Is the appeal of the long-bonnet Porsche 911s waning among enthusiasts?
There was once, believe it or not, a time when early 911s were forgotten, underappreciated and, well, almost apologised for, as just old Porsches. Water cooling came in and – for a while – the peculiarities of the earliest 911s were seen as negatives. Today is a different time, and those early long-bonnet models have become hot Porsche property over the last seven or eight years, with values skyrocketing almost overnight. But prices have softened lately; is their appeal on the wane? Is their fanbase, traditionally seen as older, dying out?
Jonathan Aucott of Avantgarde Classics thinks that’s a misconception. Whilst there may be a perception of a fall in interest with prices dropping, values of the long-bonnet cars are actually creeping up again. “The correction is probably a reflection of their overnight rapid growth.
They’re probably finding their place in the market now,” he thinks. “They’re such great, useable and reliable cars. A right-hand-drive ‘S’, with a good history, in a good colour, will always be desirable.”
Jonathan Ostroff, sales manager at Hexagon Classics, adds to that. “New, younger buyers of the original 911s first fall in love with what they perceive to be retro styling, but quickly learn that the original 911 is much more about honing driving skills.” Aucott sees this too: “Younger buyers are definitely appreciating early 911s. There’ll always be new people wanting such an iconic car.”
The satisfaction of pedalling an early 911 properly will always appeal, it seems, for they offer a unique motoring proposition. Ostroff explains further: “Aficionados and collectors understand the first ten years of the 911 were very likely the golden years,” he says. “They understand there is a purity in the way it drives and performs. They enjoy concentrating on their driving, balancing the engine’s power and becoming ‘at one’ with the 911.” To own and appreciate driving a long-bonnet 911 is not something that owners tire of, thinks Ostroff. “They will drive the old 911s into old age, until they are no longer able to do so.”
Values of 911s will always fluctuate a little over time, but the appeal and depth of understanding for the earliest, simple cars isn’t something that looks likely to change. The sheer driving purity and engineering integrity offered by those first models means they will always attract attention of 911 fans, new and old.