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RM Atlanta 70th Anniversary Auction Preview Part I

 

 

CBA Previews RM’s Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

Porsche Experience Center Atlanta

One-off Auction – What Will it Produce?

 

This auction is a single marque event being held in collaboration with Porsche on the heels of the official U.S. 70th anniversary celebrations which took place as part of Porsche Rennsport Reunion VI at Laguna Seca. The examples on offer appear to feature a tie in to the VRS/Exclusive/Classic departments whenever possible. RM limited the Lots to only one example of each model which was smart for several reasons. And estimate ranges for the most part seem a little more in line with reality than auctions of the recent past – which may have something to do in this instance with there being no other auction houses to compete with for seller inventory.

Although there seems reasonable interest in this one-off event auction – it’s being held right on the heels of Pebble and Rennsport Reunion. Coming so soon after those prior events it makes one question whether buyers (or enthusiasts) will bother to be there? Questions of buyer exhaustion and real interest levels are quite valid.

And immediate exhaustion may not be where it ends. Going forward this may be an issue for auction houses in general. At the high end RM is leading the pack in expanding auction counts (Pebble Beach, Battersea London, this one-off auction, Petersen Automotive Museum Collection December 8, Arizona Biltmore January 17-18 2019, Paris February 6 2019, Amelia Island March 9 2019, Ft. Lauderdale March 29-30 2019, Essen April 11, 2019 and Villa Erba May 25, 2019). With so many auctions coming, if this auction is too hyped up buyers may hold out for better opportunities down the road. Or they may simply be full already – looking for price bargains only. These factors makes it even more difficult to forecast results.



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Air Cooled (+959) 1990’s Preview

Lot 167 – 1997 Porsche 911 Turbo S – 19,426 M – Black/Black – estimate $300k – $400k – Reserve.

We don’t cover these models often but have noted in the past how dramatically their prices have fallen from the highs. A similar example (color/miles) could not crack $300k at Amelia 2017 so not sure this one can now.

Hammer at low estimate is possible.



Lot 179– 1996 Porsche 993 Carrera RS – 21,622 KM – Speed Yellow/Black – estimate $500k – $650k – No Reserve.

Small spoiler (preferred in the US), body colored wheels, AC, electric windows, airbags, radio – nice. But this is the opposite spec of the road going leichtbau philosophy. Nice German delivered car though for those wanting creature comforts. We saw the Riviera Blue crack the ceiling at Amelia 2018 but that was all about color and given the availability of other examples here and in the EU it’s hard to see this one hitting the $500k low estimate.

Hammer at $450k for a nice example.



Lot 220 – 2018 Porsche 911 Turbo Classic Series “Project Gold” as see on display at Rennsport VI – estimate Upon Request.

“Project Gold” is an original, new-old-stock body shell from the factory in Zuffenhausen built over a one-and-a-half year period. Porsche Classic worked closely with Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur in presenting a car that was at once current and forward-thinking in its execution, as well as authentic to the heritage of the 993 Turbo. Porsche have clearly stated they will never build another car like it, as indicated by its series designation “001/001.” Perhaps most importantly, Porsche AG, as the seller, declared that net proceeds from the car’s sale, above its hypothetical original retail value and actual auction expenses, will go to benefit the Ferry Porsche Foundation, a non-profit charity organized in Germany.

A car like this can appeal to certain serious collectors – and its charitable angle is good for all concerned – but those same collectors already give to charity, don’t need a tax write off and know that over paying means you will lose on resale (if they care) as the next buyer gets no satisfaction of giving (and no tax deduction).

Only a WAG can suffice for a car like this so we’ll go with a $1.75m hammer.



Lot 191 – 1985 959 Prototype – 26,517 KM – Ruby Red/Burgundy – estimate $1.3m – $1.6m – Reserve.

When Porsche decided to develop their new Groupe B category racer in 1980 they sought to apply a familiar philosophy for the homologation street version which by rule required 200 examples to be produced … not a small financial commitment. A derivation from the 911 made sense as a base, but the car would need to showcase new technologies which Porsche could adopt for other models in the future. The 959 succeeded on all fronts, except financially, it was a technological over achievement and an unprofitable miss.

When Porsche decided to develop their new Groupe B category racer in 1980 they sought to apply a familiar philosophy for the homologation street version which by rule required 200 examples to be produced … not a small financial commitment. A derivation from the 911 made sense as a base, but the car would need to showcase new technologies which Porsche could adopt for other models in the future. The 959 succeeded on all fronts, except financially, it was a technological over achievement and an unprofitable miss.

Development ensued with one fifth scale models, full size mock ups, materials and tunnel testing etc. … with the immediate result being the production of 16 prototypes (according to Jurgen Barth and Gustav Busing – 2009, The Porsche Book; the complete history of types and models, Phoenix: David Bull Publishing). Note: the auction listing states 12 were built. The listing also conjects about the number of prototypes remaining intact and the completeness of this example verses others … given poor historical record keeping it’s hard to know for sure.

But little of that may matter when trying evaluate a price the right buyer may pay. Prototypes don’t necessarily command more than their production brethren and they only really appeal to a certain type of collector. The estimate range does not seem unreasonable though.

So again a bit of a WAG is a hammer at $1.5m.



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Lot 193 – 1994 Turbo S X85 Flachbau – 9,921 M – Black Metallic/Cashmere – estimate $600k – $750k – Reserve.

This 1 of 39 model X85’s built was owned by John Dixon of Taj Ma Garage aka the TAJ Collection. John was instrumental in getting the Show and Display regulation passed and owned the first 959 registered in the US (before Gates!). It’s claimed a one owner example – but that’s not accurate. I first communicated with John about this car back in 2005 when he purchased this example from air cooled specialist Ray Joseph. Sadly John passed in 2013.

It is however 1 of 3 1994 Turbo S Flatnose (out of 76 total) produced in LHD in Black Metallic, all three being X85 models (there was one other Black Metallic produced, an X84 model in RHD delivered to the Sultan of Brunei). One of the Black Metallic examples (Black Metallic/Classic Grey) is now in a forever collection in Kuwait and the other (Black Metallic/Matador Red) sits in my warehouse … so for Black Metallic this might be it for the foreseeable future. And with bias I must say that these models look fantastic in this color!

This seems a very nice and totally complete example, though not super highly optioned, with good miles. It is still sitting on its original factory issue (and very very rare) Yokohama A008P’s. We know the market has softened for these along with all else as the 1 of 1 colored Speed Yellow X85 hammered at only $590k at Amelia Island earlier this year though there were extenuating circumstances at that auction on which negatively affected results.

A realistic hammer should be around $690k.



Lot 209 – 1994 Turbo S ‘Package’ – 8,700 M – Black/Black – estimate $775k – $950k – Reserve.

This is a very well kept example of one of the lowest production, but somewhat less unique, rare air cooled Porsches. Package cars with sub 10k miles have been, and are, out there right now trying to reach up to, but never actually ascending to, the $1m mark – the only exception being Paris 2017 (but it’s hard to know exactly what happened there). Package cars have always seemed to exceed their flachbau siblings in price (again though they are certainly less unique) and maybe this one can too.

This example could hammer at $730k if reserve is taken off.



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