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Mart Fresh: Porsche 944 Turbo for track duty, or modern 911 Carrera?

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Photos by the sellers except where noted

A popular PCA member benefit is The Mart, the club’s classifieds section online and in each issue of Porsche Panorama. Mart Fresh is a bi-weekly column in which PCA media staff and guest contributors pick what they think are the "freshest" Porsches currently available, and then attempt to explain their reasoning. Only PCA members and Test Drive program participants have access to seller contact information. Always invest in a pre-purchase inspection for any Porsche you may consider, as seller descriptions and pictures don’t always tell the full story.

2002 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet - $27,500

What better way to enjoy summer than in a drop-top Speed Yellow 911?

This low-mileage example seems to be well appointed. Check out the extensive options list including the painted center console, yellow seat belts, comfort package, and more. My favorite option is the Porsche Sport Exhaust (PSE). If you haven’t heard PSE, it is one of the best-sounding exhaust packages for a 996. I’m also a big fan of the lightweight five-spoke alloy wheels. All this can be had for an asking price of $27,500. As always, be sure to have a pre-purchase inspection (PPI) done, and maintenance records are definitely a plus. — Vu Nguyen, Executive Director, Porsche Club of America

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2012 911 Carrera - $55,900

On a car tour to Tupelo, Mississippi a couple of weekends ago, I had the opportunity to drive my first 991, a 2014 model. With the bulk of my personal Porsche experience living in the early 911 through G-Body eras, if I had been told I was driving a 2019 model I would have believed it. This 2012 model represents the beginning of this design period, and I subscribe to the notion that if you can find the first or the last of the generation, that’s the smart money play. This car is optioned just the way I would have if I could have bought it brand new. I love the seven-speed manual, although period road tests will tell you it actually hits its 182 mph top speed in sixth. There are gizmos galore on this era of Porsche, but this one doesn’t seem to be overloaded with stuff I wouldn’t buy. Also, anyone who doesn’t like a brown sports car hasn’t seen this one; the Anthracite Brown Metallic looks incredible. Combine 350 horsepower with the low-mileage and practically 50%-depreciated-from-new pricing, this one should go really quickly. Easy pick for me this week! — Brad Phillips, Business Development, Hagerty

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2000 911 Carrera - $23,000

If we’ve said this once, we’ve said it a thousand times: Now is the time to reassess the 996 and consider adding one to your garage. They’re the last of the under-3,000-pound regular 911s, and with almost 300 hp, they have more than enough performance plus the excellent heating and A/C that came with water-cooling. This particular car is in the attractive (if common) colors of silver with space gray leather. It’s a one-owner California car that likely has an underside that is as pretty as the topside, and just 47,000 miles. There’s easily another hundred-thousand-plus miles of relatively trouble-free motoring in this, for a car that costs less than two years of depreciation on a new car. No mention of the three horsemen (intermediate shaft (IMS) bearing/rear main seal/air-oil separator), so I’d plan on doing those along with a clutch, particularly if this is a late-2000 model with a single-row IMS bearing, but I digress. This looks to be a phenomenal car, priced at spot-on market money. Get a PPI, do the service, and enjoy. And if anyone says anything about the headlights, remind them that this isn’t 2009, we’re over that stuff now, and then punch them in the nose for me. — Rob Sass, Editor in Chief and Director of Content, Porsche Panorama and

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1986 Porsche 944 Turbo - $9,500

Here I am again, waffling between a 986 Boxster and a 944 for my personal next Porsche purchase. This time, it’s a 1986 944 Turbo (aka, 951) that’s caught my attention. Every bone in my body says go with the Boxster, which will likely be cheaper to maintain, but this 951 checks all the boxes for me, including price and intended use. It’s lowered, with a 944 Turbo Cup-type suspension (which keeps the rear torsion bars) and shocks by Bilstein. It’s a 1986 model, which has the correct wheel offset to run Fuchs. It’s chipped, meaning it makes a healthy amount more than the stock 217 hp. And the pictures are well above average and show the car’s imperfections, such as a pockmarked front end, surely in part due to the track duty this car has seen. The rear interior has been removed and a roll bar installed, but that just means it’s the perfect car for Home Depot duty.  Sure, the car has just under 180,000 miles, but if it was well cared for and there is documentation to prove it (and of course a thorough PPI), then there shouldn’t be anything extraordinary to worry about. I perceive the seller to be honest in his full description (and, of course, many more photos), which he hosts on an outside website for those who are serious about buying it. One nugget is that he claims there’s only 1/3 of the life left on the clutch, which means one should prepare for an expensive bill to replace it in the near future. Clutch replacements on turbocharged 944s are not for the faint of heart — a 14-plus-hour job. — Damon Lowney, Digital Media Coordinator, Porsche Club of America

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