I struggle with the collector car market. On one level, it's nice to see great cars finally getting their due on the open market. The obvious counterpoint is that "getting their due" often means pushing prices beyond reason. Let's just look at Carrera 3.2s as an example- when I was in college a "good" would have traded in the low $20k range(Hagerty's records on their site only go back 5 years, which lands at the beginning of my Senior year). Today the same car trades much closer to $40k. The higher up in the market you go, the harder the curve has accelerated in recent years. Over the same five years a has jumped from a bit over $35k to a staggering $160k. As the 911R shows, this trend is starting to apply to all limited production Porsches, even recent ones. Why then, does the 911R trade for nearly triple its original price after just a year?
As Doug says, the 911R shares a lot with other 911s. All of the hardpoints are shared with the GT3. The aesthetic isn't far off the standard car to the layman. It was only officially available in two color combinations. There is no wild aero. It's a car defined by its GT3 chassis and engine, and a magical 6-speed manual gearbox. To my eye, these are all good things, but pushing the value past a certain point makes actually using the car a tricky proposition.
Doug says that the commonality with the base 911 might make the R less appealing to the sort of people who routinely buy $500k cars. The risk of damage, or even normal wear and tear, destroying the value of the car can become too high, and the R simply doesn't carry as high a profile to most people as a McLaren costing half as much. I suspect that the majority of 911Rs will live very pampered lives, seldom, if ever turning a wheel in anger on a track. It's a shame, because Porsche made one of their finest driver's cars in recent memory with the R.
Porsche seems to see things my way, and is . Hopefully Porsche's approach works as they intend, because as Andreas Preuninger said, "Porsche is an automaker, not a 'hedge fund.'"