In the world of watch collecting, one gets used to heady price tags and watching the those prices rise over the years. It’s logical, despite occasional anomalies like market corrections and bubbles, that desirable things go up in value over time. It equally adds up that in a time when wealth is more concentrated than it has been in decades, those who can afford to pay a lot for something can usually afford to pay a WHOLE LOT for something, and so dealers adjust their prices accordingly, and the rest of us have to pay up to keep up. C’est la vie.
But what in the world accounts for something like the $17.75 million we saw shelled out for Paul Newman’s own Rolex “Paul Newman” ref. 6239 Daytona at auction last week? The most paid for any watch ever. Theories abound, of course. The fact that a normal Rolex “Paul Newman” ref. 6239 Daytona is a somewhat rare and desirable watch in it’s own right is a good starting point. Add to that the sweet story about his wife gifting it to him, and Mr. Newman’s owning and wearing this particular watch throughout an exciting portion of his life (regularly racing cars and frequently seen in public generally being cooler and better looking than the rest of us), thus leading collectors in the 80’s to name the reference the “Paul Newman” in his honour, and we have a pretty solid explanation as to why this watch would be worth more than the “normal” Paul Newman. But a normal “Paul Newman” Daytona goes for about $200,000, so is the one that started it all really worth that much more, solely as an originator of a sect of the watch collecting world? I say no.
This year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, the grandaddy of endurance motor racing, is underway at the Circuit de la Sarthe in the Pays de la Loire region of France. You can catch literally all of the action live on the Fox Sports GO site or through their app by logging in with your cable provider ID and password. The complete broadcast schedule is below:
– FOX Sports GO (Saturday, June 13 at 8:30 a.m. to Sunday, June 14 at 9:30 a.m.)
– Saturday, June 13 (8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., FOX Sports 2)
– Saturday, June 13 (7 p.m. to 8 p.m., FOX Sports 1)
– Saturday, June 13 (11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., FOX Sports 2)
– Sunday, June 14 (3:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., FOX Sports 1)
– Sunday, June 14 (7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., FOX Sports 2)
– Sunday, June 14 (9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., FOX Sports 1)
Can Porsche put an end to Audi’s remarkable run of dominance in P1? How will Nissan’s Nismo fare in its debut race? And of course it’s time to find out who’s the top dog in GT: Corvette, Ferrari, Astin Martin or Porsche. Watch the whole thing live or tune in at your convenience — you’re bound to see something dramatic, unexpected and likely hair raising. After all, it’s Le Mans.
Conservatism in automobile design is a rare concept. A new Mercedes, Audi or Ferrari looks nothing like a model from 20 years ago. But look at a 2014 Porsche 911 Carrerra S and you can easily make out the iconic profile and styling that debuted way back in 1964. Of course, that is also a common knock on the 911 — as Jeremy Clarkson so famously cavils, a new 911 will always look pretty much the same as last year’s 911 and one has to be a Porsche-phile to notice any subtle changes. But whether one interprets this consistency as boring repetition or virtuous traditionalism, there is one thing about a Porsche that is certain: it will never be dull to drive.
The design that started it all — the legendary 1964 911
That truism is more than apparent in the 2014 Carrera S. With its beefed up but classic 3.8 liter flat six aluminum block engine it achieves 400 horsepower and 350 foot-pounds of torque for a seriously fast top speed of 188 mph. Those stats don’t change whether you opt for the 7-speed manual transmission or the dual-clutch automatic Doppelkupplung (DPK). The DPK will launch you slightly faster: 0-60 in 3.9 seconds with the optional Sport Plus package vs. 4.3 for the stick. And while the 2014 edition is slightly heavier than its predecessor at about 3100 pounds it is also sleeker looking and handles better. That infamous Porsche tail snap is long gone: even with the non-intrusive traction control turned off, you really have to work to get this 911 out of shape. The rear-engined icon is now so well balanced and the rear wheels and suspension so grippy that one no longer has to be strictly a “Porsche man” to enjoy the experience. And carbon-ceramic breaks allow for crisp and quick stops when necessary.
Fuel economy is surprisingly decent for such a high performance ride — about 19mpg in the city and 27mpg on the highway. The Carrera S is also available in a highly attractive Cabriolet for a bit more money and a sublime open top experience. Which brings us to price. As always, the 911 is not cheap. The Carrera S has an MSRP of just under $100k and the Cabriolet version starts at around $111k. It goes without saying that those prices do not include any of the delicious options one can add, which can easily balloon the car into the $120k+ range. So obviously, it’s not speed on the cheap. That being said, for our money the Carrera S is the best bang for the buck in the 911 line. It has cleaner lines than the wide-hipped Carrera 4 and while it lacks the all wheel drive of that variation that can also be regarded as a virtue to the rear wheel drive purist. Of course the elite Turbo models jump into a whole different cost bracket at $150-200k. And frankly, if you’re not a track enthusiast or accomplished high speed driver, the Turbos’ 500+ horsepower is probably more than most are going to be comfortable trying to tame on an Interstate. Besides, for most mortals, the Carrera S has plenty of giidyup — just check out this Drive Network test drive:
The Carrera S finds the sweet spot between performance and price, classic 911 design and seductive modernity. Yes, it looks similar to its illustrious predecessors that have emerged from the Stuttgart factory over the past 5 decades. But for the true believer that is also a large part of its considerable charm. And when you put your foot down you’ll know what all the fuss is about.