In the wake of tireless technologic progression, it’s nice to know cars like the 2016 Porsche 911 R exist. Automakers burn billions on developing millimeter-precise transmissions, low-lag turbochargers, and dramatic active aero that offers enough downforce to drive upside-down—at least in a perfect hypothetical experiment. All this is to say the auto industry isn’t really all that interested in looking backwards for technology, a reality that makes the 991.1 911 R currently available on Bring a Trailer such an intoxicating blend of old-world experience and cutting-edge performance.
The ethos of the 911 R is deceptively simple. At the time of the R’s introduction, Porsche did not offer a manual transmission in the contemporary 911 GT3, with the seven-speed dual-clutch PDK serving as the only option. So, the easy assumption is that the 911 R is simply the 991.1-generation GT3 with the engine from the GT3 RS and a new six-speed manual transmission.
Almost, but not quite; it’s more accurate to think of the R as a de-winged, three-pedal progeny of the aforementioned GT3 RS, incorporating a body comprised of magnesium and carbon fiber panels wrapped around the RS’ wicked 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six. 500 hp and 338 lb-ft is more than enough for the 3,020-pound coupe, offering the quickest drivers a 0-60 mph run of just 3.4 seconds, and a top speed of 201 mph. All this performance offered in a wrapper of rich leather, brushed aluminum trim, and herringbone cloth.
It was an instantaneous hit. All 991 units sold out before the car even broke cover, with a not-insignificant allocation going to 918 Spyder purchasers as part of Porsche’s VIP program. Even before Porsche finished deliveries, the R was selling for double and triple its $184,900 MSRP. Why? Well, the 911 R offered buyers a package combo not available anywhere in the lineup; here was the best engine, with the best transmission, with the best bloodline, all offered at limited production.
Porsche was frustrated at this fervent second-hand market for its latest limited edition. The German automaker wasn’t a fan of the speculators and quick flippers that made big bucks on this incredibly special car; a frustration that led in part to the wingless, manual-only Touring package for the 991.2-generation GT3. The differences between the R and the GT3 Touring are numerous, but as the Touring offered around 90-percent of the experience found in the R.
Yet the perception that 911R prices dropped overnight is overstated. After dipping briefly below $300K, values for condition #2 (excellent) cars soon stabilized and then began marching upward; today they’re in the neighborhood of $500k.
Is that what’s in store for BaT’s 750-mile 2016 Porsche 911 R? In this superheated market, who knows. But, take your best guess at what the winning bid might be in the comments below—you could end up winning the $500 prize.
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