Porsche-only 70th anniversary auction reaches $25.8 million

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Porsche
The Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar on its way to a near-$6 million sale | RM Sotheby's photos

RM Sotheby’s capped off Porsche’s 70th anniversary celebration Saturday with a single-marque auction that hit $25.8 million, with more than 20 percent of the total coming from the sale of the iconic 1985 Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar rally racer for $5.95 million (all results include buyer fees).

The offering of 63 sports cars, race cars, literature, collector’s items and a tractor reached a 92 percent sell-through in the auction held at the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta, also home to Porsche Cars North America.  Bidders representing 25 nationalities competed for the privately owned assortment representing the seven decades of the brand.

Porsche
Sixty-three Porsche cars (and one tractor) crossed the auction block

The Porsche 959 Paris Dakar was one of three built to run in the grueling 1985 Paris-Dakar Rally as a works entry, pitting the newly developed twin-turbocharged, all-wheel-drive supercar in the 6,200-mile (10,000 kilometers) race across Europe, the Middle East and the Sahara Desert in North Africa.

This, the first example of the 959 Paris-Dakar offered at auction, sold for nearly double its high pre-auction estimate.

The second-highest sale was another remarkable Porsche, the 2018 911 Turbo Classic Series “Project Gold,” the final factory-built air-cooled 911 Turbo recently completed 20 years after the end of 993 production.

Porsche
The “Project Gold” 911 Turbo was a unique creation by Porsche

Nine bidders competed for 10 minutes to win the new/classic 911, according to an RM Sotheby’s news release, with the car finally selling for $3.415 million.  Proceeds from the sale benefited the Ferry Porsche Foundation.

Rounding out the seven-figure sales were a 2015 918 Spyder hyper exotic for $1,407,500; a 1973 911 Carrera RS 2.7 prototype, $1,325,000; 1973 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Lightweight, $1,012,500; and an original 1985  959 prototype, $1 million.

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Porsche
The ‘wonderfully distressed’ 356 A Speedster achieved a strong result

Another highlight of the sale was that of a “barn find” 1958 356 A Speedster that was rescued from 35 years storage and returned to driving condition, but still in “wonderfully distressed” condition, according to the news release. The Speedster, with its original 1600 Super engine, was bid to more than twice the high estimate at $307,500.

A unique 1956 356 A Training Chassis used by mechanics to learn repairs on the early Porsches sold for $112,000.

“The overwhelmingly positive response to the cars offered was characterized by a pool of global bidders that helped achieve outstanding prices for many models and numerous exciting moments throughout the auction,” RM Sotheby’s car specialist and auction manager Alexander Weaver said in the news release.

RS 2.7 Lightweight
The 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Lightweight was one of the top sellers

“The Porsche market continues to establish its own baseline as we witnessed new Porsche enthusiasts join seasoned collectors to take part in bidding on rare and unique examples consigned to our first single-marque Porsche auction.”

The top-10 highest sales for the Porsche auction were:

1. 1985 959 Paris-Dakar, $5,945,000.
2. 2018 911 Turbo Classic Series “Project Gold,” $3,415,000.
3. 2015 918 Spyder, $1,407,500.
4. 1973 911 Carrera RS 2.7 prototype, $1,325,000.
5. 1973 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Lightweight, $1,022,500.
6. 1985 959 Prototype, $1 million.
7. 1980 935 K4, $885,000.
8. 1973 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Touring, $698,000.
9. 1996 911 GT2, $643,000.
10. 2011 911 GT3 RS 4.0, $566,000.

(All results include buyer’s premiums)

RM Sotheby’s next auction, its first Los Angeles sale, takes place December 8 at the Petersen Museum.  For more information and complete results from the Porsche sale, visit the auction website.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

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