A Strange Irony
A Charity Auction for COVID 19
A Secret Message Hidden in the Gumball
The end of the 991 model run was celebrated with a well documented 991 Speedster rolling off the line. Whether initially intended for auction or not, it wound up being auctioned online by RM Sothebys. The auction ended April 22 with a ‘hammer’ at $500,000 ($550,000 all-in).
This was a charity auction with proceeds to benefit United Way Worldwide COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund. Per the listing, ‘Please note that considering current worldwide events, Porsche Cars North America’s proceeds will be donated to United Way Worldwide’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund.’ There is no mention of RM’s commission being donated – bad form if it was not 100% donated also.
Finally, although this car should be targeted at a global audience, there was convoluted mixed messaging on this issue, ‘…as this car is brand new and offered on MSO, the winning bidder must possess US residency. Of note to potential overseas bidders, this car is certified to meet US Federal motor vehicle safety standards, and US Federal and California emissions standards. The 911 Speedster will be delivered to the winning bidder in California. Any potential export of this car outside of the United States will be the sole responsibility of the winning bidder.’ Odd, confusing and contradictory language.
This Speedster, VIN WP0CF2A92KS172803, is a Heritage Design Package in full dress. It is not highly optioned though. With an MSRP of $308,990 it is at the bottom of the top 35% of U.S. Speedsters. Nothing really special. It really should have been a one off Paint to Sample Heritage.View the build spec here.
The limitation number is #1897. It is unfortunate that for the 991 Speedster Porsche did not bother to match the VIN’s to the limitation number as they did for the 918 Spyder. Would have been a nice touch to round out the era.
It was offered with the Porsche Design Chronograph Heritage Design (that’s a mouthful) watch with Cognac leather strap. This is a nice addition with an estimated value of $10k (actual list price $12,911). According to RM – ‘Most importantly, and a unique touch for this occasion, the timepiece has been engraved with a portion of the Speedster’s chassis number.’ Though there was no photo of this – all 991 Speedster watches were engraved with their unique limitation number – we wonder where it is as there is not much room on this watch to etch much. Either way matching the VIN to the limitation number to the watch would have been a real trick.
Porsche had a photographer document the build process as this example was assembled in Weissach, Germany in December 2019. The last time that Porsche commissioned such a project was when their 1,000,000th 911 was built. A finished large-format, hardcover book was been bound in the same Cognac leather as the Speedster. Only one copy to be published. According to Porsche, the volume charts “the progress of the car as well as reproductions of the press release issued at the time of and the resulting press coverage associated with the car.” An original pencil sketch, hand-drawn by the design team who made the Speedster, accompanies the book. For a thrilling conclusion – the one-of-a-kind book will be signed by both Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser and Andreas Preuninger.
Instead of your standard COA, a framed letter of authenticity signed by Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser and Andreas Preuninger has been issued with the car.
An invitation to be guest of honor at the proposed handover of the car at The Quail, Monterey Car Week (Friday, 14 August 2020) where Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America will conduct proceedings. The invitation is for two adults and comprises business class flights within the US, Porsche shuttle transfers, and hotel accommodation, including breakfast and evening meals, for three nights during Monterey Car Week.
An invitation for two guests to travel to Weissach, near Stuttgart, Germany at a mutually agreed point as honored guests of Porsche AG where they will receive a guided tour of the site in the company of Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser (Vice President, 718 & 911 model lines) and Andreas Preuninger (Director, GT model lines). Included is a visit to Porsche Motorsport, to the GT car development building and to the test track, with the opportunity to receive a passenger experience with Andreas Preuninger before finishing with a visit to the Porsche design department.
The Small Ironies
Chassis #1897 of 1948 units built rolled off the line last – it seems that Porsche’s vast production team could not coordinate the final roll off to be #1948. They state that, ‘Because this Speedster represents the final 991-generation 911 to enter and pass down the serial production line at the Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen factory.’ As this is not #1948, Porsche must have its own unique definition of ‘serial’.
The auction ended April 20, 2020. On April 22, 2020 the Pebble Beach Concours 2020 was cancelled and on April 24, 2020 it was announced that Monterey Car 2020 week would not happen. This was anticipated during the auction as revealed by this listing disclaimer, ‘Please note that should Monterey Car Week not occur due to COVID-19, the winning bidder can choose to receive the car either at Porsche’s headquarters in Atlanta or its home in Los Angeles (Porsche Experience Center) at a mutually convenient time. Tickets to the 2021 Monterey Car Week would be provided as well.’
The Strange Irony
Porsche not only made a conscious decision to option this car with ‘CHW – Individual Race Number Heritage Design Package’, but to do so, as it strangely turns out, in the most ironic way possible. Instead of using #48 as in all the sales brochures, or #97 to match the limitation number or even #03 to match the VIN, they chose #88 for the gumball!
Considering the fact that #88 bears no apparent relationship to anything Porsche, and that with Porsche nothing is left to simple coincidence, the marketing department surely considered the fact that the double 8 might be the luckiest of possible numbers for some potential buyers.
The irony cannot be lost on anyone that a car which would come to be auctioned to combat a global pandemic, which pandemic originated in China, features a gumball – installed at the factory before any global awareness of the CD19 virus had occurred – with #88.
Porsche’s Hidden Secret Message?
In addition to wishing the future owner good luck as implied in #88, Porsche hid another secret message in the gumball it seems. You see ’88’ also means ‘bye bye’ in Chinese-language chats, text messages, SMSs and IMs. 88 can be seen as shorthand for 8181, which when pronounced in standard Mandarin is almost identical to “bye bye”.
Bye Bye 991!
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