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Join Date: Oct 2005
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what to buy?

I'm new to the forum, so hello to all! I've got a few questions:

I'm casually thinking of buying a 70's or 80's 911, and am looking for some basic advice: are there any especially trouble-prone models, engines, trans, carb, efi, etc.,?

I've never dealt with an air cooled car engine before, but I'm familiar w/japanese v-twin bike motors: any similarities?

Also, is it possible (or likely) to purchase a mechanically sound 911 coupe for under $10k? I've seen targas aplenty, but the coupes seem more rare, and pricier.

Thanks!

Old 10-16-2005, 09:32 AM
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Matt...this is a huge question that has many different types of answers to it. I dont mean to put you off, but you may want to do a search of the archives here on issues such as "head studs" and "915 transmission". Plenty of info there. The head studs are an issue that "plagued" mid 70s models on up through the SCs and some Carrera... the 915 tranny was a pretty robust one but can be notchy and annoying to drive if worn or not set up properly...

Im just generalizing here... so much in these forums has been written on these cars that go well beyond just those 2 issues that I listed above.

Trying to get a well sorted 911 for under $10K, is extremely difficult in my opinion. With any 911 that you pay under 10K for, you will need to do some kind of work to get it either mechnically sound or sorted to your tastes. These cars are not cheap...parts are not cheap...labor is not cheap if you do not DIY.

Im thinking of selling my 86 Cab, for example...the car is in excellent condition, has been extremely reliable...and is a beautiful car. Ive put over $10K in it in the past 3 years just on general maintanance (shocks, tires, clutch, etc.)...no major work at all!...just in keeping this car up to the standards that it should be at! Even though Ive put $10K in to this car, there is no way that I will get that money back when/if I sell it... its basically a $20K car... but the future buyer will know that they are getting a great car.

Thats what needs to be done to these cars... committment! 911s are a special breed and should not be purchased by budget conscious owners. Look for one that has been maintained by its owner as well as mine has... if not you could be biting off quite a bit of problems.
Old 10-16-2005, 09:43 AM
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Oh yeah... check Amazon.com for a book called "Porsche 911 Buyers Guide" by Leffingwell. It covers each year of the 911 up to 2000 and has most of the issues specific to each year model listed.
Old 10-16-2005, 09:44 AM
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Hi Matt,
Welcome aboard!

I just went through what you are going through. I've wanted a 911 for the past three years. I bought half a dozen books on 911s , spent countless hours on these forums and attended a bunch of Porsche events. After all this, here's what I found out...

The best years for the least trouble cars with the price staying under $20,000 are the 1987, 88, and 89 Carreras. These cars very rarely have rust issues, the engines had all the cam chain issues resolved and most Porsche mechanics consider them the best engine Porsche ever built. At worst, one of these cars might leak a tiny bit of oil from one of the valve covers. These cars had the greatly improved G50 tramsmission. They also have "creature comforts"...Cruise control, AC that actually works, power seats, power windows etc.

I looked around for a couple of years before I bought my car a few weeks ago. My job has me traveling all over the country and I looked at many many cars from Florida to California and everywhere in between. Most of them were very high milage or low milage with a high price tag. Porsche owners are passionate about their cars and usually think they are worth more than they actually are. If you find a car you like but the price seems high, keep the phone number and call the seller back in a week or two. If he still has the car he might have realized that he was asking a bit too much and come down. I can't tell you how many boats and motorcycles I've bought over the years with this method.

You need to have cash at the ready and be prepared to act fast. My car is an 87 Targa with 45,000 miles in just about new condition with brand new tires, battery, cover, service seat covers, and full tech manuals and I grabbed it half an hour from where I live for $16,900. While I was at the guys house making the deal the phone was ringing with folks wanting to buy the car. And I found it in the local Want Advertiser.

I've found other cars at the same good deal, but they usually have mileage in the 80K range. Nothing wrong with milage as long as the car was maintained. In fact, a car that sat for 20 years will cause you more problems than a driver. The reason I was excited about my car is that it went for a reasonable ride at least once a month. The fellow that had it knew the importance of this.

So that's my opinion...for what it's worth. Have the cash ready, keep looking, and be prepared to act fast.......
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Old 10-16-2005, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sonic dB
Trying to get a well sorted 911 for under $10K, is extremely difficult in my opinion. With any 911 that you pay under 10K for, you will need to do some kind of work to get it either mechnically sound or sorted to your tastes.
Thanks for the advice. In reference to the above quote, can you give me your opinion on these vehicles? This is the type of ad that piqued my interest.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1977-Porsche-911-Targa-Low-Reserve_W0QQitemZ4581343337QQcategoryZ10156QQssPag eNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1973-Porsche-911-T-Targa_W0QQitemZ4582855550QQcategoryZ10156QQssPageN ameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
Old 10-16-2005, 10:30 AM
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I think the main questions are:

- How will you use the car ? Daily driver - week end - tracking etc ?

- Do you need the extra comfort gadgets like A/C, power this, power that ? Or do you seek the raw smell of oil and gas ?

- Would you prefer a car that probably won´t need more than usual maintenance - or are you yearning to get wrenching ?

- Whats your max budget ? That should include a few extra thousand besides price of car.

If you have those (and similar) questions answered it will narrow down the selection quit well.
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Old 10-16-2005, 10:31 AM
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good point.

Quote:
Originally posted by livi
I think the main questions are:

- How will you use the car ? Daily driver - week end - tracking etc ? pure toy: warm weather sunday driver: it's basically replacing a motorcycle.

- Do you need the extra comfort gadgets like A/C, power this, power that ? Or do you seek the raw smell of oil and gas ? Mmmm, gas.

- Would you prefer a car that probably won´t need more than usual maintenance - or are you yearning to get wrenching ? I can turn a wrench but I don't want a project.

- Whats your max budget ? That should include a few extra thousand besides price of car. Under $15k.

Old 10-16-2005, 10:35 AM
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And of course:

Welcome to the forum !! Any - and I mean ANY question you can possible come up with regarding Porsche ownership - will find its answer on this fantastic forum.

On the topic - I think basically choosing among the SC 78 - 83 or Carrera 3.2 84 - 89 you can´t go wrong. Well built cars with much of the true Porsche feeling but still modern enough to be useful as daily drivers.
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Old 10-16-2005, 10:44 AM
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SC, SC, SC - The SC is the best

Oh, and - welcome to the family
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Old 10-16-2005, 10:47 AM
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Both of those cars on Ebay have "Shady" histories. Both are repainted. Accidents? Who knows. I believe they are both too old to do a car fax. Remember they are both over 30 years old. They will both need something and unless you do all the work yourself, you will spend pretty big $$ for any type of semi major work.

But you might just luck out. I would buy the one from Montana. It sounds like this guys is more in tune with his car. And the other guy thinks a 40 year old person is "old"..........jeez!

You might want to find someone on one of these forums to go check it out for you. We do that all the time with motorcycles so you are not buys "sight unseen".......

At those prices I'm not sure a PPI would be worth it. Some one that has half a clue about Porsches could tell you about very obviouse issues...brakes, smoke, clutch, transmission, etc......

Good luck.......
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Old 10-16-2005, 10:51 AM
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I fully agree with Pål - SC is the best.

That is to say - if you can´t afford a Carrera, of course.
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Old 10-16-2005, 11:43 AM
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Hi Matt....I couldnt open either of those Ebay links. These other guys have posted great advice though. I think the SC is the way to go....maybe try to get a well sorted coupe for $11-12K? Maybe if you are lucky you can find one under $10K? The pre purchase inspection by a qualified mechanic is a must though
Old 10-16-2005, 11:48 AM
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3.0 SCs 180 BHP vs 204 BHS

Guys,

This is a question that interest me as well. Here in the UK we have both the 180 and 204 hp models.

Is there a big difference between them aside from the horsepower? I am interested in a daily driver.

Sometimes I think it is better to buy a late 3.2 Carerra, even with 120 + K miles.

Suggestions?

Dom
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Old 10-18-2005, 10:10 AM
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Re: 3.0 SCs 180 BHP vs 204 BHS

Quote:
Originally posted by domtoni
This is a question that interest me as well. Here in the UK we have both the 180 and 204 hp models.

Is there a big difference between them aside from the horsepower? I am interested in a daily driver.

Sometimes I think it is better to buy a late 3.2 Carerra, even with 120 + K miles.
No, there is not a big difference at all aside from the horsepower. both have the same fuel injection, the differences are the cam timing (small change) and the higher compression, from 8.5:1 in the 180hp RoW models to 9.8:1 in the 204hp RoW models. I don't know what fuel is available in your area, in the USA I think the lowest octane grade of 3 is OK for 8.5:1 where I would use the highest of 3 for the 9.8:1. this could make a difference in cost of fuel for a daily driver here in the USA, though I know your fuel is much more expensive! What octane numbers (RON or MON) do you have in your area?

Now, the RoW 231hp Carrera 3.2 is a strong engine, I have driven these as well. with 10.3:1 compression you will certainly want to use premium, these air cooled engines have a higher octane requirement than a modern liquid cooled pent roof combustion chamber engine.

The bottom line, I think, is to buy a good car with a known history (records), and have the car inspected by a reputable shop before you buy. I have driven all flavors of SC and the power difference is not dramatic, though it is noticable, in the late RoW cars. The RoW carrera 3.2 increased power is more noticeable but so is the price difference, usually.

Personally, 180hp/172tq and 2600lb is enough for me, on the street, so just buy a good one.

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Old 10-18-2005, 10:20 AM
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