24 December 2014

Porsche Market Update: Here’s what’s hot

(Editor’s NoteHagerty valuation expert Rob Sass weighs in on the state of the Porsche market, with help from Mike Wastie, who runs the Projects Division of independent Porsche specialist Autofarm.)

The momentum that we’ve seen in the collector car market over the last several years has amounted to an almost unprecedented bull market. The bears aren’t out at this point, but in some places we are seeing a bit of a cooling trend. The Porsche market in particular deserves a close look.

Early 911s and 356s seem to be taking a bit of a breather at the moment with only the top condition examples of the rarest variants up perceptibly. Average condition cars have likely retreated about 10 percent. It may just be seasonal; time will tell, as will the upcoming Arizona auction orgy in the U.S. in January.

An exception to this cool down is the air-cooled Porsche turbo market. It’s incredibly active right now, with 930, 964 and 993 Turbos all up at least 100 percent or more this year. We’ve long predicted a rise in prices for early Porsche 930s, and that seems to have arrived with a vengeance, with the earliest cars from 1975-76 well over £100,000.

Where exactly are the bargains? They’re few and far between in the air-cooled world. It’s difficult to call 914s a bargain at their current price point, but they are the cheapest point of entry into the air-cooled Porsche world.  Savvy buyers who can tolerate LHD would have to look to the U.S., which remains the low-cost supplier of 911s to the world. Nice Californian 911 SCs and 3.2 Carreras can still be had in the high teens.

But for the most part, you have to go water-cooled to find a reasonably priced classic Porsche. If you can stand the upkeep bills, early 928s are looking particularly good at this point as are 944 Turbos and 968s. Even the 924 and 924 Turbo with its less-than-silky Audi four-cylinder are worth a look.

For Wastie, there are two cars that stand out with regard to potential collectability: the 924 Carrera GT and the 968 Club Sport. “Both are extremely special and are already sought after by collectors and enthusiasts,” he says.

But the strongest buy in the water-cooled Porsche world has to be the 996 Turbo. Tainted by the fiasco of exploding intermediate shaft bearings in the naturally aspirated 996, the Turbo doesn’t in fact use an intermediate shaft bearing and has proven to be quite robust. Eventually the market will figure out that these are close relatives to the brilliant and expensive 959 and the party will be over.

Wastie agrees. “I think there is a lot of potential with 996 and 986 Boxsters. They are around in good numbers and values are very low.”

As far as cars to avoid, Wastie says, “I would rather avoid cars with incomplete or inconsistent paperwork and history. A scruffy but honest car is often more interesting than a clean car with fresh paint if there is no history for the latter.” But, he adds, “I suppose if pushed for a particular model, then Autofarm doesn't have strong demand for Cabriolets with Tiptronics. I would also be very wary about any car where the vendor was reluctant to allow the car to be inspected. That would be concerning and
we would walk away.”

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