In the last few years, the air-cooled market, specifically the air-cooled Porsche market, has exploded in value. While you could easily snag a 964 Carrera 2 in 2008 for under $25,000, by 2015, you’d be lucky to pick one up for under $50k. By 2018, these cars in decent shape were fetching six figures for some of the more desirable trims. Whether it was just a craze to pick up the ‘dream cars’ from our early years or a larger boom in the price for the 70s-90s European performance that caused the price surge, no one can say. What we can say is that air-cooled Porsches quickly became unattainable despite offering little more than a ‘cool’ factor and a point of contention if you decided to put your name in for an RWB build. However, things might be changing for the better as new evidence suggests prices are once again returning to attainable figures for the everyman.
According to Jalopnik as of this morning, one of their writers uncovered a 964 Targa that just sold on Bring a Trailer, perhaps one of the largest influences in the air-cooled tax, for the modest figure of $25,000 or so. This is curious for two reasons. Primarily, it’s an air-cooled 964 in good shape with reasonable mileage and plenty of maintenance history. Strangely, it was sold on Bring a Trailer, which is famous for driving up the prices of collector cars simply by staging a well-trafficked auction that caters to enthusiasts willing to pay well over value for a car just to claim they have a (insert excessive price here) vintage car. It’s become a breeding ground for boomers who want to show off the depths of their pockets for a bit of nostalgia and bragging rights.
Although it may cater to that absurd market now, it didn’t used to. Originally, BaT was a place to sell quirky, unique, questionable, and sometimes not running cars with hopes of bringing more cash than one could claim in a local marketplace from a traditional private sale. As their popularity grew, BaT became a hub for auctioning off rare or desirable enthusiast vehicles in pristine condition with comment sections full of nit-pickers and too much money. This, in turn, helped to drive up the prices on cars like the MK4 Supra, E30 M3, and of course, air-cooled Porsches.
Now, though, it seems the era is coming to an end. At least, we hope it is. This example sold at a reasonable price. As the Jalopnik article mentions, it is a Targa model, doesn’t have the correct wheels, shows about 150,000 miles on the dash, and looks to be either a mediocre respray or aging original paint, among other nit-picks. While these characteristics would mean this example would sell for less than some of its more desirable brethren, a complete, running, and documented air-cooled Porsche of any kind would still bring an absurd selling figure just for being itself. The fact that this little Targa sold for a reasonable price on a notorious site that touts extreme sales figures is a good indication that we may be returning to a time of sanity in the air-cooled market. This is good news for the likes of you and me.
Specifically, this gives me hope. I learned to drive in a 993 Targa while I lived in Germany, which cemented in me a love for European cars, most especially, air-cooled Porsches. When I came back and bought my first car, I didn’t have enough to buy an old 911 or 964, but I wasn’t far off with what I had in my bank. I decided rather than to wait and save up a bit more, I would buy a couple of Japanese cars I also liked and would eventually buy an air-cooled Porsche when I had more income after college. However, that was right when the prices began to climb and I lost hope I would be able to afford one without waiting until I had an extremely high paying job (not something writers generally foresee.)
With the sale of this 964 within the realm of possibility for my finances, I once again have hope. Not only that, but other online sales mentioned by Jalopnik display aging auctions, ‘reserve not met’ posts, and ‘buy it now’ figures well below what one would expect based on the recent surge in air-cooled value. This means it’s time to start thinking about how to get one for myself. When I do, I know exactly what I will do with it.
Rennline makes everything I would ever want to make my air-cooled Porsche exactly perfect. Their in-house made products, designed specifically for the discerning Porsche enthusiast, hint at the vintage motorsport themes that made the Porsche brand so successful. Roof racks, aluminum floors, phone mounts, shift knobs, fire extinguisher mounts, and more will be found in my Porsche when I have the funds to buy one and the prices fall to more attainable levels like what we are beginning to see. If the time comes, you will see this writer jumping at the opportunity to get his grubby paws on some old air-cooled Porsche goodness. If you already have one (you lucky dog, you) then you should do yourself a favor and check out our Rennline catalog to make your Porsche a little more porschenal (personal, get it? Get it??). Meanwhile, I’ll be keeping an eye on air-cooled pricing and hopefully won’t see prices rise back up as people begin to buy them in bulk again as we saw at the beginning of the decade.