The big news in Porsche circles this month was of course the Sothebys RM Auctions sale at Retromobile in Paris. More than £28 million pounds’ worth of cars were sold on the night, with many record prices for collectable 911s.
Surprise of the show was undoubtedly a 2004 Porsche 996 GT3 RS with less than 200 kms from new, which fetched a staggering £343,000 including premium. Other Porsches also fared well: one 993 Turbo S Cabriolet finishing at a jaw-dropping £1.1M including premium. A 959 Sport sold for £1.7M including premium and both 964RS models offered made just under £200k each including premium.
Some may say that auction results are pie-in-the-sky numbers which do not relate back to the retail market, but we disagree. These sales offer an important window into buyer mindset at the very top end of the market. They also contextualise the two-tier market that we often refer to in our market reports: high end collectors versus enthusiast owners.
JZM Porsche caters for both markets and sales often cross from one to the other. Many of our enthusiast customers are keen collectors with more than one Porsche, and many of our serious collectors with portfolios of ten or more cars always retain one or two models with average mileage, which can be driven guilt-free. Understanding the difference in perceived market value between a collectable Porsche and a driver’s car is where auctions can help. So what lessons can we take away from the RM Paris results?
The first and most important signpost was the continued rise of the 996. Four 996 models were offered on the night, with the GT3 RS and a 24,000-km GT2 Clubsport both beating their top estimates by some margin. The Mk1 GT3 Clubsport and higher mileage 996 Turbo S Cabriolet each achieved more than mid-estimate including premium.
The second point is that production levels remain critical to achieving the best prices. The 993 price was easier to understand when one considers that the 993 Turbo S Cabriolet is a very limited production model, with fewer than 15 examples manufactured. Compare this to production of the 1973 Carrera RS, where up to 100 times that number were originally manufactured (a ’73 RS Touring sold for £470k including premium on the night). Another low production model is the 964 Turbo S, a 23k-mile example of which was sold on the night for almost £790,000 including premium. JZM has sold a number of Turbo S models in the last twelve months and this price was a pleasant surprise for all of our owners.
The final point we take away from the latest RM sale is that, while air-cooled prices are holding up well, water-cooled prices are gathering pace, indicating a growing willingness among collectors to look to later models for stars of the future. The 996 GT3 and RS are good examples of this. Compare circa 600 996 GT3s produced to the 991 GT3, where up to 6,000 models may have been manufactured, and it is easy to see why collectors are snapping up early GT3s at this time.
Bringing these points into the retail market, one might reasonably wonder why some sellers are still asking twice the list price for used 991 GT3s when clearly the market is not going to stand that. Our activity in the modern GT3 market and occasional foray into other modern sports cars such as the Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4 recently sold and the Ferrari 458s we have handled means that we benefit from the input of a wide audience – not just the Porsche crowd. Having sold a number of 991 GT3s this month, we do not sense an appetite for overpriced GT3 stock and so carefully monitor our prices.
January was a busy month at JZM Porsche, with 29 cars sold. February started somewhat quieter but, as the month progressed, enquiry levels increased and we were happy to welcome serious buyers to the showroom. The global nature of our business continued, with cars selling as far afield as Belgium and the Far East. Air-cooled was again at the forefront, with several air-cooled cars sold through February, including our 964 30-Jahre Anniversary car. JZM special projects have also been selling: one 964 hot rod with retrimmed interior, new KW suspension and some other tweaks was a very quick seller and we have another special 964 in build which we think will find a new home in short order.
Our success with 911 Turbos continues. Two very smart 997 Turbos (Coupe and Cabriolet) have just arrived in the showroom and we continue to bring in some fantastic 930s. The latest 930 in Black with original Tartan Recaro trim is just about to land and we have a couple of appointments lined up for that car.
The air-cooled market has not yet started properly, as it tends to coincide with the F1 calendar. Once that first race appears, the 2017 classic Porsche season will get going in style and we could see another record year for the early air-cooled models. Anyone in the market for an air-cooled Porsche would be well advised to be proactive and get enquiries moving early, while the weather is still a bit grey and things remain relatively quiet.