I went to look at a Porsche 964 Carrera 4 for a customer today. I wasn’t expecting much, as it was a 1992 car for just £12,000. That’s cheap for a late Porsche 964 and cars are usually cheap for a reason.
And the reasons were obvious. The Porsche had done 124,000 miles with no engine rebuild – and that will put buyers right off, rightly or wrongly. The front bumper was badly cracked and crazed, there was a bit of corrosion here and there and the paintwork was OK but not pristine. The rear lights and reflector had lost much of their colour and the latter was falling apart. The Porsche hadn’t been presented well – the interior was mucky for starters but in some ways I’d rather that than a car that has been tarted up and problems covered up.
On the plus side, there was plenty of paperwork to show that the Porsche had been properly maintained for much of its life, and had recently been treated to a gearbox rebuild and new clutch. And the air-conditioning worked – just.
The best part, though, was when I came to the test drive. The Porsche was fantastic to drive – tight with bags of power, and that fresh gearbox felt great. OK, the dampers felt a bit tired (most do) but that was about it.
I reckon £12,000 was about right for this car. It needs money spending on it now – not least for an overdue service, front bumper repair and new rear lights and reflector (pricey!). It needs £2000 putting into now, and the dampers could wait.
So, that’s a £14,000 outlay. You can easily pay that for a high-mileage Porsche 964 and then still have to spend more money on it. Doing it this way means you know where you are with the Porsche from day one.
The mistake, though, would be to pour money into it to create a pristine example. That just wouldn’t make sense – far better to buy a nice, lower mileage example for, say, £18,000.