Magazine
April 1, 2024

Issue 37: Porsche 997 Sport Classic: Overvalued or Underloved?

Supercar Driver member Spencer tells us about the often misunderstood 911 Sport Classic, why values are so high and why it deserves a place in his garage.

Article from Issue 37 of Supercar Driver Magazine

Much like Ferrari, Porsche is one of those brands which ignites a real passion and loyalty in so many people, and as you can see from Riad's images throughout this article, Supercar Driver member Spencer is one of those people. His love of Porsches started in 2010 when the Carrera GTS was launched at the end of the 997 run, and one of those was the first brand-new 911 he purchased.

Now, 10 Porsches later, Spencer has a very enviable trio of limited-run Porsches, the rarest of which is the 997 Sport Classic. Some love it, some don't really understand it, so we catch up with Spencer about what the Sport Classic means to him.

"I remember walking into the dealership I used back in 2010 when the Sport Classic was first launched, and there was one sitting in the showroom, Spencer tells us, "At first glance, I looked at it and couldn't quite work out what it was, why they'd done it, what the paint colour was, why it was so much money, and I just stood there and thought I'm not sure I really get that car", he admits.

"Most of the allocation of the UK cars was already determined before the cars came so no one really got the chance to buy one, a bit like the 991 Turbo S Exclusive Series. There are only 26 in the UK anyway, and all of a sudden, because they're so rare, everybody wanted one and prices skyrocketed”.

So when did Spencer change his mind on the Sport Classic and decide he had to have one? "Since I first saw the Sport Classic, I didn't see one again for maybe three years. It was in a car park in London and I thought oh wow, that's that car I saw, how cool is that?", he remembers, "From that point on, I started researching and understanding, thinking that car is so cool, I need to find one of them and I'd love to buy one someday.

"In 2010, I wouldn't have been able to buy one anyway, but you work harder, progress through life, you set yourself a target and think that's the car I'd love to have, and that's how my chase with the Sport Classic began”.

Spencer finally bought the Sport Classic you see here in 2017, so plenty of time has passed for Spencer to tell us about what makes a Sport Classic different to any other 997. "All Sport Classics came in the same spec, you couldn't change it from factory. Exclusive Manufaktur decided on the spec, so you've got Exclusive Sport Classic grey exterior and the Chocolate leather interior with the woven door cards which is a nice touch. All of the bits and pieces on the car from the handbrake to the gear lever, the glove box and the seat inserts, everything is unique to this car. With only 250 ever being made, it's a very special car.

"It sits in a widebody shell from the Carrera 45 and the ducktail spoiler is something not many people understood when it was launched, now though, everyone is mad for them. It was the first car Porsche designed with the indentation in the roof and now it's on all the RS cars. It has Fuchs alloys, carbon-ceramic brakes, Exclusive Powerkit, but it's a standard Carrera S really underneath with the Powerkit”.

So how does it drive compared to other Porsches? "It's softer than a 997 GTS, but the Powerkit takes it to the same power. The GTS I had, being PDK, felt quicker than this, but this being manual is what makes all the difference", Spencer tells us. And how does it stack up against the more hardcore models he's owned? "It's very subtle. It's not the fastest or loudest, but sometimes when you just want to go out for a nice drive, do you need all the drama, excitement and stiff suspension? Sometimes you just don't, sometimes you just want to go on a nice drive and this car delivers every time! take it out.

"It doesn't sit in the garage but I don't use it as much as I should, and out of all the Porsches I've owned, this is the car that, to me, is the most pleasurable to drive. Like I said, it's not the loudest, it's not the quickest, but to me it's very special. Every time you get in it, it's an occasion, it's a very nice car to be in and it's a very nice car to drive, but people don't really know what it is, so it's not like a Ferrari where everyone is going wow look at that car. Unless you know what you're looking at, it's like oh there's a Porsche there, that's nice, and that to me is why it's just so cool".

It's not just the driving either, Spencer is understandably smitten with the retro styling of the Sport Classic too, "Every time you look at it, you find something different, it's that sort of car and it's so unique in what it is, you could sit and look at it all day long. Through lockdown, I've made two of the garages into a gym and there's space for one car to sit there, so whilst we're training we've always got a car to look at, and more often than not, this one gets parked there for everyone to look at”.

It must be a keeper then, surely? "Out of all the cars I've owned on and off, Porsche is definitely under my skin and my children definitely have a big say in which cars stay and go. I have three boys and each one of them say they don't really care what I do with any car I have at the moment, but this one has to stay. It's got under the whole family's skin. Even my wife who hates GT3s and doesn't enjoy getting in them with me, she will actually enjoy coming in this car for a drive. A few weeks ago, we took it to London and it was a very nice day out in a very nice car, so if it gets her seal of approval, it's definitely staying", Spencer laughs.

Now, we couldn't endure a five-hour drive to Kent without touching on the two other special Porsches which share a stable with the Sport Classic, so let's start with the one of the same generation, the 997.2 GT3 RS, to find out why it has a place in Spencer's garage. "The GT3 RS is Grey Black with Champagne decals and Champagne wheels. It was the launch colour but most people went with white and red. I'm not sure why but Grey Black is the colour to have. Porsche GB still have theirs on their press fleet; they don't usually keep them but they have and you'll regularly see that car in the press, and they all speak highly of it.

"The 997 seems to be the range for me, I just get on with them. I've had older cars but I want to grow older with cars; I don't want to buy an older car I don't know a lot about and then find I'm dealing with problems. If I can get the right car and it can grow old with me then that's good for me”.

So how did Spencer come to own this particular car? "I was looking at them for about two years wondering when the right one was going to come along. TOP 555 sold this car to the previous owner and, fortunately for me, he didn't keep it that long and they got it back. As soon as it appeared I thought that's it, there's no question, that's the one I've got to have because it's the right car, the right colour, the right spec, the right mileage. Prior to that, it did sit in a collection for five years with no history so that's maybe the only downside to it because there's a gap, but that being said, it's still the perfect car for me”.

And what about the 911R? "When they came out, allocations were already done and dusted before anyone could get near one. I think the majority of 918 buyers got asked and that was it. All of a sudden, they came out when Porsche was never doing another manual. Everything was PDK only then everybody kicked off and they retaliated with probably the best car they've ever made.

"It was one for the purists and it's an amazing car. It's another one I had to wait and wait for because they did get to half a million pounds which takes it into silly money. You can probably get a nice one for half that now", Spencer explains.

"I bought it more as an investment, I just think as a collector's car, one of 991 is a low number. The 997 GT3 RS is one of 1,500 and the Sport Classic is one of 250 so they're all low numbers. If you look at what the factories are chucking out now, it's just thousands of everything. The rarity factor for all the manufacturers including Porsche is disappearing fast, so anything that's a limited production run car I think is a sound investment whether it's now or in 10 or 20 years’ time. I think they're all good cars to have, and they're great fun to drive too”.

Quite a trio of special Porsches, I'm sure you'll agree, but is the stable complete or is Spencer still on the lookout for more or is he content with what he has? "I look at all of the Porsches that are considered special, but the Sport Classic being one of only 250, it's the rarest modern-day Porsche out there. A lot of people still don't understand it so that's good enough for me, it's one of those cars you need to know and need to love", he explains.

"With regards to looking for anything else, I'm always looking, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to get an allocation. To succeed in getting an allocation is sometimes more aggro than it's worth if you don't buy the right cars or speak to the right people. I narrowly missed out on a 991 Speedster allocation to someone who didn't even know what he was buying, and that to me sums up the whole allocation process.

"It's very difficult now to decide what you want to buy, the manufacturers sell their cars and if you're lucky enough to get one then that's fantastic, but if you're not, in time everything becomes available at the right price, so sometimes you just have to be patient and wait. It's nice to get a new car, but it's not always your chance, and as I found out with the Speedster, I couldn't lose too much sleep over it because that's the way the cookie crumbled, and I'll wait until the next one or something else turns up, so it's a waiting game for me really”.

Before we wrap up, we wanted to ask Spencer about his Supercar Driver membership experience. When did he get involved? "I've been an Supercar Driver member for four years. I spent the first part of my membership missing allocations (like a car!) for events. I'd see the calendar and think I fancy going on that one then I'd go on a week later and think oh my god I've missed it, damn it. I worked out I had to be fast and got secured on a couple of trips which were great. I met some fantastic people and the guys who run it are passionate about their job.

"I went away on the Alps tour last summer which was an absolutely amazing few days away. It was a fantastic trip, lots of fun, I met lots of people and also did Heveningham before that which was amazing too. Because I live so far south, it's very hard to get so far north for a lot of the events, but some of the people I've met so far have become lifelong friends in a very short space of time. It's a great thing to be involved in".

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