A random thought occurred to me this week. Coming across a Porsche Cayman R in a car park, the subtle differences in stance of the R was more apparent than normal. As parked a short distance away, there was a plain, vanilla flavoured 2.7. The lower ride height, the fixed blade type rear spoiler and the carbon ceramic brakes in this example were more apparent than normal.
So my thought was. “Will the Cayman R ever become a collectable Porsche?”
The Cayman was, of course, a great seller for Porsche. For those who feel that the only location for a Porsche engine is behind the rear axle line, the Cayman will never be an acceptable choice. But for the more open minded, the Cayman is in fact a truly great Porsche. But collectable? Not really.
Until you consider a few interesting factors as I write this at a particular point in the Cayman R’s life cycle. A few years ago, the Porsche 964 could be obtained for easily less than 20,000 pounds, dollars or Euros. Any currency really. They were considered to be barely OK, suffered oil leaks and were not that big a deal. The 964 RS? A rock hard ride on public roads and the bare minimum of comforts made the car hard to live with. 35,000 of anything would get you one somewhere in the UK and Europe.
Today? Six figure sums for any 964RS.
So my theory is this. There is a period in every car’s life cycle where it falls from public attention. No longer the latest in technology or marketing appeal, superseded by newer models. But not old enough to be collectable. All cars go through this period in varying degrees, even the most mundane of family boxes. Racing cars suffer an even worse fate. No longer competitive, they are discarded, often stripped of components of value and then if they are lucky, what remains is left under a dust sheet in the corner of the workshop. Until one day someone is sitting in a bar and says, “Hey do you remember that car? I wonder what became of it…”
Don’t believe me? Remember Group B values a decade ago? The Super Touring class of the British Touring Car Championship? The Porsche 996 Turbo for 12,000?
So a collectable Porsche Cayman? Quite possibly. And now could just be the time to be getting on board.
1. It’s a limited numbers Porsche – Any limited edition Porsche will hold it’s value. And eventually will become collectable. Think 944 Turbo S in that rose paintwork. 968 Club Sport, 928 GTS. It doesn’t need to have the engine way out back.
2. It’s blessed with the halo effect of the R designation by Porsche – some accused Porsche of dumbing down the R moniker when they added it to the Cayman. The purists claimed that the R designation really only belonged on the tail of a 911 and that using it anywhere else was not acceptable. What next? A Cayenne R? Porsche built 1421 Cayman Rs worldwide. The right hand drive car you see here is one of around 100 cars that arrived in the UK. It was forty years since the Porsche management sanctioned the use of the ‘R’ model designation. Does the Cayman really does deserve this R designation?
3. It has those small, detail changes that Porsche do so well and that Porsche driving enthusiasts really like to geek out on. Porsche people appreciate these details. The alloy door panels, the red cloth door pulls, discrete spoiler, revised suspension and exhaust. The climate control and stereo delete. They all add to the Sports Purpose atmosphere.
4. It’s a very very good car indeed. A standard Cayman is a great handling car. The changes made to the Cayman R turned the chassis into an award winning car. Car of the Year awards are scattered with the ill informed decisions of motoring writers who really should know better, but the Cayman R beat strong opposition in it’s launch year to be awarded that title by several motoring titles.
5. Remember the 911 Club Sport? To me, the Cayman R is today’s 911CS. That also was a car that was sold for significantly more money and delivered less equipment. It’s detail changes were individually very small, but anyine who has driven one – and I have – will confirm that even today, the small changes combine to make a significantly different car. Add in the modern day appeal of limited production numbers and you can see what that has done to 911 Club Sport values today in comparison to less than a decade ago.
I asked Chris Whittle, owner of this Cayman R at the time these pictures were taken. Chris has owned a whole series of collectable Porsches and has since moved his Cayman R on for a Cayman GT4.
His thoughts? “It’s less special than a GT4 but much rarer, only around 100 right hand drive manuals and a few more PDK’s … But it’s not a GT car and the R was really a misnomer. It certainly hit a sweet spot … but I would place R behind Clubsport
So Chris is more cautious than myself. And his history of Porsche ownership far exceeds mine, so it’s an opinion worth noting.
But. While the Cayman R has depreciated, it has never actually dropped in value as hard as other earlier limited edition models did at this point. This is perhaps a combination of modern awareness of the car’s potential future value and also that it is still considered a great car and is quite young. So perhaps they may fall a little further yet?
Personally I wouldn’t bet on it. I think the Cayman R has plateaued out now and that values will remain static for a few years. For sure, the Cayman R won’t become a high value garage queen in the very near future in the way that the 993RS sitting alongside it in these shots has done. But it ticks all of the historic boxes of exactly what constitutes a collectable Porsche in today’s marketplace. You certainly won’t be doubling your money any time soon, though might want to add it to your ‘one to watch’ list on Pinterest.