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Mark Sumpter

Sales debate: Why are Porsche 930 prices so varied?

When revising our market value indicators in the Data File for issue 134, we noticed that it has become increasingly difficult to label the trends in the Porsche 930 market. Compared to most other iterations of the Zuffenhausen’s darling sports car, prices of classic 911 Turbos are incredibly varied. But, why is this so? We consulted the experts to find out.

“I think mainly because of the condition,” Mark Sumpter, proprietor of independent specialist, Paragon, asserts. “They were unloved cars for so long that most of the examples that we look at are beyond help.

So, the best cars are worth more than double (almost triple) what the cheapest cars are worth.” Sumpter points out that this may have something to do with Turbos historically falling into the hands of “the tuner type market.”

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Another factor that maintains the large gulf in 930 prices is the particularly high cost of classic 911 Turbo restorations compared to other models, something both Sumpter and JZM’s sales manager, Russ Rosenthal acknowledge.

The duo point out that the market naturally favours the very earliest and very latest 930s, as “those are the cars that are always going to rise to the top in terms of value,” the latter confirms.

“But they all cost the same to restore.” Even after restoration however, Rosenthal explains that many people continue to favour unrestored cars, something Sumpter gives an example of.

“If you found a 50,000-mile car (like an ’89), it’s around £100,000. That wouldn’t be the best car but it would be nice, without any corrosion,” Paragon’s founder explains.

930 3.0 TurboPorsche

“We recently sold a very low mileage ’88 (so, four-speed) car for £125,000 but it had never been restored, so it was very special.” Rosenthal believes that this preference for unrestored examples is a result of the 930’s current age.

“It’s a tricky age,” he explains. “Anything pre-impact bumper will undoubtedly have had some form of restoration, whereas with 930s it’s not inconceivable that you could buy a completely time warp example.”

While there may only be a few examples available in a year, the possibility will keep, in Rosenthal’s words, “pushing the spread” between cheapest and most expensive. With the abnormally high number of low-quality cars and the expense of even minor restorations, it looks like we have found our reasons for the gulf in 930 values.

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Sales debate: Why aren’t 3.0 RS prices significantly higher than 2.7 RS values?

Compared to the iconic 2.7 RS, the 3.0-litre Rennsport (built by Porsche in 1974) was lighter, bigger and more powerful. According to Autofarm’s sales and heritage director, Josh Sadler, the 3.0 RS is also “a better car to drive without question.”

Yet, when it comes to comparing the values of these two Rennsport heroes, the 1974 RS doesn’t enjoy a significant premium over its predecessor. In fact, in some instances, a 2.7 RS Lightweight will actually command more in the current market. We asked Sadler and Paragon’s proprietor, Mark Sumpter, for their opinions.

“Personally, it doesn’t make sense that the 3.0 RS is not valued higher,” Sadler says. “But it is more obscure and less well known,” he continues, pointing out that the 3.0-litre car is “only really appreciated by purists”.

Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 RS

The classic 911 expert notes that the 2.7 RS is “always the 911 that appears in the magazines and top ten lists” too, adding to its perceived cachet.

Sumpter agrees, saying that the 2.7 RS/3.0 RS situation is seen elsewhere in the Porsche world. “It’s a bit like the 356 thing: they know the Speedster, but they don’t know the other cars. The 2.7 RS gets all the publicity,” explains the Paragon man. “Up until recently I haven’t really read much about the 3.0-litre RSs.”

However, it isn’t just a case of the 3.0 RS being too rare. “The 2.7 is arguably the prettier car,” adds Sadler. Analysing it further, Sumpter points to the 2.7’s “pure bumper shape” as opposed to the 3.0-litre’s “chunkier, clumsy look.”

911 Carrera 3.0 RS interior

Autofarm’s sales and heritage director feels that “in a market driven by emotion”, the 2.7 RS’s aesthetics have played a large role in its stratospheric rise in values, while Sumpter feels that, maybe, 3.0 RS prices have been stymied by “people feeling it’s too racy for them.”

So if the 3.0-litre Rennsport doesn’t get the attention it really deserves, where should values sit for this super-rare RS? Sumpter has the last say, feeling that with 2.7 RS Lightweights currently fetching around £800,000, a 3.0 RS should be worth “at least 20 per cent more”. Will we see them rise that high? Anything is possible in this market.

For market advice on any generation or style of Porsche 911, check out our full selection of sales debates, where we ask the 911 experts the pertinent market questions so you don’t have to.

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Paragon Porsche

Porsche specialists are a wide and diverse species. If you wish to get analytical about it, you could create a flowchart of genres, subgenres and artisans of Porsche, each one a subspecies known for a particular talent. It could be sales, service, race teams, air-cooled, water-cooled, bodywork, or engine specialists.

I’ve visited quite a few Porsche specialists in the past 12 months and it’s remarkable that a single marque can have so many diversifications. So I find it all the more remarkable that Paragon Porsche encompasses pretty much all the areas I’ve mentioned above.

Started 22 years ago by Mark Sumpter, Paragon has grown organically from two enthusiasts with a passion for retailing older Porsche 911s into a thriving dealership with a varied stock list covering anything from a classic 356 right through to the latest 991 series, together with a busy workshop and a professional race team capable of winning multiple championships.

So it’s fair to say they’re doing something right. The obvious question is how do they do this with what is a relatively small team? Jamie Tyler explains: “I guess it’s because we each specialise in a certain area, but we also integrate our skills.”

“For example, these days I’m mainly responsible for sourcing the newer cars for stock, while Mark (Sumpter) is spending a lot of time out on the road tracking down the older classics. But we’re talking all the time and the combination of having a ‘field agent’ able to move quickly plus someone here at base works really well.”

Paragon Porsche 2

The first thing to talk about is the current marketplace and how Paragon has fared in the current climate. It’s clear that Jamie knows his Porsche audience well: “We stock cars from £10,000 upward, so we start at, for example, a really well cared-for early Boxster.”

“Right now, the 997 series are superb value for money. The interesting thing about current Porsche 997 buyers is that this car is attracts people who have never considered a Porsche 911 before and are certainly not the traditional enthusiasts or track drivers. They are new to Porsche 911 ownership.”

“Often we find they’ve been driving past our showroom for years, but never thought they could own a Porsche. But now they see a 997 Carrera as a perfectly viable alternative to buying a brand-new car in the same price range and they plan to drive it every day.”

What about the collectable Porsche price hysteria sweeping the world right now? “Classic, limited-numbers 911s will always sell, but there are a lot of owners putting cars on consignment with dealers and speculating. So not all the prices being asked are a true reflection of what’s achieved.”

“While we will always ask a market value for any classic Porsche, we don’t undertake consignment sales and we own all our stock. So you could say we’re more realistic as we’re motivated to constantly turn over our stock and search out new cars.”

Paragon Porsche 3

Another element of a dealership that owns all of its stock is car preparation. “It means there’s no ambiguity in what is included in a sale. The cars are all prepared ready to go before they’re put on display, so customers are not retrospectively listing items that require attention.”

“Once we own it, each car goes through the same process of preparation, so by the time a customer is presented with it, it’s ready to be driven away.”

Indeed, Paragon includes a 12-month or 12,000- mile warranty with each sale and the next due service is done, regardless of where the car is in its service schedule.

Jamie introduces me to service manager Pete Twyman. He’s been with Paragon for six years and has 20 years of experience of both Porsche and sister marque VAG. We talk about his small but capable team of four technicians and the race team.

“The four guys here do everything. Throughout any weekday, they could cover anything from routine servicing on a 997 Carrera through to a 356 engine build all the way to loading the truck and departing for a race weekend.”

Paragon Porsche 4

In fact, the Paragon race team is one of the strongest in Porsche Classic and Porsche Club racing, with Mark Sumpter and team-mate Adrian Slater regularly at the front end in their pair of Baylis & Harding-sponsored Paragon 964 race cars.

Paragon built its first racing car in 1994, a 1978 SC that competed in the Classic Porsche Championship. Since that time, they’re raced continually, with notable successes including the British GT championship in 2000 and back-to-back victories in the Silverstone Britcar series in 2007 and 2008.

However, second-place position in the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hour Group C support race in a Porsche 962 must surely be a highlight of the team’s achievements to date.

The 2014 season saw a pair of immaculate Porsche 964s competing in the Porsche Club Championship, the car’s superior agility often beating the more powerful 996 C2s, with a double win at Rockingham showing how the 964 chassis is still a contender.

Talking to Pete, we discuss the usual trends and the popular subjects of engines. Have they seen significant engine issues? “Certainly not significant in terms of the volume of them, no. The internet jungle drums do the cars a disservice. That’s not to say we’ve never seen any.”

Paragon Porsche 5

Company profile
Owner:
 Mark Sumpter
Founded: 1993
Location: Five Ashes, East Sussex, UK
Rarest 911 sold: Porsche 997 Sport Classic
Most common 911 sold: Porsche 996 Carrera
Most expensive 911 sold: 2.7 RS at over £300,000
Interesting fact about the business: Paragon takes its specially prepared 964s racing at the weekend, and owner Mark is a former British GT champion

“We’ve rebuilt several water-cooled cars, but the common theme with significant failures is that the owners let small faults germinate until a terminal failure occurred. We’ve often caught the RMS before anything bad happens. It probably sounds like we’re trying to drum up business, but regular oil and fluid changes pretty much ensure reliability.”

Surely it must be a diverse working day at Paragon after main dealer life? “I love it,” Pete says. “Some people will probably find it odd, but I can get as much satisfaction from coordinating an entire week’s routine servicing for regular customers, with everything being in the right place at the right time, as I do from hearing a classic Porsche 356 engine fire up in the workshop for the first time after many years of being dormant.”

Many people go through life working jobs they hate, only working to pay the bills. However, the Paragon guys have a working life they’re passionate about, a life that goes far beyond normal work.

The motor trade can sometimes be a cynical place, but when you have a small team like Paragon, people with diverse skill sets and decades of experience working continuously for the same company, you know there’s something very good happening there.

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Sales debate: Are there any classic Porsche 911s to avoid?

For the last few years, air-cooled 911 prices have been rising across the board, from the 2.0-litre short-wheelbase Porsches that started the legend to the swansong era cars of the 993.

With the market driven particularly vigorously by the 50th anniversary two years ago, all ilk of classic 911s seem to be providing sure-fire returns. But, is such a sweeping statement actually true? Or are there classic 911s to avoid at the moment?

“No, I don’t think there is an early 911 to avoid,” Lee Maxted-Page, proprietor of Maxted-Page & Prill confirms. “It’s all moving up (at slightly different rates). I think buying anything is a wise investment on both a personal and a financial level.” Maxted-Page points out that certain cars may have already started to level out price-wise however, he “certainly can’t see any going down [in value]”.

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Another seasoned Porsche expert, Mark Sumpter – head of independent specialist, Paragon – confirms “there is not one to avoid.” However, he explains how “we’re starting to see gaps between certain models”. With air-cooled Porsche prices seeing huge premiums, buyers are less willing to compromise on specification, something Sumpter feels will cause a divide in the market.

“Look at 964s, for instance. All [Carreras] were always about the same price. If you draw a line in the sand at some point in the past, when they were £15,000, it didn’t matter if the car was a Targa Tiptronic or a manual Coupe.”

“Now you’re starting to see bigger differences between things like Tiptronics and manuals. Whereas this is currently 25 per cent, I reckon that it will be 100 per cent dearer [in a few years],” Sumpter continues. “I think that a 964 Carrera 2 Coupe manual will soon be a £60,000 car, and a Tiptronic will be £30,000.”

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Another big differentiator is the quality of the cars. Both Maxted-Page and Sumpter agree that condition and history will have an effect on your investment in the long term.

“Buyers are becoming more selective again, meaning that the best examples are still selling for top prices but that lesser cars are being valued, quite rightly, for less,” Maxted-Page explains.

With many people deciding to hang onto their air-cooled 911s at the moment, the problem therefore isn’t choosing which classic model to invest in. Instead, it is sorting the wheat from the chaff and ensuring that you buy the best possible example.

For market advice on any generation or style of Porsche 911, check out our full selection of sales debates, where we ask the 911 experts the pertinent market questions so you don’t have to.

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Sales debate: Which 911 will steal the limelight in 2015?

The Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 RS was the car of 2013, while last year saw the Porsche 964 RS shoot up in value. Total 911 asks renowned Porsche experts, Mark Sumpter (Managing Director of Paragon) and Jonathan Franklin (General Manager of Hexagon Modern Classics) which 911 they think will star in 2015.

“Well, 993 GT2s have already gone [up],” begins Sumpter. “The 996 GT2 should [appreciate rapidly] as that’s a sleeper at the moment. If you leave the craziness of the air-cooled stuff behind,” Sumpter feels the first water-cooled GT2 is well placed to rocket in value.

“It’s a super-rare car and they’ve gone from £40,000-50,000 to £50,000-70,000 [in 2014]. But, if an air-cooled GT2 is £600,000, how can a 996 GT2 be a tenth of the price?”

993 RS Comfort

Franklin explains that the effect of the 993 GT2 is sure to be felt in the Porsche market next year, though he believes it will be another 993 that benefits. “We’re seeing GT2s going north of £750,000.

The 993 Carrera RS has got the same seam-welded chassis and a lot of people seem to appreciate the naturally aspirated engine more.”

Therefore, Hexagon’s General Manager feels the last-aircooled Rennsport is well placed to soar into the stratosphere in 2015. With the added cachet of their rarity, the 993 RS – that currently sits “somewhere between £200,000-£250,000, with Clubsports up at about £300,000” – could be touching £500,000 in the next few years according to Franklin.

993 RS Clubsport

“People are looking at Porsches in a big way because they can’t afford a Ferrari anymore,” he explains. “There’s big interest in low-number cars.”

So, will it be air-cooled or water-cooled that thrives at the top end of the market this year? Either way, as 993 GT2s force upward, something will be dragged along.

As Sumpter remarks, “What tends to be happening is, as one 911 goes [up in value] it makes another one look cheaper.” Therefore, whichever 911 hits the headlines this year, its successor in the money stakes won’t be far behind.

For market advice on any generation or style of Porsche 911, check out our full selection of sales debates, where we ask the 911 experts the pertinent market questions so you don’t have to.

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