Explicably Expensive (?): 2k Mile 1990 Porsche 944 S2 Coupe

  • April 20, 2020
Why We Like It

With wonderful period styling (slippery yet angular lines, broken up only by bulging fender flares) and renowned handling (near 50/50 weight distribution), the 944 has always had a following, but it’s also always been perceived as the “poor man’s Porsche”, inaccurately in our opinion, considering that both Porsche’s objectives and the car’s driver experience are entirely different from the 911. It’s a great car from behind the wheel (especially the S2 and, of course, 951 variants), but it’s certainly never been a shoe-in for legitimate collector car status. Valuations had for decades been relegated by a fairly low glass ceiling, and that fact, coupled with their daily drivability, led to a vast majority of them being well-used and rarely maintained in clean original condition, with restoration never really penciling.

That explains why those few cars that were kept pristine, that avoided a decade-long purgatory in your uncle’s carport, have seen significant valuation jumps over the last few years, and that’s especially true of the rare and – apart from the Turbo S or Club Sport – arguably most desirable S2 Coupes. U.S. production of these 16-valve 3.0L Inline-4 powered sharks was limited to 3,650 over the entire run, with only 510 produced in 1990, and it’s therefore no surprise that they don’t come up very often, especially with low mileage.

So despite the price (we’ll get to that), when we saw this incredible 2k original mile example, we felt we had to share it. It’s entirely possible that the seller’s claim that this is the lowest mileage example left in the world is true, and we love how completely original it is, love the Baltic Blue on Blue color combo and love that it’s been recently fully re-commissioned. But that last one raises an important question: does it matter that it’s mechanically excellent? Most buyers would be ill-advised to drive it much – the mileage is so low that that’s from where a majority of its value is derived. And that makes us sad, because as much as we love this car, we love driving 944 S2s, and unless losing money is of no consequence to its next owner, what they’ll effectively be buying is a piece of 99%-static automotive art.

Which is where the price comes into play. It’s exorbitant, and maybe that’s justifiable, but we’re somewhat dubious and would love your opinion.

Here’s ours: A Hagerty #1 (Concours Condition) comes in at $42,500, a #2 drops to $33k. This car is/could be easily made Concours condition, but we feel Hagerty’s valuation is a little high. Let’s for the sake of argument say that an immaculate, one-PCA-owner example with 22k miles was to come to market. Again, because of significant rarity and a strong model following, we think it could probably bring somewhere in the high $30ks ($38k, $39k, etc.). And we understand that one with 12k miles would be worth considerably more (we’re entering significant collection territory), but by how much? 20%? Maybe, but probably more like 10-15%. So then deduct another 10k miles to get us to this example. Is it possible that 2k miles justifies a 50% valuation bump over a 22k mile example? After all, it very well could be a museum-worthy candidate, but unless it’s actually the Porsche Museum buying or selling the car, we don’t think the current pricing’s supportable. We think this price is steep, probably by about 12-15%, but what say you?

Either way, it’s a remarkable example, representative of something we’ll all be unlikely to see again. So for those of you willing to ascribe enough value to that very salient point:

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