back to article Bill Gates' used car sells for $80,000

Proving that the pixie dust of fame can enhance the value of most anything, a 33-year-old Porsche 911 Turbo once owned by Bill Gates was sold at auction for far above its estimated value. "There was enormous interest in this item from all over the world," Wolfgang Humer, spokesman for the Viennese Dorotheum auction house that …


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  1. Big_Ted

    So once again someone pays over the odds for something Bill didn't invent........

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A comparable 911 classic would cost less without Bill Gates name on the log book.

      I reckon to buyer is a secret seat sniffer.....

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh well

    A fool and his money so the saying goes....

    1. Albert Hall

      Yes, but...

      ... you could always check the seats for loose change. I would.

  3. jacobbe


    one very careful owner ; perhaps that explains the price

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thought it was the _other_ BillG Porker

    Apparently he bought one of the *very* limited run of Porsche 959s, importing it direct from Germany, but it was impounded on arrival in the US (didn't have type approval for safety, or something like that...) and apparently not even Bill could wangle its release.

    I wonder how that story ended... it certainly has potential to be a real low-mileage deal.

    1. Serenity

      Re: Thought it was the _other_ BillG Porker

      The "Show and Display" law was passed and in 1999/2000 and allowed some non-street legal vehicles to be registered on a limited basis. Bill Gates had more than a little bit to do with passing this law and he did take delivery of his 959, it was just 13 years after he ordered it. I have no idea if he still owns it (although a Porsche 959 is work a GREAT deal more than $80,000 these days).

    2. Magnus_Pym

      Re: Thought it was the _other_ BillG Porker

      "didn't have type approval for safety, or something like that..."

      I think that should read

      "fell foul of the huge web of restrictive practices put in place by the US motor industry as is sticking plaster to cover the self inflicted gaping wound that 40 years of non-innovation and profit taking had created".

      1. Terry Barnes

        Re: Thought it was the _other_ BillG Porker

        Many European manufacturers (French, Italian) pulled out of the US market in the early 80's after rules seemingly designed specifically to exclude them from the market were introduced. Essentially a law was passed saying that cars had to become significantly more efficient on fuel - somewhere around 25%.

        This was easy for US manufacturers to achieve as they just had to tune their engines properly, maybe fit something smaller than 3 litres in even the tiniest car. European manufacturers who tended to sell small, already efficient, cars couldn't achieve the required savings whilst also complying with new safety rules that required them to fit huge, heavy bumpers that ruined aerodynamics and increased weight.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Thought it was the _other_ BillG Porker

          new safety rules that required them to fit huge, heavy bumpers that ruined aerodynamics and increased weight

          Which is how the MGB came to have rubber bumpers and the increased suspension height that ruined the handling, since the US was a major market for MG. The increased height was down to the Californian impact test, which swung a weight on a chain at the front of the car. The length of chain was calculated for the typical US whale, which meant the weight skittered across the bonnet and into the windscreen on the older MGB. The impact test was also supposed to leave the car with no visible damage, hence the reinforced rubber bumpers that replaced the chrome ones.

          I actually liked the profile of the rubber bumpered MGB, but the first thing I did when I got one was to lower the suspension back to the same height as the chrome bumpered model. I was eventually going to drop a Rover V8 into it, and even got offered a donor car at a reasonable cost. I absolutely loved that car, but before I could get the V8 fitted some twonk stole it. Now I'm rapidly approaching mid-life crisis time I plan on getting another one.

    3. J__M__M

      Re: Thought it was the _other_ BillG Porker

      But Bill and Paul Allen together could wangle it. The catch was they had to buy a few more for.... hard to type this... crash testing. Remember, you asked. With all the trouble getting it in the country and a 30 car garage under his pad on Lake Washington, I imagine he still has the 959.

      I looked at getting a skyline into the US some years ago. Flat out the most asinine f'ed up restrictions you could imagine-- the "piecemeal" method would be easy enough, but get caught... they crush it. For real.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Thought it was the _other_ BillG Porker

        @ J__M__M

        "Flat out the most asinine f'ed up restrictions you could imagine-- the "piecemeal" method would be easy enough, but get caught... they crush it. For real."

        That's one thing that makes me thankful for living in the UK. In theory, unlike in many countries, I can drive *anything I want* on the public highway so long as it has passed inspection and I am qualified/insured to drive it. Obviously the inspection bit weeds out the wackier and dangerous stuff, but If you really want to roll something particular, you can with enough perseverance without fear of the heavy hand of the state.

        In some ways it's a shame more people don't choose to exercise that right over here. The coolest thing I have ever seen pulling out of a pub carpark was a totally rusted 1927 truck that had been recently dragged out of the Arizona desert, still on its original (solid rubber) tyres.

  5. mark 63 Silver badge


    #5 - behind the Ford Model T, Mini, Citroen DS, and Volkswagen Beetle ?

    I'm no fan of porsches but i'd put it in front of that pile of junk!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: no5

      I think each one of those cars is there for a different reason. The Porche for being an inexpensive, high-performance car; Model T for being the first to be mass produced; VW for being cheap, fuel efficient and so very ubiquitous. The mini might be for its ability to get idiotic white upper-class Americans to shell out $30,000 for one, or maybe being the only British made vehicle where all the parts don't fall off of it immediately.

    2. Peter Simpson 1

      Re: no5

      Porsche is just a tarted-up VW Beetle a Karmann Ghia and save!

    3. Nanki Poo

      Re: no5

      uh-hu. I'm guessing you would probably begrudge the porsche because there's something newer / faster . . . ;)

      I am the proud co-runner of an Austin Big 7. Guess they would probably go as 'too boring' for your liking. Fortunately some people drive classics for the history, not the ego.

      One day you will enjoy driving, and the novelty of it will dissipate. Incidentally, I'm not that old, my d*ck just got bigger.


      1. mark 63 Silver badge

        Re: no5

        Hey Nanki ,

        just to fill you in on my car history , I have a 20 year old Jap sports car (supra) , thats probly not faster than the porsche, but I prefer it.

        And restoring a 1975 spitfire , iconic eh?

        I wish i'd never bought the rusty little 70bhp noddy car now though :)

    4. Terry Barnes

      Re: no5

      You presumably have some interest in technology, this being The Register and all, and yet describe the Citroen DS as a piece of junk? A car with a suspension system so advanced that it can be driven at high speed with *a wheel missing*.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: no5

        The DS also has a beautifully designed body and a great engine since it was created when Citreon owned Alfa-Romeo. The downside was the fragility of the sophisticated suspension, and the low quality of steel used in the body which made them major rustbuckets (typical of all French and Italian cars of that era). The suspension problems were eventually solved though.

        1. Nick Roberts

          Re: no5

          Alfa Romeo? I think you mean Maserati...

      2. mark 63 Silver badge

        Re: no5


        yes i like technology. I like cars too and have worked as a mechanic.

        Not sure what a citroen DS is , but i spent the last couple of years trying to keep the suspension on a citroen zantia working. Pointlessly complicated , overengineered and expensive to repair.

        Those "spheres" that all citroens use are regarded as consumables, and that fancy green mineral oil in em is more expensive than whisky!

        never again

      3. Chris Parsons Bronze badge

        Re: no5

        Saved me saying it. I think the first incarnation was around '55 or '56 - compared to a similarly-priced Rover 100, it was just unbelievable. If only they hadn't rusted so badly.

  6. Stratman

    Presumably the correspondence between Gates and Porsche was along the lines of "Wind the windows down and back up again, then see if it starts"

    Mines the tail happy one

    1. Anonymous Coward

      ha ha

      I was going to ask if anyone had seen Bill along-side the highway rotating the tires?

  7. sueme2
    Paris Hilton


    I think it went for about its true value. A 911 chick magnet in mint condition? Never raced. Careful owner who knew what he was buying. No history of being totally destroyed. Looks about the right price. Wait another 30 years and see what it sells for.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 911

      $80K is WAY more than the going price for this vintage pristine 930 Turbo. It was bought on spec no doubt. It may retain the $80K value but I doubt it will appreciate.

  8. ukgnome


    it sometimes has an issue starting, and you have to turn it off and back on again.

    *the one with windows for dummies in the pocket, ta

  9. Winkypop Silver badge

    There's a line in here somewhere for...

    ...the Blue Screech of Death.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward





    Must have been a late night for Rik...

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