Porsche 997 Targa 4/4S – pre-purchase price check

I recently did some pre-purchase price consultancy with a client who was contemplating changing his Porsche 997 Gen 1 Tiptronic (automatic 911 Coupe) and going for a Gen II Porsche 997 Targa 4. The dialogue was interesting and part of what we discussed is worth sharing: see below.

Porsche 997 Gen II Targa 4 buying insight

The Porsche 911 Targa (Gen 2 997 Targa 4) is a rare car that is on the ascent. RHD 997s are a small percentage of total production and Targas are typically 3-5% of total numbers. So we can comfortably say that Gen II Targas were built in very small numbers and Targa 4 or Targa 4S in RHD is a low production car. I have a few on my books and the low mileage, one owner examples are a £70k replacement value.

However, there are some nice early Gen II cars – pre-PCM3 – cars under £50k. If there was a £20k part exchange allowance available for a clean Gen 1 997 Coupe – quite possible if the Targa margin was healthy – then you are looking at a cost to change of no less than £25k.

There are several advantages to buying the right Targa.

  • The cars are not going to get much cheaper if at all
  • PDK transmission which is much better than Tip
  • Perceived advantage of Gen II 997s regards bore scoring and IMS etc
  • Much better trim and cabin giving an improved driving experience

Let’s say you finance a £25k cost to change over three years, you are going to pay something like £1200 in interest at 3%. If the market stays as it is, then the car will still be worth £40k+ in three years.

The running costs will be roughly the same as a Gen 1 Coupe (assuming no engine blow ups) and you can run the bills through your company or claim the mileage to offset. So that is the same. Therefore the worst case scenario is losing £5k on the car and £1200 in interest: £6200 over three years, so it costs you a bit more than £2k a year to drive a PDK Targa.

Let’s say that the coupe stays – if the Targa falls in price, then the coupe will also, so that is going to come down a bit in value every year and cost a bit more over time to run. So it may be a good idea to sell now, especially if it is starting to look a bit tired here and there, as so many Gen 1 997s do. This is a good time of year to sell a 911 as we are mid-season.

Selling your car now and then banking the cash until making a purchase at the end of this year or the start of next may help you do well on a Targa, as you would theoretically be buying out of season.

The only real issue with the numbers is the size of the cost to change. You are selling a reliable but less desirable early 997 and buying into a more desirable and quite rare later car, close to the peak of the season. It may look like the numbers do not make sense at such a huge cost to change, but if you were going to hold on to your next 911 for a while, then it could be a very smart decision. This change will cost you £2k a year compared to running a new £45k Audi or similar, which could cost £7-8k per year in depreciation alone. Old 911s make sense when one takes a view of the bigger picture.

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