By on December 26, 2015

 

Looking for a place to park that retirement cash? Find a Porsche crest.

Last year, the average sale price for 1974-1977 Porsches increased by 154 percent, according to Bloomberg — and the prices aren’t expected to drop anytime soon, according to the report.

“European sports cars in general have been on a real rise in the last couple of years,” Gord Duff, from RM Sotheby’s, told Bloomberg. “Ferraris lead the way and then you go to the next greatest European sports cars, which are Mercedes, and then you get to Porsches. If we are saying Mercedes have peaked, Porsches are the next best thing.”

North American car auctions brought in $1.45 billion this year, more than the $1.31 billion mark set in 2014.

That growth is partially fueled by an appetite for newer collectible cars, according to the report. According to Hagerty’s, collectors added 1980s-and-newer cars 17 percent more than pre-1980s classic cars.

“A new era of later model performance cars from instantly recognizable brands have irrefutably proven that the term ‘collector car’ is not synonymous with ‘old car,'” McKeel Hagerty told Bloomberg. “Porsche is next.”

Porsche’s appeal for relatively simple, reliable and iconic cars has led the pack, according to the report.

So for drivers looking for Porsches, the market is (and has been) relatively dry of a good deal. For investors, there’s enough to salivate.

(Our own Vojta Dobes has an interesting look at the classic car market based on recent auctions.)

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41 Comments on “Old Porsches: Good For Investors, Probably Bad For Drivers...”


  • avatar
    CJinSD

    1974-1977 Porsches increased in value by so much because they are the Porsches that nobody wanted until they couldn’t afford long hoods, SCs, Carrera 3.2s, and 964s. They had very little value before on account of their troublesome, short-lived engines.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      I think those cars were given a bad rap for a long time by “those who know less than they think.” All the self-acclaimed brand experts spent the best part of thirty years slamming the 73-83 generation.
      Meanwhile, real Porsche shops sorted the cars out and realized that they have a lot going for them: A/C, handling, power, more luxurious than the long hoods.

      Still prefer 87-89 though.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I believe the SC of ’78-’83 has always had a good reputation. They were considerably more powerful and less problematic than the ’74-’77s, except for the Euro-only Carrera 3.0 of ’76-’77, which was more powerful, but still not as bullet-proof as the SC.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    So Jerry Seinfeld was right to buy a multi story parking garage and fill it full of Zuffenhausen.

    I always wanted a 3.2 but that seems like its slipping far away.

  • avatar
    John

    When shoeshine boys are giving stock tips……..

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      +1: An equities and real estate market driven by free money from the Fed causes all kinds of bubbles for collectibles – old Porsches included.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        The problem with your advise is they’re not building any more of them. With real estate, there’s an endless supply.

        And there’s no real reason generations of kids just coming up or yet unborn won’t join the fan base.

        Same thing with “muscle cars” especially pre emissions. The simplicity of air-cooled engines has always baffled me. I’ve never owned one but they intrigue me more and more as cars continue to get exponentially complicated.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          So there’s endless supply of Hawaiian islands and Manhattan penthouses? Cool!

          • 0 avatar
            05lgt

            Bahrain and China are both building islands. Both will be subsurface soon, but if the market or the party demands it, there will be new real estate. I’m not sure which ironic demise amuses me more, low sand islands built by an oil producwe, or oceanic agression inspired targets.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Apparently someone is trying to make a mockery of the Mark Twain quote: “Buy land, they aren’t making more of it.”

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          His point is that the housing and stock markets help drive the colectable market.

          There are still a fair amount of foreclosed homes coming back on the market and people who are attempting a short sale. Far too many of those people got themselves into trouble by using their house as a cash machine. I’ve seen houses that have been lost that the person should be near paid off but instead they took out every single penny they could when values were at their peak. Now certainly some of those people did it for a good reason and may have even put some of the money into the house for things like a new kitchen or roof. However looking at the pictures of some of the occupieds or the street view images from when they were still in the home indicate that they used it for toys like the big motorhome or boat on the side of the house and expensive cars in the driveway.

          Collectable car bubbles are unique in that they require some teen lust to get them going. The reality is that the cars that do the serious appreciation are those that significant numbers of teen boys lusted for. They then get to the point where they have some money to buy a toy. They start the initial up swing in prices. That gets noticed, speculators get involved and the prices continue their climb. However you do reach a point when too few of the people who actually lust for a particular model can afford it. That car is then seen mainly as an investment. If the price of a near perfect example gets to the point where it exceeds the price to restore one then guess what happens more get re-“made” increasing supply which doesn’t help pricing. It then is just a question of when the bubble will burst, not if.

          • 0 avatar
            SoCalMikester

            like resto mods.

            i saw the house=ATM market back in 2005. i was living in my modest condo while neighbors were rolling in new 3 series, or F350s towing toy haulers.

            theyre all gone to live in apartments, while i enjoy my scion xa and $500/mo 20 yr mortgage

        • 0 avatar
          DeeDub

          It’s been a long time since they made any more Model T’s, but that doesn’t make them a good investment. The market for collectible 1970s cars will reach a peak just like every other era’s cars did.

          • 0 avatar
            SaulTigh

            This. As each generation reaches it’s peak earning power they go out an get what they wanted to drive to High School when they were young but couldn’t afford. These Porsches are in the sweet spot for guys that are in their 50’s.

            I’m nearly 40, and I can’t say with any certainty that if I had crazy money to spend that a nice ’89 IROC Camaro with a 350 wouldn’t follow me home one day. I know they’re terrible cars, but I still think they look great and lord I wanted one back when I started driving in ’92.

            But…my first car was a ’78 LeBaron.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Not everyone is an Al Bundy whose life peaked in high school.

            The old vehicles I crave didn’t exist until at least a decade after my HS graduation.

  • avatar
    David Walton

    As someone who earned an after tax IRR > 50% on 2 precious Porsches (993, 997 GT3), I’d be very careful about buying one of those now. Currently in a 991 GT3; we’ll see how values go with those – different market.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    Y’all can have em. Never really been a fan. I do admit that the air cooled cars are iconic, just never really been my style. One possible exception, Jeremy Clarkson drove one a few years back that was a special model that was devoid of pesky things like HVAC, radio, interior door handles, all to lighten it Im sure. But, it struck a cord with me being so basic, so pure and with nothing to distract you from the only reason you bought the car, driving enjoyment.

    So, for the guy who loved and babied his older car for years (when it wasnt as valuable) and now its worth a nice chunk, thats good for him.

  • avatar
    MBella

    The biggest issue is the sustainability of the prices. You have to time selling the car just right before the bubble bursts. When that will happen is anybody’s guess.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    For me, I’ve never understood the appeal of a Porsche, but then I’m not a “driver”, merely a cruiser. I suppose that’s why I’ve driven larger cars most of my life.

    I imagine it all depends where you live and how easy it is to go to an area of road where you can carve corners and blast along straightaways that aren’t clogged with traffic.

    I learned to drive in Impalas and owned one when I was young and in the service, and now I’ve been back to Impalas for the last almost 12 years, which explains a lot.

    Aren’t Porsches really just amped-up VWs?

    • 0 avatar
      jdogma

      Even early Porsches, which had a lot in common with the VW Beetle, were more powerful,lighter, had better brakes, and had a lower CG. As a result they were pretty decent sports cars. Their build quality – fit and finish- was typically better than other sports cars. By the time the 911 came out with a 6 cylinder engine, about the only thing they had in common was engine location. The 911 was an outstanding sports car by any measure, and later iterations are generally better. Today their best is still outstanding, and all models are great cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Thanks for that. I know Porsches have an extremely loyal following, but I’ve never had the nerve to drive a car with that capability other than for what I do best – cruising.

  • avatar
    Phillin_Phresh

    “the prices aren’t expected to drop anytime soon, according to the report.”

    Riiiiight….These cars are wildly unreliable, impractical, and not great to drive. Over time, repair parts are going to get more and more expensive. Let’s not kid ourselves that this is in the same league as buying a Renoir or Faberge Egg. Prices are bound to go down in the future.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I think the prices are at the point where the reliability, practicality and how they drive matter. Too many of them are being locked away as investments and not driven. Never drive it and those things don’t matter.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      People paying 6 figures for Porsches

      – have the means to maintain them
      – probably aren’t driving them

      And since the Porsche market is growing, so too will support for them, which will cause competition and drive maintenance costs down.

      “Not great to drive” is very subjective…. IDK what your metric of “great to drive” is, but if it is some zero feel go fast BS like a new GT-R then your opinion doesn’t matter anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      vaportrail

      I’m a 911 owner. To say these cars are overpriced is fair but:

      Wildly unreliable? Not according to JP Power and thousands of 911 owners. A Camry it is not, but by high end sportscar standards they are as good as it gets. Mine is going in for its first unscheduled repair since I bought it, four years ago. Nothing wild about that.

      Impractical? A trunk, a fold down backseat, and AWD mean I can go on a weekend with the GF and dog, in bad weather. And I have.

      Not great to drive? Subjective at best, and the market doesn’t seem to agree.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I just saw a not particularly special Ferrari sell at Mecum for almost 6 million dollars. I don’t understand the collector car market.

    It wasn’t even a race car or anything…

  • avatar
    Jeff Zekas

    Woody wagons sold for a couple thou. Then baby boomers wanted them. Prices rose to over $100K.Finally, everyone who wanted one, bought one, and now prices have fallen to $50K. The same will happen with Porsche cars.

  • avatar
    manbridge

    Picked up a 85K mile 74 back in 2010 off Craig’s. Guy had tried to sell it for awhile but had a hard time with all the negative press from the know-it-alls. Sages who somehow failed to understand that the same engine case was used in both the million dollar Carrera RS and regular versions. I have receipts since new and valve guide replacement was the only major repair.

    I liken it to an old watch. Sure newer ones do it better but that isn’t the point.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I can tell you exactly when the classic Porsche bubble will burst: the day after I purchase one.
    .
    .

    • 0 avatar
      fincar1

      Back when I was buying and selling quite a few cars, I finally learned – with a 1962 Lincoln convertible and a 1964 230SL – that the signal for prices to start appreciating was my sale of the vehicle in question.

    • 0 avatar
      jdogma

      Really funny, but true. When the average Joe tries to get in on the party, the party goes somewhere else, leaving Joe with the bill.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I was lucky in that I began driving air cooled Porsches back when the 1950’s versions were just old Sports Cars , FWIW , unless you peak and tweak it , they’re very good cruisers too .

    I drove a grey market 1969 911S Coupe off and on in the 1970’s , it was a nice car , way faster than any air cooled car I’ve ever owned but ” Sports Cars ” are supposed to be just that : Sporting to drive , _not_ Race Cars , few Americans ever get this simple concept and so wind up disappointed .

    In time I bought a one owner 1963 356B Coupe and ran it a few years , it was fun but not nearly as fun as flogging that ’54 Continental Coupe through the twisty back roads way back when so I decided to part with it , my Son took it and likes it as a track car but it’ll never be fast enough nor handle well enough to suit him having learned to drive on modern seriously fast cars .

    ‘ investors ‘ and , IMO , always jerkhoff jackballs who don’t know nor care about cars , they just have the love of money and ruin things for true Enthusiasts .

    Old 911 Porches do have their weak spots , cam chain followers etc. but they’re fun cars none theless .

    Not for me , even if cheap .

    YMMV .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    Mid-70s 911? I get a haddock just thinking about remembering those awful things. BTW a “haddock” is when you’ve been hit on the head with a large frozen fish.
    Porsche used an aluminum alloy engine case for the first 7 or so years of the 911. It worked quite well. Then with the 2.4 there was a sudden fit for light weight or something. That aluminum alloy was replaced with magnesium. At the same time, in the USA, there were tighter emission regs. This meant the engine ran hotter than before and now you could look forward (not very far) to cylinder head studs pulling out of their threads, crankcase warping and cracking, and enough oil leaks to make you think it was British.
    Of course there’s the cam chain tensioners, mentioned in another post, that stopped tensioning. Leading to the chain jumping teeth on the sprockets and piston/valve collisions.
    If you get through that then there’s the broken exhaust valves.
    Most of these cars had a diabolical shift linkage that often had reverse being selected instead of 2nd. With accompanying loud noises and destruction. The linkage can be replaced with the later one that actually worked, but then the car is no longer “original”.
    Over the years fixes have been developed, at least short term ones, for all this. Just get out your credit card.
    That is if you can find one that isn’t a rusted mess. Porsche did not use a rust preventive primer on the body/chassis until sometime later.
    So one does not have to spend more than the “collector” price to fix the car so it will be semi-usable I suggest getting anything 9– 1978 and later. With the exception of the 930 and some other, usually non-USA models, which got many of the improvements some model years before.
    When the 1978 911SC was created, aluminum was rediscovered. That solved most of the crankcase problems, but you still need the ‘turbo’ cam chain tensioners if that has not already been done.
    Basically I look at most 911s as a modern version of foot-binding. You try to show your social status by how much discomfort you will put up with.

    • 0 avatar
      jimf42

      The 2.7 mag case engines all were of questionable reliability…the alloy case in the SC solved those problems for the most part (still had a batch of bad head studs later, which required replacement with dilavar studs). Porsche started galvanizing floor pans in 1970 and the entire body in mid 1976, both done much earlier than almost all other cars.

    • 0 avatar
      manbridge

      Ha ha.

      My 74 is coming up on 42 winters. Case has never been split and reverse lock out still works as intended.

      We also just tore a 75 down to the crank. This one had no optional front oil cooler. Bores still showed factory cross hatch finish and will be getting little in the way of refurb as most parts excepting valve guides are in spec. And the case fits together easily, not shifting due to being apart for two weeks.

      I will say this: these cannot be allowed to overheat on a continual basis. Mouse nests over the oil cooler are a killer. Most people don’t realize the engine can be dropped in 2 hrs with a floor jack and hand tools. An engine out reseal/inspection would be smart every 10 years or so.

      But keep flingin the poo. I’m laughing all the way to da bank….

  • avatar
    robc123

    done this 2x before, never got money back, never got time back.

    I am a buyer at $300k for a 81 Porsche in nearish concours shape.

    Below this, to even touch it to restore- 12 grand on a paint job no problem, 3k on rubber seals, maybe 1 piece of small glass. Interior, carpet 1k, to take out and remove glue 1k, new dash, new door insides, fix bits that don’t work, new dash, new seatbelts, new seats, new unrusted seat assembly, new rockers, new floorpans, new chassis metal, all new suspension arms, suspension bushings, unrusted nuts, shocks, new brake lines, SS braided, new brake pump, new rotors, new pads, new brake bits, new piston/rebuild kit, new wheel bearings, new diff, check electronic/wiring replace wiring, new steering wheel. Havn’t touched motor.

    its just on worth it to fix up a 15-40k car if you want it minty and somewhat safe.

    Its just like these guys spending $8-15k to get into a ’68 alfa duetto, beautiful car but slap a paint job over the rust and you are into rare sales values at $25k. and 95% need full pans,rockers and fenders, and chassis work. if you don’t fix this, its a death trap.

    When a old Porsche from the 80’s to 90’s starts going for new Porsche money, buy new.

    Because the interior of old Porsche is just as shitty as 70’s muscle cars, vinyl seats, plastic dash, plastic basket weave- which is German fake wood. early 2000’s are even worse with their cost cutting.

    Save money and time, get an old NB and tool around in that for fun.

    • 0 avatar
      manbridge

      Nonsense. I can tell you’ve never pulled a single interior piece out of any 911. The muscle car comparison is laughable. My 73 Camaros door card could be pulled off exactly zero times before a plastic clip broke or worse the clip pulled out of the CARDBOARD material. Then you broke out the fiberglass for repairing.

      911s are held together with screws and can be taken apart many, many times with little drama.

  • avatar
    manbridge

    I would also comment on the rust issue. The owners manual for the early cars recommended an annual inspection to see if the body was compromised. Too many people didn’t give a @$&#. Hence the survivors are worth a lot.

    Also many were hack repaired after collisions. Easier for rust to take hold.

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