Sales Debate: Have modern classics slowed the pre-impact bumper market?

“Modern classics”: in the car collecting community it seems to be the hot new phrase, as buyers look to get behind something a bit more contemporary.

In 911 circles, the resurgence of the 964, 993 and even the 996 seems to have crossed paths with the slowing of the previously inexorable pre-impact bumper market. Is it more than pure coincidence? We put it to two of the UK’s leading experts.

For Alan Drayson, it’s an issue of perspective. The plateauing of the pre-impact bumper market is less to do with the success of modern classics, according to the Canford Classics founder, and more as a result of the market’s previous growth.

“The average pre-impact bumper is £80,000-£100,000,” he explains. “You would spend about half that for a pretty nice 964.” In Drayson’s opinion, people have become “a bit more aware” too.

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The success of the early 911 market has opened people’s eyes to other Neunelfers, with more customers “orientated to what they are looking for.”

The appeal of modern classics has had an effect on the market for older 911s, in Mark Sumpter’s opinion though. “A lot of people have gone in and bought classics and we’re finding they’re not necessarily the people that understand classics,” explains the head of independent specialist, Paragon.

“After living with it for a while, we have people say, ‘I like it, but I just don’t use it enough’, which has definitely affected the classic market slightly.”

The knock-on effect of this has, in Sumpter’s mind, drawn people towards the likes of the 964 and 993 (a generation that is actually considered classic thanks to an influx of younger buyers) because “you can actually use that car pretty much as you’d use a modern car.”

Later 911s also have greater investment potential he points out, and this has proved an important incentive to many buyers.

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However, Sumpter admits that it’s not simply down to the appeal of modern cars. “When the market was going well, there were some lovely classics,” the Paragon boss explains. “But then there were so many rushed restorations.” This meant that underwhelming auction results were entirely understandable.

Drayson agrees, pointing out that “people have just become really cautious because the market got flooded” at the end of last year.

The Canford boss doesn’t feel it’s all doom and gloom for the classic 911 though: “If I’m honest, the signs are that in the last month or two, it’s actually picked up again”, with Canford recently selling three cars via their sales arm.

Sumpter agrees, stating that, “good quality classics still seem to be selling okay.” There’s possibly life in the old dog yet then, and space in the market for a burgeoning modern scene too.

For market advice on any generation or style of Porsche 911, check out our full selection of sales debates, where we ask the 911 experts the pertinent market questions so you don’t have to.

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