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The Porsche market at Monterey

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Article by Rob Sass
Lead photo courtesy Mecum

This year, a particularly nervous group of car collectors eyed the six auctions that took place before the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for clues about the current state of the market. The answer turned out to be more upbeat than most expected. At about $327 million all-in, it wasn’t that far below the $328 million tallied last year. The slide that started in 2015 seems to be leveling out.

The Porsche market held few surprises with a couple of notable exceptions. The ex-Jo Siffert 917K sold at Gooding & Company for just about in the middle of its pre-sale estimate of $12 to $16 million at $14,080,000 (including buyer’s premium). No surprise there. In the solid surprise category, was the 1951 356 split-window 1500 coupe that RM sold for $1.1 million. Two bidders simply had to have it, and splitting it down the middle wasn’t an option. Hence, this result that was at least a third above market. It was business as usual in the rest of the 356 market with C coupes and Speedsters remaining strong (although it seems for a Speedster to pull much above $300,000 today, it needs to be A) perfect, or B) barn-fresh.

Long-hood 911s and 912s seem to have stabilized. The days of $300,000+ early-S cars seems to be over for now. Driver-quality, entry-level, no-stories 911Ts seem to start at around $50,000 to $60,000 with 912s in slightly nicer condition starting at around that price.

Like anything else, the moment that great, low-mileage G50 3.2 Carreras started to bring close to $60,000, a ton of inferior examples hit the market. Mecum in particular seemed to have a ton of very average Carreras with 150,000+ miles. Sellers who were ready to cut their cars loose at market value (high-twenties) sold their cars. Others who held out for more were happy to visit their cars in the “Bid Goes On” lot. 

The transaxle market was tough to get a handle on. There weren’t really enough cars to make an assessment. Although Mecum pulling $20,000 for a 1987 924S and Worldwide doing $50,000 for a super-low-miles 944 Turbo were hopeful signs.

The 930 Turbo market seems to have settled down as well. It takes a great early Turbo Carrera to crack $200,000 at the moment. ’80s gray-market Turbos can be had for under $75,000 and late-’80s US cars are back in the $85,000 to $115,000 range, which seems sensible.

Late-model GT cars were all over the board. Some sold well, some seemingly cheap, and some others not selling at all. RM got $407,000 for a 2011 GT3 RS 4.0, a shade under the low estimate of $420,000. Russo and Steele failed to move a 2016 911R with essentially delivery miles. It was bid to almost double the MSRP at $320,000, where it failed to meet reserve.
RM smashed the pre-sale estimate of $1.2 to $1.6 million for a 2015 918 Spyder, selling it for over $1.8 million. 

In all, the auctions presented a hopeful sign for the Porsche market and the classic car market as a whole. Little talk remains of a bubble, with the market having performed an almost textbook soft landing. Stability and the return of a bit more of a buyer’s market is possibly in the cards. This winter might be an ideal time to go shopping, particularly for a long-hood 911T or E or a great 911 SC or 3.2 Carrera. We’ll check in again on the market in Scottsdale in January of 2018.

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