Porsche 914 finally gets its place on the show field

Porsche 914 was a featured class at the Amelia Island concours | Andy Reid photos
Porsche 914 was a featured class at the Amelia Island concours | Andy Reid photos

The Porsche 914 is a model that was unloved and discounted by Porsche purists almost since its introduction. Derided as a Volkswagen and not worthy of the Porsche nameplate, these cars suffered for decades. Continue reading

Navigation-audio system designed for classic Porsches

Earlier 911s can now be outfitted with built-in navigation from Porsche | Porsche Classic photos
Earlier 911s can now be outfitted with built-in navigation from Porsche | Porsche Classic photos

Even classic Porsche drivers get lost, though they would be the last to admit it. So to help them avoid having to ask for directions, Porsche has developed a thoroughly modern update for its vintage cars, and designed it to look like it was supposed to be there all along.

The Porsche Classic division of the Stuttgart automaker has created a combination audio and navigation system using a 3.5-inch screen that installs in the dashboard of air-cooled 911s from 1964 through the mid-‘90s, in all 914s and in early front-engine cars. The unit replaces the standard radio.

“Thanks to the appearance of the black surface and the shape of the knobs, which are supplied in two authentically styled versions as standard, the navigation radio blends harmoniously into the dashboard of classic Porsche models,” Porsche says in a news release.

The navigation radio fits directly into the dashboard
The navigation radio fits directly into the dashboard

Porsche, which said it designed the system in response to “the growing demand for a built-in device for classic sports cars,” noted that the navigation radio is equipped with the key features of modern systems.

“In addition to low-interference radio reception and precise navigation, it has interfaces for a variety of external music sources that can be controlled from the display,” according to Porsche. “A smartphone can be connected via Bluetooth. In addition, the classic radio not only has a built-in microphone but also comes with an external microphone.”

For the navigation system, the news release says, “Drivers have a choice of arrows and two-dimensional or three-dimensional maps to display the route. The maps are stored on a micro SD card with eight gigabytes of memory and are updated regularly.”

The Porsche Classic navigation radio, which is available in Germany, is undergoing testing for the U.S. market. Availability and pricing will be determined upon completion of testing, Porsche said.

More information about Porsche Classic is available on the automaker’s website.

Porsche Rennsport Reunion date changed to September

The Porsche Rennsport Reunion brings together many famous race cars | Porsche Cars North America
The Porsche Rennsport Reunion brings together many famous race cars | Porsche Cars North America

Porsche fanatics take notice: the date has been changed for the fifth Porsche Rennsports Reunion. The monumental gathering of Porsche racing enthusiasts will take place September 25-27 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca near Monterey, California, two weeks earlier than originally planned.

The date change was necessitated by an unexpected scheduling conflict with the World Endurance Championship racing series, according to Porsche Cars North America, which hosts the reunion.

“We felt it would be in the best interest for all parties to take this unusual step and move the date,” said Detlev von Platen, president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, in a news release. “By moving Rennsport Reunion V ahead two weeks, we ensure that our current 919 Hybrid LMP1 and 911 RSR race teams, and more importantly, our new generation of racing heroes can join our racing legends and be part of the festivities among our many fans.”

This will be the second time in a row that the Rennsport Reunion will take place at the famous Laguna Seca track, with the previous three events held on the East Coast. The motorsports gatherings happen every three years, with the first one held in 2001 at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.

The Rennsport Reunion features Porsche racers on the track as well as a concours d’elegance and other activities celebrating the six decades of Porsche racing. An expected 1,300 Porsche Club of America members and their cars are anticipated to attend and fill out the various show fields and parking lots at the track.

Future details will be published on Porsche’s website, www.porsche.com, and Laguna Seca’s website, www.mazdaraceway.com, as they become available. For ticket information, see the Laguna Seca website or call 831 242-8200.

 

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.

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Pick of the Week: 1955 Porsche 356 Cabriolet

The bright-orange paint was determined to be this Porsche’s original color
The bright-orange paint was determined to be this Porsche’s original color

Just in time for Halloween, a gorgeously restored 1955 Porsche 356 Continental Cabriolet that’s as round and orange as a freshly carved jack-o-lantern.

The color is original, according to the Houston dealer who is advertising the drop-top Porsche on ClassicCars.com. The original owner special-ordered the dazzling shade, which was not yet on Porsche’s production palette. A Certificate of Originality from Porsche confirms the color, the seller adds. Continue reading

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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Porsche 914 gains respect at Amelia Island Concours

A 1970 Porsche 914-6 at the recent Porsche Werks Reunion in Monterey | Bob Golfen
A 1970 Porsche 914-6 at the recent Porsche Werks Reunion in Monterey | Bob Golfen

The 914 is the Rodney Dangerfield of Porsches. The little mid-engine sports car gets no respect, at least not within the vast pecking order of status-seeking Porsche owners.

But the Porsche 914 has lured plenty of fans over the years with its exceptional handling, spare styling and renowned durability. However one might view the 914’s humble VW origins and its role as an entry-level model, there can be little doubt that the Targa-topped two-seater is a pure sports car in the Porsche tradition.

In 2015, the Porsche 914 gets a major boost in prestige. Porsche’s first mid-engine production car has been named an honored marque for the 20th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance of Florida, one of the top classic car events in the nation.

As such, it joins the ranks of some of the world’s greatest vintage automobiles in this celebrated concours, where 250 rare and noteworthy vehicles compete for awards. The event takes place March 13-15 at The Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton Resort.

The 914-6 GT driven by Hurley Haywood and Peter Gregg at Sebring in 1971 | Bill Warner
The 914-6 GT driven by Hurley Haywood and Peter Gregg at Sebring in 1971 | Bill Warner

“The 914 is a true Porsche with pure Porsche DNA,” said Bill Warner, founder and chairman of the Amelia Island Concours. “The 914 was raced and rallied successfully all around the world and, like the 911, a cult has grown up around it. It’s time the 914 had its day in the sun.”

The 914, produced from 1969 through 1976, will be celebrated in all its iterations and performance development, according to a concours news release, with an emphasis on its many successes as a “giant killer” on the race track. Its racing accomplishments helped the lowest-priced Porsche also find a high level of success in the showroom, where it quickly outsold the pricier 911.

“It was fashionable with some self-proclaimed Porsche purists to consider the 914 an ‘ugly duckling’,” Warner said in the news release. “That changed very quickly.

A rare 1972 Porsche 916, one of just 11 built, formerly owned by Peter Gregg | Bill Warner
A rare 1972 Porsche 916, one of just 11 built, formerly owned by Peter Gregg | Bill Warner

“Here in north Florida, the Porsche 914 found a home and willing customers through the racing exploits of Peter Gregg, Hurley Haywood and Brumos Porsche, who took the 914/6 GT to victory in the first IMSA GT race in history on the way to winning the first IMSA GT Championship title in 1971.”

Haywood, five-time winner of the 24 Hours of Daytona, noted, “The 914/6 GT was my first real race car. Peter Gregg and I shared the Championship in 1971 in my first year of professional racing. The 914 was really fun to drive and we would kill the big-block Chevys and Fords in IMSA.”

At the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 2.0-liter 914/6 GT not only won the French classic’s GT class in its 1970 debut, it finished sixth overall, the first GT car behind the pure prototypes that had more than twice the 914’s engine displacement and power. The self-appointed Porsche purists were chagrinned that the class-winning 914/6 GT finished three laps ahead of the top-placed 911.

The Amelia Island main event, the concours d’elegance, takes place March 15 on fairways of The Golf Club of Amelia Island. Among the other special and featured classes at the Amelia Island Concours will be a showcase of Cars of the Cowboys, a selection of unique custom cars driven by the Western stars of film and TV.

The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is a charity event that benefits Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc. and other charities on Florida’s First Coast.

For more information, see ameliaconcours.org.

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.

Porsche faithful celebrate at Werks Reunion

The Porsche Werks Reunion gathered together more than 500 interesting cars | Bob Golfen
The Porsche Werks Reunion gathered together more than 500 interesting cars | Bob Golfen

Porsches are all over the Monterey Peninsula this week. One reason for that – beyond the booming popularity of 911s – was the inaugural Porsche Club of America Werks Reunion that took place Friday on a rolling golf course in Carmel.

More than 500 Porsches, ranging from early 356 models to the latest performance cars, gathered at Rancho Cañada Golf Club for the all-new concours that has become part of the sweeping Monterey Classic Car Week collection of events.

A Porsche 911 with a pair of 356s | Bob Golfen
A Porsche 911 with a pair of 356s | Bob Golfen

Porsches were previously part of Legends of the Autobahn, but breaking off from the rest of the German marques was apparently a good decision, judging by the size of the enthusiastic crowd that came for the all-Porsche show.

Being a Porsche fan, I made sure that the Werks Reunion was included in my busy schedule of events. Another good decision. The show was a great celebration of everything Porsche, and even the parking lots were loaded with cars well worth seeing.

Best of all, admission to the Werks Reunion was free during a week in which many events pluck hundreds of dollars from your pocket.

One of the Werks Reunion entrants I met, who was showing his car in a diverse specialty class of competition and performance versions, was Ken Ballard of Ojai, California, which is located near Santa Barbara. He was sitting with his attractive 1959 356 Super coupe “outlaw” that he said he had “brought back from the dead.”

Ken Ballard’s 356 was done in the style of an ‘outlaw’ | Bob Golfen
Ken Ballard’s 356 done in the style of an ‘outlaw’ | Bob Golfen

“Outlaw,” by the way, is Porsche speak for cars – mainly the four-cylinder 356s – that have been specially tuned and customized for performance with appropriate modifications.

Like so many Porsche 356s back in the old days before they became valuable, the little 1961 coupe had fallen on hard times. It had sat outside, untouched, for at least 10 years until it had turned into a rusty hulk. At some point, a tree fell on it and crushed a front fender.

Ballard discovered it and figured it would make a good project car. “I lived in the neighborhood and hauled it home,” he said.

The restoration was difficult and costly, but Ballard said he enjoyed such things as learning to weld so that he could help refurbish his 356 firsthand. He also decided that he wanted to fix it up the way a performance enthusiast would have done so back in the day.

A 1987 Porsche 959 supercar attracts attention | Bob Golfen
A 1987 Porsche 959 supercar attracts attention | Bob Golfen

“The concept of this car was to build it like a GS,” he said, referring to a hot factory model from that time. “It’s still an outlaw, but it has the right appointments.”

Some other favorite sightings among the row after row of interesting Porsches included an exotic 959 from 1987, one of the hottest and most-celebrated supercars of its era; racy 356 Speedsters; 911s and 912s of nearly every age and type; and a rare and beautiful 356 American Roadster.

Porsche’s latest supercar, the 887-horsepower 918 Spider for 2015, about stole the show when it was introduced. Price tag: $854,000 for the base model.

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