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Why did this Porsche 993 Turbo Sell for Half-Price?

Updated: Mar 29, 2020

The Porsche 993 Turbo is a car for every Porsche collector’s garage and prices reflect that demand as 993 Turbos regularly sell for $150,000 plus. At the recent Bonhams ‘ Scottsdale auction there was a 1997 Porsche 993 Turbo going up for auction but its pre-sale estimate was only $75-100,000; half the normal price for this highly desirable model of an end-of-run air-cooled Porsche 993.

Being a bargain buyer who doesn’t expect or want perfect cars, was this an opportunity to get a premier collectible Porsche at half-price? That is my current goal as I search for a 1993 Porsche RS America in the $65-75,000 range versus the going rate of a high quality RS America being $120,000 plus.

The 993 Turbo was never on my radar screen because the prices just seemed to out of reach but here was one with an estimate at the low range of $75,000 which was within my range for a car purchase, granted at the high end, but you never know with an auction if a deal is to be available depending on the time the car crosses the block and who is in the room.

The first question is why is the pre-sale estimate so low on this Classic collectible air-cooled Porsche?

A quick review of the catalog description immediately highlighted the issue; the car had been in a wreck in 2001 and had sustained front-end damage. The left front panel had been repainted and the rear bumper had sustained damage at some point in its life.

As Bonhams stated this model had been driven an enthusiastic 15,000 in the three and a half years on the road, but since its acquisition by the current owner in 2006 with mileage of 26,586 it had only traveled an additional 7,200 miles for a total of 34.200 miles. The car has mileage of 34,000 miles in 20 years with meticulous service records by a Porsche specialist.

The problem comes down to the damage. In this day and age of CarFax there is no hiding a car that has been in a wreck and if you are a collector willing to spend $150,000 or more do you want a previously damaged one or a clean example of how a Porsche 993 Turbo came from the factory?

Any big spending collector is going to want a clean car so the market for this car is someone who will use the car and wants to get into the model at a low price for the Porsche air-cooled turbo experience and ownership badge. Once the auction is over and this car is in a garage and being shown at the local Porsche meet or Cars and Coffee or driven in a tour, no one will know that the bumper and fender were repainted. But, as the owner you get the prestige and experience of one driving one of 1,048 Porsche 993 Turbos delivered to the US in 1997.

And, you get to drive it because it is not a garage queen.

The car eventually sold for $106,400 including the auction house fees so it sold at the high-end of the pre-sale estimate and out my budget for a bargain classic Porsche. I’ll keep watching and the opportunities will keep coming, it is all about patience when bargain shopping for a classic air-cooled Porsche.

Note: All images are courtesy of Bonhams.

Tags: Porsche 993 Turbo, Bargain Air-Cooled Porsche, Classic Porsche at half-price,, Scottsdale 2020 Bonhams Sale

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