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Pebble Beach 2018 Preview



CBA Previews Pebble Beach 2018
Auction Market Players Disillusioned?
60% No Reserve – 55% Sub $250k Lots


Sellers unimpressed by recent auction results? Buyers balking at prices and commissions?

Maybe buyers are exhausted and patient to see auction prices fall across the board – or maybe sellers are tired of auction houses over promising and under delivering – or maybe auction houses are feeling the pressure and are working to avoid no sales by lowering estimate ranges and requiring many offerings to be without reserve (all of which generally serves to attract lower priced examples and keeps higher value cars away). But no matter the reason Pebble 2018 auctions for the Porsche marque seem lacking.

Consider the following stats for the high end houses for Pebble 2018: Gooding 30 Porsches offered, 17 are without reserve and 16 have a estimates below $250k, RM 18 Porsches offered, 9 are without reserve and 7 have estimates below $250k, Bonhams 25 Porsches offered, 18 are without reserve and 17 have estimates below $250k. In sum 60% of the lots are without reserve and 55% are below $250k estimate cars.

It feels that there is a lingering disconnect in the auction market between the houses and the market players on whom they survive. The competition to capture sellers with high profile cars by offering high estimate ranges will continue to result in disappointing hammers and no sales because asking prices with added 10% commission results in prices which are too high in comparison to the ‘real’ market, particularly for cars with plentiful availability. High end auction houses are meant to be worth the cost of their freight because they offer sellers higher than market results and buyers access to the unobtainable, but if those promises fail so do they.

Let’s look at what’s on tap … and hope there is real energy on the floor for these examples!

Gooding & Company

Lot 014 – 2015 918 Spyder Weissach – 92 M – Rhodium Silver Metallic/Black – estimate $1.6m – $2.0m. As we forecasted in the past many 918’s would come to market once the 3 year VIP hold period was up – and sure enough there are plenty on the market now. Asking prices are way too high so they all sit and sit and never sell. There are at least 20 on the market (Base plus Weissach) and more than a few are low miles like this one.

918 prices will fall further so the question is how far? While this car’s spec is average its color is rare (1 of 2 North American Weissachs in Rhodium) so we might guess a decent result. But given the failure of most 918’s to sell at auction and with a 10% commission pushing the price right up against the market … around low estimate is probably all it can achieve.

Hammer $1.65m. View this car’s build spec here.

Lot 060 – 2004 Carrera GT – 4,500 M – GT Silver/Terracotta – estimate $550k – $650k. The Carrera GT market has heated up in the last six months with prices rising. They seem a relative bargain compared to where 918 asking prices are at the moment. GT Silver is by far the most common CGT color (363 of the 676 delivered to North America are GT silver) and no less than 1/2 dozen in this color are available most every day. There are 1 owner lower mileage Carrera GT’s that can be acquired at around the same price as the high estimate plus commission on this car (note: advertised dealer asking prices as a comparison should be ignored as most are consignment cars which don’t sell). All of which makes it difficult to understand why a buyer would want a story car example, which this one is, unless the price was really right. It’s a ROW world spec build, a 2004 on a 2005 VIN and was imported and converted (by JK Technologies, love em or hate em they are really about the only game in town) to 49 State US spec and ineligible for California registration – the biggest single market by State. A buyer certainly has to worry about resale value – the car is probably at auction because it is difficult to sell. And although it is with reserve – it should really not be, maybe that will change during the live auction.

No sale unless reserve is pulled.

production 980 Carrera GT North America

Lot 127 – 2016 991.1 GT3 RS – 55 M – Ultraviolet/Black – estimate $175k – $250k No Reserve. I wonder why cars like this are brought to an auction like this (Gooding Pebble)? There are no less than 15 Ultraviolet examples of the 991.1 GT3 RS on the market at any given time as 20% of the North American examples are this color – so not uncommon. Low miles on these models – including delivery miles – is also not uncommon.

The right result is a hammer at or below low estimate. View this car’s build spec here.

Lot 158 – 1993 964 3.8 RS – Guards Red/Black – 28k KM to 48k KM – LHD – estimate $1.1m – $1.4m. We first became aware of this car (chassis #105) back in 2014. It has a story. The original engine was replaced by a RUF special and placed into a Black 964 3.6 RS chassis. We found the donor 3.6 RS (with 41k KM) and this chassis (with 48,028 KM – now it has 48,094 KM) before they were reunited (see the engine out image). Subsequently the engine was reunited with chassis #105 and a letter was issued by RUF estimating 28k KM on the engine in total.

Interesting story, but a story nonetheless and how it affects the car’s value is tricky. First some general observations. These models do not come to market often so its is a rare opportunity. Guards Red is not a hot color these days and its not so rare (relatively speaking ) with 9 of the 55 964 3.8 RS examples built this color. The Speed Yellow example at Amelia Island earlier this year with 6,826 KM hammered at its high estimate $1.5m which was much higher than we expected as prior to that at the top of the market 2016 London the 16k KM Paint to Sample Silver Metallic car hammered for $857k.

#105 has a story, only estimated engine usage, and a relatively high chassis KM compared to other recent examples which have come to market. Also collector demand for rare air cooled Porsches feels squishy at the moment – buyers feel little competition and appear highly selective, playing the waiting game. Given its rarity it’s hard imagine that this is only a $1.1m car at the hammer, but on the other hand given its story its hard to imagine it’s a $1.4m car either.

Rarity alone could allow this car to hammer at low estimate … unless the story gets in the way.

RM Sothebys

Lot 118 – 2004 Carrera GT – 176 M – GT Silver Metallic/Ascot Brown – estimate $700k – $900k. This car seems a very good example although on the downside it is a 2004 (which shouldn’t matter but to some it does), it’s the most common color (GT Silver Metallic) and it’s on its original tires (which means that it is highly likely that it needs upwards of $25k worth of deferred maintenance to be put on the road). This example’s primary value proposition would seem to be super low miles, but As it turns out there are a lot more 1 owner super low mileage Carrera GT’s than one would imagine. Of course all of that may not matter to the right buyer who wants to let it sit for future appreciation and never drive it. The estimate range is not out of reason.

A $775k hammer is possible for the right buyer. View this car’s build spec here.

Lot 146 – 2011 997 GT2 RS – 4,500 M – GT Silver Metallic/Black – estimate $440k – $480k. The 997 GT2 RS is not pulling a lot of demand these days – which seems odd given the release of the 991 GT2 RS which one might think would stimulate interest in these. There are plenty of examples at similar mileage to this one available at +/- $450k … and they are not selling. At low estimate plus commission that puts this car into that category.

No sale unless reserve is pulled. View this car’s build spec here.

Lot 154 – 2016 911R – 20 M – Black/Black/Green – estimate $325k – $375k No Reserve. Prices for 911R’s have fallen substantially from their highs and may well fall further. That said they seem to have settled for the moment into the low $300k’s for ‘common’ examples with single mass flywheel. And most have few miles on them as does this one. It’s a nice color combination and in desirable Black, even though it’s not the rarest color, and the Green stripes are nice contrast.

No reserve seems smart as the car should hold all-in value to a $340k hammer. View this car’s build spec here.


Lot 035 – 2015 918 Spyder Weissach – 7,988 M – Black/Interior to Sample Cognac – estimate $1.35m – $1.75m. Nice color combination. This 918 was on offer at St. Louis Motorcars for $1.6m ask until mid July where it was pulled apparently for this auction. Many 918’s have super low miles, making this one relatively speaking a ‘driver’. We are never impressed by auction descriptions that are not fact checked or appear written to create certain impressions – claims such as fewer than 25% of 918’s were Weissach – truth 54% were (162 of 300 918’s for U.S. exceeding Base model numbers), implications that some options on the car are uncommon like A/C (on 161 of the 162), Front Axle Lift (on 153 of the 162) and Stereo (on 158 of the 162) – all per the PORS9 Search App. That all said a buyer could get into this 918 to drive, not preserve, somewhat reasonably if they can hold out for a no sale and negotiate later which is possible given it appears that at $1.6m asking it couldn’t sell as of a month ago.

Possibly low estimate … but no sale if bidders can hold out. View this car’s build spec here.

production 918 Spyder North America

Lot 154 – 1996 993 GT2 ‘Clubsport’ – 39,529 km – Grand Prix White/Black – estimate $1.5m – $2m. This is arguably the most interesting Porsche at any of the auctions in our view. It’s rarity, cool factor and unusual build are reflected in its price estimate, but where it should actually hammer requires a deeper analysis. In 1996/97 Porsche built 173 993 GT2’s in a combination of M002 (strassenversion) and M003 (clubsport), plus the M005 (rennversion). The strassenversion M003 was actually designation M002 but with the M003 option ‘renn sicherheitseinrichtungen’ or ‘race safety devices’. Underhood stickers on the Clubsport model indicated option code M003 while M002 had no designation. The Clubsport package was meant to be street legal but with racing seats, no interior trim, the added race safety equipment, and a racing clutch disc instead of the dual mass flywheel. It could also include a racing wing and center lock wheels if so specified. An estimated 20 units were built to M003 spec but in typical Porsche fashion, as customers could mix and match options, confusion on count and as to which car is which exists absent credible paperwork.

This car is claimed 1 of 20 Clubsports and landing in Japan. As always we warn about cars from Japan where historical records about services and ownership are typically sketchy, most cars have been painted or totally repainted (which doesn’t really matter but is probably the case here) and usage (it was probably tracked or club raced) and accident histories are not well documented. Originally fitted with A/C, electric windows, door panel trim and the M002’s standard anti-theft immobilizer, this car is quite interesting (originally radio delete – a stereo system was installed which really should have been removed for the auction). There is a PCNA build sheet with the car but it’s totally incomplete including no specific mention of option code M003 or the Clubsport build (although it does state ‘racing safety equipment’ as an option) – a Porsche factory build sheet would tell all one needs to know and a photo of the under hood sticker (if it’s still there as none was in the listing) would seem essential. For a car hoping to reach a $2m hammer (with commission that number is creeping towards ‘EVO’ pricing) there is poor documentation provided with the auction listing. This car is not low KM compared to GT2’s which have recently sold well, but overall it’s an interesting spec and looks good (in photos anyway).

Assuming there is no major accident repair we can speculate that an equivalent M002 version might hammer for as much as $1m given recent auction history around the world from late 2017 to present. Then add a Clubsport rarity factor for a 50% markup to hit the low estimate … hmmm wait … not so fast! This car should have had a low estimate of $1.25m to get the party started and then let the bidders lift it from there.

No sale unless the reserve is pulled.

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