As April draws to a close and we put the first proper month of the season behind us, the shape of the 2018 classic Porsche market has begun to emerge. While high-end 911s with low mileage, low owners and all the right spec are still enjoying some demand, only the bravest observer would describe things as buoyant at the lower end of the market.
The long cold winter across Europe was definitely felt in Porsche showrooms and what little fever there was around air-cooled classics towards the end of last year has not increased. This has tempered sentiment towards the most populous production models including all turbocharged 911s. This trend is shared across the pond: bids on two apparently nice 93os offered at the recent Amelia Island sale fell well short of bottom estimate, but the cars were sold nevertheless. The softer demand also seems to have spread to average 996 and 997 Turbos unless very well priced or gifted with excellent spec.
Normally-aspirated air-cooled 911s have not escaped the softer conditions. While the number of late-eighties Carreras offered to market in recent months has been lower than expected, prices for average examples are off the boil. 911 SCs in A1 condition have been holding up well, as the numbers are lower and demand for chrome-trimmed ’70s 3-litres remains healthy when the cars are priced right.
A quick look on Pistonheads shows the state of supply in the UK right now. Searching for air-cooled 911s up to 1983 listed by UK sellers brings up 96 results. Roughly 20% of those cars are listed as POA, with several listings detailing cars coming up for auction in the next month or two. Looking specifically at cars offered below £50k, there are just eight air-cooled 911s available in the UK and only five of those are SCs.
Looking at 1984-1989 911 Carrera 3.2s on sale for less than £50k in the UK right now, there are 24 examples listed on Pistonheads, with prices starting from £25k for a project and ending at top whack for a 150k-mile 3.2-litre backdate. Twenty four cars is six times the number of SCs up for sale on this site in the same price range. Eight 3.2s are listed from £50-70k and there are a couple more over that, making more than thirty cars available.
Porsche 911 supply dictates price limits
Supply of these cars is a big part of price. When there are more cars than buyers, anyone looking to sell will have to be competitive on the condition of the car they are offering and its asking price. While buyers are still out there for the very best cars, air-cooled 911 owners considering a switch into water-cooled during 2018, or away from air-cooled 911s altogether would be well advised to sharpen their pencils and spend some money putting their cars beyond reproach.
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