Only when the instructors came in from area universities was I successful. Having spent two years teaching, I used the “Socratic method of sales”. Worked on the profs very well. Unfortunately there weren’t enough of them, and I failed my quota. The Big Day came, and I escaped to the Boston Army Base to take my oath of enlistment about an hour before the sales manager was going to fire me.
But what I learned from that experience was that there is ALWAYS a big difference between what people think a car is worth, and what it is really worth in absolute dollars. “Absolute dollars” are the kind of dollars that are laid down on the table before the new owner, with stars in his/her eyes, actually gets to drive away
So, The Shark Pool is a column devoted to keeping tabs on the wholesale values of Porsche 928s. Those interested can always check here, to get a guide to what their car is worth, or what they might have to pay for that one down at the dealer’s that is screaming: “TAKE ME HOME!”
The method of research is very simple. I have several people who are professionals in the high end automobile business with whom I communicate from time to time. I know that they either regularly attend auctions looking for 928s, or will handle 928s as a part of their inventory. They have generously agreed to provide input to this column, and I will credit my sources here as well.
I follow eBay auctions all the time, and will be looking at 20 or so interesting 928s on line all the time. Seasons and geographic area will all be shown in the results.
Is this REAL wholesale? Probably not. Nor is it definitive. Not trying to be. But the purpose is to show the price that cars are actually selling for somewhere. That very nice GTS at the dealers might not look so great at their asking price of $60,000 when last week there were five on eBay around the country, with fewer miles that didn’t bring $40,000 through the auction process. So a good, real time indication is the “mission” of this blog. OK?
So, here now is the first report from “The Shark Pool: What’s It Worth?”
Let me begin by saying that this is a subjective column. I chose to watch the on-line auction of those cars that particularly interest me. To that end, I look for certain things in the on-line ads. I look for detailed descriptions of the cars; of detailed statements of documentation about the cars, and for pictures, pictures, pictures.
Sometimes used car dealers will devote a lot of space in their ads threatening the dire results that will befall those who are not serious bidders. I basically skip those ads. At least one dealer devotes space on his ads stressing that he enthusiastically supports arbitration to make the “deal right” for both, and I always watch his ads. I bought a 928 from him, and was quite impressed with his truthful presentation of the car.
This column is being written at the end of the winter, which here in the Northeast is a lousy time to buy a 928. Yet it might be the best time because there might have been some good bargains that were missed due to the time of year.
Here is the summary of what I saw “in the pool”:
1978 Porsche 928 – 5-speed. Black with psychedelic interior, 49,000 miles. The ad stated that all books and stamped service records were included. Club Sport wheel upgrade. Eleven pictures of relatively poor quality but good enough to show that this might have been an exceptional example of an early 928. SOLD: $8,995.00 (California car)
1984 Porsche 928S – Automatic Rausch Quartz Metallic/tan repainted. 130,000 + miles. Nice looking car with a lot of service history shown. I watched this car go through the auction process twice and it failed to sell. The car was a Texas car. PASSED AT AUCTION, HIGH BID: $4,050.00
1986 Porsche 928S – Automatic, 150,000 plus miles. VERY rough condition although supposed to be strong mechanically. Twelve poor quality pictures. I would have run away from this one as fast as I could run, and I hope the new owner has btter luck with it than I suspect he will. Too much money for a racing tub, I think, and the sale price was a surprise to me: SOLD: $3,551.00 (California)
1988 Porsche 928S4 – Automatic. 52,000 miles. – Steel blue with blue interior. Nice looking standard equipped S4. Owner provided link to many interior and exterior pictures. SOLD: $13,300.00 (Wisconsin)
1988 Porsche 928S4 – Automatic 8,900 miles Interesting car at a “high end” used car dealer in the Midwest. This dealer puts up a LOT of pictures and is a serious seller on eBay in terms of volume. I have been tempted to go and see some of the cars that they sell because their cars look terrific. Car was Baltic Blue with tan interior. Twenty nine photographs that showed the car fairly well, although too many pictures were taken outside and the lighting wasn’t the best to show detail. Contrary to the written description, this was NOT a “heavily optioned” car. The car was equipped with standard equipment and memory seat left but only standard seats without heat or lumbar support. The car did appear to have all the original books but no mention was made of the service history. A very, very clean looking example, and if I had been looking for an S4 in this color and it was convenient, I might have gone to see the car in person. But low miles do equal high dollars….tires appeared to be new, but I couldn’t tell what kind they were, and suspect they were cheapies: naughty, naughty!! SOLD: $26,900.00
1989 Porsche 928S4 – Five speed. Gray with linen interior. 100,300 miles. Brief description but copious pictures. Very nice looking “standard” 928S4 5 speed. Pictures seemed to show the grille slats to have been hit slightly, and I suspect that this car might have had an “in town” history. Car was equipped with rear air, but otherwise was mostly a standard equipment example. OEM muffler shown. Seller admits that sunroof is inop. I thought this was a very, very nice example and since it was so close, had I been shopping, I would have made the trip to see it. (Philadelphia) PASSED AT AUCTION: High bid: $11,100.00 (car is relisted and I will report About this again in the next “blog”).
1993 Porsche GTS – Automatic. Black with tan. A nice looking GTS with 55,000 miles. Average equipment. Missouri car. PASSED AT AUCTION: High bid: $36,312.00
1995 Porsche GTS- Automatic. Silver with blue. 33,500 miles. More than one owner according to the seller. Pristine appearing GTS, with some optional equipment….heated seats, memory seat left, rear air. PASSED AT AUCTION: High bid: $46,000.00
1982 Porsche 928 – 44,000 original miles. Seller claims car was stored for ten years Five speed. Car in need of exterior restoration and some interior detail work in- cluding recovering of seats. Full leather interior with some shrinkage. Gold with tan interior. Car has all books and stamped service records. I have a aigh degree of confidence in this reseller, as I bought my S4 from him unseen and the car was pretty much as advertised. (Excellent pictures all taken inside so lighting was uniform and the cars blemishes showed very well. This was a restoration candidate, so the pictures gave a really good indication of the amount of work that would be needed to make this car really nice. A good restorable early 928). SOLD: $6600.00
Ray Ayer who is owner of Ayer European Auto in Gardiner, Maine, reported on two 928S4s that sold in February at the High Line Auction at Manheim, Pennsylvania. One car had less than 9000 miles showing, and brought $18,700. Ray has since written that the he understands that the car is now for sale somewhere for over $26,000 retail. What is really intriguing is that the last two 928s sold at Manheim were sold TMU…true mileage unknown. The second car was sold in September for just shy of $18,000 with mileage just under 37,000…again, TMU.
Well, OK! What does all of this mean?
Well, here are my generalized, and personal opinions from looking through this, by no means exhaustive listing. First of all, right now, I would have to say that relatively low mile GTS are demanding big dollars…and NOT getting them. I think the next time I update this, I will devote the entire blog to the GTS, with only one or two other models IF they are exceptionally interesting.
Secondly, there seems to be a good market for the lower priced cars, and even cars that will need a lot of help can bring surprising amounts of money. And of course, dollars diminish in the face of miles, which may be where the real bargains lie. Here is the question: which is better: a 1988 928S4, two owner with some recent service documents and 105,000 miles for $10,000; or a one owner 1988 928S4 with 39,000 miles for $21,000? Later on, I think I’ll take a poll among the readership.
Naturally, right now in the northern part of the US, it is winter, so sales will not be brisk. But there was a nice S4 that sold in February, in Wisconsin…you don’t get much more winter than they have there. For those shopping for the “right” 928, anytime is a good time.
As usual, 928s weren’t punched out like Ford Focusses (Focussii?), so if a good one appears on line somewhere, and you think it is THE car for you, then you should be prepared to travel, unless you can connect with someone who can do a pre-purchase inspection for you.
I am going to try to up date this listing often, but certainly each season should show a change in wholesale values, so as the snow melts, I expect sales will heat up. Incidentally, if you have first hand knowledge of a car that sold recently, I would appreciate hearing from you. (Roger)
Shark sales will depend on two things. First of all the seller must be willing to sell the car, and the there must appear a buyer who wants the car. Sometimes the right buyer will pay a premium for a car that someone else would pass on. There are relatively few 928s, so really nice ones can command a premium. Ray Ayer thinks that there is a rising market for really nice examples, and if will be interesting to see if more and more outstanding 928s appear to answer this apparent rise in the market for these magnificent automobiles
Roger M. Woodbury
Lord’s Beach, Maine