tires...

2

First thing I noticed as well... These are some of the cheapest all seasons you can buy. Car looks great, unfortunately it probably doesn't get driven hard.

3

amazing how people can put all this time and money into a car and still cheap out on the only thing that comes in contact with the road. Jeez...

4

For what it's worth... I have two sets of wheels for my car with different types of tires on them. By the time the car is back on the ground and each nut is torqued to spec, it takes a whole fifteen minutes to swap them out.

5

I would like to make an offer if you are serious about selling it. How do I get in touch with you?

6

I hope that wasn't directed at me. Sorry for the confusion, I'm not the owner, I just meant to point out that the owner can't be judged based on the pictured tires. Maybe he just wanted something more suitable for in-town driving. Cheap tires are perfect for that, if the car sees a lot of mileage.

7

Incredible car! God I love Porsches!!!!! Gonna rob a bank so I can get a look me green GT3!(Just kidding about the bank thing! I worked for the Feds. before). But I am going to get my Porsche! You guys should fly to New Jersey and do a story/photo shoot about Paul Miller Porsche. One of the biggest dealerships on the planet! They've got a 1973 2.7 RS in the showroom.

8

r u you a cop david?

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9

Postman...

10

this make me miss her (old pic) :(

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11

I love vintage Porsches!

12

All that tantalizing prose about the sound, and nary a video clip?! What a tease!

13

Is there a link to his ad? I ain't buying it, but I'm interested in what he lists it for...

14

Just curious, are all Porsches set up with the fuel delivery like that from the top of the air cleaner housing?

15

Those aren't fuel lines, the fuel line is hard line which you can see coming from what looks like either an injection pump or fuel metering block. Those are probably some sort of breather lines.

16

Looks more like some sort of meth/water injection set up. There wouldn't be a need for breathers coming out the top of air filters...

17

If you wanted even vacuum you would place one over each throttle body. That way you would have constant vacuum on something with individual runners. This is just a guess but it's not a very complicated system.

18

Not complicated, just the parts list is confusing. The air filters breathe enough. Those little nipples are't gonna breathe more than the massive surface area of the filter element. Can we get a third opinion. I obviously don't know shit about what they're doing...when you say you're guessing, that makes two of us.

19

Breather like for a catch can, it pulls vacuum to ventilate the crank case. This is only a guess but if you want good vacuum, you would run your line to a shared manifold or in the case of individual runners, a shared air filter such as this. This would be the most effective way.

20

You're not making a lot of progress here with convincing me. Pulling vacuum only works when there's no vacuum leak. That's the definition of creating vacuum pressure. Pull your sock off and stick it up to your mouth. K, now go back to your bowl of cereal and suck the milk... the sock plays the role of the air filter in this story.

21

im not sure if you are trolling or if you really don't understand how vacuum works. If you really are curious, research positive crank ventilation and oil catch cans and you will understand what I am referring to.

22

I don't know what trolling is. I don't need research to tell me you don't relieve crank case pressure from the air filter housing. Any crank case breather I've installed draws from the intake manifold, or the valve cover. Porsche's are obviously different from American V8s, what I'm used to. But nowhere in a logical sense would you be able to pull positive pressure from what you're telling me. The carbs are pulling vacuum to draw in air/ fuel mixture. That means sucking in. Crank case pressure blows out... I didn't research anything to know that dude. This conversation has no need to continue, unless there is someone reading this who can answer the original question...

23

Lol, like I said, do a little research. Crank case pressure is generally pulled from the valve covers via vacuum, vacuum from somewhere in the intake system. Probably somewhere near the throttle bodies... Maybe close to the airfilters...somewhere near a vacuum source... Hint hint

24

I woke up and realized we're probably talking about the same thing. At first it seemed you were contradicting yourself. I didn't put it together since it made no sense to me that a guy who spent probably close to 200k building a car, would allow the crank case puke to contaminate the induction system. If that's the case, he's pulling the pressure from somewhere else, SHOULD have a catch can, then go to the air intakes... right? Even then, that only really works when you control the air intake, like an OEM style enclosed box, which that one is not. I thought back to the big round Chevy air filter housing with the PCV hose coming from the valve cover. Which was fine, but filthy and not ideal for performance.

I have two motors with IR intakes, one with four Webers, and one electronic injection. I sure as fu@k will NOT be squirting puke into the carbs, so the venting will be pulled by the exhaust. The injection manifold has a vacuum port, and will bypass the induction as well.

The reason for all that is shed some light on why that system didn't make sense to me based on what you were saying.

Sorry for coming off out of pocket.

25

You really sound like sound coming out of a flap on the side of someone's neck.

26

If they're breathers, that system seems overly complicated with all the fittings, hose sections, clamps and pressure rated lines...weird.

27

So glad to see a classic styled car without any RWB-Rocketbunny-fender-flares stuff. Wonderful car.

28

2200 lbs? The Elise, the Exige, the Elan, the Europa, the Seven, the Elite, and probably some other Lotus' would, in fact, take that. And beat it.

29

You’re right.
Not only that, but you’d probably be more likely to tell the tale.

Chris Harris recently wrecked a 911 which demonstrates that those cars are a handful for even PROFESSIONALS. In the hands of most people, they’re death machines.

Just for giggles, check out Wreckedexotics(dot)com. I thought Nissans would have tons of posts with their RWD platforms and the GTR...and they had about 441. In comparison, Lotus had 368.

Porsche: 2,950!!!
OVER HALF are 911s.

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30

Really enjoyed this article. Great photos and exceptionally well written! Beautiful car!!!!

33
ReallyForeverAlone

Such a beautifully written article! Reminds me of evoUK's style of writing in how the car makes the author *feel*. Sublime work!

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