What is it about the Porsche 911?

Car heads the world over know that one of the best combinations of performance and prestige is getting a used Porsche 911. The used Porsche market has reached almost a mythical status, with high-mileage, high maintenance models 20-30 years old commanding insane prices. The hype is there, but how does the price and cost of upkeep justify these legendary cars? Porsche has done an exceptional job keeping their iconic design mostly unchanged in the looks department. Its instantly identifiable silhouette is, for some, worth the cost alone. So much of it is about prestige.

The reality is that the Porsche 911 is still very much in demand, and even more so for older models. Older models with limited editions will fetch higher prices. There has, though, been a cooling off of the market.

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Current market trends

In 2019 the air-cooled Porsche market is softening. It is the opposite of what had been expected. The prices for air-cooled 911 Porsches had steadily been increasing since 2012. With figures well into the six figures it seemed like the prices would never drop. And while the prices haven’t dropped, the market and 911-crazed fans seem to have finally convinced themselves that the inflated prices are no longer payable and are turning their eye to more affordable classic luxury cars. Prices for those air-cooled Porsches are not climbing the way that they had. 

Some Porsche lovers are saying that’s not why prices have stopped climbing. Rather, it’s that everyone and their mother who has an older Porsche 911 wants to get rid of it and now the market is being flooded with just any old air-cooled 911.

The current market value of the Porsche 911 ranges from $35,000 for a 1977 model to $1.25 million for a 1995-1998 GT2. Those are some crazy figures considering what other luxury cars are available for similar money. 

In terms of other Porsches, the used front-engine Porsche market is doing very well. The Carrerra GT market is also doing very well with 60% of cars selling above bids. The water-cooled 911 market is heating up, but not as quickly as had previously been anticipated. Automatic transmission and cabriolets don’t have the same strong market as hardtop manual transmissions.

In the auction market, there has been a sharp increase in below market bids, and below market winning bids.

Porsche has done an exceptional job keeping their iconic design mostly unchanged in the looks department. Its instantly identifiable silhouette is, for some, worth the cost alone. So much of it is about prestige. 

Hagerty Insurance Company which deals with a lot of classic cars and classic car auctions has listed all Porsche 911 models as either holds or buys, so things are definitely looking good. For some of the older more classic models, the prices have risen so high that Hagerty does not recommend buying. This, of course, will do nothing to dissuade a buyer who wants a particular car for nostalgia reasons. That is what motivates a lot of these purchases. Rationality does not always prevail.

At this time in the Porsche market, Hagerty is recommending:

  • buy 1999 to 2004 model year 911 and 968
  • hold 944 and 911 SC
  • sell 912 (a shame because it’s a beaut) and 930.

Like Kenny Rogers always said, ‘you’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to show ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run’. And this could not be truer in terms of classic cars.

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