Cost-no-object restorations rarely make sense on production cars, even exciting ones in hot markets, like an early 911S


Within two years of the original 911’s launch, Porsche introduced a new model that would satisfy even the most demanding drivers. The new S offered the same vault-like body and chassis, well-appointed 2+2 interior, and 2-liter flat 6, but there were a host of details that set the new car apart, a reflection of Porsche’s meticulous and thoughtful engineering.

The S brought an increase of 30 hp over the standard 911 through many internal modifications, and the 901 transmission was updated to suit the rev-happy nature of the new engine. These modifications produced a car capable of 0-60 runs in the mid-sevens and a top speed of 140 mph, figures that were quite impressive in their day.

Other changes further enhanced the sporting character of the car, such as front and rear anti-roll bars, adjustable Koni shocks, lightweight Fuchs aluminum alloy forged wheels, and ventilated rotors. The interior featured a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and basket weave trim replaced the wooden plank on the dash providing a simple businesslike cockpit. The 911S presented the rare opportunity to compete, with success, in weekend races, rallies, and hillclimbs, yet have a reliable and civilized car during the week. Today, the early short wheelbase 911S remains a favorite of enthusiasts because of the raw and thrilling driving experience these cars deliver.

This stunning 1968 911S Coupe is a correct matching-numbers car that has benefited from an incomparable, no-expense-spared restoration and meticulous care from a long line of knowledgeable Porsche enthusiasts. While no 911S models were officially delivered to the U.S. in 1968 due to restrictive emissions, this car was imported from Italy and underwent a thorough restoration at a cost of $60,000.

European Auto Works of North Carolina, using only correct factory parts, paint, and even the original undercoating, did the body and interior work. German Turbosport of Greensboro, NC, rebuilt the flat 6. The car remains in excellent cosmetic and mechanical condition, is correct in every way, and comes with a large stack of receipts documenting the thorough restoration. The odometer showed 93,970 km when the restoration started, and today it reads 99,000 km after 20 years of driving to local car shows. The car has been kept in secured storage and transported in an enclosed trailer.

Presented in the correct Polo Red over a black vinyl interior, it is a perfect example of the pure, original 911 silhouette. The 911S Coupe has its correct 5.5-inch Fuchs alloy wheels and is fitted with the desirable European lights. The interior of the car is very presentable with its optional wood rim wheel and the proper white-on-black gauges. All of the chrome and aluminum details are in beautiful condition throughout, as is the original Sekurit glass. The undercarriage and chassis components are as well detailed as the visible side of the car, evidence of sympathetic maintenance. The engine bay is spotless, featuring the correct Weber IDS carbs and iconic red fan shroud. The car starts instantly with its characteristic growl and drives, shifts, and stops as it should.

A perfect example of Porsche’s relentless pursuit of creating the ultimate driver’s car, the original 911S is the purest variation of this objective. Here is an opportunity for an enthusiast to enjoy and appreciate the classic lines, screaming 2-liter engine, and nimble handling of this rare, early 911. A wonderful example of one of the finest Porsche road cars, this 911S Coupe will provide its future owner with many years of thrilling drives, as it is eligible for many events and will be welcome at any Porsche show.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1968 Porsche 911S
Number Produced:2,961
Original List Price:$7,200
Tune Up Cost:$300
Distributor Caps:$15
Chassis Number Location:Horizontal bulkhead under front hood
Engine Number Location:Stamped in engine block near right side of cooling fan
Club Info:Porsche Club of America, 5530 Edgemont Dr., Alexandria, VA 22310

This unusual 1968 911S Coupe sold at Gooding’s Pebble Beach sale for $63,800, against a pre-sale estimate of $70,000-$95,000. We judge this price as market correct or perhaps even a bit of a bargain. The greater issue this car presents is the question of cars as investments. We won’t settle this big question with this one car, but it does provide a “perfect storm” of sorts to help us ponder the wisdom of investing in cars.

To do this, we are going to look at the overall market, the model being presented, and at the method of sale, as all of these have been noted as important variables in estimating values.

I don’t have to tell you that the vintage Porsche market is doing very well in general. More specifically, the early 911 market is on fire. More to the point, everyone wants a 911S. Early 911S cars have had some of the highest rates of appreciation of any Porsche model. Hard to imagine a better venue for Porsche than Pebble Beach, and in fact, several other Porsches at this sale made huge money. So the method of sale looks just right. What happened here?

This 1968 Porsche 911S Coupe can be understood when analyzing the little-noticed cleavage between an original car and a restored car. Did it scare you that $60,000 was spent on this car 20 years ago? Original cars, even if not quite as squeaky clean as a restoration, are the cars to have for price appreciation. And with 911s, not generally beaten into the ground like 356s, you can find some very decent original cars.

So how about this 911 as an investment? We have one of the top models, at an excellent sale venue, in one of the hottest markets any of us have seen. After the expenses of sale, the owner netted several thousand less than his restoration receipts from 20 years prior. And of course that doesn’t include the original purchase price of the car or 20 years of insurance, maintenance, and storage expenses.

Perhaps most importantly, it doesn’t factor in the cost of money over such an extended period of time.

The lesson here? Cost-no-object restorations rarely make sense on production cars, even exciting ones that end up in hot markets like an early 911S. Buy these cars for fun and you’ll be fine. Try to get a return on your money, and your fun may be over.

This looks to be a good car at a fair price, and the new owner, if he can keep his wallet in his pants, has the chance to do well with it financially. Of course, if he drives it (which for many of us would be the only reason to buy a 911S), he runs the risk of minor and major malfunctions and incidents that could slightly or even greatly degrade the value of the 911S Coupe.

The rest of us can learn what not to do, from an investment standpoint, from the seller. And you have to ask yourself, how much fun has it really been to drive this car back and forth to car shows for 20 years, without ever really having it on the open road? But that’s a different topic for a different time.

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