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Cut price Porsches: is the 911 Turbo out of favour?

It’s no secret the Porsche marketplace has undertaken something of an adjustment in the last two years or so, with prices of used Porsche 911s falling across the board. However, a closer look at the stats shows it is the iconic 911 Turbo which has almost uniformly tumbled in the last 24 months.

So what’s going on? “There’s been a real correction in the marketplace since 2017,” says Tom Wood, market expert from Porsche specialists Ignition Classics, who also gives a pretty good outline of why prices got so high in the first place. “Prices were at such a point where lovers of the 911 were no longer the only customers for these cars. 2012 was when, I think, the ears of the public, the media and potential investors pricked due to the rise of ‘Porsche personalities’, resulting in the prospect of owning an old 911 being ‘cool’ and people started buying them and falling in love with them.

“As such, investors started to get onboard with the idea, without having any real, in-depth knowledge of what exactly they were buying. This lead to a sale of just about anything with a 911 badge on the back. The nature of supply and demand then took its hold and the values rocketed, leaving much of the enthusiast market left behind. 

“However, these sky high values needed to be corrected, and cars are coming back into the hands of enthusiasts – but they’re not prepared to pay those inflated prices of recent times.” 

Wood’s comments are reflected across the entire marketplace, with the 911 R losing around £150,000 in value since 2017, while the average 2.7 Carrera RS has shrank in value by £300,000. And what about those Turbos? “ The Turbo model isn’t exclusive to this but it’s certainly a good example, as we’ve seen first hand the deals needed to be done to get cars sold,” says Wood.

As we’ve said in Total 911 magazine all year, the good news is it’s truly a buyer’s market right now, with plenty of choice available. Which brings us to the wide band of values at present: “Prices are spread out considerably,” Wood concurs, who focusses on the 996 Turbo as a case in point. “You could still pay £50,000 for an immaculate, low-mileage manual Coupe, while at the other end of the scale, a high-mileage, Tiptronic example can be had for around £30,000. There are more than 22,000 996 Turbos worldwide, and lower mileage cars with good specs are harder to come by.” 

However, is the recent dip in Turbo prices the start of a long-term trend? “It’s speculation, but I think there’s potential that this icon for a generation of buyers is now going to be the icon of the past generation, which may have an impact on future prices.

“However, given the way the world is headed, with a stronger focus on an efficient, renewable power source to drive cars – plus the concept of autonomous driving – is there a place for an analogue machine requiring real driver input, and which comes with a noisy soundtrack? With absolute certainty there will be. We’ll return to the days where you purchase a classic 911 for the love of it, to drive it and own it for a few years, and selling will hopefully result in you getting your money back but without expecting more.”

Wood, like all our experts in our cut price Porsche special issue, says good cars are still selling and selling well, so it’s important to do your research and spend as much as you can on the best example you can, to avoid a scenario of having to pay big bills to put a bad car right.

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The engineering genius of Dr Ferdinand Porsche

In 2014 the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, celebrated its five-year anniversary by putting on display a car that, in truth, actually somewhat resembled a wooden wagon.

The vehicle had been discovered in an undisclosed Austrian warehouse a year earlier – a dusty, century-old creation that would have featured four seats, now missing; an open-air chassis that could be used in both summer and winter; an electric motor, also missing, and large wooden wheels that were wrapped with pneumatic tyres. Its official name was the Egger-Lohner electric vehicle, also known as the C.2 Phaeton model.

Most fascinating to the car world, however, was not the fact that a gem produced in 1898 and lost in 1902 could remain undiscovered for 112 years, but what happened to be stamped on the key components that still remained intact.

‘P1’, they read, the mark of one Ferdinand Porsche, and further affirmation that before the company that now bears his surname, before 911s and profit margins and even before ties to the Nazi Party, there was simply a man who was fascinated by the development of automotives – one who was willing to experiment with electricity as a means of doing so.

Born in 1875, Ferdinand Porsche’s interest in electricity stemmed back to his childhood in northern Bohemia – an area that was then part of Austria-Hungary and now falls under the Czech Republic. Porsche’s father, Anton, owned a workshop, and in his teenage years the younger Porsche would find himself helping his father by day, attending technical school by night.

At home Porsche was installing doorbells by 13 and experimenting with electrical lighting by 16 – a positive attitude that, with the help of a recommendation, landed him a job with the Vienna-based electrical company Bela Egger & Co. when he turned 18.

It was here in the Capital that Porsche’s formative work with the marvels of electricity began. Now with a day job that involved the medium, Porsche was able to attend occasional classes at a local university after work, which despite not ending with a formal education in engineering, saw Ferdinand develop the skills to produce an almost friction-free drivetrain by mounting electric motors in the front wheel hubs.

This work helped the engineer become his company’s head of testing before landing a job at Jakob Lohner & Co. in 1896. Previously Jakob Lohner had built coaches for the likes of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, but two years prior to Porsche’s arrival the company declared its interest in moving into automobiles.

Its first unveiling was the vehicle colloquially known as the P1. Weighing 1,359 kilograms, the 12-speed vehicle was mounted with an octagonal electric motor that was designed…

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Porsche officially retires 911 RSR

Porsche has officially retired the current incarnation of the 911 RSR. After three seasons, thirteen wins, 34 podium finishes and titles in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, along with victories at Le Mans and Sebring, the RSR will go down in motorsports history as one of the most successful Porsche race cars of all time.

In 2019, in IMSA competition, the RSR scored six GTLM class wins, including a record string of five in a row. Included in those wins were the endurance races at Sebring and Watkins Glen, as well as the sprint races at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Virginia International Raceway, Mid-Ohio and the streets of Long Beach, California.

Earlier in the season, Total 911 sat down with Earl Bamber to discuss the championship and the Porsche 911 RSR. “One advantage is that we have a flat six engine, which is better for weight distribution. Our car was designed to run to the limit of the rules. We all have idiosyncrasies, as we are a short wheelbase car which is better on a tight circuit whereas BMW is a long wheelbase car, which is better on a track with high speed corners, like Road America. Our car is well suited for the variety of tracks we run on in IMSA. You can’t be good everywhere. That’s why we do a championship, right?”

The Porsche 911 RSR proved to be the right tool for the job, both in the IMSA and in the FIA-WEC, where Porsche also won the drivers’ and manufacturers’ world championships.

Laurens Vanthoor, who shared driving duties with Earl Bamber all season in the #912 and won the drivers’ title with Earl, summed up his feelings at Petit Le Mans. “I came to Porsche three years ago. I finally got the chance to drive in the USA. It’s something I’ve always wanted. The IMSA series was completely new territory for me. I had to get used to the racetracks, the processes and the car. Now I’ve won the title with my friend Earl. For me personally, a dream has come true.”

Even though the #912 car and driving duo of Bamber and Vanthoor won the championship, the contributions of the #911 car and drivers should not be overlooked. Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet, the season long drivers of the #911, finished second in the championship, just a few points behind.

During the season, the #911 squad took wins at Sebring, Watkins Glen and Virginia International Raceway. The overall performance of the Porsche team was outstanding, as they defeated strong manufacturer efforts from Ford, Chevrolet, BMW and Ferrari to secure the IMSA GTLM championships.

Perhaps Frédéric Makowiecki, the third driver on the #911 car at Motul Petit Le Mans, summed it up the best. “It was a perfect season for Porsche. If you take home all the titles in the enormously competitive GTLM class, then it’s proof of perfect teamwork, strong performances in the cockpit and an extremely competitive car. The Porsche 911 RSR has enabled us to secure many victories. The new 911 RSR has some big shoes to fill next season.”

Total 911 awaits the start of the 2020 season at Daytona in January and the debut of the next generation of the venerable Porsche 911 RSR.

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3.2 Carrera Clubsport: the lightweight special

The proliferation of GT models over the last few years means we’ve arguably become a little spoilt when it comes to the concept of more focused, pared-back 911s. It was a rather more novel approach back in 1973 when the legendary 2.7 RS burst onto the scene, a model Porsche followed a year later with the much rarer 3.0 variant.

The SC RS continued Porsche’s burgeoning Rennsport tradition at the start of the 1980s, but the reality is it cannot be considered in the same vein as its predecessors. Just 21 were made, but it was also a pure competition car, unlike the homologated RS 911s of the 1970s. 

It would actually take until 1991 for the Rennsport badge to make a comeback on the decklid of a road-going Porsche 911 as we know it, this time attached to the 964.

That meant nearly a 20-year gap between these air-cooled homologation specials so coveted by enthusiasts today. There was, however, an attempt by Porsche between 1987 and 1989 to plug that gap with a lightweight special: the Clubsport

There was certainly space in the Carrera range of the time for something a little more focused, and with the 964 waiting in the wings it could be considered a fitting last hurrah before increasing modernity swept away many elements of 911 tradition. Even if it isn’t quite the real RS deal, this is a model that had more than a dusting of Rennsport magic, and today it’s a Total 911 favourite. 

Work on a prototype designated by Porsche as ‘911 F22 prototype sports package 2’ had begun in 1984, and it appeared on the road the following year featuring glass-fibre bumpers and the older 915 transmission, neither of which made it to the production version that would make its debut at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show two years later.

Initially aimed at those with an urge to participate in club-level racing and other track events, it would go on to make for a magical road car, albeit a rare one. Of the 340 made, just 53 would come to the UK, with a further 28 examples heading Stateside – yes, this is a lightweight special that was permitted for the American market. The majority of Carrera Clubsports – 169 – were produced in 1988.

Numbers like those should have ensured instant desirability, but rather to Porsche’s surprise the reality proved slightly different. Despite actually being cheaper than the 3.2 Carrera upon which it was based – not a strategy you could see Weissach embracing today, where less very much costs more – early sales were something of a struggle.

The reasons for this have never been fully explained, although it’s conceivable that the somewhat austere specification didn’t really chime with the period of 1980s excess, a time when the well-heeled wanted to flaunt their financial status with luxury cars. So what did ticking the option box marked ‘M637’ actually get a buyer for their £34,389?

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Legendary California Porsche Shop Benton Performance Suffers Fire Damage

If you don’t know him personally, allow me to tell you that John Benton is an incredibly kind person, a deeply devout Porsche enthusiast, and has built some incredible cars since kicking off in 1986. While the shop is perhaps best known for building some of the best 912 and 356 flat fours in the country, John will be quick to tell you that they work on all kinds of Porsches, and even a few non-Porsches.

Bad things sometimes happen to good people.

Last week the Benton warehouse, just one building over from the main shop, went up in smoke. A nearby building caught fire and spread to the warehouse quickly late at night. Thankfully the main shop was preserved, but every spare part, stacks of engines and transmissions. It’s a crying shame, because these are things that are completely irreplaceable. It’s a good thing that nobody was hurt in the fire, but the Porsche community will be feeling this destruction for years to come.

Here is the full caption from the Benton Performance instagram post acknowledging the fire:

Dear Friends, Clients, and Porsche Community, late Wednesday, October 30th, Benton Performance and the Benton family experienced a devasting event when a neighboring facility caught on fire and this industrial fire spread rapidly to our buildings. Anaheim Fire Department responded swiftly, saving our main shop and offices. However, our warehouse and its contents were destroyed. Among the client and personal belongings lost were irreplaceable cars, matching number drivetrains, tools, and Porsche memorabilia collected over a lifetime.

As I stand in front of the burned-out warehouse, I can’t help feeling the shock and pain of a lifetime of work gone up in flames, but I am so thankful that no one was hurt. I am so thankful for friends, clients and members of the Porsche community who reached out and who continue to call and text with well wishes, prayers, and offers of assistance. It is at these times that I am reminded of how truly grateful I am for all of you. Your encouragement gives me the strength and determination to walk into my business on this daunting Monday morning with the energy to rebuild.
And so, the process of working with insurance companies and starting the huge undertaking of re-building begins. I am also happy to report that we are still open for business and are doing everything we can to serve the Porsche community that we hold so dear.
Benton Performance was established in 1986 and this fire is not going to stop my 33 years of dedicated effort. I am focused on rebuilding to be better and stronger for the next 30 years and beyond.
All additional inquires can be directed to John Benton at [email protected]

If you want to help support a great member of the community in this awful tragedy, perhaps consider purchasing a hat or t-shirt.

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