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Porsche 911

Porsche 911 Published: 1st Aug 2017 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Porsche 911
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Classic looks - Involving drive - Big choice - Great owner support

For a great many, there’s only been and will only be one Porsche and that’s the 911. Furthermore, the only 911 worth owning is an air-cooled one. This 911 may have changed out of all recognition since its launch some 53 years ago but, thankfully, every generation, in varying degrees, has always remained a 911 in spirit and character.


The earliest 911s were a real handful because of their short wheelbase and trigger-happy handling, while early Turbos suffered from massive lag, which could make them a nightmare to drive, as the boost arrived just when you didn’t want it! The chances are, however, that you’ll be looking at something more mainstream from the 1970s or 1980s.

Post-1984 models are easier to live with thanks to their more manageable transmission and the Carrera 3.2 – especially with the G50 gearbox – is reckoned by many to be the ultimate of the original 911 line. The 964 that followed is smoother, more comfortable and, more powerful, yet somehow less engaging (say experts) but is the last model sporting that traditional look.

The problem arises if you drive a 911 like a modern, as early cars will punish the pilot when cornering. You have to be in the mood to drive any 911 although the 4WD of the Carrera 4 ensures that anyone half decent can drive a 911 with fair confidence.

Best models

Leading 911 experts Paul Stephens of Suffolk says you need to know your 911s before buying and adds it’s better to own a good SC than a pretty poorly Carrera 2 for the same money. There’s a lot of tired 911s about waiting to catch out eager enthusiasts – and the same goes for a good LHD model against an average UK car. The problem stems from the fact that as values for prize Porsches rise, it drags the poorer cars up with them, says this specialist. In fact, if you’re on a tight budget then it’s better to buy a nice 996 (see next anon) hints Stephens.


With such a vast range of models to choose from, classic or contemporary, it really depends what type of 911 (air or water cooled, for example) floats your boat and your budget, but you need around £35,000 for a respectable SC, perhaps the least liked variant, says experts Parr (01293 537911). As a rule of thumb, the earlier the 911, the more expensive and exclusive it will be; early chrome bumper cars are for no holes barred 911 enthusiasts who have £40-£50 grand to spend minimum and an easy five figures for top examples. The indifferent and unreliable 964 used to represent good value but even these now broach £30,000 if half decent. Asking prices are governed by the car’s specification, history and condition. Targas appear to be worth £1000 less than coupés, strangely, but cabriolets (from 1983) are worth two to three grand more. The once poverty model, the 356-engined 912 (said to handle better than a 911 due to weight distribution) has gained a strong following and good ones sell for £30,000.

Buying advice

If you’ve never driven a 911, try a few before buying as they are an acquired taste and the cars can vary widely, meaning without experience, it will be hard to spot a bad one. Don’t think that a lightly used 911 is good news as that flat six engine hates long term inactivity and major engine damage can result in it lying dormant for long periods. 911s rust badly too; it wasn’t until August 1975 that the bodyshells were galvanised and even then, as one specialist put it, “If you haven’t found any, you haven’t looked hard enough”.

The flat-six is generally durable; first sign of wear is (blue) oil smoke when the car is started up and on the over-run, signalling that the valve guides have worn out. Expect to see 45psi at 2500rpm and ask for evidence of the lubricant having been changed regularly, using high-quality materials. The G50 gearbox fitted to post-1986 911s is the strongest of the lot and unlikely to give any significant problems (plus can be retrofitted). Again, G50 clutch design is regarded as the best of the lot as well.

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