|1998/2018 Porsche 993 Turbo S “Project Gold”
|Original List Price:
|$174,534 for original 1998 models
|Tune Up Cost:
|$2,500 with valve adjustment
|Engine Number Location:
|Vertical fan support, passenger’s side, facing right.
|Porsche Club of America
|2014–15 McLaren P1, 2013–16 LaFerrari, 2014–15 Porsche 918 Spyder, 2018 Porsche Turbo S Exclusive Series
This car, Lot 220, sold for $3,415,000 including buyer’s premium, at RM Sotheby’s Porsche-only 70th Anniversary Auction at the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta, GA, on October 27, 2018.
Before it took place, this one-off event looked to be challenged. It was a single-marque auction with no Ferrari/MBZ/Maserati buyers to bid impulsively on Porsches. It was in Atlanta at the end of October — with little other than the prestige of the Porsche Experience Center to draw people. And it was at the end of a long string of Porsche 70th Anniversary events, including Rennsport VI at Laguna Seca just four weeks earlier.
A rationale that Rennsport was West Coast-centric while Atlanta would be East Coast-centric was reasonable, but I did not see anyone in Atlanta that I had not seen at Rennsport. All that said, I rate it a “good” event with some noteworthy results, but perhaps more weak ones. One of the former was certainly the Project Gold 993 Turbo S.
A special “1998” Turbo S
Porsche Classic — the Factory’s old-parts and restoration arm — had a leftover 993 Turbo tub. They also had about 6,500 different 993 parts in inventory. In the fertile minds of Porsche Classic managers Alexander Fabig and Uwe Makrutzki, that tub and those parts represented an opportunity to demonstrate Classic’s skills while building a noteworthy Porsche.
Because Porsche has never been in the business of building instantly collectible one-off automobiles, they undertook this project with the goal of donating most of the proceeds to their new in-house charity — the Ferry Porsche Foundation, which focuses on children’s and educational charities in both Stuttgart and Leipzig, Germany, where Porsche has factories.
Following the 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series
Porsche Classic took 18 months to build the Project Gold 993 Turbo S coupe. The gold part is the paint, Golden Yellow Metallic.
This special 993 followed in the footsteps of the Porsche Turbo S Exclusive Series — a limited edition of 500 2018 Turbo S coupes that came standard in this paint color. Those cars were assembled at “Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur” — which is an evolution of Porsche Exclusive. They used a lot of Exclusive’s capabilities — uprated engine with 607 horsepower, center-lock 20-inch wheels in black with gold trim, carbon-fiber roof, hood and rockers, custom paint, and custom interior carrying forward the black-and-gold theme, but no real gold — happily. (It’s not yet the 1980s again.)
Unveiled at the Tehama Golf Club
At the Monterey Rolex Reunion week in August, Porsche held a couple of well-attended parties at the Tehama Golf Club in Carmel to introduce the Turbo S Exclusive Golden Yellow Metallic cabriolet — and unveil the 993 continuation Turbo S coupe. The presentations were informative and well choreographed. The 993 was also a surprise, with gasps from the audience as the panels moved back to unveil the new/old car.
It was like a 1998 Turbo S coupe — but better
The Project Gold 993 Turbo has the S fender vents cut in and carries an in-period-correct Power Kit II engine of 450 horsepower with all the internal goodies found on the 345 built-in-period 993 Turbos S cars. Like many Porsche Classic restorations, the bare tub was CDC primer dipped, right in the line with new 991s. Porsche reported that the color coat and two clear coats were lacquer. Porsche was especially proud of the interior and external trim special touches, including carbon fiber, gold stitching, black-backed Litronic headlights, and lots more.
It was a scant five weeks from Monterey Car Week to the Rennsport Reunion at Monterey, where the Project Gold 993 was presented to the general public. Fast forward four more weeks and the car was for sale at RM Sotheby’s Atlanta auction.
What’s it worth?
The car obviously created a lot of buzz. But how do you value it?
The car had a couple of problems. Porsche assigned the car a “production” serial number, the next one after the very last 993 Turbo S built back in 1998 — but disclaimed it with a special series number 001/001. This demonstrated that they would never build another one.
At the back of the auction catalog was a full page of very small print spelling out limitations, undoubtedly written by Porsche’s lawyers. They disclosed that Porsche would not supply an MSO, a title, or even a letter supporting registration of the car anywhere.
They also disclosed that since PAG would donate the money to the foundation, there would be no tax deduction for the buyer. That’s sometimes a big deal — witness Ron Pratte’s and Richard Childress’ past charity purchases and sales at Barrett-Jackson auctions.
Why did the car flee town just before the auction?
In an interesting twist, after being on display at the Atlanta Porsche Experience Center for a couple of days, on the night before the auction, Project Gold was loaded up, taken to the Atlanta airport, and flown away to Stuttgart — all the better to avoid any possible U.S. Customs, EPA or DoT issues. The successful bidder would have to pick up the car at the factory.
How much more valuable than “resto-mod” Porsches?
Some of us spent time planning how to circumvent Project Gold’s limitation on registration/titling, but that’s a subject for another day.
With that limitation, the car was less usable than your ordinary new/old Porsche such as a Singer or a Project RSR. On the other hand, because Porsche built this eye-popping car, it was obviously collectible. The buzz going into the auction was that $1,200,000 to $1,500,000 should buy it, but maybe less — perhaps even a lot less.
Two determined bidders
After more than 35 rapid-fire bids, the car hammered sold at $3,100,000 for a final price of $3,415,000 after buyer’s premium. (For those of you tracking the math, RM Sotheby’s has adopted a 12% buyer’s premium on the first $250,000 and 10% thereafter.)
Porsche announced that the hammer price — less the 1998 Turbo S list price ($174,546) and auction expenses — would go to their charitable foundation. That also meant that Porsche Classic contributed their substantial investment in parts and labor to the project.
The last two bidders in the fray were in the room. A young man in the center of the second row who lives in both Florida and the Middle East was very happy and expansive when his bid bought the car. He reported that he plans to show the car.
The market spoke
How do you value the Project Gold 993 Turbo S? You can’t. RM Sotheby’s did not put an estimated price range in their catalog, and the car was being auctioned without a reserve. The idea was to let the market speak. It did — loudly.
I’ll call the car very well sold. Congratulations to Porsche Classic and Porsche AG for building the car, creating the buzz, and raising big money for the Stuttgart and Leipzig charities. ♦
(Introductory description courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.)