Courtesy of Bonhams
  • Owned by the vendor in 1978/1979 and from 2009 onwards
  • Professionally restored by Prill Porsche Classics
  • Circa 800 miles since completion in 2015
  • Restoration bills totaling about £75,000 ($97,400) available
  • Beautiful condition

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1971 Porsche 911S 2.2-Liter Coupe
Years Produced:1971
Number Produced:10,234 (all 1971s); 1,430 (911S coupes)
Original List Price:$8,975
SCM Valuation:$143,500
Tune Up Cost:$1,000 with valve adjustment
Chassis Number Location:Metal stamping in trunk above gas tank on passenger’s side; aluminum tag on front trunk threshold
Engine Number Location:Vertical fan support, passenger’s side, facing right
Club Info:Porsche Club of America
Alternatives:1968–73 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona, 1970 Datsun 240Z, 1970–72 Porsche 914/6
Investment Grade:A

This car, Lot 296, sold for $204,978, including buyer’s premium, at Bonhams’ Goodwood Revival auction held in Chichester, England, on September 8, 2018.

In general, the auction prices of early 911s have declined from the dizzy heights of 2014 and early 2015, excepting occasional examples of rare color, very low mileage or both. However, when the right car comes to the right market, prices are still strong, as evidenced here.

Long-hood love or hate

The 1964-through-1973 Porsche 911s are known as low-bumper or long-hood 911s. For years, they have formed a collectible model — the “Pur Sang” 911s — where the engine wail is ever-present, as is the smell of burned oil through the heater tubes. You either love them or hate them, mostly depending on your age group — although we certainly see the young demographic starting to buy these cars to fill out their rosters.

Work on the successor to the Type 356 (1949–65) was well underway in the early 1960s. The principles included a longer wheelbase, a more modern look, but with a direct family connection to the 356.

That latter element was achieved by maintaining placement of the engine behind the rear axle, plus adding a sloping hood, high fender tops and a fastback rear section. The new power unit was a more powerful 6-cylinder engine with dual overhead cams, eschewing the single camshaft and pushrods of the basic (non-4-cam) 4-cylinder 356 engines.

The new car was born “Type 901” — its design-study file designation. A yellow prototype coupe with a mocked-up engine was first shown at the September 1963 Frankfurt Auto Show. It received good press reviews, and excitement or consternation ensued, depending on how much you loved the 356.

Porsche fans were hoping for a faster, better-handling, more-stable car that maintained the build quality and idiosyncrasies of the 356. That’s what they got.

Series production did not begin until September 1964, as many design and engineering issues had to be worked out. Records show that Porsche built 13 prototypes, of which two survive and are well known. (See SCM, April 2017, pages 76–77.) Then came 83 Type 901s before Porsche changed to “911,” after Peugeot pressed the issue of their trademark for three-digit model designations with a zero in the middle.

Today, those first 83 “901s” are very highly prized. In 1964, Porsche also produced 149 “911s” for a total of 232 units. All are very collectible. Another 3,154 911s were built in 1965. By 1973, Porsche had built about 89,000 long-hood 911s.

Enter the uprated 911S

In 1966–67, Porsche introduced the 911S, featuring a more powerful engine, fancier trim and the first Fuchs alloy wheels that are now a signature. Because of emissions issues in 1968, the S was dropped from the U.S.-model lineup and the one-year-only L was inserted — a base 911 with S trim features. The S continued in the rest of the world.

For 1969, Porsche introduced mechanical fuel injection, which satisfied smog requirements, and the S returned to North America. With other improvements that included a longer wheelbase, the line went to three models: the T, the E and the S. These cars became increasingly more powerful, with other appearance and comfort changes that could be optioned onto the lower-priced models. The three-model lineup lasted through the end of the low-bumper era in 1973.

Porsche moved up engine displacement in 1970, from 1,991 cc to 2,195 cc. The 2.2s kept the 2.0’s high-pitched exhaust note in a relatively lightweight shell. In 1972, the engine was enlarged to 2,341 cc and the exhaust note went baritone. The 1972s also have the one-year-only right rear fender oil-filler inlet. 1973 added unsightly black rubber bumper uprights in the U.S.

How do you choose?

Throughout it all, the T was the base model, which, if not optioned out, was the lightest weight while always being the least powerful.

The E was a tweener, but a sleeper in that it was an excellent driver, absent the hydropneumatic front suspension in the 1969s only. The S was the rarest model in overall numbers and in most model years, and it was the most powerful.

There is some debate about the desirability of the different models. The T and the E are easier to drive around town, and they’re fine on the highway. The S is an Autobahn burner, built for high speeds, but it is a bit raw around town because of its peaky cams, requiring frequent downshifts.

Among the years and models, all S models, especially the 1967 model and the last-of-the-line 1972–73s, have the best market acceptance. 1968 ROW-only S is a sleeper, identical to the 1967 S except for more black paint outlining the fans on the Fuchs alloys.

I think the 1970–71 2.2s are underappreciated, as are all Es. The 2.2s are strong among a minority of buyers who value them for being long-wheelbase, still relatively lightweight, very responsive, and fitted with a wailing engine.

Options and colors

And that point provides a bridge to our subject 1971 911S. Helpfully, the car was a relatively rare RHD model being auctioned in the U.K. It had a known history, with paperwork showing it was originally sold by dealer Duncan Hamilton. The car featured a desirable color, #8383 Metallic Green, a sunroof, power windows and sport seats — the latter standard equipment on all U.S. 911Ss in 1971 and fitted to most RoW ’71 911Ss.

Andy Prill, a U.K. Porsche expert, fully restored this car for a reported $97,000, with invoices available at the sale. At that money it would be a European driver-quality “street concours” restoration. A full concours restoration on that car would be about $250,000-plus.

The car presented well. The exterior fit and finish appeared well done, and trim was crisp — a combination of restored original and reproduction. The interior was fresh, but with poor fit in several areas. The engine compartment was clean, but with a corroded fan and a burned-in muffler. All serial numbers and the engine number looked original and correct. The toolkit was a hodge-podge; the jack looked fine, and there was a more-modern air pump included.

The elements were all in place for a strong result: S model, desirable paint color, sunroof, full restoration by a known craftsman, and an RHD model in an RHD market.

I hope this result is indicative of a coming upturn in the long-hood 911 market. We should know more after RM Sotheby’s Porsche-only Atlanta auction, as well as the Scottsdale and Amelia Island auctions next year. Stay tuned. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of Bonhams.)

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