By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
Forget about investing in stocks, bonds or even gold coins.
If you really want to make some serious money, perhaps you should follow Rogerio Santos’ strategy: Go out and buy an old Porsche and then let it accumulate in value over the years.
There’s one caveat, though. Acquire the only Porsche of its kind in the entire world.
Santos says he has such a car, a 1952 Porsche 356 1500 Super prototype.
Discovered in poor condition tucked away in a garage in North Jersey, Santos said he bought it 14 years ago for $6,000.
Its estimated value now? Fasten your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen. Santos said he believes it is worth between $5 million and $10 million.
“This is the only one in the world,” said Santos, of Eatontown, N.J.
His tiny black sports car was drawing some admiring looks Saturday from legions of car buffs during a display of vintage and contemporary Porsches lining the Ocean City Boardwalk.
Organized by Porsche Cherry Hill, the first ever Porsche Boardwalk Reunion event was expected to attract more than 300 Porsches.
“This event is generating a huge buzz in the Porsche Clubs up and down the East Coast. We have people driving in from Chicago for the Reunion,” Robert Gutjahr, co-chair of the event, said in an email.
Some of the classic Porsches gracing the Boardwalk appeared to be straight off the showroom floor, although they were 50, 60 and 70 years old.
Santos, 60, who owned a wine company before selling the business, said his restored vintage Porsche didn’t have an engine or bumpers when it was found in the North Jersey garage.
He searched the world for authentic Porsche parts while refurbishing the car, which has 45,000 miles on the odometer. Buying the parts was an expensive hobby. The oil dipstick, for instance, cost $1,500, Santos said.
This is not the first Porsche that Santos has owned. But certainly it is the most valuable one if his estimate of $5 million to $10 million is on the money.
“When I go out, people are crazy about this car,” he said.
The classic 356 series, like Santos’ car, includes Porsches built between 1948 and 1965. Porsche aficionados say the 356 series burnished Porsche’s reputation for making fast, sporty cars often popular on the racing circuit.
Bill Laing, of Colts Neck, N.J., has two 356 models, one from 1958 and the other from 1961. Laing didn’t have his cars on display on the Boardwalk, but he was taking some time to marvel over other Porsches.
The 75-year-old Laing recalled that he saw his first Porsche when he was only 12 and waited for years to finally own one. He fulfilled his dream by acquiring his first Porsche in 2013 and bought his second Porsche three years ago.
“As a 12-year-old, I got to see my first Porsche,” he said. “I thought it was really cool and fell in love with it. I just had to have one.”