1994 Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6S Flachbau

Mathieu Heurtault, courtesy of Gooding & Company
  • A true 911-based supercar, hand built in the Porsche Exclusive Department
  • This car is one of 39 U.S.-spec examples, and just two were finished in Grand Prix White
  • This Porsche is in time-capsule condition, with less than 40 miles from new. The original window sticker is still affixed two decades after delivery
  • The car is offered with books, tools, spares and Certificate of Authenticity

SCM Analysis

Detailing

Vehicle:1994 Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6S Flachbau
Years Produced:1994
Number Produced:76 Flachbau variants, plus 17 flat-nose-delete Package Cars
Original List Price:$162,000–$175,000 depending on options, including delivery charges
SCM Valuation:Median to date, $1,058,750; high sale, $1,100,000 (this car)
Tune Up Cost:$3,750 including plugs, wires, filters, fluids and valve adjustment
Chassis Number Location:Plate at base of A-pillar inside windshield; stamping on body-color panel above spare tire; aluminum plate on passenger’s side inner fender
Engine Number Location:Vertical stamping on fan support facing right
Club Info:Porsche Club of America
Website:http://www.pca.org
Alternatives:1992–95 Bugatti EB110 GT, 1991–93 Jaguar XJ 220, 1988–91 Ferrari F40
Investment Grade:B

This car, Lot 45, sold for $1,100,000, including buyer’s premium, at Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auction on August 20, 2016.

How can any Porsche Turbo street car be a disappointment at over $1 million dollars? It takes a very special automobile.

An icon was born in 1975

Porsche Turbos were iconic from their introduction, and they became collectible very early on.

Porsche started developing its turbocharged cars in 1969 and had race cars on grids by 1972, with the FIA racing prototype 917/10s.

The record-shattering 917/30s soon followed. Both cars carried flat 12-cylinder engines and up to 1,100 horsepower — and even more in qualifying tune and boost.

Porsche followed up with production-car based 934s and 935s with flat sixes and up to perhaps 750–800 horsepower. 1975 saw the advent of street car 3.0-liter 930s, with 260 horsepower and 253 foot-pounds of torque (234 and 246 in the United States due to emissions concerns and lower-grade gasoline). These cars were fine high-speed tourers, and they immediately became the weapon of choice on Germany’s autobahns and Nevada’s no-speed-limit interstates.

Progression up to 3.3 liters with an intercooler in 1978 bumped the engine to 300 horsepower in ROW (rest of world) cars vs. 265 horsepower in the U.S.

Thereafter, development of the Turbo stalled, in part because Porsche lost almost half of their market when the U.S. market went offline in 1980 because of federalization requirements. A North American model returned for the 1986 model year — after dealer and customer demands. But the turbo model continued to be a somewhat underdeveloped 3.3 liters, despite a move up to 282 horsepower. That engine soldiered on when the 964 Turbo was introduced in 1991.

A new Turbo comes in 1994

A few years later, Porsche re-engineered the Turbo powerplant to 3.6 liters with 355 horsepower. The car was revitalized. All three 1994 models are desirable collectibles now. They are the 1994 one-year-only base Turbo 3.6, the uprated Turbo S and the Exclusive Department’s Flachbaus (flat noses).

It is important to remember that, in the years just before the introduction of the 993, Porsche was struggling financially. Special models with very high prices were an important part of the company’s survival plan. To wit, while the Turbo 3.6 was listed at a strong $99,000, the Flachbau package added over $60,000 to the invoice, albeit with extensive and expensive handwork in the Exclusive Department.

The Turbo S carried uprated mechanics, primarily the M64/50S engine. In addition to the increased displacement, the X88 optional engine-tuning package included new camshafts, improved heads, modified turbochargers and modified timing.

Some magazine testers opined that the resultant 385 horsepower was substantially underrated. Other experts disagreed. Nonetheless, everyone agreed that the 3.6 with the X88 package resulted in substantially improved performance. Although somewhat overlooked in the day — the cars required “hand-selling” at dealers — the performance pluses, unique styling features, and low production numbers have made these cars very collectible today.

The Flachbaus came in several disguises

Porsche produced Exclusive Turbos in four variants. All were virtually identical mechanically. The one I have the most experience with is the Japanese-market X83. These cars were distinguished by 930 slope-nose covered flip-up headlights, with 930S-style boxed rockers and finned rear air inlets. Only 10 were built (one was reportedly destroyed), and six now are in the U.S. Four of the 10 X83s were the only Flachbaus delivered with the big rear wing from the Carrera RS 3.8-liter. Those examples are highly prized.

The X84 is the ROW car, sold mostly in Europe, with 27 examples built. It had the uncovered headlights of the 968, no boxed rockers, typical Turbo S air inlets in the rear fenders for engine cooling, and small air inlets in the front bumpers.

The X85 is the North American market car, similar in appearance to the X84, but it has revised front bumper lighting and no air inlets. Porsche built 39 X85s with the flat nose. Another 17 X85s were built with flat-nose delete, and they are now known as “Package Cars.”

Values of these cars have boomed, as have those for all limited-production Porsches during the past four to five years. The Package Cars have typically led the pricing charts in the U.S., followed by X85s, followed very tightly by imported X83s and X84s. Last March, at Gooding’s Amelia Island auction, Jerry Seinfeld’s white X85 with about 12,500 miles sold for $1,017,500, including buyer’s premium. Big exhales were heard throughout the room. Despite the probable “celebrity effect” helping that sale, a new norm was assumed.

Our auction Turbo S X85

I knew the X85 at Gooding Monterey, as it was owned by one friend and purchased at the event by another friend. It was a stellar example with only 37 “delivery” miles. It was recently serviced to ensure that its hibernation had not ruined its mechanics.

It was one of two built in Grand Prix White, making it sine qua non for a few collectors.

Gooding put a strong marketing program behind the car, with personal solicitation to prospective buyers, broadcast emails, and an extremely well-researched catalog description, using input from model expert Mark Smith. (Please see his good work at www.flachbau.com.)

Originally the Blackhawk Collection purchased the car, presumably for their investment partnership portfolio. More recently, an enthusiast collector bought it, after which a few other collectors tried to buy the car.

Because the owner occasionally culls his collection for fun and profit, he consigned his X85 to Gooding. The buyer at the auction was one of the collectors who missed the car at private sale at a higher price. Obviously, he was very pleased.

Based on prior known sales of X83s, X84s, and X85s in the U.S., I expected a final price in the $1,250,000–$1,400,000 range. When the car hammered at $1,000,000, for a final price of $1,100,000 including buyer’s premium, the consensus was that the softening market had caught up to this outstanding collectible Porsche Turbo S. The car was well bought — a sign of the times.

(Introductory description courtesy of Gooding & Company.)

Prescott Kelly

Prescott Kelly - SCM Contributor

Prescott bought his first Porsche, a 1964 356SC coupe, in early July 1967, just before starting his first job. The next weekend he bought a refrigerator — thereby establishing priorities for life. He has owned many Porsches and is a Contributing Editor for Porsche Panorama, where he concentrates on arcane corners of Porsche history, writes the regular “356 Collectibles” and “MarketWatch” columns for the 356 Registry Magazine, and contributes to Excellence and the Journal of the Society of Automotive Historians.

Posted in GermanTagged , , ,