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944 Guy Looking to Make the Switch

Hey all; some of you might know me, some of you might not. I am a long-time Pelicanite, but I've been on the front-engine/watercooled side of the tracks for the whole time, although I've always lurked here. I bought my first P-car, a white 83 944 that subsequently got the lightweight/upgraded suspension treatment, back in 2000, and have owned a few different 944-series cars since. My current stable holds a 1986 Garnet Red 951 with light mods (chips, boost enhancer, FPR, shimmed wastegate, and probably a few other little things that I'm forgetting) that is very fast, and a 2010 Mini Cooper S that is very fun.

Well, I've felt the 911 itch growing over the past year or so, and I think I'm finally ready to make the switch. I'm still slightly unsure about what path I want to take at the moment, though. I've pretty much narrowed down my options to two possibilities:

1) Sell my 951, and use that money plus a few thousand extra to buy a decent 3.2 or a very nice SC. This way if I decide to build my 911 dream car project down the road, I'll be more familiar with the car's mechanicals and driving dynamics.

2) Keep the 951 for now and buy a "project car," most likely a 1970s Carrera or SC, that I'd then strip down and build a hot rod out of. Take my time and do it right. In my head, I picture something akin to a very clean, simplified Club Sport kind of car, with all the unnecessary weight stripped off, a subtle little ducktail, and a 3.2 powerplant in the back. The "Dirty Penny" for sale in the classifieds is pretty close to what I picture (I just wish I could afford it): 1978 Super Carrera "Dirty Penny".

I know that these are two very different options, but I'm looking for input from those of you who have been down these paths before. I realize that option #2 can be a Stephen Wilkinson-esque slow-bleeding quest for perfection that ends up costing me a small fortune in the long run... but then again, it might be fun to have a project to keep me busy and STILL have two fast cars to play with. Still, option #1 might give me a good introduction to the 911 (I've driven them at slow speeds only a couple of times). I do most of my own work myself (many of you might remember me doing a head gasket repair in my home garage a couple of springs ago), and am not afraid to get my hands dirty.

So. What do you think? Would I be in for serious trouble if I went for one of these options over another?

I thank you for your input in advance.

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Old 01-12-2011, 05:42 PM
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I would sell the 951 and drive the MC until you buy/build a 911, but I think of 944 T's as grenades with the pin pulled so I may not be very objective. Do you just drive on the street?
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:06 PM
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I've owned a 944S for about 50k miles in the past. I have a 79 911SC now. There is no comparison. The 944S are very nice handling cars, a benchmark for years. Fairly civilized and everything works "modern" so to speak. The 911SC and Carerra's are much more mechanical. They are fast but drive and handle completely different from a 944. I have to say I love the 911 the best. No question.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:31 PM
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Sell the 944T and buy a nice SC with a few track mods. Take it to DEs and learn to drive it. It will be slower than your 944t, but more fun It may also appreciate when the economy returns... though that my consist of pennies

Oh, its a hell of a lot easier to change the clutch too!

-Michael
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:37 PM
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I'd keep the 951 and do plan 2. A well sorted 951 is a great car and you can't get much for if when you sell it. But my first Porsche was a 944. Five years later a 964. And finally now a 911.
Old 01-12-2011, 07:01 PM
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i'd do #2.
i do almost all my own wrenching as well, and I love it. still learning the 911 (had three 944s before getting into BMWs 5 years ago).
i think you can replicate the car in the classifieds for much less money than what is being asked for that one, provided you don't want a concours-level track car.
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:13 PM
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I traded a 76 930 on a new 951 in 1986 and traded for a 3,2 Carrera when the warranty ran out(lots of work under warranty) The 86 Carrera was bullet proof. I now have a 95 993 which I will have to keep forever.( after briefly driving a 996) Better car than the 3.2 and almost as fast as the early 930. I liked the 951 but miss all my previous 911 s
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Last edited by johnsjmc; 01-12-2011 at 07:19 PM..
Old 01-12-2011, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsjmc View Post
I traded a 76 930 on a new 951 in 1986 and traded for a 3,2 Carrera when the warranty ran out(lots of work under warranty) The 86 Carrera was bullet proof. I now have a 95 993 which I will have to keep forever.( after briefly driving a 996) Better car than the 3.2 and almost as fast as the early 930. I liked the 951 but miss all my previous 911 s
I love my 993, but when I want to drive fast, I take the '84.

I'd say go for a Carrera, even if it delays the purchase a bit.
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:31 PM
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I felt the 944s I had were always slightly better in feel on the track than any of my BMWs (with the exception of the full race M3 with spherical bearings and slicks).

I'm anxious to see how the 911 feels once I finally get it running.
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:47 PM
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I wish I would have kept my 951, and then also kept my 912. The 951 was stupid fast, and the 912 had all of the charm of the old 9XX series. Those were the best of both worlds to me. With my 911s, I always wanted to make them faster...

The 951 provided the speed, the 912 provided the "look"
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Old 01-12-2011, 08:08 PM
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Thanks for all the input, guys. It occurs to me that there's nothing precluding me from buying a good SC/3.2, driving it for awhile, and hot-rodding it down the road, assuming that it's not TOO nice. That's what always held me back with my 951: the car was so nice, so well-kept, with such a rare color combo, and the interior was nearly flawless... it would have been a shame to change it.
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Old 01-13-2011, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by efhughes3 View Post
I love my 993, but when I want to drive fast, I take the '84.

I'd say go for a Carrera, even if it delays the purchase a bit.
Yessir. A stock SC will feel somewhat slow after a 951. Carreras will respond to some inexpensive tweaks.

About buying a project car. It will be WAY more expensive in the long run than a decent runner.

Get a copy of ''The Used 911 Story'' and read it. Get Wayne's book, 101 projects for the 911. Money well spent.

Lots of 911s out there. Don't be in a hurry.
Old 01-13-2011, 02:12 PM
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Keep the 944...
And buy a 911 as a project car.
Old 01-13-2011, 02:22 PM
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My 951 could run circles around my SC and it only had like a thousand in mods. My 911 with about 20k in it can't even get close to it. But the 911 is a lot of fun to drive.
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Old 01-13-2011, 02:28 PM
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I think I'm past the stage now where I feel the desire for my car to be as fast as possible. Owning the 951, I recognize that I really can't exploit its speed on public roads if I'm going to be a good citizen; in a lot of ways, my very light, underpowered little 944 was more fun on a lot of the roads in CT simply because it didn't have that sudden sledgehammer of a spooling turbo. As a matter of fact, I would be willing to bet that on a certain road that I take to and from work every day, my Cooper S would be faster than my 951 as they're both currently set up. On the highway, the 951 would leave the Cooper for dead; on a normal racetrack, the 951 would leave the Cooper for dead; this particular road, though, is just twisty enough to give the advantage to the Cooper.

Sure, I yearn for more power in the Cooper sometimes, but that car is a boatload of fun. My commute is hardly ever a chore. From what I hear, pre-964 911s deliver the same kind of driving experience, albeit more rapidly and with more purity.

I'm thinking that a good way to go might be to split the difference between the two options: find a very nice 911SC (or stretch for an early Carrera 3.2), and bring the car along to what I envision a little bit at a time. It would have to be the right color (I love the dark greys as well as the Copper Metallic - I think I just like "different" colors; I wouldn't be satisfied with Guards Red or Black), and a coupe, with as few tacky add-ons (spoilers, decals) as possible, but I'm in no rush.
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Old 01-14-2011, 12:20 PM
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Spoilers should not be considered tacky-they are functional on a 911.
Old 01-14-2011, 12:36 PM
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Get the 3.2. The Motronic on the 3.2 is pretty much the same as on your 951, will be familiar territory for you should it need any work. If you go SC you will need to become a CIS expert.
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Old 01-14-2011, 12:55 PM
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Too bad you missed out on that Carrera that Shaun is parting out... that would have been a nice starting point.
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Old 01-14-2011, 01:24 PM
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^ I'm not slamming spoilers in general. I just want to stay away from some of the "overdone" details that came out of the 1980s. If I could find a nice example with a nice ducktail, I would be happy with that. As a matter of fact, I like ducktails a lot, and they are just about the only rear spoiler I do like on the 911.

When I picture my eventual 911, I see it as very clean and understated. I don't really like whale tails, black stoneguards, chrome beauty rings, slantnose conversions, Ferrari-style side vents, "Porsche Racing" across the windshield, badges all over the car... I know it's not really fair to lump whale tails and black stoneguards in there with some of the other stuff, but I like what I like.

One possible option would be to buy a nice 911SC now and build a 3.2 in my garage. I could take my time, do it right, and still have fun with the 911 in the meantime. Decisions, decisions. I feel like I'll know for sure when the right car comes along -- that's what happened with my 951.
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Old 01-14-2011, 02:50 PM
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I think most here will agree with that train of thought. Not too many Rauh W's here, thank goodness.

But hey, there's nothing wrong with chrome HL trim rings!

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Old 01-14-2011, 03:09 PM
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