Estimating the value of a Porsche from one of the ‘maligned’ generations
Monday, April 02, 2018
I am occasionally asked how much my 1976 Porsche 911S is worth. I have a hard time answering for a couple of reasons. If the person is merely an acquaintance, the value of my possessions is something I prefer not to disclose. But if I do choose to respond, it's a bit of an estimate.
There are several price guides that have the answers, but first you have to categorize the car based on several factors, including its condition and rarity. I recently received a guide from my classic car insurance company that rated Porsches on four different conditions: concours, excellent, good and fair.
Where does my 911, lovingly nicknamed Smokey, fit in?
Before I elaborate, let's back up a bit. The March 2018 issue of Panorama mentioned three generations of Porsches that are considered "maligned." And, yes, Smokey is from one of them.
Categorized as a midyear Porsche, Smokey was subjected to emissions controls and featured some undesirable traits, including the lack of a front oil cooler, thermal reactors and five-bladed fans. As a result, many 2.7-liter Porsches from 1974-77 had serious issues with head stud failure. In addition, Smokey was fitted with accordion-like bumpers, a stylization many found difficult to embrace.
As Panorama notes, "These models suffered a poor reputation and low resale values until just the last five years." And then comes the interesting part: "Currently, original examples are highly sought after and bringing record prices. Go figure!"
That doesn't mean Smokey is highly valuable. He's definitely a work in progress.
His parts are not 100 percent original, and he requires a new paint job. The driver's seat has a tear in it. The original floor mats are severely faded, and the overall lobster red interior looks more dated than it does attractively retro.
So, how do I define his condition? I cringe when thinking it may be "fair." Yet the price guide clearly states a car in this condition may have a split seam in the seat (yes) and imperfections in the paint (definitely, yes). While no major parts are missing, it's not stock, and there are imperfections.
But perhaps he can squeak by and be labeled "good." After all, Smokey runs well, and even if he's not a daily driver, I can take him on a long trip (in not-so-hot weather) without a problem. Usually. Unless the starter goes like it did that one time a few years ago during a trip in Connecticut farm country.
In my eyes, Smokey is a perfectly representation of a midyear Porsche (I, personally, will not refer to him as "maligned"). It's not difficult to overlook the flaws and concentrate on the beautiful lines of a 911 — regardless of a few blemishes here and there.
I believe Smokey falls somewhere between good and fair condition. If he's good, he's worth over a third more than if he is fair. Either way, he's still a prized possession, and I won't enjoy him any less.
I didn't acquire Smokey as an investment. My father gave him to me, and I keep him because I love to drive. He represents a moment in time, and I feel vehicles like this need to be preserved.
Is he worth more than my father paid for him? Absolutely. Will he increase in value? Most likely. Will I sell him for profit anytime soon? Nope.
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