Now and then we hear about another so-called barn find; a rare car unearthed after being hidden away and lost for years. But it’s even better when we come across the story of a classic that has been used regularly and enjoyed just as its maker intended. One such car is this Guards Red 1992 911 (964) Carrera RS whose original owner was Ursula Piëch, the wife of Ferdinand Piëch, renowned grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, and former Chairman of the VW Group supervisory board.
Its present owner is British-born Stephen Murkett, who has run Porsche’s Cayenne and Panamera projects for many years. By an amazing stroke of coincidence, Murkett rode as a passenger in this very car when it was in the hands of its second owner, his colleague Matthias Kulla, another Royal College of Art graduate, who has been the director of sports car design management at Style Porsche since 2014. We picked up the story from the two friends.
“For a young designer at Porsche, the most important thing in life besides work is which Porsche he drives,” Kulla explains. “After various 944s I got into 964s, a coupe first then a Cabriolet. By this time I was hooked on these cars and wondered how the experience could ever be topped.” Then one day a young man walked into the design studio and said, “Hi, my name is Achim. How can I get a Porsche lease car as quickly as possible?” He was Achim Anscheidt, who went on to be the Design Director at Bugatti.
Kulla had a solution! “One of the first things you do when you arrive at Porsche is find out if there is a lease car available for you to use,” Kulla recalls. “The guy in charge looked at his stock list, but there was nothing particularly interesting around apart from what he described as a racing Porsche, a 964 RS with just 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) on the clock.” Anscheidt did not like the idea of a racing Porsche, but Kulla did!
“‘It does not make sense for us to sell it now,’ the leasing guy told me,” recalls Kulla, “so I asked him if I could have it as my company lease car. I actually had a 964 Carrera 2 Cabriolet on order, and ended up doing a swap with the delighted Achim.”
Then, Kulla found out that the previous custodian of the RS was Ursula Piëch. “I had been wondering about the unusual registration ‘S-UP 999.’ UP stood for Ursula Piëch,” says Kulla. “Other unique features of this particular car were rear seats and a normal 911 passenger seat finished in three shades of grey leather, just like the 959 Comfort. It also had a short-throw gearshift linkage, but with a very tall gear lever. While the gear ratios were very close, first was so tall it was good for 60 mph.”