There's A Huge Problem When Enthusiasts Pay More For A Car

Supercar

Because $1 million for a Porsche 911 R is absolutely crazy.

The automotive industry is changing at such a rapid rate that within the next five years every new car will have autonomous driving capabilities. However, in addition to all the new tech that's out there, there’s something going on that’s managed to slip under the radar. Enthusiast cars are now solely marketed at those who are shopping around for their fifth, sixth, or seventh cars, leaving the average guy to make do with his front-wheel turbo-four hatch.

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There was a recent listing on eBay for the not-yet-on-sale Porsche 911 R priced at a ridiculous $1.25 million. The listing has since been taken down and was most likely a fake ad. But you don’t have to look too hard to find other enthusiast cars on sale at crazy prices. For instance, the 911 GT3 RS costs $176,000 from the factory, but prices for the it have skyrocketed to roughly $400,000, which is absurd. This is not only true with high-end exotics but also "affordable" driver's cars like the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350. Automakers price cars built for enthusiasts somewhat accordingly at the factory, but that goes to hell when the cars actually get to dealerships. And there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

Despite having a $400k asking price the majority of 911 GT3 RS models will be swept up by incredibly rich individuals looking to store the supercar in a heated garage. As cars aimed at "enthusiasts," that’s not right. The enthusiast-oriented car shouldn’t be the most expensive model in an automaker’s lineup, but the cheapest. Drop the fancy gadgets, the leather seats and the overly powerful engine since the majority of enthusiasts are okay with a stripped-down interior and something that’s more enjoyable in the bends than in a straight line. Forget fancy dual-clutch transmissions. Enthusiasts still want to row their own gears. This back-to-basics approach might alienate upscale gearheads but hordes of regular Joe enthusiasts will take their place.

Automakers should still sell cars like the 911 R with its gorgeous racing seats, magnesium roof and carbon ceramic brakes, but it should also sell a cheaper option with none of this stuff. Enthusiasts are after driving pleasure, not features to brag about in YouTube videos. Take McLaren’s 570S and 570GT as examples. The more enthusiast-oriented car (570S) has less features and is cheaper. That's a step in the right direction, but a stripped-out 570S priced cheaper would be perfect. Enthusiasts are a dying breed and instead of making car nuts extinct by asking an insane amount of money for “enthusiast-inspired” models, automakers should create stripped-out versions for the majority of the enthusiasts who can't afford the base model.

While this sounds like a radical idea, prices for the cars would stay stagnant as average Joes and collectors would not be interested in stripped, "cheap" cars. Dealerships would not be able to tack on markups as no one besides enthusiasts would want to buy them. Automakers would still be able to make a profit as enthusiasts are usually the most frugal buyers and place drivability and price above all else. Will this ever happen? Not while there are people out there willing to spend a ridiculous amount on cars designed to be driven, not just owned. This, unfortunately, creates a massive bubble for car prices and ruins any chance for the majority of enthusiasts (aka those who aren't rich) to get behind the wheel.

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