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Are Early Air-Cooled Porsche Prices Softening?

The November 30, 2019 RM Sotheby’s in Abu Dhabi was not a big Classic Porsche auction with only three Classic Porsches represented. However, it continued the trend of early Porsche 911’s struggling to retain the pricing exuberance around these models during the past decade.

What seems to be occurring with air-cooled Porsches is a shift of greater interest into the more refined models of 964 and 993 variants, especially if they are a unique model as exhibited at this auction.

The bell weather collector Porsche over the past decade has always been the 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7. This model has been the blue chip Porsche, but all of a sudden sales have been difficult at their previous strong prices and in fact at this auction this beautiful example was a no sale at the $750,000-$850,000 pre-sale estimate price.

The other two air-cooled Porsches hit their pre-sale estimate prices but they represented a 1993 Porsche 911 (964) reimagined by Singer that sold for $825,000 and a 1993 Porsche 911 (964) Carrera RSR 3.8 that sold for $782,500.

The big January Scottsdale auctions are coming up and it will be interesting to note what happens to Classic Porsche prices at these auctions since these sales will determine the future value of air-cooled Porsches.

RM Sotheby’s Abu Dhabi Air-Cooled Porsche Sales Results

Note: Photos and descriptions are courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

1993 Porsche 911 reimagined by Singer

Pre-Sale Estimate: $800,000-$1,000,000 Result: $825,000

Porsche 964, Porsche 911 Singer
1993 Porsche 911 reimagined by Singer | Image RM Sotheby's

The 1993 Porsche 911 reimagined by Singer is painted Midnight Blue, complemented by Fuchs-style wheels with matching brake calipers. Singer’s larger-size steel Brembo brakes are fitted, along with an Ohlins adjustable suspension. Importantly, the commission also boasts the desirable options of the exposed center-mounted fuel filler cap, as well as the exposed oil filler, a homage to the 1972 911s. Importantly, the car is also fitted with a carbon-fiber roof.

Inside, both driver and passenger enjoy track-specification seats and roll bar trimmed in cognac leather with an Ivory headliner. Creating a slight contrast are the dash, door cards, and kick panels, which are trimmed in Espresso leather. Furthermore, the transmission tunnel and the interior doorsills are finished in Midnight Blue to match the exterior paintwork. Keen eyes will also note the wooden 917-style gearshift knob and the car’s instruments, which are done to replicate those in 1964–1967 911s, utilizing light green font. The car is also outfitted with air conditioning, stereo with iPod connect, and subwoofer. It presently shows less than 4,500 km on its odometer since its rebuild by Singer in 2016.

1993 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.8

Pre-Sale Estimate: $700,000 -$850,000 Result: $782,500

Porsche 964, Classic Porsche 911
1993 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR3.8 | Image RM Sotheby's

Porsche’s Type 964–based Carrera RSR 3.8 of 1993 and 1994, built for European Pro GT racing and the North American Supercar Series, was a winner from the outset. The lightweight RSR 3.8 received its urge from a naturally aspirated, air-cooled six-cylinder Type 64/04 engine based on the 964’s 3.6-litre powerplant. Increased compression, twin ignition, individual butterfly valves for each cylinder, and Bosch electronic fuel injection produce an official 325 horsepower, but in reality, output was at least 375–390. Torque was rated at 284 foot-pounds. A racing clutch delivered power to a five-speed manual transaxle with 40% limited slip. The body shells, constructed on the regular 964 assembly line, were all seam-welded and then sent to Matter for installation of fully triangulated roll cages.

The RSR 3.8 featured light-alloy doors and front lids, and a steel engine cover strong enough to support the large fiberglass rear wing. Also included were lightweight front and rear bumper fascias, lighter and thinner side and rear windows, uprated racing suspension, disc brakes from the Turbo S, and 18-inch center-lock modular alloy wheels from Speedline. These cars were equipped with a front strut brace, a 43-litre fuel cell, and a large oil radiator mounted in the nose. A single Recaro bucket seat with a six-point racing harness was provided, along with a fire-suppression system. When complete, the RSR 3.8 scaled a mere 2,673 pounds dry. Contemporary road testing demonstrated that the RSR 3.8 could accelerate to 60 miles an hour in 3.7 seconds and top 180 miles an hour.

Factory records indicate that there were 49 units delivered, in addition to a single pre-production test car and one factory race car. In the fall of 1994, an additional four cars were constructed, giving a total of 55, enough to satisfy FIA homologation requirements.

As documented in the authoritative RS 3.8 by Jürgen Barth, Norbert Franz, and Robert Weber, this example was completed in April of 1993, finished in Speed Yellow with black leatherette, and optioned with the RSR 3.8 package, five-speed gearbox with limited slip, Turbo-look body, a 43-litre fuel tank, Pirelli tyres, racing seat, 18-inch RS Cup racing wheels, and unassisted steering. It was delivered to Otto Altenbach at Obermaier Racing in Leverkusen, Germany. It made five recorded starts in the ADAC GT Cup series.

1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Touring

Pre-Sale Estimate: $750,000 -$850,000 Result: No Sale

Porsche 911RS, Classic Porsche
1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Touring | Image RM Sotheby's

First registered in April of 1973, this RS 2.7 was enjoyed by its first owner until 1978, when it was sold to a collector and placed into dry storage, where it remained until 1985, having been driven just 58,640 km. The second owner than commissioned a full restoration by marque expert Hartmut Burhop at Automobil Conversion in Ganderkensee, Germany. The car was stripped to bare metal, and minor rust repairs were completed before a full respray. The original engine was overhauled with a new crankshaft and 92 mm Mahle pistons, which raised displacement to 2.8 litres. A new oil pump, fuel-injection pump, distributor, generator, fuel pump, flywheel, and clutch were installed. The brakes and suspension were also overhauled, and new Bilstein shocks were fitted, along with a new front oil cooler.

By late 1988 this RS 2.7 had made its way to the U.S., where it was registered to Mr James Ladwig of Melrose, Illinois. By 1993 it been sold to Mr Jeffrey Proval, at which time the car was resprayed a dark green. The next private owner was a Mr Mark Lunenburg of Farmington, Connecticut, who had Jim Newton of Canton, Connecticut, carry out a two-year, concours-quality restoration to factory-original specification and correct colour. The car had been driven only a few hundred miles since its restoration when it was sold at auction in Texas to restorer and collector Bruce Canepa of Scotts Valley, California. Outstanding cars from the auction were entered in the 2016 Concours d’Elegance of Texas, where it achieved Best in Class and Grand Award ribbons. Mr Canepa took the car back to California, where it was serviced and detailed before being sold to the current owner.

Today this Carrera RS 2.7 is presented in its original color scheme of Signal Yellow over Black Leatherette, wearing refinished Fuchs alloys, and now fitted with a pair of sport seats with headrests, stainless rocker trim, and a pair of horn grille-mounted clear fog lamps. For reliability, the engine was uprated with pressure-fed chain tensioners. The original radio was removed by a previous owner and replaced with a factory blanking plate. The engine compartment is incredibly clean and detailed. This Carrera RS 2.7’s original manuals, a complete tool roll, a folio of restoration photographs, previous registrations, repair invoices, and Porsche Certificate of Authenticity are included.

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