This article was written in 2012. Values, especially of air-cooled 911s, have changed since then.
This month’s copy of GT Porsche magazine has a feature entitled “Your £10,000 Porsche” and I urge you to pick up a copy (it’s also got a tasty feature on the early 911 Turbo). OK, it’s nothing new, magazines trot these type of articles out on a regular basis, but that doesn’t make them any less relevant. It’s always good to see real-world articles showing that, in fact, anyone can afford to buy a Porsche. The trick, of course, is to buy the right one, which is where magazine features like this come into their own.
A £10,000 budget will give you a reasonable choice of Porsches to buy but GT has selected four; 996, Boxster, 944 and 928. Let’s look at each in more detail:
£10,000 is bottom dollar for any 911 so don’t expect to buy a pristine 996 for this. You’ll be looking at an early 1998 car with highish mileage and a bit rough around the edges. You could also be buying a shed if you’re not carefully. Take your time, though, and it is possible to get a half-decent 996 for this money. The magazine says to avoid Savannah (a sot of yellowish colour) interiors but, actually, cars with this unpopular colour scheme can be a bargain because they’re hard to sell. And, in fact, some people like it, I remember having a black 996 so-endowed and someone rushed to buy it because it was just what he was after.
The article also mentions that you could buy an older 911, such as a rough 964, SC or 3.2 Carrera for £10,000. Again, though, you’re not going to getting a decent one. 996 or otherwise, it’s worth upping your 911 budget to at least £12,000 as that will open the door to many more better examples.
The poor old 944 has largely dropped off the radar with Porsche enthusiasts and is seen by many as nothing more than an old car. However, it is in fact a superb machine and still worthy of attention. The 944 boasts great handling, hatchback practicality and rock-solid build quality that puts the Boxster to shame.
The problem with 944s today is that they are cheap to buy but not cheap to maintain. Like any Porsche, they appreciate specialist servicing and, if they don’t get this, they’ll spiral downhill and could attract expensive bills which leads to bodged repairs or, worse, scrapping.
Find a good example, though, and a 944 is a joy to drive and to own. Our £10,000 will even get you into a Turbo which offers fantastic performance and almost classic status.
Here’s a left-field choice. The big V8-powered 928 is often said to be troublesome and expensive to run, with the electrics cited as being particularly awkward. I’m not so sure, go into it with your eyes wide open and buy a good example that’s been owned by an enthusiast and which has a full service history, and you should be safe. Sure, it’s not going to be a cheap car to run but a good 928 will be a beautiful machine to own and is surely approaching classic status. You’re getting a lot of car for your money.
The Boxster is an obvious choice for a bargain Porsche these days and, if I’m honest, I’d recommend one over a 911 for this budget. As with the other cars here, there are plenty of neglected and tired Boxsters out there which you should avoid. Buy one for under £5000 and it’ll be a disappointment. However, for around £10,000 you can find a decent 2.7 or 3.2 with reasonable miles and a good service history. With an open-top and mid-engine, a Boxster offers fun and genuine Porsche motoring at a bargain price.
Whichever of these Porsches you choose, it’s important to be realistic about running costs. If you buy a good example you will have minimised the chances of expensive surprises but you need to budget for specialist servicing (ie not a local backstreet garage) and items such as brakes and tyres. On the plus side, though, depreciation shouldn’t hurt you too much if at all.
Reading the article in GT Porsche, I immediately thought about the Cayenne, which you can buy for £10,000. I queried this with Stuart Gallagher, the editor, and he pointed out that a Cayenne is not something you’d buy to cherish and enjoy but would rather be a practical purchase and, besides, maintenance costs could be painful. Good points but if you are a Porsche enthusiast and need a large family car, then a Cayenne would complement your ‘proper’ Porsche very nicely.