The cream of Stuttgart's finest.
While the most expensive cars at auction tend to originate from Maranello, Porsche has an incredibly enthusiastic and monied collector's market. Porsche has always built more models than Ferrari, and, without that forced scarcity of road models, it's the Porsche race cars from the German brand's long and storied history that tend to command the most significant prices. While sports cars have been Porsche's bread and butter, its sales have long gone hand in hand with its racing success and iconic race cars. Even the cars on this list that were road legal are race car-derived, and in the older cars, the line between road and race car was blurred.
The 917 was a benchmark race car and was powered in this iteration by a 5.4-liter flat-12 engine that was regularly run at 1,000 hp but capable of 1,500 hp on the dyno. The 917/30 was the final evolution of the storied 917, and Porsche was keen on Can-Am racing to reach American audiences, but this one never actually raced due to the rule changes for the 1974 season. Porsche sold it to an Australian collector before returning to Stuttgart to be repainted in the iconic blue, yellow, and red Sunoco livery. It was sold by Gooding & Company for $4,400,000 in 2016.
If you were a wealthy privateer racer in the early 1970s and early 1980s, the car you wanted to drive was a Porsche 935. It was one of the most successful race cars of the era, and this particular one was Paul Newman's first drive at Le Mans. With the Dick Barbour team, and joined by Rolf Stommelen for driving duties, chassis 009 0030 came in second-place overall in 1979. Curiously, for 1980, the car was sponsored by Apple and remains the only race car the computer company has put its name to. It was restored in 2006 to its original Hawaiian Tropic livery and sold in 2016 at Gooding and Company's Amelia Island auction for $4,840,000.
The first 550 Spyder on this list spent its racing life being campaigned heavily in SCCA races in Southern California. Once it was superseded by RS-60 and 61 Spyders, this chassis started swapping hands amongst collectors before a Japanese collector had it sent to Germany for restoration in period configuration along with a more aerodynamic version of the nose supplied by Porsche. It was finally sold at Monterey in 2018 for $4,900,000, complete with the original mechanics seat and driver's manual ready for vintage racing.
If the names Stirling Moss, Graham Hill, Dan Gurney, Jo Bonnier, Bob Holbert, and Hans Hermann mean anything to you, then you understand just part of the reason this 718 RS 60 is so sought after. The other part is that this is one of only four Werks RS 60s, and it's unlikely any of the others will be for sale again in our lifetimes. This one is chassis 718-044 and had a storied history in European racing before campaigning in the US. It was eventually sold to a collector in Michigan. He wanted the car bad enough that he sold his 1932 Ford coupe "Silver Sapphire" that featured on the cover of the Beach Boys Little Deuce Coupe record. Finally, in 2019 and following a no-expense-spared restoration, it sold for $5,120,000 through RM Sotheby's in 2019. The other three Werks cars exist either in long-term collections or at the Porsche Museum.
Jerry Seinfeld is the most famous Porsche collector out there, and this 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder sold from his collection in 2016. The 550 was Porsche's first purpose-built race car, and this one is both unrestored and beautifully preserved, which contributes a lot to its value. Its flat-four-cylinder engine with two Solex carburetors has under 11,000 miles on the odometer, and it was Gooding and Company that sold it for $5,335,000 at its Amelia Island auction.
One of Porsche's most spectacular street cars is the 911 GT1 Strassenversion (Street Version). When Porsche built 20 special homologation vehicles for the GT1 class, it also created 20 street-legal race monsters. Not only is the GT1 Strassenversion powered by a 996-based water-cooled twin-turbocharged engine producing 600 hp, but it's exquisitely beautiful as well. At Gooding and Company's Amelia Island auction in 2017, this Arctic Silver over black example sold for $5,665,000. How someone has resisted putting more than its 4,600 miles on the clock is beyond us.
In 1972, the Team Penske Racing Porsche 917/10 dominated Can-Am in the hands of Mark Donohue and George Follmer. It took five of nine race wins along with the overall title in the Can-Am series before it was sold and campaigned in the 1973 Can-Am season wearing RC Cola livery. It's a fearsome race car powered by a 5.4-liter twin-turbo 12-cylinder engine capable of making 1,500 hp and hitting 100 mph in 2.9 seconds. This Porsche 917/10 Spyder was sold for $5,830,000 at Mecum's Monterey auction in 2012.
Probably the most recognizable Porsche in the world for Gen-Xers and younger, the 959 was developed as a Group B rally car, just in time for Group B to be retired in the World Rally Championship. However, three factory works cars entered the 1985 Paris-Dakar rally, including this one of seven developmental prototypes. On the road, the F1-derived twin-turbocharged flat-six engine powered 959 was a legitimate supercar, but in its rally-spec form with the Rothman's livery, it's a motorsport icon. It sold for $5,945,000 at the Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction through RM Sotheby's.
Porsche's 550 Rennsport Spyder was built for racing from 1953 until 1956. As working race cars, they rarely escaped keeping all their original parts. However, chassis 550-0090 never competed and its originality earned it a price tag of $6.1 million at Bonhams' Goodwood Revival sale in 2015. The 550 Spyder's most infamous moment was being the car James Dean was driving when he was killed. The 550 is lightweight, balanced, and powered by an air-cooled horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine making 110 hp from its modest 1.5-liters of displacement.
At Le Mans in 1983, the Porsche 956 was one of the first race cars to use ground effects to improve aerodynamics. The ten works cars built took a total of five Le Mans victories, and the sight of the 2.65-liter twin-turbocharged flat-six engine spitting out flames from its side exhaust was a sight to behold. The engine was a phenomenon and generated 630 hp at 8,200 rpm. This is the winning car from 1983 and was sold at Pebble Beach in 2015 by Gooding and Company for $10,120,000. To give you an idea of how incredible that number is, in 2014, another 956 sold in Paris for $2,552,578.
The 1970 Gulf-liveried Porsche 917K was originally a Le Mans test car for Porsche and is arguably the most famous Porsche in the world. This 917K didn't quietly go about its business due to being fitted with a 4.5-liter air-cooled 12-cylinder engine developed by Hans Mezger. Still, it came to the world's attention by featuring in Steve McQueen's legendary racing movie, Le Mans. After the film was made, the 917K was sold and then sat for over 20 years in a barn before coming back into the limelight in 2001. It was then restored, and at the 2017 Pebble Beach auction by Gooding and Company, the 917K sold for a jaw-dropping $14,000,000.