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INPUT WANTED: SC vs Carrera / 3.0 vs 3.2 / 915 vs G50

I have been in the market for the right G50 Carrera coupe for a while. Most of my decision for this car is the reliability (although heavier) of the G50 over the 915 (I drive a 901, so I know the finickiness of the earlier transmissions) and the more power of the 3.2 over the 3.0 (although I've been told that the 3.0 is more torquy and fun to drive) and the head stud issue of them breaking.

I sold one of my 914s a couple years ago to buy one of these cars. I just (very reluctantly) sold my absolutely MINT Scirocco 16V for additional funds as prices have gone up (although now thankfully evened out). While my search continues, I would like to get some detailed input and education from you SC 3.0 915 and Carrera 3.2 915/G50 owners out there to help guide me into the right direction as to what to get.

Some things to note:
- Price has been a factor in why it's taken me so long to buy. I had to sell two cars for the money to buy one of these, and still will be a good chunk of what I have. I know the SCs cost less, but I may spend more in the way of mechanics and other things (especially a 915 rebuild) than a G50 Carrera, which would likely even the cost out.
- I am not much of a mechanic, so potential cost in repairs is a factor. I'd like to buy the best possible car I can afford. From what I understand, there is generally less involved in the later G model cars than the earlier one (mostly with going to the G50 tranny that rarely needs to be rebuilt and the elimination of the head studs breaking on the 3.0 with the 3.2, although there is the chain tensioner issue, which for the most part has been replaced if a top end rebuild has been done).
- I don't have access to drive either to compare.

Thanks for your help in guiding me into the right direction.

PS - Here's a few pics with my Limited Edition 1974 914 LE Can Am "Creamsicle" named "Valentine" (Born 14 February 1974)
Only 500 made, there's about 50 still on the road. Mine is believed to be the 11th LE Creamsicle made on the 1st day of production according to the Registry.



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1974 Porsche 914 2.0 LE Can Am "Creamsicle" aka "Valentine"
1988 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 G50 coupe Meteor Gray Metallic / Burgundy
1994 Porsche 968 6-speed manual coupe Guards Red / Black and Cashmire

Last edited by tumamilhem; 03-16-2016 at 07:48 AM..
Old 03-16-2016, 07:36 AM
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Have you driven a 996? G50, more umph than a 3.2, no collector car price premium and a super car for the price of a late Honda Civic.

Cheers,

Joe

Last edited by stlrj; 03-16-2016 at 08:10 AM..
Old 03-16-2016, 08:00 AM
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No difference in the head studs on an original SC vs. Carrera. The only reason more of them are broken on the SC's than Carreras is due to the fact that the SC's are older cars---corrosion on the shaft of the dilivar studs is where failure begins. My friend the Porsche Guru has even seen broken head studs on 964's.

SC's have larger connecting rod bolts than the Carreras. Rod bolt failure has been demonstrated more often in an over-revved Carrera than the SC's.

Carrera hydraulic chain tensioners are prone to failure as well. The late SC's had better tensioners and wide idler arms that made them more reliable than earlier tensioners. And you can put a safety collar on them for peanuts.

The only reason I would prefer a 915 Carrera over an SC is for the Motronic fuel injection vs. the CIS of the SC. The CIS is not bad and generally works well, but the Motronic fuel injection is just a more modern system.

What is your budget?

Last edited by SCadaddle; 03-16-2016 at 08:35 AM..
Old 03-16-2016, 08:30 AM
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Here's some info for you that might be helpful...

http://forums.rennlist.com/rennforums/911-forum/482866-911sc-vs-carrera.html?highlight=SC+Carrera+comparison

Scroll to post #15. Rennlist seems to be having difficulty this morning; if the link won't work try again later...
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Last edited by Peter Zimmermann; 03-16-2016 at 08:40 AM..
Old 03-16-2016, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stlrj View Post
Have you driven a 996? G50, more umph than a 3.2, no collector car price premium and a super car for the price of a late Honda Civic.

Cheers,

Joe
No, but only interested in early 911s. This was the first car I fell in love with, so later 911s that are cheaper do not have the nostalgia or hold interest for me. Thanks though!
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1974 Porsche 914 2.0 LE Can Am "Creamsicle" aka "Valentine"
1988 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 G50 coupe Meteor Gray Metallic / Burgundy
1994 Porsche 968 6-speed manual coupe Guards Red / Black and Cashmire
Old 03-16-2016, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCadaddle View Post
No difference in the head studs on an original SC vs. Carrera. The only reason more of them are broken on the SC's than Carreras is due to the fact that the SC's are older cars. My friend the Porsche Guru has even seen broken head studs on 964's.

SC's have larger connecting rod bolts than the Carreras. Rod bolt failure has been demonstrated more often in an over-revved Carrera than the SC's.

Carrera hydraulic chain tensioners are prone to failure as well. The late SC's had better tensioners and wide idler arms that made them more reliable than earlier tensioners. And you can put a safety collar on them for peanuts.

The only reason I would prefer a 915 Carrera over an SC is for the Motronic fuel injection vs. the CIS of the SC. The CIS is not bad and generally works well, but the Motronic fuel injection is just a more modern system.

What is your budget?
Hi! Yes, I'm aware of the chain tensioner issue. Fortunately, most Carreras have had a top end rebuild already fixing that. At least, that's something that I look for in cars that I consider.

Also aware of the rod bolt failure. I will only leisurely enjoy my car, not track it. Also look to see if those have been retrofitted to a larger one.

What is your opinion in the performance comparison of the 3.0 vs 3.2? I have heard that the 3.0 has more torque and is more fun to drive even though the 3.2 is 37 more bhp.

If I go with a 915 (which I am trying to avoid due to the G50 being more reliable and not likely needing a rebuild, although the con is it's heavier thus evening out the increased bhp of the 3.2), would you prefer the 3.0/915 or 3.2/915?

Budget really depends on the car. I found pretty much my dream one this weekend - an 88 Commemorative Edition G50 coupe with only 53K miles on it, impeccable mechanically and cosmetically and went for $42 at auction. I missed it because my car broke down on the way. I would have bought that car had I been there. I was really pissed about missing it. It was absolutely perfect. And worth the extra coin for its mechanical and cosmetic condition. I was partial to it because of the color combo also. I absolutely love the Diamond Blue Metallic. The shiny marine blue metallic leather is gorgeous. Although you're pretty much screwed whenever it needs to be repaired because there's no matching material to reupholster with. I like the more unusual colors. Everything is black, white and guards red. I like something a bit different (see my Creamsicle), but it's not a deal breaker. I'm very partial to Minerva Blue also. Finding the best one I can afford is my goal. I am just torn as to what to shop for. Lately I've narrowed it down to the G50 cars for the better performance, reliability and believe it or not, AC (if retrofitted). Believe it or not, those slightly bigger and added vents make a huge difference in Florida. :/
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1974 Porsche 914 2.0 LE Can Am "Creamsicle" aka "Valentine"
1988 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 G50 coupe Meteor Gray Metallic / Burgundy
1994 Porsche 968 6-speed manual coupe Guards Red / Black and Cashmire

Last edited by tumamilhem; 03-16-2016 at 08:48 AM..
Old 03-16-2016, 08:44 AM
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IMO, it primarily comes down to finding a car that "fits" your needs. Even the newest g50 3.2 carrera is already over 25 years old and, to me, the state of the car (what's been fixed, what's been updated, what needs fixing, etc.) should take precedence over specs, etc. For example, while G50s may seem more "bulletproof," I understand they're a LOT more expensive to overhaul. My '86 carrera's 915 just passed 170k, has never been cracked and continues to shift smoothly. Similarly, although oil consumption issues necessitated a top end overhaul on my 3.2 a decade (and 90k miles) ago (worn valve guides are a fairly common issue with 3.2s), it continues to get around 2k miles to a quart of oil (and doesn't need to be touched). So, look at specifics on the cars that fit your preferences -- if you find one that's already been well-sorted-out (even if it's high mileage), you should be in great shape

Last edited by darrin; 03-16-2016 at 08:55 AM..
Old 03-16-2016, 08:51 AM
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FWIW: I inherited my dad's 89 911 a couple of years ago, and after getting a $2500 bill from a mechanic after a breakdown (to supposedly 'replace all sensors' even though my suspicion is and remains that a $30 DME relay was the only culprit), I decided to shut up the devil on my shoulder who kept whispering "but it's a Porsche...you can't possibly repair it...you'll ruin it...your name isn't Hans, you're not qualified to do this..." and see what I could do myself and save some money.

I have found this generation of 911 to be easier than I anticipated for many maintenance items. So far I have:
  • Replaced spark plugs
  • Replaced spark plug wires
  • Replaced distributor cap and rotor
  • Replaced fuel filter
  • Completed valve adjustment
  • Replaced valve cover gaskets
  • Oil and filter change (2x)
  • Replaced transmission oil
  • Replaced battery
  • Removed speedo for rebuild and reinstalled it successfully
  • Disassembled alternator/fan ass'y from engine for rebuild
  • Reinstalled alternator/fan ass'y to engine with weirdo shim things successfully, with good spin, 14.0v on alt, and no shredded belt
  • Replaced rear shocks

That's a lot for a noob like me. I think I would have more problems with a non-Motronic system. Reading Wayne's 101-Projects book on maintaining the non-Motronic system scared me: dwell, angle, timing, advance, exploding airbox, etc.???

So if you like/plan to be working on the car yourself, the later 87-89 3.2 with the G50 trans would be my vote.
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Old 03-16-2016, 09:12 AM
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IMO, why not get an older car and put a 3.0L in it with what you want and have the 915 rebuilt.

This is exactly the route that I took. I have a MY1974 911 Coupe w/ sunroof that has been repainted I the rare factory color, Salmon Metallic. The brake calipers have been rebuilt, I added performance pads, slotted and drilled rotors (pattern matches Porsche road team from period), upgraded to stainless steel brake lines, and added Blue Racing brake fluid. Also, I have flushed and sealed the fuel tank, added a 3.0L fuel pump, replaced the fuel distributor with a refurbished unit. New fuel accumulator, new soft lines in the engine bay. Ultra sonically cleaned the injectors.

My 3.0L is from a MY1983SC. It has 204bhp to start, we custom ported the exhaust side and put 964 cams in and added ARP head studs and rod bolts to strengthen the block. Titanium valve springs were added for the lift of the cams and to help with high rev tolerance. Also, rebuilt the 915, and the trans axles and added new bearings at all four wheels. And included a lightweight flywheel and a Sachs Centerforce Clutch.

All in all I don't think I would ever want the G50, and my beast will dominate a 3.2L all day long!
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Old 03-16-2016, 09:21 AM
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Buy the nicest example of whatever year you can afford. A well sorted 915 is a joy to use, mine is the nicest car transmission I have ever shifted. It only has 105,000 miles though and has never been opened, running Swepco, short shift, extended shift lever, Stomski coupler, with a Seine Shift gate as icing. This trans is as teutonic as sauerkraut, precise and rock solid in every aspect, a pure joy to operate. A buddy who is looking at 911s came out to SFO and we had a lunch and I let him drive my car in the mountains, he had "heard" about the troublesome 915, and was blown away by the shift action in my car, he said it reminded him of a machine tool. 915 cars are now on his list. It is important to remember that over time all cars, Porsche included need periodic maintenance, unfortunately Porsche MX costs alot so they tend to try to stretch the nickle and dime things out.
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Old 03-16-2016, 09:57 AM
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I think the G50 vs. 915 is really a moot point and not worth factoring into the equation unless you are planning a high HP build, which it doesn't sound like you are. The 915 is a wonderful gearbox when all of the other pieces are freshened up. (shift coupler bushings, ect.) That said, your two best choices are between the SC and the 915 Carrera. They are both comparable, so as others have said I would probably get the best example of either of those two. If I had to choose, I would probably go with the 3.2, just because of the slightly higher HP and the motronic system over the CIS, but a carbed 3.0 in an SC would make the choice much tougher.
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Old 03-16-2016, 10:15 AM
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I have a 85 with the tiny AC vents. If AC is something important to you look for a 86 or later, the vents are much bigger.

If the previous owner knew how to drive a 915 and did not abuse it they will be fine for 200,000 miles. A G50 is nice but not that important.

The Carrera does have more HP but they weigh more. There is not a big difference in performance between the two. The Carrera gets a bigger clutch, bigger brakes and the late 1985s like mine and after have a bigger axle CV joints and different shock absorber struts. The DME is the biggest improvement and there is no blown air-box to worry about.

Overall I would suggest you find the best example and far as paint quality, interior and lack of rust and then overall mechanical condition. I would buy a pristine SC over a worn out Carrera.
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Old 03-16-2016, 10:22 AM
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The Brit mag 911&Porsche Dec14 did a 'Total Impact' drive comparison of 7 dif. models...good article but obviously opinions.
They chose the 3 liter SC as having the 'edge' due to sportiness / liveliness.
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Old 03-16-2016, 10:22 AM
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Another vote for 915. It really has that "machine feel". Not in a rough way. It's just right. One that is in good shape will feel like a micro switch with right set up/shifter. I have 915s on both my air cooled cars. Also both 3.2s I drive them more then the 996 tt x50. Go figure....
Old 03-16-2016, 10:32 AM
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Porsche 911 SC versus 3.2 Carrera Comparison - Ferdinand
Old 03-16-2016, 11:04 AM
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^^^^^^^^^Great Article^^^^^^^^^
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Old 03-16-2016, 12:43 PM
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I just did 1800 miles in my 84 Targa this weekend, and the transmission worked just fine. The 3.2 Carrera is just a fantastic car.
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Old 03-16-2016, 01:51 PM
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I would not sway you either way from 915 to G50. Although there are some differences, these cars have been around long enough that the life the car has lived is a bigger determining factor as to what you're actually getting. I've also been in the VW game for almost 20 years, the best comparison I can make is 915 = 2Y, G50 = hydraulic VR tranny. The 915 is cable driven, so it is inherently heavier and more mechanical. It is certainly not unreliable, but like anything else, there are wear and tear parts that need to be refreshed. Once it's fitted with a new coupler, bushings, etc, it will shift like new. Add a Jwest Rennshifter or equivalent, and it will get even better. G50's are great out of the box, and have a lighter, more fluid pedal feel. When properly maintained, you really can't go wrong with either one.

Once you've established this, you open up a lot of options. I'm like you, I love the Ice Greens, Minervas, Cassis Reds, etc.... SC's & 915 Carreras had lots of these, not to mention as I'm sure you've noticed, G50 cars tend to sit around 5-10k higher in the current market. I love the large vents too, but they can always be added to an older car if desired.

What matters most is the way the car has been treated over the years. Pay attention to the way the owner talks about the car. and drive some if possible (That can be tough) but even if you can't just spend time around them as much as you can, it will help you get a better understanding of what to look for in a great example. Hope this helps.
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Old 03-16-2016, 02:01 PM
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I bought my 82 sc because everyone told me the later 3.2 with the G50 was better. If you want the best engineered Porsche with the best performance, just buy a brand new one.

The 915 is classic Porsche, what more do you need to know?

Cheers

Kevin
Old 03-16-2016, 03:08 PM
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Coming from zero experience when I bought my 3.2/G50, I'd settled on this type based on the fact that it represented a new step in the evolution process. I got an 87 which as you probably know was the first year for the G50, and because '88s and '89s were more expensive (newer/fewer miles).
Now I think I was a tad naiive, because the earlier models all have their own advantages, and I would love an SC. And yes, I've done some of my own work and the 3.2 lends itself to that. It's the earlier fuel systems (like CIS) that I don't know squat about.

Good luck and enjoy the hunt.
PS Your Creamsicle is awesome. I see very few 914's, and rarely in half as good condition.
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Old 03-16-2016, 05:02 PM
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