Sotheby’s Celebrates Porsche’s 70th Anniversary With the Sale of a $3.4 Million Gold 911

The sale in Atlanta included a car once owned by Jerry Seinfeld, which was introduced by the 'Seinfeld' theme.

2018 Porsche 911 Turbo Classic Series "Project Gold" ©2018 Courtesy of RM Sotheby's.

A one-of-a-kind gold-colored Porsche 911 Turbo sold for $3.4 million at auction on Saturday, Oct. 27.

Specially created for Porsche’s 70th-anniversary auction in Atlanta, the unique twin-turbo, 450-horsepower sports car was designed to showcase the German automaker’s dedication to its traditions.

Built on a circa-1998, generation-993 body shell, using thousands of classic parts, the “Project Gold” car is the first Porsche model in 20 years to run on a retro-style air-cooled engine. Its glittering paint job, meanwhile, is entirely high-tech, involving an electrochemical process to better bind the metallic yellow paint particles to the car’s curvy body.

While not street legal, the distinctive show car nonetheless attracted a flurry of interest, sparking over six minutes of vigorous bidding. Proceeds from its sale benefited the automaker’s new charitable nonprofit, the Ferry Porsche Foundation.

“Classic Project Gold”, RM Sotheby’s–The Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction 2018, 2018, Porsche AG
Photo by Darin Schnabel © 2018 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

The “Project Gold” car was one of six coveted autos to top the $1 million mark at the auction, which featured 63 classic Porsche models from every era dating back to the 1950s, as well as numerous pieces of memorabilia, generating more than $25 million in total sales. RM Sotheby’s presided over the bidding, the auction house’s the first Porsche-only event. The auction capped a busy weekend of 70th-anniversary celebrations held at Atlanta’s Porsche Experience Center, the carmaker’s 40,000-square-foot North American headquarters, complete with its own classic-car gallery and 1.6-mile race track, which opened in 2015.

An ultra-rare Porsche 959 race car used in the 1985 Paris-Dakar Rally earned the highest price at $5.95 million—nearly doubling its published estimate. The twin-turbo supercar is the only one of its kind in private hands and the first ever offered at auction.

Meanwhile, one of the most prized pieces, a 1983 Porsche 956 Group C once driven by legendary racer John Fitzpatrick, failed to sell, after drawing a top bid of $3.5 million, but falling short of the seller’s minimum price.

A hybrid-electric 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder—one of the fastest cars on the planet, capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than 2.5 seconds—sold for $1.4 million. Its custom “Liquid Metal Chrome Blue” paint job alone cost $65,000. Featuring platinum-silver wheels, black leather interiors with acid-green accents, and a retractable top for open-air driving, the immaculately kept, seven-speed Spyder had gone less than 225 miles at the time of its sale.

Other big-ticket items included a pair of 911 Carrera RS models from 1973, each spotlighting the automaker’s shift to lighter, more powerful cars. A yellow-colored prototype for the 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7, which notably lacked the distinctive “duck tail” rear spoiler of standard models, fetched over $1.3 million, while a fully restored white 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Sport with a bright green racing stripe, which finished first in its class at 24 Hours of Le Mans, sold for $1,022,500.

One of the few surviving prototypes for the 1985 Porsche 959—a ruby red model that is believed to be the last of its kind still running—also moved for $1 million.

Nine other Porsche models generated high bids of $500,000 or more, including a black 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 designed exclusively for famed comedian and car collector Jerry Seinfeld. The theme song from Seinfeld’s popular TV sitcom played in the background as auctioneers rolled out the custom-built, 500-horsepower, black leather-trimmed sports car, which ultimately sold for $566,000.

Only a handful of cars on the block fell short of six figures. Even a stripped-down rusty-looking 1958 Porsche 356 speedster facing an expensive cosmetic restoration still netted $307,500.

Left, Porsche Gmünd Original Brochure, English (1948); Right, McQueen Drives Porsche Poster (1970). ©2018 RM Sotheby’s.

The results highlight the enduring desirability of the Porsche brand, evidenced by steadily rising prices in recent years.

“We’ve seen an awful lot of Porsches that have doubled in price or better since 2012,” said Dave Kinney, a classic-car appraiser and publisher of the Hagerty Price Guide.

Kinney credits Porsche’s greater accessibility (“you can still buy relatively inexpensive Porsches”) and overall usability (“they’re great cars for rallying or motocross or a number of different events”) for attracting a wide range of collectors.  

“It’s an aspirational, thinking person’s brand,” he said.

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