Which year 911 should I buy?

Discussion in 'Porsche' started by toggie, Apr 23, 2012.

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  1. toggie

    toggie F1 World Champ
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    Nov 30, 2003
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    Which year 911 car should I buy?

    I've never owned a Porsche but I've always wanted to buy a 911 some day.
    I would use it as my daily driver and would probably put 10k - 15k miles on it each year.
    I don't drive in bumper-to-bumper traffic any more.

    I would want a stick-shift, sunroof coupe or targa top. Not a fan of a full convertible.
    I'm looking for reliability, fun-to-drive, and an a/c that somewhat will cool the car in the summer.
    I have other 4WD vehicles I would drive in the winter.

    The newest car, the Type 991, seems too big to me.
    And, the Type 996 cars just don't have the classic 911 look I want.

    So, which era (and specific year) of 911 should I buy?
    - Type 997 (2005 - 2011)
    - Type 993 (1994 - 1997)
    - Type 964 (1990 - 1993)
    - 3.2 Carrera (1984 - 1989)
    - 911 SC (1978 - 1983)
    - Pre-1978 cars such as the older 911S, 911T, or 911E models.

    Cost isn't a major issue since these cars are mostly fully depreciated (except for the 997 years).

    I own a 1998 550 and a 1965 Corvette, so I know what it is like to own a somewhat older car.

    Your thoughts?
     
  2. GuyIncognito

    GuyIncognito Five Time F1 World Champ
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    all of the above? :)

    I'd go with a 997, or a 993 if you want air-cooled that you can still drive every day
     
  3. Mang

    Mang F1 Rookie
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    go 930 for a myriad of reasons, and your timing is good, they seem to have prices on the rise, so grab one if you have the cash now.
     
  4. fc_11

    fc_11 Karting

    Nov 21, 2008
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    NY
    IMHO the 993 or the 964 are the only ones to buy; preferably the wide-body 2-wheel drive models, but they do trade at a premium.

    I had a 993 targa and a 997 coupe. The 993 is the last of the 911s with character and the best built of any of the cars including the new ones. The 993s air-cooled tick, floor mounted pedals, rod shift linkage, and 5 gauge layout are what 911s were all about. They are physical cars to drive and leave you with a feeling of accomplishment when you get to your destination. All the VW quirks - door handles, fuel/hood/bonnet cable pulls, oil drips - add to the charm.

    The 997 is very numb and rather boring in comparison to the 993. I found the driving position uncomfortable (knee always wedged against the center console), the pedals are effortless and the cable shifter vague. The car porpoised terribly and the confidence at the rear over 90mph was lacking.

    Talk to any Porsche tech and they'll tell you the 993 engine block is the last of the quality motors Porsche produced. The 996 and early 997s suffered with rear-main-seal issues and my 997 had the ancillary shaft shear while sitting in traffic necessitating a full motor replacement at 20k miles (fortunately under warranty).

    As for coupe vs. targa; the 993 targa is built on a convertible, it leaks like a sieve and flexes like a wet noodle; also the sunshade is a poor design which breaks easily and causes hours of headaches to fix. So stick with coupes.

    I've never driven a 964 but have been in a 964 cup car and know someone that has a turbo 3.6. Both owners love them and they certainly have the character of the 993 plus a bit more diabolical handling to add to the experience. Earlier than a 964 I'd avoid just because relative performance of brakes, suspension and power band are probably disappointing.

    As for the view that they've fully depreciated, the 993S, 4S, Turbo, TurboS and the 964 Turbo 3.6 are not cheap for what they are. I happened on a 1998 993S with 8k miles at a gas station on Long Island last year and they were asking $70k or $75k. Low mileage cars trade not far off original sticker as they are seen as having appreciation potential.

    Why the Porsche hankering? I sometimes long for the quirks of my old 993 but my 575 and NSX are such far better machines it quickly goes away. That said, I never thought twice about parking a 911 at a shopping mall.
     
  5. GuyIncognito

    GuyIncognito Five Time F1 World Champ
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    I think less than 5% of 997s have had IMS/RMS problems, so buy one with over 20k miles and I think you'll be safe :)

    I'll concede the point about the center console making knee room a bit tight. find a car with the short-throw shifter or buy the B&M or EVO aftermarket kits, it dramatically improves the shifting.

    As for the handling, I've found that Porsche calls for too much air in the tires. dropping the air pressure 3 pounds all the way around makes the car much less "bouncy" (basically you're reducing the spring rate on the car), with less porpoising on the front. I've never had an issue with rear-end instability on a 997, the suspension setup and PASM don't allow it (unless you really overcook it into a corner, in which case it kinda doesn't matter what you're driving).

    I've driven a 993 turbo S, and apart from the significant power upgrade over my n/a 997, I didn't find the handling/experience to be all that much better.

    but, to each their own. there's something to be said for air-cooled 911s, but if you want 911 feel and modern convenience, a 997 C2S (or GT3 :)) ain't a bad way to go.
     
  6. Carnut

    Carnut Formula 3

    Nov 3, 2003
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    I have owned 39 Porsche's pretty much at least one of almost every 911 series. If I had to buy another and not take it apart it would be either an 80's Targa (in white) or a 993 coupe. I had two targas (78, 85) I regret getting rid off, always had a soft spot for those cars, I may one day buy another as a project car. I would suggest driving a few different series cars, the 70's and 80's cars are light (relatively speaking) and a blast to drive. As far AWD, I think AWD is for SUV's should not be in the same sentence as sports car. If you like the wider body you can very easily tuen of the AWD into RWD. Good luck.
     
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  8. CharlesE

    CharlesE Formula 3

    Nov 19, 2007
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    drive one of each series and see which you like the best. since you don't have to deal w/ traffic, you may find you prefer a version of the air cooled 911s vs the water pumper for your commute.keep in mind if you need ac as that could factor in your decision, even tough good upgrades are available for the <89 911s.
     
  9. PCA Hack

    PCA Hack Formula Junior

    May 9, 2008
    605
    Rancho Santa Fe, CA
    I've had a bunch of 911's like others who have posted. For a daily driver I think its a no-brainer to go with a well sorted later year 964 or 993. The G50 Targa looks great and is reliable but it drives "old". Maybe too old for everyday use - that's up to you to decide.

    The 964 still has essentially the same suspension as all previous 911's with a trailing arm/spring plate set up. The 993 went with a multi-link system which the 911 enthusiast may or may nor agree with - but it is certainly a more modern feel.

    IMO, the 993 widebody S looks the best and also carries a premium. Expect to pay ~$50K for a 40,000-60,000 mile example and as others have mentioned upwards of $70K for a low mileage S.

    For a DD the pre-OBD II 95 993 is the best option. The blocked SAI passages won't throw a CEL as ALL of the 96-98's eventually will. The only way to clear the passages is to remove the heads and drill/blow out the built up carbon. If you're able to do it yourself it involves dropping the engine and everything else involved with top end work - which is a hassle. I reckon you'd be looking at at least $5K to have it done in addition to the "while we're in there" work like replacing the valve guides which are a common issue on 993's. That's either a lot of unnecessary work on your part or a big unnecessary check made out to Klaus the Porsche mechanic.

    It's also to simple to remove to remove the entire SAI system on the 95's and plug the ports on the heads where the air tubes are fitted. Removing the system won't effect the performance of the car.

    The 95 is also pre-Varioram. It loses 12hp over the 96-98's but that's a small price to pay for the inevitable codes the newer models will throw.

    Obviously, I'd advise you to look at the 95's. The air cooled engines are a breeze to work on & with the Porsche forums there's no problem you'll run into that someone hasn't already and repaired. Air cooled Porsche's were hip when they built in the 60's through the 90's & will always be cool. Good luck.
     
  10. Dino944

    Dino944 Formula 3
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    There are several great versions of 911s. It simply depends on what you want in a car.

    All pre 964 models lack power steering. In addition in the area where you live, you have to ask youself how important air conditioning is to you. My father had a 1986 3.2 Carrera and a 1987 930 Turbo. He purchased both of them brand new and the air conditioning was basically inadequate when outside temps hit about 80-85. If the outside temperature hit 90 you would arrive at your destinations somewhere between medium well to well done! Still If I were going for a 911 I'd probably go with an 87-89 Carrera 3.2, which are equipped with the G50 transmission and they produce 214 bhp (84-86 are 200 bhp, and 3.0 SC makes around 176bhp). These cars are still relatively light weight, fun to drive and maintain their value pretty well.

    964s are generally over looked as the previous models are favored for being the last of the original 911 platforms, and the 993 is generally considered a prettier, better driving car (with a less complicated to maintain awd system if you chose a Carrera 4 or C4S).

    The early 911s such as 911T, 911E, and 911S are nice. They are very collectible if well maintained. But you would probably be driving a classic into the ground with everyday use. Not that you can't use it, but it might not be the best candiate for a dd.

    Skip 911s from 1975 -1977. Instead of catalytic converters they had something called thermal reactors (BMW and MB also used them back then). They fried everything around them and those cars are often problematic even though the smog equipment isn't necessary on them in most states. The only 1975-1977 car to consider is the original 930 3.0 Turbo Carrera...pre-intercooler cars. These are very collectible and prices are on the rise, but I wouldn't use them as a DD (more a fun weekend car).

    As for 993, many consider them the last of the real 911s as they are the last of the air cooled cars and the interiors and construction are much higher quality than that of the 996s (which shared a lot of the interior with 986 Boxsters). There are lots of nice examples (skip the eletric targa roof models lots of problems), the AC is a bit better than in the earlier air cooled cars, but not anywhere nearly as good as in a 997.

    As for the 997, consider a 2009 or newer and you get the direct injection engines and avoid the IMS issues. There are variations in terms of bodies and engines. These cars can be driven everyday, they are more modern than any of the other cars, they are more comfortable, have good AC, and lots of creature comforts. They are the beginning of the 911s heading into GT class but still great cars and maybe the best daily drivers. They still are not fully depreciated.

    For me the cars to consider if I were going to drive them would be the 87-89 Carrera, the 993, or the 997. Each is a great car and completely different so you should drive them to see what appeals to you.

    A late 60s or early 70s 911 or a 930 Turbo are things I'd buy more for a collection or to enjoy on weekends rather than use as a DD.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide.
    Best regards,
    Dino
     
  11. mclaudio

    mclaudio Formula 3
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    I pretty much agree with the statements here. I've had numerous 911s (60s to 00s eras) both as pleasure vehicles and as daily drivers. The funny thing is that the things I used to like about 911s are now the things I am not fond of anymore - things like floor-hinged pedals, imbalanced handling, impact bumpers on 80s era, burnt oil heater smell, bump steer effect, notchy gear shift.

    I sold my last daily driver 911 last year. Last weekend, I test drove an 80s Euro 911 coupe. It cured me from buying another one. Nostalgia can be overrated.

    If you've never had a 911 or still long for the 911 experience, I say go for it. Every car enthusiast needs to experience 911 ownership at some point in his/her life. Scratch the itch.
     
  12. SrfCity

    SrfCity F1 Veteran

    Nov 1, 2003
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    For a daily I'd probably get a 997S.
     
  13. James_Woods

    James_Woods F1 World Champ

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    I have been using a 1996 993 Targa for over 10 years now as a daily driver and simply would not have anything else. It has 127,000 miles now and I did a top overhaul at about 88,000 miles and replaced the clutch.

    My stepson bought a 997, but I am really not interested in it. It seems to me like such a different car that it is barely recognizable as a Porsche.
     
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  15. jlonmark

    jlonmark F1 Rookie

    Mar 29, 2005
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    If you want a classic- go for an "air cooled" car. The 993s are very expensive, about the price of a 997. If you like modern technology, then get the newest model you can. Obviously the ac, stereo, and modern day conveniences are going to be better. If you want something you can drive occasionally, and keep around as an investment - it's gotta be air!
     
  16. 88MONDIAL

    88MONDIAL Formula Junior

    Apr 13, 2005
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    997 for sure. 2006 "S" or "nonS" seems to be the sweetspot as far as price and I think the IMS bearing had an update/upgrade for about 4/2005 build dates. I would not hesitate on an 05 however.
     
  17. GuyIncognito

    GuyIncognito Five Time F1 World Champ
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    toggie, because I'm such a nice guy, I'll do an even trade my silver 06 997C2 for your 550.

    my 997 was owned by UroTrash so it has excellent Fchat provenance :)
     
  18. toggie

    toggie F1 World Champ
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    That is awfully nice of you. But, I think I'll keep my 550 just the same. :)

    My strategy is to sell my current daily driver, a 2010 Audi S5 convertible, and replace it with a 911.
    I like my Audi but if I'm going to use a two-door as a DD, I'd rather get something more fun to drive, so I figure the 911 would be a good choice for that.

    My Audi has a 7 speed dual clutch trans in it which was really impressive to me back when I first bought the car. But driving my 458 with an even faster shifting 7 speed in it has kind of eclipsed the Audi experience.
     
  19. GuyIncognito

    GuyIncognito Five Time F1 World Champ
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    well it was worth a shot :(

    drive an 09 or later 997.2 with the PDK and compare/contrast to the Audi's gearbox, I'd be interested in your thoughts. (not sure if the Audi has a DSG/PDK or a torque converter slushbox)
     
  20. toggie

    toggie F1 World Champ
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    I heard an interesting analogy the other day where the latest versions of the 911 were compared to various Ferrari models:

    997 = Ferrari 430, modern technology, fast, easy to live with.

    996 = Ferrari 360, breakthrough technology for its day but eclipsed by next gen.

    993 = Ferrari 355, last in a long line of smaller more-nimble cars. Old school compared to the newer models but still sought after by the enthusiasts.

    Anyway, I can kind of see the similarities between the recent Ferrari models and the 911 models.

    Thoughts?
     
  21. GuyIncognito

    GuyIncognito Five Time F1 World Champ
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    I'd say that's a fair analogy. 993 is definitely an "old school" car. 996 was a big leap forward, completely revising the 911 philosophy, but IMO they missed a lot of details that were sorted in the 997.
     
  22. Jmjm911

    Jmjm911 Karting

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    My opinion?

    Get the latest version and year you can afford. Improvements are made annually so it is ALWAYS best to get the latest you can swing..

    Just my opinion. Good luck!!!
     
  23. PCA Hack

    PCA Hack Formula Junior

    May 9, 2008
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    I'd also suggest the 996 GT3. You mentioned you don't drive in bumper to bumper traffic - the sporty GT3 might be the right 911 to fit your needs. IMO, now selling for under $50K, its tough to find more sports car.

    The 996 GT3 is near the top of my list of favorite cars I've owned.
     
  24. GuyIncognito

    GuyIncognito Five Time F1 World Champ
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    same here.

    DD might be a pain, even if it's not stop and go traffic (very stiff suspension and low front splitter are great on track, bad on roads)

    but yes, it's THE 996 to own IMO. regret selling mine :(
     
  25. RS man

    RS man Formula Junior

    Nov 30, 2008
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    If cost isn't a major issue, then 997GT3RS 4.0 but you may not want to use it as a daily driver....
     
  26. TheBigEasy

    TheBigEasy F1 World Champ
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    Jun 21, 2005
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    This is the exact situation I was just in... just bought a 2010 997.2 last week.

    After all the looking I did... it came down to a 2007 Turbo or a 2010 Carrera for the same price. I like the for the 997.2 they added the LED lights front and rear and updated the electronics in the dash (I spend a lot of time commuting so having a proper iPod interface and bluetooth phone was important to me). Also, the 2010 I got only had 4,500 miles.. basically a brand new car. I love it.

    Good luck.
     
  27. toggie

    toggie F1 World Champ
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    Thanks. Yep, it is a tough choice between new and old ones.
    Post a pic or two of your 911 if you have some pics handy.
    .
     

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