356 Motor Cities Gruppe Christmas Party
Saturday, December 5th, 2020
By Grupp Friend Tom Tate
(Ed note: While there were many Detroit area Porsche enthusiasts at this year’s Lit Meet weekend, Tom Tate of Boston wrote about it in his blog and graciously allowed us to re-post it. Images are by both Tom Tate and Sebastian Gaeta)
The afternoon was a short ride to European Collectibles in Costa Mesa for their annual open house that included a BBQ with more 356’s and early 911’s in one place than I seen in a while. There was a threat of rain (in Ca no less) but it didn’t appear until the next day.
Above: European Collectibles. Below: Other various shops open after the lit meet.
Below is an informational flyer from the organizers of this year’s Alden Car Show, an event for which the Gruppe is organizing as an overnight weekend tour. Even more info can be found in the announcement posted below this one. We look forward to a big turnout so please contact Barb Skirmants HERE to RSVP.
Gruppe members Bill Rohrer, Dan Mazur, Tim Buko and I attended our umpteenth Hershey swap meet and here are some images from that glorious day. It actually is something to celebrate when the weather at this annual swap meet is nice like it was this year. We have endured a day when it was 40 degrees and raining sideways, but not so this year with sunny skies and temps in the low 80’s.
The enthusiasm was big this year and people were out en-force on a buying binge. I tried to walk around a few times but each time I left I was no more than two rows away when I would get called back to price out one of my items for someone.
Other Gruppe members there were Vic, Skirmants, Keith Blake and Vic Rivera. I know it is a long drive from Michigan but we make a whole weekend out of it. We hope to see more of our club members there next year!
The Ann Arbor Gang getting some sun. From left to right: Dan Mazur, Tim Buko (now living in Strasburg, PA), Bill Rohrer and Sebastian Gaeta.
FOUR SPEEDS AND DRUM BRAKES
BY TOM TATE
As winter tightened its grip in New England, the Collector Car Auctions in Scottsdale looked like the place to be. Weather in the 70’s, lots of sun, and thousands of cars crossing the auction block. With our names on the list at Barrett – Jackson, R M Auctions, Russo and Steele, and Gooding and Co., son Rob, and I made a clean sweep of it.
I flew in a day early to help with the reassembly of a ’65 356SC coupe that Rob had in his garage in Goodyear, AZ. He had found the car in CA, in a strange shade of beige-gray and had decided to have his painter take it back to its original Champagne Yellow, a terrific color on these tubs.
Because of the prices that Porsches are bringing in todays market, every auction house had a long list of cars from Stuttgart. Even the big muscle car venue that started it all, Barrett – Jackson, had a ’64 356 in Togo Brown. For us it was a spoiler with a red interior but even with that combination it brought $110k from a bidder and went to a new home.
On the high priced list I submit the following surprises:
Gooding & Co:
’57 Speedster barn find …………..$484k
’63 356 Carrera 2 …………..…….$643k
’65 356SC Cabriolet …………..…$242k
’66 912 ……………………………$82k
’66 906 …………………….………$1,980k
’67 911S …………………………..$253k
’61 356 Notchback ………………$94k
R M Auctions:
’55 356 Outlaw ………..…………$258k
’65 356 Roadster Outlaw ….…….$247k
’65 904 GTS .………………..……$1,650k
’69 911 Soft window Targa ……..$286k
’89 911 Speedster ……………….$198k
’94 911 RS America …………..…$95k
There were some bargains to be seen. The very first car across the block at the Bonham auction was a very nice ’72 911T in black which looked terrific but bidding stopped at $65k. I think people were just finding their seats and it was gone before they could find their paddles.
Russo Steele was a huge surprise with a ’57 Speedster that didn’t show up on the website or in the catalog and had just been finished by a well known shop in CA. I really couldn’t find any flaws in the work but it only made it to $260k before it changed hands. Compare that with the barn find at Gooding above that needed everything and sold for almost double that figure. Wrong venue, wrong crowd, I just can’t account for the difference. They also had a ’74 Euro 911 Carrera with 58k on it, owned by a sheik, in brown and looked like new, totally original that went for $275k. That was about a 30% discount to the market value. Attempting to get more imports into the mix, two Audi R8’s were sold cheap, one V10 Cab rolled for $110k.
There was a lot of talk that the market wasn’t meeting expectations and it wasn’t as the estimates that were posted in the catalogs were seldom exceeded. I would suggest that some of those numbers must have come right out of a phone book, as they had never been seen on a Porsche before. As an example, R M Auction was looking for $175k-$225k for a Champagne Yellow, ’64 356SC sunroof coupe that only reached $159k. Only? That’s the biggest number I’ve ever seen on a coupe, sunroof or not. That even raised Rob’s expectations on his project. After all, it’s the same color, it must be worth as much, right?
The $242k paid for a ’65 356SC Cab was a huge jump in value from just a couple of years ago when those models were selling for $120k.
Early 911 prices seem to be on track for another 40% year and those are even raising the prices of 911SC that everyone has been avoiding the last few years. There were some models that were not represented at all. Nobody listed a 914, and the 924/944 models were nonexistent. My guess is that was for the same reason that there were just about no MGs or Triumphs. There’s just no money to be made there. Since the auction houses charge the sellers 10% and the buyers 10% (yes, that’s 20%) there is just no reason to sell $10k cars when the lots can be filled with $50-$100k cars. After all, they can’t pay the bills by just selling $3 bottles of water in the vendor area.
By far the largest site was the Barrett – Jackson show. There had to be at least 30 food vendors alone, all fried, of course. The layout had been changed since last year to allow for more outdoor displays. Boats and small planes had been added to the mix. Thrill rides in Mustang 500GTs and Dodge Hellcats were smoking up the pavement as the pros chased each other around on a new short course with fans in the passenger seat. It was exactly like a state fair but without the animals.
There were a few surprises that we just don’t see back East, at least I haven’t seen it. There is a very large following of folks that are into early Toyota Land Cruisers. With 33” tires and rows of LED lights on the hood and roof there were FJ40’s, FJ 45’s and FJ55’s. There must have been 30 that crossed the stage. There were also examples every Corvette ever made. Like old Porsches, early Vettes are all coming out of the barn to supplement Social Security payments. It’s just a really good thing that we didn’t all get attracted to British sports cars years ago, we’d never get to retire.
Every venue we attended had at least one Fiat Jolly, all looking like the surrey with the fringe on top with cane seats. Even Russo Steele had one parked out in the dirt under a tent. These limited use vehicles have been bumping up against $100k and that means a $20k payday for a few minutes on the block. Not a bad gig.
The parking lots could’ve been car shows themselves as bidders drove to the auctions with their best rides. We saw McLarens, Ferraris, and all manner of Mercedes. One lot even had a new Porsche 918 parked at the curb. It was drawing as many people taking photos as the cars destined to be sold.
The crowds seemed as large or larger than previous years as more people are chasing cars to add to their collection or just to enjoy on a summers day. Those of us that play with cars are just hoping that the
speculators are not the buyers that are running the prices upward. Our advice has always been the same, buy the car or cars that you want to drive and enjoy. If it goes up in value, great. If not, you have enjoyed a great ride.
This year’s Holiday Party, held at Genitti’s in Northville, was a terrific change of pace from the big room at Canterbury Village that has hosted the party for years. It was cozy, for sure, but the room allowed us to do what we do best, and that is to socialize!
Vic Rivera had a neat iPhone grip for taking pictures from neat angles, including selfies. This is an example of what he was using to give you some perspective if you were not there.
Thanks so much Vic for taking the following pictures!