Sales debate: is the used 911 market defined by auction results?

Let’s face it, the used 911 marketplace is a complicated and often bewildering prospect, punctuated by the basic rules of supply and demand with a number of factors, from international currency fluctuations to occasional speculators, all thrown into the mix. But is the used market driven more by auction results or dealer forecourt prices?

During the price boom of two years ago the former seemed to be the case, certainly at face value at least, with dealers known to have been storing air-cooled Rennsports away from the public eye during those particularly ‘heated’ months. This was for fear of selling themselves short week-to-week off the back of another spectacular auction result.

So does an auction house really have such sway on values? Will Smith, sales manager at Silverstone auctions, claims the entire market is simply driven by demand. “As an auction house, our prices are a reflection of what the market is doing. It can get quite distorted though, as dealers don’t always declare prices for cars they’ve just sold,” he tells us. “That said, at auctions several people may be after one particular car with great history and provenance, then everybody seems to think that all such examples of the same car are worth the same price. They’re not.”

Horizontal shot of the telephone operators bidding at Silverstone Auctions. Shot inside in a mix of natural and artificial light.
Horizontal shot of the telephone operators bidding at Silverstone Auctions. Shot inside in a mix of natural and artificial light.

Jamie Tyler, sales manager at independent Porsche specialists, Paragon, is affirmative that auction results don’t dictate dealer values, suggesting auction results have little impact on the market at large. “You just can’t go off auction results as it all depends on what crowd attended the auction on the day and how many egos were in the room,” he tells Total 911. “Moreover, auction results haven’t flattered so much this year, yet we’ve never been busier.”

So has either side adjusted their price book off the back of values advertised by each other? “We’ve definitely adjusted estimates ahead of an auction,” Smith says. “We’re having to constantly analyse and reassess our values of cars and so we get a feel for if the market is there for a particular car.” Tyler though, says the practice has never been reciprocated at independent specialists in his experience: “We’ve never adjusted our prices off the back of an auction. If the results aren’t good it’s probably because the right people aren’t there to buy.”

It seems then, that auction results should be considered with context in mind when it comes to the wider 911 market. Though authentic, they are a reflection, not a leading catalyst, of current Porsche values. As Will Smith aptly concludes, “It’s a very fluid and rapidly changing market. So you just have to stay on top of it.”

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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