I am currently in the market for a vintage Porsche. Ok, I admit it -- I have been in the market for a vintage Porsche for at least 12 years. My longing for an older Porsche is like the last 10 postpartum pounds every mom I know has difficulty losing: it just won't go away. Every time a 356, or a 1970s 911, or just about any pre-1985 Porsche comes within view or earshot, I get all misty-eyed and day-dreamy and say, "one day I am going to buy an oldie Porsche."
"You mean old like the first gen 997 Cup with the old sequential shifter?" asks my significant other. He doesn't get why I would want an under-powered, 4-cylinder 912 that sounds a little like a fancy Beetle. "It's like mac-n-cheese for me," I tell him, "comfort sounds that remind me of youth. Uncomplicated times with no ABS, no PSM, no computers, no..." But I know he stops listening when the conversation turns to Porsches under 200 HP.
I admit it, I romanticize the Porsches of yesteryear. I love their simple shape, their generous use of metal, and their sporty-yet-cute shape. I admire their spartan interiors and uncluttered rear engine compartments that seduce me into thinking I could learn to wrench. And I imagine old Porsches as indestructible, probably because I remember being a kid and hearing my Dad say things like, "everyone should build cars like Porsche. My 911 has never broken down!"
So, admittedly, I know nothing about vintage Porsches other than (1) they look good, (2) they sound good and, (3) my Dad said they never break down. My lack of knowledge combined with my romanticism is a lethal combination when it comes to purchasing a car. Yet, I know there are others like me. So, what is an inexperienced, potential vintage Porsche buyer to do?
Enter Adrian Streather's latest contribution to Porsche 930 Turbo & 911 (930 ) Turbo: Coupe, Targa, Cabriolet, Classic & Slant-Nose Models (The Essential Buyer's Guide). This little book covers Coupe, Targa, Cabriolet, classic and slant-nose Porsches, model years 1975-1989. As a long-time 930 owner and Porsche author, Streather knows the marque and model intimately, and the book reflects his expertise.
Streather's writing style is uncomplicated and approachable
It makes the book a fun read even if one is not in the market for a 930. The Buyer's Guide starts off with, "Is it the right car for you? - marriage guidance." Streather proceeds to list the pros and cons of owning a 930, from cabin comfort and driving challenges to the realistic concern of parts availability.
Once you have decided the 930 is indeed the car you desire, the book moves on to the practical aspects of a purchase: how to find your Porsche and what inspection equipment you should take when you go see the car. Streather suggests you start with a 15-minute evaluation to determine whether you should walk away or look more deeply at your future car. The big take-away message here: just because the 930 you find looks right it doesn't mean it's genuine. Ask to see paperwork and records whenever possible.
What You Should Look Out For
Along with the 15 minute evaluation list, Streather offers a section on the problems a buyer should look out for, including how the car has been used and whether the car has been modified. Last but not least, Streather's checklist, entitled "Serious Evaluation: 60 minutes for years of enjoyment," urges the purchaser to score the car on a scale from 1-4 on a varied list of items, from the looks of the car to its functionality. Once the evaluation is complete, the buyer can safely base his or her purchase decision on facts, not emotions.
Because all sections are generously illustrated, there is very little guesswork left for the reader/potential buyer. Every major item Streather discusses has a corresponding picture, so even inexperienced buyers like myself could safely go and carry out primary inspections of a 930. Reading Streather's latest offering made me wish there were more Porsche Buyer's guides available to help me in my quest to own a vintage Porsche. Currently, Veloce (veloce.co.uk) offers guides for 911SC, 964, 996, 993, 924, 911 Carrera 3.2, 986 Boxster, 987 Boxster/Cayman, and 928.
Streather closes the book with one last piece of sage advice: "Let your head rule your heart," he writes, adding, "I always believe you will know the Porsche that's right for you." Indeed. I'm off to daydream about that '68 912 I'm going to buy one of these days!
Other Porsche Blog Posts You'll Enjoy
Porsche Buyers’ Guide. 5 Reasons to Walk Away.
Pre Purchase Inspection (PPI) for your Porsche (Part I of II)
Is it the Right Time to Buy the Porsche of your Dreams?
How to Avoid the Most Common Porsche Related Scams
Adrian Streather’s Porsche 996 The Essential Companion