Short blog posts, journal entries, and random thoughts. Topics include a mix of personal and the world at large. 

Depreciation really hurts

I’ll be the first to say that car enthusiasts shouldn’t give a single care about depreciation, and that we should simply drive and enjoy our cars. This is especially so after the car is already bought. Obviously, before signing on the dotted line you should take depreciation into consideration, so if a particular car is hellish on retaining value, you’d want to buy that car used.

However, buying sports cars with abnormal depreciation curves – like my GT3 – used, can be tricky. Special trim 911s are known to keep value superbly well, but one can never be sure if some future events or variables will dramatically affect the price. On the whims of market forces, a 911 GT car – or any high dollar sports car, really -  can easily fluctuate downwards in value in mere months.

I know this, because I’ve seen it with my GT3. Between January and now, the value of my car have dropped nearly $15,000, which is absolutely eye-watering, even if it’s an abstract, hypothetical number since I don’t plan to sell the Porsche ever. Sadly, my human mind doesn’t work like that, and often times I’ve been agonizing at the lost opportunity to save a significant chunk of money, if only I could have waited a few months to buy.

Yes, we shouldn’t care about depreciation, but it seems that’s easily declared than done.

Of course, I would say the joy of owning the GT3 for three months far outweighs any potential financial savings from delaying the purchase. I wouldn’t trade the more than 3,000 miles I’ve put on the car since January for having more money in my savings account. Honestly, I wouldn’t have bought the 911 if making sound monetary decisions were a top factor.

The GT3 is an emotional purchase, predicated on a life-long love of cars, and the mentality that if there’s something I want to do and I have the capability to do it, I should execute as quickly as possible; because tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Deprecation hurts, but I don’t think it’s nearly as much as regret.

Sunny afternoons on campus. Or what passes for sunny in San Francisco anyways.

Rich car guys discussing depreciation

Every day I frequent car forums because it’s a great place to chat with like-minded people and also to learn about cars. Model-specific forums are a fantastic resource to find out about the ins and out of a particular car; they’re extremely helpful for research before purchase, and to share in the ownership experience afterwards - truly a hive mind of knowledge. I’ve done this with every car I’ve own thus far, and presently with the 911 GT3 I’m a registered member of Rennlist.

There’s a strange phenomenon on Rennlist that I haven’t seen before in the dedicated forums of my previous cars: the constant talk and worry about a car’s value. I simply can’t believe the amount of chat regarding depreciation and how best to use a car to get the maximum resale value (don’t put miles on it, obviously). Honestly, what are all these rich car guys worrying about?

And those people are rich, because Rennlist is a Porsche forum, and transactions for Porsche cars can easily reach into the six figure sums. One would think that if you’re wealthy enough to pay 3 to 4 times the costs of an average new vehicle, you aren’t likely to fret over losing money on depreciation like the rest of us plebeians. So what if a 911 loses value like a Maserati luxury sedan (it doesn’t, but that’s beside the point)? Most of those guys can afford to buy the same car many times over!

The depreciation talk is especially acute in the 911 GT car section - covering all 911 models with a ‘GT’ moniker attached, where seemingly every other thread is someone asking about best practices in speccing a car to get the most on resale, or is a particular model a good buy given the market trends. These are special 911s with prices well into the six figures – why is depreciation such a concern? I have to question do these owners truly love cars and driving, or merely the symbolism that comes with owning a Porsche.

In my past experience, there were no such silly discussions in the Subaru or Mazda forums; people there buy cars to drive and enjoy - that’s it. No one cared that not opting for the sport package is going to negatively affect the resale down the road, or question is it okay to daily-drive a car because the value will go down.

I guess I’ll have to keep saying this: cars are meant to be driven.  

This little one needs a bit of assist.