Journal: Have We Reached Peak Porsche?

Have We Reached Peak Porsche?

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November 5, 2015
34 comments

Photography by Alexander Bermudez, Gil Folk, Ezekiel Wheeler, & Christies

Let me start this off by saying that I love Porsche. I daily drive my father’s ’76 911S (with a 3.2-litre Carrera swap). It’s the only car I own, and I treat it like my first born son. I was brought home from the hospital in a Porsche, driven to soccer practice in a Porsche, worked on ad campaigns for Porsche, and stripped gears in a Porsche. It’s without question the single marque that’s had the most impact on my life, and here I sit, scrolling through baffling auction house predictions.

My father purchased our ’76 in 1990 for $5,000. Right now, Hagerty Insurance has it valued just north of $70,000. As of this typing, Hemmings and Classic Driver have auction listings for ’73 911s with estimates approaching, and likely exceeding, a quarter of a million dollars apiece. 2.7 RS models have been fetching north of $1 million for well-maintained examples. Though the prices seem a bit dear, it’s nothing out of line for what these models have been valued at for quite some time, so it’s likely these examples will get close to their estimates.

For what it’s worth, companies like Hagerty that provide valuation tools do indicate these prices should stop rising so sharply, a fact further emphasized by our friend Hannah Elliott’s astute observation that a certain Steve McQueen fondled 911 just failed to sell at Christie’s.

So where do we go from here? Am I going to live to see the day that a ’76 911S—my ’76 911S—fetches $500,000, like some of these 356s are bringing down? Or are we headed back to sane territory?

Where do you think the secondary Porsche market is headed? Sound off in the comments below. 

 

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sbartmess
sbartmess
6 years ago

I got lucky, but I had some foresight. I bought my 356 C Cabriolet 20 years ago this year for $13,500 as a college graduation present to myself. It was the most I could borrow on a “personal loan”. It was barely worth that much at the time (mid west car with bondo). A wise old man passed on buying it and said to me, “It’s a young man’s car, buy it, but do it correctly and you will be rewarded. Do not screw this up”. He was right. in 2014 I finally finished a 12 year restoration (life got in the way). Finishing the car was hastened by these rising prices. I spent the final bucks to take this thing to completion because it was becoming so valuable. Now it’s complete and flawless and 1st class all around but it’s nerve wracking to drive and park the car in the open because of these values. The smile I have on my face is the same whether it was a $13,500 ’20 footer’, or a $250,000 show piece. It would be nice if more people could spend $13,500 for the smiles. I wouldn’t change anything in my story, but I think there are enough people out there who could appreciate it the way I do, but it’s out of reach for them.

Ed Turner
Ed Turner
6 years ago

I think the bubble will burst which is good for genuine drivers and enthusiasts, not collectors.
We are seeing lots of over priced tat in the UK, and even the good ones are now dropping in value due to been for sale for over 12 months!!
I’ve owned 12 911’s and sold a lot of them due to the sheer worry of driving them. When this happens the enjoyment disappears

Nicolas Astras
Nicolas Astras
6 years ago

LOL, I suppose the 996 will be a collectors item too some day, just like the Dino, 308 GT4, Porsche 356, and trends with the 912’s, once panned, now loved…….. Buy the early cars (with the better dual row IMS!) because they’ll mark the Significant turning point in Porsche history where water cooled performance was first embraced. For only pennies on the dollar now, right? 😉

Mark Yarrish
Mark Yarrish
6 years ago

Selfishly I hope we do have a market correction. I feel lucky to have picked up a ’65 356 C in 2009, as prices were rising. Today I could not buy another one given the current market. I am just old enough to remember when the 356 prices were at the bottom. In 1988 my Dad bought a ’57 A coupe for $4500, and I was short enough to ride home in the back seat! It doesn’t excite me to see prices rising so fast, I didn’t buy a 356 to make money. I think we all need to take a page out of Matt Hummel’s book.

http://petrolicious.com/this-porsche-356-is-driven-against-the-grain

Tom Molter
Tom Molter
6 years ago

While the rest of you are debating the future prices of the 911, I think that I’ll go for a nice country drive in my ’73 T. Cheers!

Takudzwa Munyaradzi Maramba
Takudzwa Munyaradzi Maramba
6 years ago

The muscle car boom of the earlier part of this century is a good parallel of this situation. There has to be a moment when someone is asked to pay a price that is on the far side of sane and says “F**k you, I’m out.” This has to happen, and happen in large enough numbers for Peak Porsche to be a thing, be cause if not, someone’s soon going to be paying $2 million for a beat-on 72 911E with a shot fuel distributor and we will all laugh at him.

Thomas Seydoux
Thomas Seydoux
6 years ago

Christie’s was led to believe that the car had belonged to Steve McQueen while actually it was purchased by his production company for the leading actress of “Le Mans”. Provenance was still great but the high estimate could no longer be justified so it failed to sell.

Has the market confirmed that a great condition 2.2T shouldn’t be worth close to 300’000$? yes, and thank god for that.

Xavier Corral
Xavier Corral
6 years ago

Im seeing the same thing happen with my beloved Buick Grand National. When I was 17 I had the opportunity to purchase one for $8000 but I shied away and went to college instead. A year ago I purchased one in similar condition for 18k. This year I was offered 25,000 by a collector in town. He told me I was ruining the car and its value because I daily drive it and at the time I met him I had my dog in the passenger seat happily soaking in the AC. I could give a rats behind the value of the car. But as the years go on I forsee myself feeling worse and worse about enjoying the thing and driving it.

Keith Kenitzer
Keith Kenitzer
6 years ago

The climbing value of long hood 911’s /912’s has been both a blessing and a curse for me. I have owned my 66 912 since the early 80’s. I purchased it for $4000, put another $2000 into “fixing it up” and drove it a year before it developed a huge, gushing oil leak. I decided I had to keep it because I had more money invested in it than I could sell it for, and because who knows when I could afford another Porsche, so I parked it at my parents home and planned to fix it as soon as I could and get it back on the road. Student loans, starting a business, getting married and starting a family, raising kids, etc., etc. all created a situation where I just didn’t have the time or disposable resources to fix it. Now nearly 35 years later it’s still sitting in my garage and I am finally getting around to “fixing” it. With values where they are now, I can actually do a proper restoration and not end up upside down when I am done, provided I do most of the work myself – the blessing. Unfortunately, with the rising values of 911’s, the parts that I will need to purchase have likewise exploded in cost – the curse. Once I am done, I think it will be worth a significant amount of money, at least to me, but I don’t plan to sell it, so really the rising values ultimately mean nothing to me. All that said, I thing values have peaked. Most enthusiasts already have their cars, most investors have already purchased and sold their cars at a nice profit and now the flippers are trying to cash in but are learning they are a little to late to the game. As it’s written in Ecclesiastes, “to everything there is a season” and I think production Porsche’s, (except the rare and special cars) have had their season.

Norman Johnson
Norman Johnson
6 years ago

I purchased my 1977 911S in 2013. To me my Porsche 911 was long in coming and was based solely on unabashed automotive lust. Unfortunately for new enthusiasts’ the automotive “investors” have latched onto the previously undervalued air cooled Porsche 911’s inducing market value hyper inflation. The problem we all face now is when will these “investors” sense a market peak? When this happens everyone panics and bails out at the same time.
Will we see a solid low mileage 911SC selling for under $20k sometime in the future? Will $40-$60k will become the new norm for a 911SC? Maybe.. or maybe not? I personally do not care because it will be my kids that will have to deal with it’s value when my time comes (hopefully that is another 20+ years). My only regret was not buying one sooner!

Mike Anderson
Mike Anderson
6 years ago

Last year I bought a 997, and almost every day I’ve wondered if I should have spent that money on an air-cooled car instead. On one hand it’s great to have a valuable car, but on the other hand, I don’t really want a Porsche that I’m afraid to drive.

Nate
Nate
6 years ago

Because so many people are jumping on the fad of modifying them, I believe the prices will continue to climb for stock or near stock examples. Not as drastically as they have been but I don’t think they will go down in value any time in the foreseeable future.

Douglas Anderson
Douglas Anderson
6 years ago

Gawd i can only hope so !
Having been blessed with the opportunity to own two 356 models and one 911 Targa ( with the dreaded plastic back window)
I loved all of them and would gladly trade a limb or other body parts to have them back , but sadly as a retired elderly gentleman they have all gone in to crazy price land.
Me thinks the market will correct itself soon ( like it did with certain specific Italian brands) a few years ago.
Perhaps a more sane and just market place will allow a real sports car that can be driven on a daily basis ,
or at least regularly ,to come back to a more affordable level and more of us can once again re-live a bit of our youth 🙂

JB21
JB21
6 years ago

I’ve been thinking, and I don’t agree. I can’t really see how the mad-market of the ‘classic’ cars would sort itself out. The current market is fueled, definitely, by nostalgia, but there’s something a bit weird. Like there’s some sort of fear (that may or may not be entirely unreasonable) that’s driving the prices of the cars like 911, or anything particularly before, I don’t know, pre 2000, maybe. It’s like, the first, that the anything that runs on petrol, and there’s a sense that sooner or later, every internal combustion engine vehicle would become collectible artifacts. And the second, there’s this almost universal feeling that the cars are not going to get any better, we peaked it in some ways. It doesn’t mean that the cars are not better today as in “better,” but once you define “good” as in the way a lot of us here do – a joy of connecting with a machine and the pavement – then suddenly today’s cars are so complicated that there are way too much that get in the way between you and the machine and the pavement, and it suddenly looks like the best cars have already been made. The way I see it, today’s market reflects that. I bet nobody who pays $200k for low-millage SC would ever recoup the investment anytime soon, but at the same time, I cannot see the market (of any so-called classic) comes down to sane level.

Celio Garcera
Celio Garcera
6 years ago

The prices of the [url=”http://www.coc-europe.com/coc-porsche”]Porsche[/url] 911 will stabilize very soon. They might even go down at some point. It’s a generation’s thing. People who couldnt afford them when they were in their 20s, can finally afford them and are happy to pay ridiculous money to get their childhood dreams. But then, with a new generation coming through, to who are they going to sell their precious 1960 or 1970s cars? Certainly not to the new kids which are dreaming of getting cars from 80s or 90s…

Highnumbers
Highnumbers
6 years ago
Reply to  Celio Garcera

I wouldn’t jump to conclusions that an entire generation aren’t into 60s/70s cars. The reality is that many younger guys can’t [i]afford [/i] many cars from the 60s and 70s. As soon as prices are lower and their incomes are higher, I think plenty of young people will buy older cars….just not at the inflated prices we see today.

Jeremy DeConcini
Jeremy DeConcini
6 years ago

I certainly hope so, the 356 and 911 prices seem absolutely absurd for cars that aren’t that rare, and don’t perform that well (and yet I still think are great!) I wouldn’t mind trying to get a driver quality 356, but the Porsche market would have to crash pretty hard to get me interested again. I guess there are always the replicas….

Aaron Miller
Aaron Miller
6 years ago

What I’m interested in seeing is what happens to the [i]other[/i] Porsches. I.E. will the market climate have a sustained knock-on effect on otherwise “affordable” models? With 912s on the rise and 914-6s already getting up there, how long will it be before that 914-4 you can buy today for under $15,000 starts climbing up into the $80,000 range? How long before the price gap between air cooled and water cooled 911s starts to shrink?

Mark Bostic
Mark Bostic
6 years ago

New to the Porsche world, with a 99 Carrera, I thought the pristine example I bought was actually under priced for what I got. Even though it’s not the sought after air cooled 911 I dreamed of in my youth, It sports a great AC, trip computer, cruise control, and all of the creature comforts, the perfect daily driver. I consider it to be the perfect 911 entry point. I am sure that these cars will one day be as prized as the older models. Well maybe not that high. Not that it matters, though, I just enjoy every second I’m in it. I’m just so happy the other owner decided it was time to sell!

Martim Weinstein
Martim Weinstein
6 years ago

I’ve been dreaming of getting a 911 for quite some time now, but every time I’m ready to splurge, I find prices have gone up. I actually passed on buying a 930 for 30K€ that is now being sold at 100K€. Crazy. I’m now thinking of another car until the 911 bubble pops. Another 5 years of rising and stabilizing prices, then the fad will start to slow. Another 2-3 years after that and the market will be “flooded” with cheaper (but not cheap) 911’s.

e30for30
e30for30
6 years ago

I was fortunate enough to find a clean, 2-owner ’76 back in May for less than $20k. She needs some TLC, but is completely stock and the head studs are okay, so I’m happy with the purchase. While the wife indulges my passion for cars for the most part, we’re not wealthy by American standards, so showing her the trend in 911 values certainly helped me justify the purchase to her and that we probably wouldn’t get hurt if something bad happened and we needed to sell it. Yeah, she’s a keeper.

Regardless of what the future value of this car may be, I think I’ll follow Mr. Thompson’s advice: “…just forget about it and go for a drive.”

Words to live by.

George J
George J
6 years ago

Porsche built cars in relatively high volumes, they have moderate displacement and power, and have a humble cousin in VW so it is a bit surprising to see them at the current level. That being said I negotiated a high price for one this year because relative to other cars I would care to own (certain special Alfa and Ferrari) the Porsche was affordable. I plan to enjoy it, drive the heck out of it, and if I decide to make a change in a few years it will sell whatever the market is. The best early 911s, and S models and to a lesser degree E models will still be somewhat rare and the best of anything commands a premium. The population that actually grew up with prewar and early postwar cars is no longer a market force so only the best of those will be strong. The population that grew up with these cars and recall them fondly is large and there is a great deal of wealth there. As such I don’t see these going down a whole lot any time soon though I would not expect anything like the appreciation seen from 2012 to now.

George J
George J
6 years ago

Porsche built cars in relatively high volumes, they have moderate displacement and power, and have a humble cousin in VW so it is a bit surprising to see them at the current level. That being said I negotiated a high price for one this year because relative to other cars I would care to own (certain special Alfa and Ferrari) the Porsche was affordable. I plan to enjoy it, drive the heck out of it, and if I decide to make a change in a few years it will sell whatever the market is. The best early 911s, and S models and to a lesser degree E models will still be somewhat rare and the best of anything commands a premium. The population that actually grew up with prewar and early postwar cars is no longer a market force so only the best of those will be strong. The population that grew up with these cars and recall them fondly is large and there is a great deal of wealth there. As such I don’t see these going down a whole lot any time soon though I would not expect anything like the appreciation seen from 2012 to now.

Benjamin Shahrabani
Benjamin Shahrabani
6 years ago

I think the 50’s-70’s cars are going to stabilize, and flatten out, with the exception of some significant models – 73 RS, 67S, Speedsters – and the 80’s and 90’s cars are going to be on the rise.

Justin Harp
Justin Harp
6 years ago

With iconic Porsche cars like the 356 Speedsters easily showing up north of $300K I doubt the early long hood 911’s are going to see a drop anytime soon. Steve McQueen’s car not selling is not proof of anything except someone unwilling to pay a mark up on an old 911 just because it was celebrity owned.

JB21
JB21
6 years ago

Say, has anyone seen the Guitar Man lately here. Did he get ejected again?

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
6 years ago
Reply to  JB21

Either that, or he left by choice. No signs for a while now. 🙁

Nicolas Moss
Nicolas Moss
6 years ago
Reply to  JB21

Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one ruffled by this whole situation. I stand with you brother. And I’m sure GMan is here in spirit.

JB21
JB21
6 years ago

Growing up, I always dreamed of a 911. Grown up now, ‘ve been working hard for many many years, always was thinking “some day.” But every time I took a peek, air-cooled 911s price was going up and up and up, and you know what, when I finally had enough money for it, fuck, I gave up. You determine what its worth to you. To me personally, no air-cooled 911 is worth today’s asking price (it’s so mad that 912’s price is catching up with it, too, frankly, that’s even madder).

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
6 years ago

Values don’t concern me. I am more curious to know if your car passed the CA smog test. 😉

Nicolas Moss
Nicolas Moss
6 years ago

I totally hear you. Cali is turning into a special kind of hell for enthusiasts: great weather that allows our favorite cars to last forever, and laws that require OEM emissions equipment to work since 1975.

Fausto Gonçalves
Fausto Gonçalves
6 years ago

In my opinion, the peak has been reached (or is near to be). The prices may stall and probably in a year or two come down a bit… A lot of people who bought a 911 will probably sell it when a new trend arises

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
6 years ago

It doesn’t matter, you have your car, just forget about it and go for a drive.

Christopher Brown
Christopher Brown
6 years ago

Yes.