No, the sound of screeching brakes you just heard wasn’t Ken Miles avoiding a crash in the new Ford v Ferrari blockbuster (although you’d be forgiven for assuming that we’d write one more story about the epic racing movie, since we totally dig it). Nope, that was the what-in-the-world-is-happening sound of the 1994–98 Porsche 911 (Type 993) trying to stop its slide in the collector car market.
First, a disclaimer: Don’t panic, faithful 993 followers. The ’90s German sports car has a lot going for it—it is, after all, Porsche’s last air-cooled driving machine—and it will likely always be a highly sought-after member of the 911 family. At the moment, however, we should address why the 993 generation’s Hagerty Vehicle Rating just plummeted 29 points. It’s not that its current rating of 48 is so bad (that just means it’s lagging a smidge behind the market as a whole), it’s just that it was perched at a healthy 77 the last time around. What gives?
[The Hagerty Vehicle Rating uses insurance quoting activity, the number of newly issued policies, sales data, auction activity, and other metrics to rank vehicles compared to the overall collector car market. Based on a 100-point scale, a vehicle keeping pace with the market will score 50. Ratings above 50 show above-average interest; vehicles with a sub-50-point rating are trailing.]
It doesn’t take a super sleuth to see that the real culprit behind the 993’s slide is its lukewarm performance on the auction block—or, more accurately, the self-control being shown by prospective buyers. “[Type] 993s are receiving plenty of insurance and quoting activity, but they have an incredibly low auction activity rating of just 9,” says Hagerty valuation editor Andrew Newton. “That suggests that while the interest in these cars is definitely still there, people aren’t willing to pay the prices they were a few short years ago, when there was a frenzy for air-cooled Porsches and they were one of the hottest cars on the market.”
According to Porsche, every part of the 993 was designed from the ground up, and the result was a big improvement over its predecessor, the 964. Built over a span of about five years, the 993 featured three body styles, both rear and all-wheel drive, and six engine variants. Zuffenhausen’s base model, the 911 Carrera coupe, came with a 272-horsepower, 3.6-liter flat-six mated to Porsche’s first six-speed manual gearbox. All have Porsche’s sensational multi-link rear suspension, which transformed the car’s handling compared to the outgoing 911 generation.
Type 993s were red-hot in the market from January 2014 to January 2017, when median #2 (Excellent) prices rose 31 percent, with some models experiencing value increases of more than 70 percent. The auction record for a 993 was established during that three-year frenzy, when a 1995 Porsche 911 GT2 went for £1,848,000 ($2,426,424) at RM Sotheby’s 2016 London auction. Let’s face it, the stars were in perfect alignment for that #1 (Concours) example. Currently, a #1 1995 911 GT2 is valued at $1.4M, but more and more top-tier 993s are leaving the auction altar disappointed, a trend that has become more common during the latter half of 2019.
Not surprisingly, the 993’s value rating has also dipped to a chilly 29. Although Newton admits that “it’s hard to speak in broad terms about 993 values, since there’s huge variation in rarity, performance, and value,” he says average prices slipped 2–8 percent overall with the September update of the Hagerty Price Guide. A 993 in #3 (good) condition currently has a median value of $79,000.
“For the most part, values peaked in 2018 but stayed steady until the second half of this year, when we started to bring them back down slightly,” Newton says. Median #2 (excellent) values are down 3.5 percent over last year, but some body styles have experienced more significant drops. Newton says Cabriolets are down 11–15 percent, while Targas and GT2s are both down about 12 percent.
Of note: While the general rule when it comes to classic car values is “When the top goes down, the price goes up,” that is not the case with Porsche 993s. Coupes are worth significantly more than Cabriolet or Targas.
As Newton previously mentioned, even as 993 values have slipped, insurance activity remains high (92), and quoting activity is above average (61).
Even in a slow market, 993s aren’t cheap, so it should come as no surprise that more financially secure Baby Boomers make up the largest demographic of buyers. Fifty percent of all 993 quotes come from that age group, which makes up 39 percent of quotes across the rest of the market. Gen-Xers, who represent 33 percent of all insurance quotes, are responsible for 36 percent of 993 quotes.
Despite the recent downturn, Newton predicts that 993 prices won’t slide much further and may have even bottomed out already. Why, you ask? “They’re the last air-cooled 911s, the follow-up water-cooled 996 was a bit of a letdown, and since 993s are regarded by some as the best-looking 911s, they’ll never go out of style.”