The Mexico Blue Porsche 997 GT3 RS 4.0 has just sold at JZM Porsche. Finished in what might be the ultimate paint-to-sample shade, the lack of decals is what most people I spoke to seemed to bring up – that and the price, of course.
For sale at a heady £350,000, people were always going to talk about the advertised price. “That’s not us driving the market,” say the sellers, “that is what the owner decided would convince him to part with it. The last RHD 4.0 RS to sell was a more common white car, which sold at £320k. The market has jumped since then and our customer was happy to keep this low-mileage one-off if his return wasn’t worthwhile.”
Such is life as a dealer: balancing customer sentiment with market activity. And it’s not always positive. Agressive dealers keen to push the market up for other 911s have dragged others with them, hurting everyone’s prospects as a consequence. One particular specialist known for scary prices has been listing 911 Turbos – mainly 993s – at huge money this year, forcing other sellers to list cars beyond their comfort zone, to prevent more realistic prices from inferring poor condition. I’m not saying dealers are scared of pushing prices, but there’s a fine line between market top and madness.
JZM has since re-priced its low-mileage Porsche 993 Turbo to what it believes is a more realistic level. Further down the price scale, I’ve spoken to a number of other dealer friends this week who, fed up with silly prices for projects, have been bidding much lower then the asking price and not coming home empty-handed.
One dealer who recently inspected a 1970 911 for a customer valued the car at just 60% of asking. “It was up for one price but with non-matching numbers, rust to repair and no shortage of issues to point at, I offered much less than the advertised price and told him to try and do better. A few days later, the phone rang to say come pick it up.”
What would a potentially slowing project market prove? Not much we don’t know. Prices for good cars are one place, prices for projects are somewhere else entirely. Few people want to buy huge amounts of work as most specialist repairers are pretty booked up, and restoration prices are climbing as parts get harder to source. At some stage there may be a tipping point: if it comes, I’m assuming it will be interest rate related.
There’s no harm in sellers making hay while they can if that what the market is willing to pay. Hurts that genuine enthusiasts are being blown out by investors, but let’s see how it all plays out.