ATLANTA, Georgia — Capitalizing on a strong classic Porsche market, RM Sotheby’s hosted its first Porsche-exclusive sale to celebrate the brand’s 70 years of sports-car history. The auction was held at the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta, where 53 of 63 cars found new homes for a sell-through rate of 84 percent. Among the cars that failed to sell were a 1983 Porsche 962 race car (estimate $5.25–$6.75 million) and a highly original 1968 911 with a rare Sportomatic semiautomatic transmission (estimate $225,000–$275,000). Nevertheless, the auction took in $25.8 million (the total includes several lots of automobilia) and could be considered a solid success. Here are several of our favorite cars from the event:
2018 Porsche 911 Turbo Classic Series “Project Gold”
This car was a 70th Anniversary collaboration between Porsche’s Classic and Exclusive departments, which took an unused 993-era Turbo body shell and built a brand-new car with S-style fender vents and a modified 3.6-liter engine making an S-spec 450 hp. Despite being factory fresh, it was built to period specifications and doesn’t meet current safety or emissions regulations and therefore can’t be driven on the street legally. No matter; bidding for this one-of-one was fierce, with most of the proceeds going to charity. [Read more on Project Gold.]
1996 Porsche 911 GT2 Club Sport
The 993-series GT2 was perhaps Porsche’s ultimate roadgoing 911 in its day. Based on the 400-hp 911 Turbo, the GT2 ditched the Turbo’s all-wheel-drive setup for rear drive and used a larger 3.8-liter engine. This Club Sport version was the homologation special for racing, one of just 33 produced with a fuel cell, roll cage, larger turbos, more aggressive cams, and other modifications that pushed output to more than 460 horsepower. It was the hot ticket in 1990s GT road racing, but with limited race history, this particular car couldn’t muster much more than half of its $1.2 million high estimate. Still, it was well bought and should equal an instant invitation to on-track fun at the next Rennsport Reunion gathering.
1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Prototype
Ask most Porsche junkies to name the ultimate street 911 and the response is likely to be the 2.7 RS homologation special built for the 1973 model year. This is the second of nine prototype models Porsche used for development; as a result, it lacks the iconic “ducktail” rear spoiler and RS badging of later prototypes and production cars. But as an important and rare development car, the price seemed fair.
1980 Porsche 924
No, that sale price is not a typo. One bidder in the auction room felt compelled to pay more than 50 grand for a lowly, Audi-powered 924. Built in the days when the words “water-cooled” and “front-engine” were heresy to Porsche devotees, the 924 ushered in a new era of user-friendly, entry-level P-cars. This is arguably the best survivor left, with just 11,000 miles on the odometer, but the new owner is still going to have lots of ’splainin’ to do at most Porsche club gatherings.
1985 Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar
In the mid-1980s, as part of the development program for its upcoming technological tour de force, the 959 supercar, Porsche campaigned several prototypes in the grueling Paris-Dakar Rally. This example is one of three that the factory entered in the 1985 event and is one of just two cars of its type to ever leave Porsche factory ownership. Based on the 911 SC road-car chassis, this 959 ran a naturally aspirated 3.2-liter engine based on the contemporary 911 Carrera’s, Porsche’s prototype all-wheel-drive system, and a heavy-duty suspension. Although this car (chassis No. 010015) won two stages, it failed to finish the rally.
1958 Porsche 356 A 1600 ‘Super’ Speedster
This barn-find Speedster sailed past its $150,000 high estimate, likely due to it being the higher, 75-hp Super spec and having a large degree of completeness. The 1.6-liter flat-four engine, transmission, and top frame are all said to be original. Matching-numbers items and the car’s overall patina had dreamers and nostalgic bidders alike swooning. A nicely presented, matching-numbers, and ready-to-drive ’56 Super Speedster sold later in the auction for $494,500, which is undoubtedly less than the ’58’s buyer will have into his prize once it’s been restored.
1970 Porsche 914-6
Enthusiasts of a certain generation all have a Porsche 914 story, and most of them include the word “Volkswagen.” The 914 was VW-powered, but the 914-6 had an honest-to-goodness 2.0-liter flat-six tuned to 911 T spec for about 110 horsepower. Because of their entry-level reputation, polarizing styling, and high price (nearly as expensive as the 911), just 3,300 914-6 models were sold, making them tough to find and fairly desirable today despite once languishing for decades. The price here was market-correct for a strong example, but the car doesn’t have much appreciation potential left.
2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0
The 997 GT3 was a true high-water mark for the Porsche brand, as it delivered performance on par with the best entry-level exotics while sticking steadfastly to certain Porsche-isms, namely a rear-mounted engine and a standard manual gearbox. The ultimate evolution was the GT3 RS 4.0, with a bump in displacement and other modifications from the standard 3.8-liter car that pushed output to 493 horsespower at 8,250 rpm. Just 600 were built. This was an ex-Jerry Seinfeld car and the last GT3 RS 4.0 off the production line, both likely factors in its 15 to 20 percent boost in price.