Steve McQueen magic lifts Porsche sale to stunning $1.95 million

The final price of the Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera once owned by Steve McQueen was a record breaker by far| Bob Golfen
The final price of the Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera once owned by Steve McQueen was a record breaker by far| Bob Golfen

The Steve McQueen magic strikes again, this time at Mecum’s auction last week in Monterey, where a 1976 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera that was the last special-order car owned by the late film icon raised the roof with an incredible sale price of $1.95 million.

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Hagerty Market Rating in June swoon

Hagerty Market Rating-june2015

Prices may continue to soar at collector car auctions, but the June report of the Hagerty Market Rating sustained its largest decline in the past 14 months, in part because of what Hagerty called “diminishing expert sentiment” in its monthly market rating news release.

The monthly rating was at an all-time high of 72.04 in May, but analysts for the company that sells classic car insurance, and tracks and publishes car valuation guides, noted: Continue reading

Arizona auctions showed Porsche 911s’ rapid rise

A 1973 Porsche 911S crosses the block at Gooding & Company | Bob Golfen photos
A 1973 Porsche 911S crosses the block at Gooding & Company | Bob Golfen photos

I walked into the Gooding & Company auction in Scottsdale last Saturday just in time to witness a 1966 Porsche 912 being hammered sold for $75,000. No, not a proper six-cylinder 911 but a mild-mannered four-cylinder 912. With auction fee, the sale price was $82,500.

I don’t mean to be disparaging, but this seems like a heap of money for what is essentially the 911’s weak sister. However, with prices of early 911s going through the roof, this seems to be the new reality as 912s are dragged up from the value cellar where they have existed for so long.

The 1966 912 at Gooding was restored in 1990
The 1966 912 at Gooding was restored in 1990

The entry-level 912 has essentially the same iconic styling as the 911, so that apparently goes a long way in this overheated 911 market. The landmark shape of the original 911, which has held up so well through its generations to the present day, appeals to classic car enthusiasts of all ages, so the prices should hold up as younger collectors and hobbyists enter the market.

Values for 911s have spiked so fast that they were termed “explosive” and “meteoric” by the expert panelists at the Sports Car Market seminar last week. While Porsche prices pale compared with the run up in Ferrari values, they have been climbing rapidly, with 911s and their ancestor 356s hitting surprising numbers in just the past few years.

“Porsches are still on fire,” said Jonathon Klinger, a spokesman for Hagerty classic car insurance and Hagerty Price Guide.

Full disclosure: I am the owner of a 1962 356B T-6 Super coupe, not one of the great models but still a car that has risen in worth during the relatively short time I have owned it, according to various price guides. No matter, though, since I have no plans to sell.

The correct way to examine a 911
The correct way to examine a 911

The strong six-figure sales of 911s are getting lots of attention. Arizona Auction Week was packed with Porsches, mostly 911s, concentrated primarily in the higher-end sales at Gooding, RM and Bonhams as owners attempted to cash in on the new enthusiasm for the classic rear-engine sports cars. As expected, they did quite well with most of them going a good distance into six figures.

This is a fairly recent phenomenon. In 2011, the sale of a rare first-year 1964 911 coupe in great condition was an absolute shocker when it reached a record $222,500, including auction fee, at RM Auctions’ Amelia Island sale. Now, according to the latest Hagerty Price Guide, that ’64 911 in good to excellent condition would go for $242,000 to $303,000, not including the customary 10 percent auction fee. And nobody would raise an eyebrow.

Although 911s have always been popular collector cars and vintage racers, the boom in interest and prices for early 911s – the so-called “long hoods” from the 1964 through 1973 model years (before the advent of DOT bumpers) – started to climb after two things happened:

A 1969 911T heads toward the RM block
A 1969 911T heads toward the RM block

• Porsche 911 turned 50 in 2013 – The birthday was marked from when 911 debuted with much acclaim at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1963. While such anniversaries are celebrated regularly for many car models, the 911 anniversary seemed to resonate with old-car enthusiasts everywhere, maybe because Porsche AG did such an excellent job of getting them out before the public eye where everyone could rediscover how totally cool they are.

• The sale of the Steve McQueen 911S from the movie Le Mans – Of course, the $1.375 million sale in 2011 of the 911S driven by McQueen in the opening sequences of Le Mans is a total outlier, far and away from any logical value of a non-ultra-celebrity 911S, but it did serve to focus attention on these cars.

I remember first seeing Le Mans years ago, and those loving shots of the car rambling through the French countryside made me long so much for a 911. Before that car came up for sale at RM’s 2011 Monterey auction, the film sequence was shown endlessly on numerous websites and blogs, and I’m sure those feelings of 911 longing were renewed for many of the people who saw it.

Plus, 911s are known for being sturdy, reliable cars.

“Unlike a lot of other collector cars, they do work every day,” longtime classic car expert Simon Kidston said during the SCM seminar. He also noted that the cars have excellent parts and service support from Porsche and a host of private concerns.

The 356 models are still holding their value
The 356 models are still holding their value

In Arizona, the Gooding auction was packed with Porsches, with 20 of them on the docket out of a total of 130 cars. Before its sale, Gooding had estimated the 912’s value at $60,000 to $80,000, so the result was right in there. Guess those guys know what they’re doing. Although that seems very pricey when the Hagerty Price Guide has the 1966 912 listed in good to excellent condition from $29,400 to $39,000.

Gooding had the deck stacked with all manner of Porsches – 356s coupes and cabriolets, including an appealing “barn find” 1958 Speedster and a high-performance Carrera 2 coupe; a wide variety of 911s ranging from the valuable early models to a powerful 2011 997 GT3 RS; a 1988 version of the rare and hotly desired 959, the all-wheel drive supercar of the 1980s based on the 911, which sold for $1.7 million; and one of the stars of the auction, a 1966 906 Carrera 6 race car that sold for $1.98 million.

The early 911 prices were solid at Gooding, most of them more than double what these cars were worth just two or three years ago. But Gooding’s pre-auction estimates were even more aggressive, and most of the cars sold for less than the auction company expected. Still, these are serious numbers for the cars that sold:

1965 911 coupe, $253,000
1966 911 coupe, $170,500
1967 911 2.0 S coupe, $253,000
1972 911 2.4 S Targa, $132,000
1973 911T coupe, $115,000
1973 911S coupe, $145,750
1973 911S coupe, $187,000

RM Auctions had 12 Porsches cross the block at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix, including three pre-1974 911s. Again, big prices compared with the very recent past:

1965 911 coupe, $297,000
1969 911T coupe, $121,000
1969 911S Targa soft-rear-window, $286,000

At Bonhams, the 911 results seemed a bit softer but still healthy:

1967 911S coupe, $137,500
1970 911T coupe, $93,500
1972 911T coupe, $71,500
1973 911E Targa, $104,500

And it wasn’t just the high-end auctions where good results were posted for 911s. One of the top-selling cars at Silver Auctions’ laid-back sale was a 1975 911T coupe that sold for $59,940, which may not be as-big money but still shows the strength of the brand in a less-elite auction environment.

Later 911s, such as this 1976 Turbo, are moving up
Later 911s, such as this 1976 Turbo, are moving up

Later-model 911s are starting to follow the “long hoods” up the value scale, with formerly cheap coupes and convertibles from the late-’70s, ’80s and ’90s getting due notice, notably the desirable performance models.

Klinger said “1980s 911S prices continue to go through the roof,” pointing out the strong sales of several of the later cars at Bonhams, all of them achieving the top-dollar No. 1 values listed in the Hagerty Price Guide.

Some of the experts at the SCM seminar expressed concern that the rapid rise of 911 values might constitute a bubble that could burst with an unpleasant financial aftertaste. But given the dramatic upturn in today’s collector-car marketplace, especially for European sports cars, Porsches seem to be right where they should be. And still moving up.


Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Models Unveiled

Porsche has unveiled four new 911 Carrera GTS models in a press release issued, October 7. These models include a coupe and a cabriolet, each with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. This car is positioned between the 911 Carrera S and the extreme 911 GT3.

Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
Porsche 911 Carrera GTS


The GTS have 430 horsepower engines, good for a 0-62 miles per hour (0-100 kilometers) time of 4 seconds for the coupe and of 4.2 seconds for the cabriolet.

Aside from the power, the Sport Chrono package and the PASM active damper system, which lowers the car’s ride by 10 mm, improve the car’s dynamic capabilities.

Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
Porsche 911 Carrera GTS models


A number of options are standard on the GTS models, including the bi-xenon headlights with the Porsche Dynamic Light System (PSLD), and a sport exhaust system. Inside is an Alcantara interior with leather-trimmed sport seats.

With the addition of the GTS models, there are 12 sports cars in the 911 range at three different power levels.

Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
Porsche 911 Carrera GTS

There is no word yet on when the GTS models will arrive at U.S. dealerships, but they will go on sale in Germany in November with a starting price of 117,549 euros (approx. $148,963).

– by Ed Jones

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My Classic Car: Tom’s 1970 Porsche 911S

This 1970 Porsche 911S is Euro-spec, well, except for the windshield | Tom Truitt photos
This 1970 Porsche 911S is Euro-spec, well, except for the windshield | Tom Truitt photos

I have owned my 1970 911S for 10 years. I am the fourth owner and I have tracked down and interviewed every previous owner.

From the second owner, I retrieved real mileage numbers and put them back into the original Euro KM speedo, which had been taken out of the car when it was brought over from Europe by the original owner.

Car was a special-order form the factory
Car was a special-order form the factory

The car was bought, right from the factory, by a German citizen. It had been a special-order car that was never picked up.

Two years later, when the original owner shipped the car to the U.S., he had a problem with customs. They would not let the car in because the windshield was not up to U.S. standards. After a brief discussion the old German produced a lug wrench from the trunk and smashed the windshield. Customs let the car pass, they knew full well he would need to replace the windshield before DMV would register the car.

The car is all-original Euro spec (except the windshield) with 68,000 miles on the body. She is loved and well taken care of, never driven in the rain or snow.

— Tom Truitt, Westport CT

Eye Candy: First Porsche Werks Reunion brings them all together

Photos by Bob Golfen

An enthusiastic crowd of Porsche faithful swarmed the Rancho Cañada Golf Club in Carmel for the Porsche Club of America Werks Reunion, a new event added to the calendar during Monterey Classic Car Week.

More than 500 Porsches of just about every kind, ranging from early 356 models to the latest performance cars, were spread over the grassy hills, with a separate class for competition and special performance versions.

The Werks Reunion was filled-up with entrants weeks before the event, so many rare and well-prepared cars could be spotted in the parking lots and on the streets around the golf club. During the week leading up to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on the Monterey Peninsula, Porsche 911s were by far the most prevalent vintage cars seen on area roads.

Before this year, Porsches were part of the Legends of the Autobahn show for German cars, but Porsche Club members decided to break away and create their own concours specifically for their favorite rear-engine (mostly) sports cars. Plus, admission to the Werks Reunion was free in a week when high-priced events can cost hundreds of dollars.

Among the most interesting Porsches on display (aside from every 356 and 911) was an exotic all-wheel-drive 959 supercar from 1987, a rare and beautiful 356 American Roadster and a showing of Porsche’s latest supercar, the 887-horsepower 918 Spider for 2015. Price tag: $854,000 for the base model.

Eye Candy: Porsche Lit Meet

 Photos by Bob Golfen 

Known simply as the Lit Meet among the Porsche faithful, the annual Los Angeles gathering is actually a full three days of multiple celebrations for the little rear-engine sports cars from Germany.

The events surrounding the Porsche and Vintage VW Literature, Toy and Memorablia Swap Meet at the LAX Hilton took place Feb. 28 through March 2, and included a “shop crawl” of the many terrific restoration businesses in the LA area, most focusing on the original 356 and early 911 models,  and a major swap meet in Anaheim of classic Porsche parts and accessories.  

Weather was an issue at this year’s Porsche party, with sometimes-heavy rain coming down on all three days.  But the shows went on without a worry, and thousands of devotees made the pilgrimage and shrugged off the rain.

For a full report on last weekend’s events, click on Porsche Lit Meet.

Max’d-out Porsches to be featured at Griot’s Garage Caffeine & Gasoline

Photos courtesy Griot's Garage
Photos courtesy Griot’s Garage

Griot’s Garage is known for meeting the car care needs of classic and contemporary car owners. But it meets some of those folks’ other needs the first Saturday of each month when it hosts Caffeine & Gasoline at its workshop in Tacoma, Wash.

On March 1, Griot’s will provide the coffee and Hagerty Insurance will sponsor the free donuts as the monthly cruise-in.

But Griot’s gatherings are more than just the typical cruise-in. Each has a theme, and each includes some sort of demonstration or educational experience that includes a significant amount of noise. For example, here’s a video from a recent Caffeine & Gasoline gathering:

The theme this month is Porsche, well, not only Porsche but Porsche (and other marques) as tweaked by MaxRPM, the motorsports and high-performance tuning shop from Bremerton, Wash. MaxRPM will bring several cars it has enhanced and also will do a tuning tech session to share some of its secrets.DSC_0158

Also featured will be several of Richard Griot’s own Porsches, including a 1973 911S.

Griot hosts Caffeine & Gasoline the first Saturday of each month. The theme for April will be Ford Mustang as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. In May, the gathering will be a showcase for vintage police, fire and military vehicles.