In April of 2018, I wrote that the 997.2 base Carrera was a Porsche that we should all be shopping for. Shortly thereafter, I took my own advice and bought a Guards Red six-speed manual base coupe for $36,000. It was advertised in The Mart and it had 62,000 miles on it. It wasn’t necessarily the color that I wanted, but the choices were relatively limited at the time, just two other cars on the East Coast— There was a white/sand ’09 (same spec as my car) at a dealer in New Jersey with 44,000 miles on it. They wouldn’t come off their ambitious $46,000 asking price, and as a result, they had the car throughout the entire winter. A more aggressive BMW dealer in Richmond, VA had a 28,000-mile car (also a manual base Carrera) and was willing to sell it for about $40,000, but I was out of town at the time, and the car was Seal Grey, the same color as the 996 Turbo I had been driving. In hindsight, this car was a screaming deal.
Fast forward about nine months and the meager supply of 997.2 manual coupes has turned into an almost complete drought. GT3s and Turbos for sale outnumber base Carreras (and even S coupes). PDK cabriolets are a bit more numerous, but the asking prices on those seem to have gone up a little as well. Asking prices are certainly not the same as sale prices, but an uptick in asks, combined with scarcity can imply that something is up in a market. The point is, it is getting more and more difficult to find a 997.2 coupe with a manual for under $40,000. Friends who are looking are reporting the same thing, noting that late 997.2 values are in some cases eclipsing those of early 991s.
Any 911 from 2009 through 2011 is going to be a bit harder to find — the economy was in free-fall and a new Porsche was a tough sale in the face of a 401k whose valued had been halved. But still, the shear dearth of manual transmission coupes on the market is a bit eerie. It’s possible that people are holding on to them thinking that the cars have reached the bottom of their depreciation curve and are on a gentle upswing. But that would be highly unusual for a barely ten-year-old car. The 996 has only recently bottomed-out. But as I mentioned in the earlier article, we may be gaining a bit of perspective — combustion engines have just about run their course. The current 911 is a wildly different car from the very pretty 997, a relative featherweight at just over 3,000 pounds with feedback-rich hydraulic power steering. It seems obvious even with the limited context that we have at this point that these are special cars.
So the jury is out at this point on what precisely is going on in the 997 market. It seems a relatively safe bet, though, that any manual transmission 997 coupe, particularly a DFI car in an unusual color is highly unlikely to experience any significant depreciation at this point. It’s something we’ll continue to watch with interest.