Happy 60th birthday, Porsche 911! In fall 1963, Porsche unveiled a new sports car, at first called “901,” as a successor to its first model, the 356. The new car entered production a year later and not long after got a badge change to “911.” This sports car icon remains in production, in much evolved form and with a choice of 25 variants this year. To celebrate 60 years, Porsche is offering a new pinnacle 911 model, called “S/T,” after a lightweight race-prep 911 from the early Seventies. Porsche will build 1,963 of these special 911s, with a starting price of $290,000.
With the added perk of super-rarity, the Bentley Continentals of the Sixties remain among the most sought-after of the marque’s classic cars. Gooding & Company’s 2023 Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance® auction is offering a rare left-hand-drive 1961 Bentley S2 two-door saloon with coachwork by H.J. Mulliner that exemplified this model’s divergence from the parent company. It has a pre-sale estimate of $400K-$500K.
What better prelude to the 72nd Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance® than to buy a car (or few cars) from the auctions held in conjunction with this pinnacle event? If you’re bidding or selling, the action is at the auctions, of course. We’ve assembled the auction itinerary here and selected some highlights from the Bonhams, Broad Arrow, Gooding & Company, Mecum, and RM Sotheby’s sales.
Even as Porsche moves toward electrification across its line, the German automaker keeps ratcheting up the performance from its gas-fueled sports cars. The recently revealed 718 Spyder RS becomes the ultimate rendition of the Porsche Boxster and arrives next spring. The Spyder RS is basically the open version of the 718 Cayman GT4 RS available now. Both of these incredible mid-engine cars use a 493-hp naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine from the 911 GT3
Aston Martin bills its new DB12 grand tourer as a “super tourer” because, the British automaker says, “grand is not enough” to describe the DB11’s successor. Marketing fluff aside, the new DB12 appears to be a super new entry into a segment where its closest rival is the Ferrari Roma. The overall look will be familiar to Aston fans, and the interior steps up to a “super” level of grand touring luxury and tech. The Mercedes-AMG twin-turbo V8 gets a boost to a very super 671 horsepower, easily exceeding the DB11’s V8 and V12. Customer deliveries start in fall.
You can’t get a manual transmission from Ferrari or Lamborghini today, but collectors are willing to pay hefty premiums for their last stick-shift models. This trend specifically applies to the cars that offered the choice between the real manual and the “robotized” manual, which Ferrari called F1 and Lamborghini called E-Gear. Today, a Ferrari F430 with the stick-shift can command a 100% premium over the F1 model. Some independent shops are even providing conversions back to full manual transmissions. Is that a wise purchase?
The letters on your modern car’s trunk lid might have no real meaning, but the “S” on the back of a classic Porsche 911 signified a major performance upgrade over the standard car. Porsche’s marketing for the original 911S cautioned, “This is no car for a novice.” The 911S rewarded skilled drivers while being known to put a scare into those unfamiliar with its handling traits. RM Sotheby’s is offering a rare concours-restored 1968 911S at no reserve at its Amelia Island auction in March. Expect hot bidding.
On the heels of Porsche’s introduction of the 911 Dakar, Lamborghini has announced its plan to launch its own supercar that’s modified to play in the dirt, the Huracán Sterrato. Using the same 5.2-liter V-10 engine as the Huracán Evo, Lamborghini’s new off road-ready SUV can do 0-60 in around 3.2 seconds, has rally lights mounted on the Sterrato’s nose, and includes a built-in camera to record your adventures. Production of 1,499 Sterratos will begin in February of 2023, and U.S. pricing has not been announced.
Capitalizing on the 911’s rich rally-winning history, Porsche introduced its 2023 911 Dakar at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Porsche’s new overland 911 version – reflecting road testing of Dakar prototypes over 300,000 miles, including 6,000 off-road miles – is based on the Carrera 4 GTS, and equipped with a 473-hp twin-turbo flat-six, eight-speed PDK automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, capable of 0-60 in 3.2 seconds. Porsche plans to build only 2,500 911 Dakars, with a starting price of $220,000 in the U.S. and plenty of options to take that higher.