19 December 2011

Porsche 911 Values: 1974-'89

A ride in a friend’s concours-condition 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera (with more than 125,000 miles on it, no less) got me thinking about the future of the short hood (1974-89) in terms of collectability. The fact of the matter is, the future is now with these cars.

Starting with the 1974-77 narrow fender 2.7-liter cars, a complete reversal of fortune has occurred. Because of hot-running and head stud issues with the 1975-77 2.7-liter engines, these cars were formerly untouchable. Now, 30-plus years on, most of the survivors have had competent rebuilds or transplants from later 3.0- or 3.2-liter cars. Their funky 1970s colors, unfinished Fuchs wheels and chrome trim give them a bit of the appeal of the more desirable long hood LWB cars from 1969-73. Values for nice ones in some cases exceed 911SC prices, even without the latter’s galvanized body.

And speaking of 911SCs, it previously looked like these would be the same price forever. A seemingly infinite supply (five production years and a high survivorship rate owing to 250,000-plus mile longevity and galvanized bodies) made sure that supply and demand were kept roughly in balance.

A funny thing has happened, though: A large number of these cars are now bumping up against a quarter-million miles and are facing a $10,000-$15,000 bill for a rebuild. This makes the low-mileage cars and the ones with a documented professional rebuild more desirable (particularly the last three years of Carrera production with the G50 gearbox). The same holds true for the later and improved 3.2-liter Carreras. Color makes a huge difference in value. Guards Red, while attractive, is incredibly common, and I know some people who flat out won’t consider a GR car. Early SCs from 1978 and '79 still came in some great period colors like Minerva Blue, Talbot Yellow, Continental Orange and Apple Green. They’re rare colors but can add a lot of value to a nice car.

Rob Sass is the publisher of Hagerty magazine and the author of the book “Ran When Parked: Advice and Adventures from the Affordable Underbelly of Car Collecting.”

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