By on March 11, 2015

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It seems like yesterday
But it was long ago
RS America in the dealership’s lights
Covered with dust and it had nowhere to go
And it sat there for a year
Till they sold it at a loss
Slow like a Boxster headlights just like a frog
And all the service had been skipped and no one gave a toss

And I remember how cheap they used to be
And I thought that it never would end
I remember how they bought and sold for pennies
Wish I’d had a crystal ball and bought one then

In the past decade, Porsche buyers have voted with their wallets on the merits of post-1999 water-cooled 911s — and the vote has been “guilty”, and the sentence has been “death”. The result has been a dramatic re-valuation of every air-cooled 911 ever built, from short-wheelbase early cars to the most despicable 964 Carrera 4 Cabriolet. I’ve written before about the insane price curve of the 993 Turbo, and I’ve allowed myself a quiet smile of satisfaction at having had the good sense to buy a 993 thirteen years ago when they were cheap while simultaneously self-flagellating over having not bought two of them.

Had I been really smart, however, I’d have bought the other car I was considering back then — the 964 “RS America”. Introduced as a cut-price $54,900 model for the American market, the RS America was nothing more than a plain Carrera 2 with a half-ass aero kit and a list of standard equipment that, were it placed on the Monroney of a Yugo, would have caused Malcolm Bricklin to send that particular vehicle back to Yugoslavia for an upgrade. They were showroom poison, often sitting in dealer inventory long after the arrival of the 1995 993 Carrera which utterly humiliated the RS America in every measure from quarter-mile time to the presence of air conditioning.

At some point in the past five years, however, the desire of every 55-year-old middle manager in North America to own an “RS Porsh” sent the values of these sleds skyrocketing. Cars with stories and more than 50,000 miles on them are selling for close to a hundred grand. This, I hasten to remind you, is an automobile that cannot keep up with a Scion FR-S down most fast roads and might cash your check just for trying. For some time now I’ve watched the prices go up and have wondered where the top of the bubble might be.

Well, if the aircooled Porsche market is, in fact, a bubble, here’s your subprime McMansion. The nice people at Bring A Trailer featured this “scruffy” 215,000-mile example today. Let’s run over the highlights:

* 215,000 miles
* optional A/C that “does not blow super cold”.
* “Some” invoices, none for motor work. You’ll just have to take the seller’s word for it
* 40% tread remaining on the rear tires
* $80,000, no tire-kickers

Imagine driving a car for twenty-one years, ten thousand miles a year, and selling it for more than you paid. Well, in 964-land that still means monthly maintenance outlays that would probably lease you a new Miata every three years. But still. Do you really want to live in a world where this car fetches this kind of money?

For fifty grand you can get a very solid 993, probably in better shape than my son’s track rat. You’d be a fool to buy this car.

Unless, of course, it’s worth more money next year. And it might be.

As if the pricing and condition of the car didn’t raise enough eyebrows, there are multiple allegations on the discussion forum on “BaT” that the site administration is editing comments on the $80k pricetag, particularly unfavorable ones. As a few posters have noted:

Wow, what a lucky guy…drive the crap out of a Porsche for many years, use the whole thing up, then win the lottery at the end?? I hate the BAT is helping drive up the market like this…

My main problem with BAT now is it used to feel like they were on “our” side with surfacing interesting cars and great buys, but now with the auction format and little attention paid to non-auction listings, they are clearly on “their” side…

BAT wiped out a ton of comments on this one…are we in China, is this autoblog Tiananmen??!!

BaT, just a suggestion – if you don’t want comments about price, don’t present a vehicle where price is going to be an obvious talking point.

Clearly, this rising tide of Porsche prices is lifting a lot of boats, not all of them obvious. Now’s a good time to sell, and maybe even a good time to buy — but it appears that the best time of all is had by the people who can earn money on the transaction, or discussion thereof.

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83 Comments on “Aircooled Cars, Hot Prices, The Mild Breeze Of Censorship...”


  • avatar
    danio3834

    ” 215,000 miles
    * optional A/C that “does not blow super cold”.
    * “Some” invoices, none for motor work. You’ll just have to take the seller’s word for it
    * 40% tread remaining on the rear tires
    * $80,000, no tire-kickers”

    Who exactly in the hell is paying that kind of money for this kind of turd? If indeed this car does find a buyer for anything close to asking price, I’d like to give their head a shake.

    We don’t even need to go over how many incredible cars can be bought for that kind of money. It’s not as if this model is particularly special or noteworthy. These will always be the poor poser Porsche in my 1990’s mind, the kind that would frequently have the large vinyl banner on the rear window. PORSCHE.

    Should we start hoarding Fieros now?

    • 0 avatar

      I’m sure the ’84 2MT with an original, numbers matching Iron Duke will be quite valuable. There are probably fewer of those than the 964 RS America at this point.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      If you do give their head a shake, wear gloves. Stupid may be contagious.

    • 0 avatar
      Beemernator

      “Does not blow super cold” is usually explained away as “it just needs a regas” by sellers. Sometimes they are correct, even if the question as to why they didn’t have it done is seldom answered.

      In this case we are talking about ye olde Germanic automobile. That means that the correct explanation is “thousands to repair obscure stuff hidden in the dashboard that have never heard of.” In the case of my 3-series, anyway.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    It may kill you, but you would die smiling. Not much about the FR/S made me smile. How they made that car so unrelentingly uninvolving baffles me. Must be the Toyota side of the family tree. Subaru knows how to make a fun car, but they mostly forgot on that one.

    Count me as one who would rather have a plain old nothing special early-mid 80s 911, even if it is slower than my Abarth. I don’t care, I won’t be racing the thing. Of course what I REALLY want is an early chrome bumper 911, but prices for those passed bat crap crazy a long time ago. So very pretty.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      A sucker is born every minute, I guess.

      Objectively, how is this turd any better than a $20K 996 with an IMS kit, $10K worth of “poor man’s GT3” mods, $10K worth of track time and consumables and $40K in the bank?

      I have a canvas painted black that represents how real things USED to be, if you are interested. A true bargain at $462K for a real art connosseiur

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that we’re in an automotive bubble, with a glut of 1% (more like .5%) money bidding the prices of many classes/segments of vehicles to absolutely asinine levels, and that this bubble will burst with incredible speed & violence during the next liquidity (not credit, necessarily) crisis.

        It started with the BJ type auction houses hyping prices of truly rare iron like Duesenbergs & Shelby Cobras, then European classics like the 40s & 50s era Daimlers, Jag E Type, older Ferraris, Astons, etc., then progressed to include American iron such as Packards, 30s era Cadillacs, and such, then broadened to include not only 60s & 70s era pony cars, but even late 70s and early 80s pony cars, too, and is now full retard, involving Japanese vehicles of the 1990s.

        And on an OT note, I sat in traffic today and marveled at the sea of modern cars around me (early 2000s to 2015s) that really, truly do manage to all look like they were designed by a very small group of aesthetically challenged & uncreative people, no matter the badge, brand or price.

        We’re in a style malaise era, with anonymous, hideous blobs, jelly beans, and angry, creased wedges, or bulbous extremities in all the wrong places, as a sea of ugly.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          “We’re in a style malaise era, with anonymous, hideous blobs, jelly beans, and angry, creased wedges, or bulbous extremities in all the wrong places, as a sea of ugly.”

          The problem is convention: you have stylists and designers that are stuck on certain tropes:
          * Big wheels
          * Small greenhouse
          * Huge emblem
          * Fast roofline

          If you have big wheels, you need a tall beltline. If you have a small greenhouse and crazy tumblehome, you end up with a certain “fat” look. The badge sizes (we’re up to dinner plates in some cases*cough*Ford*cough*Mercedes) together with the massive sides dictate the child-eating grille.

          Some marques do try something different, but usually only in economy cars, where packaging wins out: hence the Micra, Mirage and, to a lesser degree, minivans. But even at this end, bling is sinking in: the Sienna and Yaris, which both used to be functional, are pretty tarty now. Every small Ford and Chevy looks like a superdeformed version of a larger Ford or Chevy.

          And the reason is pretty obvious: small wheels and no tumblehome are out of fashion: otherwise, the Nissan Cube would have outsold the Juke, instead of vice Versa.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            And whenever I park my Prairie Tan (not black, white, silver or grey) 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis in a parking lot full of look-alike Tweedledum and Tweedledumber styled “modern” automobiles, I marvel at the smooth aerodynamic lines of this last of the
            “Aero” generation Panther platform cars — fifteen inch wheels, a greenhouse large enough to raise flowers in, a small two inch or so emblem on the top of the grille, a nice long roofline that slowly descends fore and aft onto a long nearly flat planar hood and trunk. Just enough tumblehome to keep the car from looking like a Nissan Cube with a greenhouse…it even looks good sitting alongside a lot of “luxury” cars, especially a lot of newer smallish Cadillacs, non-descript Mercedes C-classes, endless armies of look-alike “midsized” foreign sedans, etc., almost all in the holy four of modern color, black, white, silver or grey.

            I almost feel like my car looks like a good automobile ad photograph, with the one car standing out from all the rest.

            Didn’t really know what they were until I had a chance to get one from an original owner last year. Now I have “mad” Panther love for it…beautiful ageless styling, more than adequate acceleration, indestructible powertrain (the composite intake manifold is long gone), acceptable mileage, smooth comfort for five adult passengers and room for one more, a bit crowded…a trunk that as someone elsewhere wrote, has room for several bodies, a shovel and a bag of lime. Or full sets of golf clubs for four.

            My last really good car was an 88 Thunderbird SuperCoupe. After that, for practical family reasons, a Subaru Turbo XT, a couple of Isuzu Troopers, a Jeep Cherokee Sport, and a couple of Corollas. And now, finally, this jewel in the rough, this diamond in a pile of muddy vehicles all around me, a car like they will probably never make again.

            Hell, no, I’m not buying another new car…there is nothing out there that is less than $80-100K that even mildly interests me, and even there, cars are either wildly impractical (708 hp, or two seats, or a car the dealer has to baptize a new battery into…the BMW, believe it or not), or they still look bland.

            I am surprised that so many people are satisfied by all these look-alike, soulless pieces of marginal transportation that they call automobiles.

            But having seen my car shine, even at night, next to just about everything else in South Jersey, I am hooked on having a car that looks and drives like a “real” car. As to “real” car…either you know what that is or you don’t, and if you do, chances are you are also driving something along the lines of a twenty year old Panther platform vehicle.

            And with an open axle and no ABS, I finally have a car again that doesn’t suffer from terminal understeer.

            Damn, you’re making me want to take a midnight ride in it, just because I could.

        • 0 avatar
          HungryHill

          So true. I find it hard to distinguish my GS350 from a Hyundai (pick your model). Almost everything these days is just 15 feet of car. But the opposite, in styling, is unappealing too. I once admired the Lotus Elise from a far until I saw a fat guy driving one.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      That’s me. I have a plane Jane 1984 Carrera Coupe. The only options on it are the whale tale and the BBS wheels. Works like a charm and has only 107K miles. Super reliable and since 2007 when I bought it I’ve only replaced the fan belt once and the alternator. Of course, the AC doesn’t work unless charged with unobtanium freon, but who cares? It puts a smile on my face every time I drive it.

  • avatar
    ellomdian

    No, no, they’re right – water boxers are CRAP. If it’s not 30 years old and air cooled, it’s not worth the metal it’s stamped out of. It’s not a bubble, it’s a sure-thing INVESTMENT. Seriously, if you want the ladies to think that your dick still works, you gotta have one of those loud, uncomfortable, slow, snap-oversteer Por-scha’s.

    (Quietly looking at used 997’s, or maybe a 987C…)

  • avatar
    ccc555

    The net and sites like Bring a Trailer, Hemmings and eBay (among a ton of others) have undoubtedly driven prices up. When cars were found mostly in person w/ “for sale” signs or in local classifieds the market was much saner and most cars of similar nostalgia and provenance sold at fractions of current prices. The new world.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Not so sure that the Internet really matters THAT much. The last crazy classic car bubble was before the Internet really existed. But I am sure it does contribute, if only because it widens the office. To get a crazy auction result you only need two people who really want it.

    • 0 avatar
      kmoney

      I think sites like that took a lot of the information asymmetry out of some classic car transactions. Before these sites a lot of classic cars seemed to go for what their non-enthusiast/collector owners thought was a fair amount of money for the vehicle alone, without regard for what the market would bear. Now they seem to be put up at fishing prices on Ebay or CL, or put up with a low starting bid and end up bid to the moon. I guess it’s more “fair” for owners, but sucks if your on the buying side.

      My only experience with this is older GM muscle cars, but it seems that even the oddball cars that you could buy from the paper classifieds for $5-8K in the 90’s are $18-30K now.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Eh, I’ll just go get an old Beetle with a Rolls Royce kit on it.

    http://www.oldbug.com/061604%20146.jpg

    Any chick who digs that is alright by me.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      When I owned a Beetle I yearned for the conversion kit that offered a replacement hood and engine cover in the the style of a Morris Minor. I can’t seem to find a photo online, tho.

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      Use the Rolls Bug when you’re just relaxin’, and the 930 Vee Bug when you’re going out to kick some ass.

      When the 930 Vee body kit came out, I laughed and laughed and laughed. I loved it then and still think it’s cool today: the self-deprecating parody vortex around that mod approaches singularity levels.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      PrincipalDan – – –

      That’s called a “Rolls-wagen”. I remember the horror with which the RR people faced this upstart when the kits first came out. If I remember properly, their spokesman sniffed and said,
      “We can only look upon such things with a certain amount of disdain…” (^_^)…

      ===============

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    Jeez. Let’s assume it has 215,000 miles WITH extensive maintenance receipts including motor work, perfect A/C and new tires. I’m still not sure I’d pay $85k for it.

  • avatar
    John R

    the hell?…

    I wonder if money is better spent waiting for the GT4 circle jerk to end, buying one that resembles MSRP and then throwing it in a garage for 15 years…

  • avatar
    Toad

    Every now and then I begin to think that most Porsche owners (and wannabees) are not status driven poseurs with more money than sense…and then this kind of thing comes along to reboot the stereotype.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    The XJRS I just saw posted for a little over 22K was an intriguing buy, but it all comes down to a national dedicated market of buyers willing to chase that dream. For whatever nostalgia that 215K miles of car is worth a modern Porsche Cayman or 911 (which is hovering around that same price) would smash it on the track, in everyday driving, and just about every way in general. It goes to show you that the magic is sometimes just in the mind…

    For those interested:

    http://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/carsforsale/jaguar/xjrs/1694401.html

    It would be slower than this 93 Porsche (11.63 lbs/hp Jaguar vs 11.53 lbs/hp Porsche) but it would be competitive in straight line performance, just would lose in a tight track fight. Still, when you drive off the track it’s going to turn more heads than your raggedy 911 will….well, least I think so if it’s my money I don’t care. :)

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I like it but… “6.0L V12” + “78K mi” != “Price: $22,500” to my eyes. I realize its clean and one of fifty, but IMO this only matters if these were in demand, which I don’t believe they happen to be (unless something changed recently). The Porsche is much worse of course, but I think that Jag would sell in the 12-15 range whereas the Porsche well… who wants a 200K mile’d Porsche (unless it was hand built by Dr. Porsche himself or something)?

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        It’s a 6.0L block straight out of JagSport who made the XJ220 which was the fastest car in the world and put Porsche on their heels for a time. So while the mileage is always going to be an issue getting that model with that block and for perhaps 5K over where you *want* it isn’t that bad. Far better to lay out 22K for something like that than 85K, but again it is perspective. I would rather put the remaining 60K I saved towards whatever maintenance or major overhauling the XJRS needs rather than in the total of a Carrera 2 from that era.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I agree with your last point, plus you have the notability of have having an extremely limited production car vs a Carrera.

          I’m still leery of the 6.0L V12 though in any iteration, personally.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    “Unless, of course, it’s worth more money next year. And it might be.”

    Ahh, the greater fool theory. Hang on, I’ve got some tulip bulb futures in my pocket here…

  • avatar
    Syke

    Just so the insane Porsche price mania doesn’t affect the 924/944/968’s or 928’s. Those are the only Porsche’s that have ever really turned me on, and after I was damned fool enough to trade my 924s, I really want another one. And I count on the prices of a decently solid four cylinder to stay around $5-6k.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I have to admit that if I had disposable income, a clean 928 would be sooo tempting.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      I’ve been seriously considering either a 968 or 928 as well. I like the old air-cooled stuff well enough but, jeez, the prices on those have become foolish. Lucky for those who already have ’em, though.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      My dad had a 968 cabrio, and that was a great car. Basically my S2000 but with a Porsche badge and torque. I enjoyed the hell out of driving it when I ot to as a kid at least. Agreed on the fact that the front engined ones get unfairly forgotten, but that works out for those of us who like them.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        Drove one when I got the bug for a roadster (which got me to trade my 924s for a Solstice). Absolutely loved it, but Triptronic not manual. Killed the car completely. Otherwise, it would have been the perfect replacement in my eyes.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      I’ve always wanted a 944, but I better move south before I ever consider buying one…

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      As the owner of 2 944s, I am painfully aware that prices are not rising at anything near the rate of 911s. But they are rising a smidgen – the perfectly good 85.5 944NA that I got for $500 a few years back (with 160k miles, bad clutch, bad paint) is easily a $4000 driver today!

      At some point nostalgia may catch up for 944 Turbos and the 89-91 928s with 5-speeds, as those of us who had them as posters on our bedroom wall get into our “who cares if I overpay by $5k?” years. As the years go by I’m finding fewer and fewer places know how to care for these cars (R.I.P. Derek in Mountain View CA), so that will probably accelerate the attrition and make the well-kept ones rarer and more valuable.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        @bacon – either your dreaming or maybe you live in California, because no one is paying anywhere near $4k for 944’s with 160k miles and a bad clutch and bad paint. They aren’t even asking $4k for those, and no one is buying them at any price. I’ve considered a 944 lately, and what I find are the same ones for sale for months, no interest at any price over a grand or so. They are too beat to bother restoring and to many problems to daily drive. Then there are the low mileage excellent condition ones, and the owners want $10-15k for them and once again, no one buys them for months.

        Once the paint goes, or the interior gets torn up or the plastic bits start disintegrating then it’s not a nice car anymore. Fixing cosmetics is too expensive, much more expensive than just finding one for sale that was taken care of. $4-5k will buy you a nice one with high miles, $8k should buy you a nice one with fairly low miles, $12k will get you a garage queen or a track prepped PCA members car, or even locally there is an excellent LT1-swapped ’86 model that is done right and simply gorgeous. But even he hasn’t been able to sell it in about 6 months.

        The reason air cooled 911’s are worth money and the other Porsches are not is because they were built to a different and much higher standard. Minimal plastics to degrade, simple to keep running, extremely well built, that’s why it’s possible to run one to 300k+ miles and just keep fixing it when something breaks, they don’t just wear out.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      As the owner of 2 944s, I am painfully aware that prices are not rising at anything near the rate of 911s. But they are rising a smidgen – the perfectly good 85.5 944NA that I got for $500 a few years back (with 160k miles, bad clutch, bad paint) is easily a $4000 driver today!

      At some point nostalgia may catch up for 944 Turbos and the 89-91 928s with 5-speeds, as those of us who had them as posters on our bedroom wall get into our “who cares if I overpay by $5k?” years. As the years go by, I’m finding fewer and fewer places know how to care for these cars (R.I.P. Devek in Mountain View CA). That will probably accelerate the attrition and make the well-kept ones rarer and more valuable. But I bought mine with the expectation that they were fun, foolish ways to spend money rather than investments.

      Ironically, I thought I was being more fiscally responsible than friends of mine who sank much bigger dollars into 993 track cars at the same time!

  • avatar
    319583076

    Porsches are stupid cars. Apparently so are their owners.

  • avatar
    thats one fast cat

    I cannot believe the B&B (or the good folks at BAT, which I read often) are falling for this.

    This, my friends, is the ultimate troll. It is targeted to get the kind of responses that it is getting because nobody in his/her right mind thinks they are going to get the requested amount.

    I bet the seller laughs with every comment and link to other websites.

    I wish I had thought of it.

  • avatar
    thats one fast cat

    …Million mile Lexus, anyone?

  • avatar
    Fred

    Price of classic cars have been going up for awhile, Porsches and Ferraris are the really scary ones. This has happened before and it will happen again. I’m just glad I can make some money on my old Elan when it comes time to sell.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I would pay a good amount of money to meet whoever buys this at this price.

    That leads me to a bigger point though. Doesn’t matter what the asking price is. It’s what someone PAYS for it.

  • avatar
    ccd1

    Personally, I think we are crossing over to cars that lack the analogue feel of earlier cars. Part of that is the movement towards auto transmissions, the other part is dashes that feel more like video games (ie, C7 Vette, new TT, etc)

    My prediction is that the best of the analogue sports cars of any make will ultimately end up being decent investments. For me, that would be most Porsches up to and including the 997, the R8 with its Ferrari style gated shifter and a few others. Tried looking up the last model Ferraris with that shifter (I think that would be the 430) and the cars are worth more than what they sold for new.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “Tried looking up the last model Ferraris with that shifter (I think that would be the 430) and the cars are worth more than what they sold for new.”

      No, not exactly, “gated” 430s are ~$120-150k cars, versus about $220k new, but they are still getting a 10-20% premium over F1 430s.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    This seems like just the logical extension of the 911 frenzy that’s occurring right now. Longhoods went nuts, partially because of the whole R Gruppe thing, and Singer and the Stancebros are helping to push 964 values stratospheric, 993s have always been high-ish, and look at what’s happening to 930s. People see “air cooled” + “911” + “special edition model” and the bidding goes nuts. As someone who hopes to own “basically just any” air cooled 911 someday, I hope there are still cheap SCs or 3.2 Carerras to own, or 993/930 prices coming crashing down some day. Along with 3X8 Ferraris.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Been there done that, a few years ago I managed to secure an okay air-cooled Porsche for just $1500, it was neat in a novelty way but not good for regular transportation.

    And before anyone asks how I got it so cheap its because the car had a VW badge on it.

    For $8k you can get a decent running Bug, stick a hopped up Subaru engine in it, and outrun any FRS.

  • avatar
    RRocket

    I bought a 1986 Targa just before the prices started to swing. It was Grand Prix white on Can Can red. It was pure 80s! It was really high mileage (240,000 miles). I fixed a few things to make it better, but overall it was pretty nice. Fast forward 2 years and I see 996 prices are free falling. I was deliberately looking at 1999 because the IMS had the dual row bearing (less than 1% failure rate). So I opted to sell my 1986. I knew values had gone up…but never in my dreams did I think a car I bought for $10K 2 years earlier would sell for a staggering $19K….with OVER 250K miles on it. Insane.

    I now have a 996..and it’s better in every conceivable way compared to my 1986 (not a shock). I opted to try and find a “base” 911 with just LSD to keep the car simple and the driving experience pure. Much, much harder than it sounds. Finally found a car with only LSD and the full leather interior. I bought it…and had money left over from the sale of the 1986.

    So in this case, the inflated values of the air cooled cars and the deflated value of the liquid cooled cars worked out very, very well for me.

  • avatar
    PunksloveTrumpys

    Anyone else read the opening poem to the tune of Bob Seger’s Against the Wind?

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    If you think the price for that Porsche is bit over the top (as I did), I saw an ad here for an AE86 with 600K kms for AU$9K. No typos there.

    A rolling shell is ~$2K

  • avatar
    fishfry smith

    Due to relative affordability and fairly advantageous classing, a lot of the RS America’s ended up as PCA race cars. I imagine a lot of them are being un-racified and being sold. While they probably look pretty good from a mileage and ownership perspective, that probably doesn’t tell the whole story about how much wear the cars have taken.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    doesnt it come down to the fact theres only 700?

    sure its was a fairly cynical marketing exercise at the time but its been 30 yrs… and the thought processes behind a spartan cut down ‘hard racers’ 911 hits all the hot buttons that ‘trigger’ those collectors off

    you can always buy an un-numbered 964 but then you’d be like everyone else

    RS America – evocative name, dinner conversion, the turtlenecks/anoraks/jalopniks will think you’re a god

    shrinking pool of candidates, increasing and increasingly wealthy customer base

    its a perfect storm

    and they look kinda cool (and 964s to me look a bit odd)

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Well at least big old American cars are still cheap.

    For 80 grand, I could buy a 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ, a 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Brougham, a 1975 Oldsmobile 88, a 1976 Cadillac Eldorado, a 1977 Lincoln Continental Town Coupe, and probably some kind of 2 door C-body Chrysler. Hell, even after all of that I’d likely have a couple thousand left.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      I won’t compete with you when you get ready to buy. They are all your’s. ;)

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      Or you could get a nice 90’s era Panther platform Ford for well under $5K that has less than 200K miles on a powertrain that easily goes to around 400K miles. Won’t bother to list all the things it does much better than average…not the ultimate anything, but a lot of good reliable car for the money, and those Aero bodies look tres cool.

      Love my 185K mile original owner Grand Marquis that went for $1500, with near perfect cosmetics and running strong. That leaves a lot of money for mods, and a lot of money to go places and have fun in it.

      And there is nothing new out there that offers anything like it. The CV’s aren’t bad, especially with the Handling and Performance Package, and if you want a bit more bling, there is the Town Car.

      But personally, I have always liked the Mercury concept, when it was well-executed. And I have a boatload of luxury cheap in the GM. And don’t try me at a light unless you have a car with a lot of hp, or I will embarrass you before you know what happened.

      Screw these insane prices is my motto. Back in 88 I was looking at a sixties era Vette…needed some rear end and drive train work, and the engine looked like it hadn’t gotten much care for a good while. Plus it had something like 140K miles on it. And the dealer thought it was a steal at only $25K because I could easily set it right for another $10K, his number, or more like $20K+, my mechanic’s number.

      After a brief bit of soulsearching, I went out and paid two thirds of the asking price for the Vette, for a brand new 88 Thunderbird SuperCoupe that was nearly one of a kind, and as much of a head turner and chick magnet as a Vette, if not more. And it worked for me in midlife…got the prettiest, smartest and coolest tall blonde single mom in the DC area while driving it, though that was only one part of the deal. But it opened the door to a quarter century and a family I never had for this gearhead.

      I would have been nuts to buy and restore that Vette. Glad I realized it before I jumped in with both feet. I learned to let go of my love for older Vettes, and I learned to love a very quick and very sharp looking four seat moonroof Thunderbird with a torque-y 5.0L engine.

      That, and my lovely wife, with whom I am well-acquainted.

      But good older cars can be had…you just have to stay out of the end of the pool where people with more money than sense are playing.

  • avatar
    Carzzi

    This blog post is an actually readable version of “Nice Price or Crack Pipe?”. It ought to be the followup, antithetical piece to the JB Classic “Avoidable Contact: the watery Big Bang, the 32-step power steering fluid check, disposable faux-ury.”

  • avatar
    MK

    Or in 1995 for the same money (let’s go with an even 50k), you could’ve bought 12 transferable Colt M-16’s with “provenance!” (US Dept of Energy guns from Pantex even!). I know because I was in the market for some title II toys around that time and they were about $4000 each.

    Then you could’ve either tossed ’em in a small closet, or melted the barrels from turning money into smoke, replaced every single component on it with the cheapest Chinese knock-off parts you could fine, then done it again, finally thrown it down your driveway to give it the “battlefield pick-up” look and tomorrow you could find people throwing 20k EACH and begging you to sell it to them.

    But to each his own, just never underestimate the power of inflation and a restricted supply.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    It may not be an RS, or a 993 for that matter, but you can still get a 964 for a decent price…for now. I was able to pick a nicely maintained 100k C2 for $20k (CDN) last fall. It’s no concourse winner by any means, but at least it’s not at the point where I’m afraid to drive it.

    The 993 was always the dream, but the 964 is 90% of the experience at half the price.

  • avatar

    I love this car

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    I ponder whether this is yet another symptom of what I refer to as the “boomer bubble.” Since the 50’s, the consumer markets have largely danced to the needs, wants and desires of the boomer, and they’re retiring daily and many of them have a $hit-ton of money. The realization that you can’t take it with you and that when you’re 80+ you’ll likely be unable to physically enjoy it means they’re buying up air cooled Porsches that they couldn’t buy at the height of their earning power because they had a wife and kids to deal with. Those kids have likely been out of college for 10-15 years now, and the money is there.

    What I truly wonder is when these boomers start dropping dead in their 80’s, will the market be flooded with what’s in their garages and will the cohort with $$$ be interested?

    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse

      Think CAFE; think self-driving cars; think improved battery life and electrification. That’s our automotive future.

      There will always be nostalgia for the Days When Real Sportscars and Musclecars Roamed the Earth. So I’m thinking that when I drop dead in my 80s, one of my nephews will slip into the garage and inherit some history.

      Neil Peart got it right: My uncle preserved for me an old machine, for fifty odd years, to keep it as new has been his dearest dream…

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Nah – as soon as the self-driving car matures – the gov’t will outlaw the old drive-it-yourself cars as dangerous. I keep expecting manual transmissions to go away completely so the computer can do all the shifting for economy or emissions reasons.

        I’m kind of joking and kind of not…

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    As this is the TTAC equivalent of NP/CP — at that price, CP.

    But if we’re to discuss the enjoyment of Ye Olde Air-Cooled 911 Ownership in general terms, this particular Porsche excluded, then it’s NP.

    Yes, a 30 year old Porsche 911 will get dusted by a V6 Camry stoplight to stoplight. Yes, even a functioning HVAC system in said 911 is merely a suggestion of coolness or heat. And yes, if you lift in the corner, you will die assfirst into a tree. Yes, if something breaks, your repair bill will be as painful as a root canal without novocaine. And yes, it’s all worth it because nothing is as involving to drive.

  • avatar
    blueflame6

    It’s demographics. Pre-WWII and early Post-WWII cars are now relatively affordable because most of the people with a strong emotional attachment have either died or are too old to worry about such things. That trailing edge is moving forward and it won’t be too long before people with direct connections to cars from 50s and early 60s will move on as well. The fat part of the pricing curve at the moment seems to be late 60s/early 70s muscle cars plus the (more or less) exotica like Porsche and Ferrari. Guys, and let’s be honest it’s almost all guys, are in middle age and now have the financial resources to buy stuff they dreamed about as a teenager. You can tell where the leading edge of the curve is because that’s where you’ll hear people saying things like “Holy smoke, why would anybody pay this much for POS old Toyota FX16/Honda Del Sol/Buick Reatta/Chrysler Laser/etc?!”

    tl,dl: Demographics. 50s chrome is about to get cheap. Muscle cars are going to get affordable again. Invest in a cheap Dodge Conquest.

    • 0 avatar
      viper32cm

      This is a good article discussing the demographics issue:

      http://www.caranddriver.com/features/baby-boomers-created-the-classic-car-marketand-could-crash-it-feature

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    My personal favorite is the 1989 Porsche Speedster, now selling for 3-4x the original MSRP of $70k. I like the ’89 better than the ’93 Speedster because of the turbo look rear fenders, I have been in love with that car since I first saw one, even have the 1/18th scale model of it. That car is my price-no-object dream car, even though objectively I know that my Mustang can likely embarrass it at any task, except resale value obviously.

  • avatar

    Rare cars released in small batches become highly desirable and are the only cars that I’ve seen that actually appreciate as an asset lol. Other examples would be the Ferrari Enzo and McLaren F1.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Part of it might be that rebuild costs have gone up as oem supplier support has ceased for the earlier air cooled cars. A friend of mine is staring at a 911sc in need of an engine rebuild and his parts cost is in the five figures if you factor in needed tools. This just adds to the perfect storm described by so many above. The nice thing about the bubble is that the car will still be profitable when he sells it, but not the lottery ticket that it seems like from a bought vs sold comparison.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    I honestly believe that Bring A Trailer was quietly purchased by the gang at Barrett Jackson about 24 months ago. If not, then obviously their mindset has changed to market manipulation. Their editorial stance went from “fun” to “at this price it won’t last long”. The super informed and entertaining reader comments have also dropped off.
    I can’t blame the BaT guys for cashing in, but for me, the old car hobby litter box has an excessive amount of clumping occurring.

  • avatar

    As the old saying goes, “crack pipe.”

    I love aircooled 911s and need one more than anything in this world, but that’s just not worth that much, especially with a sketchy history.

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