How to Use Our Numbers
High vs. Low: Our estimates reflect values for the majority of cars on the market. On the High end you should find cars with no more than 7,000 to 9,000 miles per year, excellent paint, normal wear but little tear, and no glaring mechanical or cosmetic issues. On the Low end you should find complete, running cars with higher mileage, cosmetic damage, and/or minor mechanical needs. Generally speaking, we allow an additional 10 percent for mileage lower than 7,000-9,000 miles per year, and subtract 10-25 percent for past body damage that required paintwork. Due to the high cost to repair and restore Porsches, cars at the High price point often represent better long-term value than those at the Low end, as the cost to make a rough car nice will exceed the difference between the two.
Exceptions: Of course, some cars fall outside of our range — on both ends. Cars with major needs (excessive rust, blown engines, crash damage, etc.) and cars with salvage titles are typically worth less, often a lot less. On the other side, older or desirable Porsches with very low miles and original cosmetics in immaculate condition, cars benefitting from top-end restorations, and cars with interesting histories can command far higher prices, sometimes doubling or tripling our High estimate. An immaculate, totally original 1972 911E with 143,000 miles might qualify, since 140,000 to 180,000 miles would be considered normal in a 20-year-old 911. If the same car had 43,000, 4,300, or 430 miles, we'd expect the price to go up exponentially — but such cars are truly exceptional examples, and their prices are often truly exceptional, too. When dealing with such cars, seek the advice of an expert or get an independent appraisal.
Where These Numbers Come From
Our value estimates are assembled by Excellence Technical Editor, PCA appraiser, and noted Porsche expert Bruce Anderson. He looks to established price indexes such as Kelly Blue Book (KBB), National Automobile Dealer Association(NADA) Used Car Guide, Cars of Particular Interest (CPI) Price Guide, as well as other references. Auction results are considered, as well, as are Excellence Reader Sales Reports, which carry comprehensive descriptions and real private-party transaction prices. Still, says Anderson, auction prices and reader reports must be approached with caution: "While I do get a lot of feedback from readers, there is no way that I get enough to base my values on anymore than value books get enough auction data to totally base the market values on. We all do a lot of interpolation to fill in the gaps.
"I get sales information anywhere that I can and I look at what everyone else is doing, then plot my own numbers after much interpolation and head scratching," continues Anderson. "I use our Reader Sales Reports as one of my sanity checks to see if I'm really heading in the correct direction. I also consider asking prices as a trend indicator. If, all of a sudden, we see asking prices go up or down, it's a good indication that something is happening with the market. But you need a lot of data to really know where things are going. When the market is volatile, as it is now for 356s and early 911s, it is hard to track the prices without predicting them. Sometimes, I think the prices look high (1974-1989 911s, for instance), while others look too low (some 993s and early 911s). Most of the time, though, they seem pretty close to the mark given that we're talking about limited numbers of sales to deal with, price guides that are all over the place, and the need to peg a national market with hot and cold spots."