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.
The spark that launched Porsche’s road racing dynasty began with the “Fuhrman engine” in the landmark 550 Spyder racecar. Bringing that engine to the 356’s option list in 1956 and calling it “Carrera” boosted Porsche’s racing pedigree while also setting the foundation for special high-performance Porsche models to come. The expensive and complex Carrera engine was rarely ordered when new, and cars so-equipped demand a huge premium in the collector car market today. A 1956 Porsche 356A Speedster Carrera offered by Mecum Auctions in Monterey is expected to sell for up to $1.2M, or nearly 400% more than a Speedster without it.
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
Can a track-focused sports car be too track-focused? That’s what one major auto magazine suggested after testing the BMW M4 CSL, a special lighter, more powerful version of its M4. While the “lesser” BMW M4 Competition xDrive model (which is not a competition car, btw) is quicker in some acceleration tests, the 40-hp more powerful, 240-pound lighter, $58,000 more expensive M4 CSL is the faster car around the kind of private membership tracks whose clients this car is intended. You’ll pay for that capability with reduced comfort in everyday driving, but would you care?
When Lamborghini puts the “Performante” badge on a vehicle, you can be sure it’s the hottest version and ready for some track thrills. The Urus Performante lives up to that badge’s promise, but at a cost in both extra dollars and reduced comfort. This carbon-fiber-festooned hooligan is meant for pavement only. For Lamborghini purists, having an exotic SUV with plenty of room that also thrills in track driving might be worth the sacrifices the vehicle demands.
If you’re keeping up with the Porsche 911 family, there are currently 28 different versions showing in the Porsche U.S.A. website configurator. (Yes, 28!) Not a single 911 could ever be considered middle-of-the-road, but sitting around the middle of the lineup you’ll find five versions of the 911 Carrera GTS. Hotter than the Carrera S but not as extreme as the GT3 track machine, the GTS delivers a wallop of supercar performance while remaining street-friendly for everyday driving if you please. The intense fun starts at around $152,000.
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.
Major auto auctions held in conjunction with the world-renowned Amelia Island Concours d’ Elegance in Florida offer some of the world’s most desirable collector cars, and Premier’s regional sales managers will be there for the action and to meet customers. In the meantime, they have posted their own “Cars to Watch” as picks for cars most likely to sell well. Except for one American supercar making the list, it’s a German and Italian feast.
The 2023 collector car auction season got off to a roaring start in January. The Bonhams Scottsdale auction reached $30M in sales, and RM Sotheby’s reported $44M. The big surprise came from Bonhams, where a 1912 Simplex brought $4.8M, a record for a pre-WWI car. Supercars were still supreme, though, with a Ferrari LaFerrari getting $4.075M at RM Sotheby’s and, earlier in the month, a Ferrari F40 topping the Mecum sale in Kissimmee, Florida at $3.135M.