After Singer Vehicle Design launched their first 911 Backdate or Restomod in 2009, a real hype broke out around air-cooled retro 911s. A whole new vehicle genre emerged in the Porsche scene. Practically everyone wanted a Porsche 964 or 993 that had been rebuilt to mirror the iconic style of an early F-Model.
The term Porsche 911 Backdate quickly became popular. Countless manufacturers such as Kaege, GS Manufaktur, Evomax or Sander offer the right retro Porsche for every taste. But how is demand developing? Is the Porsche 911 still so popular as a Backdate? We get to the bottom of the matter and answer the question: Has the hype about Porsche 911 Backdates come to an end?
Let’s first look at the number of vehicles on offer. From 2018 to 2022, the amount of listings in the Elferspot Porsche 911 Backdate/Modified section grew continuously. 449 Porsche 911 Backdate/Modified or Restomods have been offered on Elferspot since its inception. In 2022 alone, 220 different Porsche 911-based Restomods were listed.
These figures are very significant, especially because many vehicles on Elferspot are created as reference vehicles. This means that the restomod suppliers create these vehicles as examples for their work, but in most cases also produce and sell several of these vehicles each year. It also shows that the range of Restomods has grown significantly over the last five years.
In order to give context to the pure supply figures and draw conclusions about the actual interest of the clientele, we have to look at them in the context of sales. To do this, however, we must first take the reference vehicles mentioned above out of the equation. 16 different manufacturers currently offer 42 such samples on Elferspot for their 911-based Restomods.
This leaves a total of 407 Porsche 911 Backdates on Elferspot. Of these, a total of 308 were marked as sold. The sales figures for the Restomods for 2021 and 2022 were 100 and 101 respectively. In the first quarter of 2023, there were already 27. Extrapolated to a year, we would thus arrive at 108 sales. So there is no decline in interest in Porsche 911 Backdate/Modified. On the contrary, we are still seeing a slight increase.
Although the gap between newly offered and sold restomods is also growing, the explanation is obvious. Because there are new suppliers on the market who also list new reference vehicles. Thus, the stock of offered Porsche 911 Backdate/Modified on the Elferspot marketplace grows to a greater extent than the sales figures can.
An offer is nothing without the corresponding demand, i.e. buying interest. A suitable key figure for determining this interest is the number of search agents set up on Elferspot. It provides information on how many users are notified of each new advertisement for a particular model. And the number of saved search agents with Porsche 911 Backdate/Modified as a search criterion is growing continuously.
In 4.57 percent of all saved searches on Elferspot, people are looking for a Porsche 911 Backdate. To put this in perspective, Restomods are more in demand than the first Porsche 911 Turbo of the 930 model. This accounts for 3.81 percent of the search volume. Even the car on which most 911 Backdates are based, the Porsche 964 Carrera, does not come close to the Restomods with around 3.9 percent. Only the Porsche 993 Carrera can top that with 4.74 percent of all search agents.
But the growth rates in search volume are lower for the Porsche 911 Backdate. While the number of searches for models such as the 964 Carrera 2 or the 997 GT3 doubled in some cases, Backdates “only” increased by around 15 percent. If this trend continues, Porsche 911 Backdates will lose a position, but will still take 3rd place among the most searched vehicles on Elferspot.
To verify our data, we asked the creators of these traveling works of art. Roger Kaege, for example, cannot detect any decline in demand. “Although there is more and more competition, interest in our Kaege Retro is not fading”, says the German veteran of the Backdate scene. He has been building Porsche 911 Restomods based on the last air-cooled 911, the 993, for twelve years now. Demand for his backdates is still rising steadily, he says. He can’t identify any regional trends, however; the clientele is too international for that. He has recently been able to sell vehicles to “Hong Kong, Monaco, Germany, the USA and Switzerland”. He is currently producing Kaege Retro number 21.
Christian Wilms of Das Triebwerk can’t detect any slackening in demand, either. “I also notice that there are more and more competitors on the market. But that has no influence on our sales. Demand is not declining”, reports the tinkerer from the Ruhr area. He even sees a contrary trend: “There are certainly some people who think that the Backdate trend is over. But there are more and more people who want to fulfill their own individual dream. The technical innovations from the backdates, such as exhaust systems and independent throttle-bodies, are also selling very well for us” says Wilms, looking positively into the future.
“There are certainly some people who think that the Backdate trend is over. But there are more and more people who want to fulfill their own individual dream.”Christian Wilms, Das Triebwerk
Philipp Göller from GS Manufaktur comes to a similar conclusion. However, he adds: “We have noticed that inquiries about our GS Backdates have become much more specific. Although the extreme media hype on the subject of Porsche Backdate has come down a bit, customer interest remains at a high level.”
The young master mechanic sees the Porsche community itself undergoing the same transformation. “The scene has opened up in recent years and is less conservative. You can also see that in the varying paths taken by the workshops who build 911 Backdates”, Göller is pleased to report. As a fan of the American car culture, he himself is “very happy” that the individualization of Porsche sports cars is also becoming more and more accepted in Germany. This is also shown by demand, because after eleven deliveries, production is already scheduled up to the 20th backdate from the GS Manufaktur. This should be able to move into the customer’s garage at the end of 2024.
On no platform are there more Porsche 911 Backdates on offer than on Elferspot. Accordingly, we also see many different approaches. And every single Restomod based on a Porsche 911 is unique. One manufacturer relies on proven Porsche technology to enable service in every Porsche Center. On the other hand, there are visionaries who go their own technical way. Some build rather traditional Backdates, and the next shoehorns a water-cooled racing engine into a 911 F-Model.
“Man’s will is his own kingdom,” as the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe already knew. And that’s why there’s a Porsche 911 Backdate to suit every taste. Isn’t it great that enthusiasts can now choose exactly the package that meets their own desires? After all, it is precisely this quest for individualization that ensures an ongoing development of Porsche 911 Restomods.
And so it’s not surprising that we can answer the initial question in the negative. No, the hype about Porsche 911 Backdates is not over. Interest is still growing and this is also reflected in demand. There are even first concepts that hold out the prospect of Restomods based on Transaxle models. Yes, even Porsche 996s have been used as the basis for 911 Backdates. In this respect, we can undoubtedly look forward to a rosy future.
“No, the hype about Porsche 911 Backdates is not over. Interest is still growing and this is also reflected in demand.”Richard Lindhorst, Elferspot
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