Neil Fraser © 2022, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The introduction of the 964-coded 911 in 1989 represented a product refresh by Porsche designers on almost every level. Coincidentally, the 964 represented the last generation that Porsche offered with a Targa roof until it was revived with the Type 991 in 2011.

The example offered here was built to North American specification and delivered to its first owner via a Porsche dealer in Albuquerque, NM, on March 28, 1991, with its mileage at that point noted as 247. The 911 Targa returned to the Albuquerque dealership for routine servicing until 2000, when it is believed to have been sold to its next owner in Santa Fe, NM. New owners were recorded again in Mesa, AZ, in 2005, and in Scottsdale, AZ, in 2007. The Porsche’s stay in the United States concluded when it returned to Europe to join the Carrera Collection in 2018.

Finished by the factory in black, which the car retains today, the Porsche was further specified with desirable options including a rear windscreen wiper, eight-way adjustable driver’s seat, automatic speed control, and front and rear leather seats. At the time of cataloging, the odometer read 54,561 miles. This 911 Targa is presented for sale with a space-saver spare wheel and tool roll, selected Porsche manuals and its service book.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Targa
Years Produced:1989–94
Number Produced:50,611 (3,847 Targas; 1,329 C4 Targas)
SCM Valuation:$43,000–$80,000
Tune Up Cost:$1,000
Chassis Number Location:Stamping in front truck on lip under gas tank, windshield tag, tag on driver’s side door jamb
Engine Number Location:On stand under fan, facing passenger’s side
Club Info:Porsche Club of America
Alternatives:1990–96 Nissan 300 ZX, 1990–94 Ferrari 348, 1990–2005 Acura NSX
Investment Grade:C

This car, Lot 142, sold for $310,855 (€286,080), including buyer’s premium, at Artcurial’s Le Mans, FRA, auction on June 30, 2023.

Alfa Romeo has long occupied a solid but second-tier place in the pantheon of Italian sports cars. With some exceptions, classic Alfas do not command the astronomical prices of comparable Ferraris. The highest price recently paid for an Alfa at auction was $19.8 million in 2016 for a 1939 8C 2900 Lungo Spider (SCM# 6804213), less than half the $48.4 million earned by a 250 GTO in 2018 (SCM# 6877234).

Perhaps fittingly, the five most expensive Alfas we’ve tracked in the SCM Platinum Auction Database were all 8C models from the 1930s. That history sets up an expectation for the modern iteration of the 8C Competizione in both coupe and spider forms.

Good to be back

The 8C Competizione was Alfa’s big splash both as a halo for the brand’s return to the North American market and to draw a bright line between the ordinary Alfa hatchbacks and sedans sold throughout Europe and the brand’s premium sports cars. The new 8C was priced like an exotic and offered performance comparable to the top tier of Italian grand-touring cars.

The 8C was built on a chassis loosely based on the preceding Maserati coupe platform but shortened and modified for Alfa’s use. Stressed carbon fiber was bonded to the steel passenger’s tub, with subframes front and rear to carry the driveline. Similarly, the suspension, brakes and steering geometry were all related to the Ferrari and Maserati tourers, but uniquely tuned. Bodywork was executed in carbon fiber to keep the curb weight of the 8C about a bag of doughnuts under 3,500 pounds. The 8C would hit 62 mph in 4.2 seconds with its 6-speed paddle-shifted twin-clutch transaxle and pull 1.02g on the skidpad.

Then there was the engine. Alfa went to its parent company and got its own version of the Tipo F136 V8 used in the Ferrari F430 and California. That engine also appeared in the contemporary Maserati lineup. But where Ferrari used a bore and stroke yielding 4.3 liters and Maserati had a 4.2-liter version, Alfa lengthened the stroke by almost 10 mm to yield 4.7 liters. This gave output of 444 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. This outdid the Maserati GranTurismo’s 405 hp, while the California was comparable at 453. However, by 2011 the Maserati GranTurismo MC adopted a 4.7-liter engine, rated at the same 444 horsepower as the Alfa.

Exclusive and expensive

The reason for so much detail on competitors is to place the 8C in context. When the 8C arrived in the U.S. in 2008, it carried an MSRP of $265,000, compared to the $114,650 of a 2008 GranTurismo or $192,000 for the 2009 California. Or you could buy a 2008 F430 for $217,310 or the F430 Scuderia hot rod for about $250,000 and hit 62 mph a full half-second faster than the Alfa.

The point here is that the 8C was significantly more expensive than other similar cars in roughly the same performance envelope, so buyers had to really want that Milanese badge on the front. Plenty did, because by the time production finished (in 2009 for the 8C coupe and 2010 for the 8C spider), MSRP on both models had gone up to right around $300,000.

A smart buy

Buying an 8C rather than one of those comparattively more common models has proven to be a smart move. Since mid-2020, only one 8C in the SCM Platinum Auction Database has sold for less than $300k, and just under at that (SCM# 6934090). Four cars have earned prices ranging up to $368,000 (SCM# 6955512). At Bring a Trailer, its six sales have posted prices in the same range, with a high sale of $380,955.

The value of a high-quality, low-miles Alfa 8C is remarkably consistent. While sale prices today are higher than the original MSRP, inflation means real-dollar values have dropped. The 8C’s rarity has helped its desirability, with just 500 coupes and 329 spiders ever made and far fewer sold in the U.S. But the 8C is also a compelling car in its own right. If you’ve ever seen and heard one up close, it’s enchanting.

The competitive set has not fared nearly as well. Ferrari California models from 2009 to ’10 are trading a bit under $100k at online auctions, and the most desirable Maserati GranTurismo MC routinely changes hands at right around $50k. Even a clean 2017 GranTurismo MC with 23k miles and an original MSRP of $168,920 sold on BaT this year for $59,325.

The only competing car that can match the 8C for value is the F430 Scuderia. A pristine 644-mile example sold by RM Sotheby’s earlier this year for $428,500 (SCM# 6956783). However, the standard F430 is in the $100k–$200k range. Last winter’s $145,000 sale of a well-kept F430 Spider in an ACC Auctions online sale (SCM# 6956336) is a typical result.

Bullish prospects

With just 3,765 km showing and one careful owner since new, our subject 8C is, for all practical purposes, a new car. This sale price hit the low end of the bullseye, but it was a bullseye nonetheless, falling just under the median of Artcurial’s estimate. Both buyer and seller should be happy, but there is plenty of upside for these cars as Next Gen collectibles should the new owner be in it for the long haul.

Coincidentally, Alfa recently announced the unveiling of its new 6C halo car based on the Maserati MC20 Cielo, but with more power courtesy of a hybrid driveline. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of Artcurial.)

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