A classic Porsche 911 between 1968 and 1989 is a fantastic car to own and drive. There are some very original well maintained examples out there and will reward their owners with years of pleasurable service. However, there are also some very bad examples out there and to the unsuspecting or ill informed buyer these can only turn into a nightmare and financial disaster.
In this article I will try to give you high level pointers of how to spot a bad 911 and hopefully help you avoid making a potentially disastrous purchase.
There are lots of places to look for a potential purchase of a used 911. Stuttgart Exchange is one such place. Its is an auction site for all things Porsche. It is a site run by enthusiasts for enthusiasts and is completely free for buyers and sellers alike.
But before you go shopping, here’s a few interesting things you might consider:
There is an old saying, “there’s no such thing as a bargain”. Well this is particularly true of buying a classic Porsche 911. If its cheap or appears cheap, then its priced like that for a reason. Its probably riddled with rust and endless faults and failures that have been left uncorrected over the years. Unfortunately, people who fall into the trap of buying these so called bargain, often sell them on again very quickly to another unsuspecting buyer once the full realisation of what they have bought becomes all to clear. This means these cars stay in the market waiting for their next victim.
My advice would be not to listen to your heart strings when looking at a potential 911 purchase. Let your eyes be guide and your money the last thing you part with!
With that in mind make sure you are armed with a list of comprehensive questions to interrogate the seller and learn all you can about the history of the Porsche. If you don’t have the confidence, take someone with you who as both knowledge of the model of 911 your after as well as the confidence to ask the right questions of the seller.
A good well maintained 911 is worth a lot of money. So anyone offering you a 911 at a fraction of that price must have something to hide. And they could be hiding quite a lot, including corrosion in the following areas:
- the battery tray in the front luggage compartment;
- front wings underneath the headlight bezels;
- the front wing around the fuel filler cap;
- the kidney bowls;
- the rear arches;
- the inner sills;
- the front widow area
- the rear window area
Getting these fixed could easily run into thousands of pounds and that’s after you managed to find a reliable, quality, experienced repairer – but we won’t go into that potential nightmare right now!
Then there’s the engine. If that’s not been maintained its probably going to need some work. At the very least a top end rebuild, and again this is likely to run into a few thousand pounds if you are unable to do it your self.
Older 911’s don’t mean cheaper to buy. These cars are actually climbing value and some of the older 911’s are actually worth as much or more than some of the new used models….. There are some specials to look out for too. For example the 1972 2.4S is very rare and a perfect unmolested original example could cost you £65k or more. The 1974 2.7S is another special and for an equally good one might cost you £45K plus. The 3.0 Carrera is a bit of classic in the waiting. Built in only 1976 and 1977 and only about 1,500 units ever built, I feel they are set to become a valuable 911, so get in there earlier if you want to make any gains.
However for a normal 911 like an SC or a 3.2 Carrera you might expect to pay in the region of £10k to £20k. But even priced correctly, doesn’t mean they are trouble free. You still need to look for all the traditional trouble areas.
Authenticity and history are two very important areas to consider. A genuine enthusiast who loves his or her 911 will have all the history of the car. Take time to read it. Maybe contact some of the people who have worked on the car and get their opinion. Make sure you check the numbers on the car and engine match. Porsche will tell what they should be. They will also tell you what the original delivery spec was for the car. See if that is still true or if its changed.
“Genuine Reason for Sale”. Everybody seems to say they have a genuine reason for sale. In my opinion you shouldn’t take too much notice of this. The seller is highly unlikely to be telling the truth anyway. If the 911 is a complete disaster zone they are very unlikely to tell you this is there genuine reason for sale…..
We all like to think we find a bargain. There’s nothing wrong in haggling over the price once you have found the right car. Anyone who knows they are selling a good one though is unlikely to move their price very much. But like I said at the beginning, there really isn’t such a thing as a bargain or a cheap 911. A good quality well maintained car, with lots of history at a fair price is the way to go.
Porsche built their 911’s to high exacting standards. Examples that have been looked after and maintained at regular intervals will be quite economical to run. Letting this maintenance regime lapse will only lead you to ne place – disaster.