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I Bought a Cheap Used Porsche 911 (And I'm Thrilled With It)

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author photo by Bill Leedy July 2017

If you'll allow me, I'd like to regale you with the tale of the time I bought my first Porsche 911. Before we start, however, I do feel compelled to point out that this will not be the story of how I bought the cheapest something on somewhere, sight unseen. I don't have the cojones for that game. It was, however, still a cheap Porsche advertised on a website commonly used by Nigerian princes wanting to wire you a little more than your asking price.

Over the last couple of years, the budget has allowed for an extra car every now and again. Every time I bought one of these cars, my intention was to enjoy it for a couple months, maybe do a little work to it, and then move it along for a profit. There have been four cars so far. There was a Mazda RX-8 and a Volvo V50, both of which I kept for more than a year (and which therefore ended up costing me thousands). There was an Audi A4 that I broke even on, and there was a Subaru WRX that I finally made a little money on. Through all of this, my wife -- who is a fan of the phrase "I told you so!" -- reached the verdict that I'm bad at the whole "flipping cars" thing. So next time the third-car discussion came about, it went differently.

Because of a "Need for Speed" game my wife played many years ago and a guy by the name of Richard Hammond, she loves Porsche and has been playfully begging me to get one since the whole flipping thing started. She would frequently peruse that online marketplace that warns its users to meet in public places for everyone's safety, and she'd send me links every week. Since she didn't want to spend much money, and since she doesn't like the Boxster, they were pretty much just broken and rusty 944s and 911s that have enough mileage on them to have reached the nearest celestial body. While we both had a quiet understanding that this was all in good fun and she didn't expect me to bring home any of these cars, I had decided that when the right one popped up, that would be it. After what seemed like millions of links, what appeared one day was a very well-priced car with only minor issues and reasonable mileage. This was the one that made me stop what I was doing and go "Actually...."

I reached out to the number provided in the ad, fully expecting to never hear from the guy. I took it as a sign when he responded nearly immediately! We set up a meeting that very night. I'm reasonably certain that my wife did Daffy Duck's little "woohoo dance" around the house when I told her. If she were taller, there'd be holes all over the ceiling.

During one of the wettest summers on record, it's lucky I was able to meet the owner at the dealership I work for so we could get the car inside and dry. Once we were there, he walked me through the top's two little issues. The first is that, since it was replaced recently, the bottom edge of the canvas has a hard time getting into the rain ditch, so you have to stop with the top three-quarters up and guide the edge into place before completing the operation. The second is that as you lower the roof, two little flaps are supposed to come up. Their purpose is to provide the premium feeling of not having to see the mechanical bits of your roof when it's down. One side works just fine, while the other side needs a little coaxing.

On the body, along with some serious swirl marks on the hood, the front bumper cover may have been painted in the past -- but it's in dire need of another coat. This is why they tell you not to look at used cars in the rain! But the owner of the car was forthcoming about all of these things, as well as the fact that the spare key is resting comfortably at the bottom of Lake Champlain.

Mechanically, the car is awesome. Everything works, neither the engine nor the suspension make any funny noises, and the car runs great! With a new battery, fresh rubber and some fresh oil, the car is so sweet.

After I looked it over, I began the inevitable Days of Deliberation. The ad stated that the IMS bearing was not an issue in this particular year, and some Internet searching seemed to corroborate that story. I even reached out to my friend Doug and asked him to help me talk myself out of it. He responded, most helpfully, with "Do it!!!" I also talked with the service guys at a neighboring used-car dealership who had seen the car a couple times -- and even as recently as the previous week. Upon hearing what the car was being advertised for, the business owner told me, "If you don't buy it tonight, I'll buy it tomorrow."

Those seemed like pretty good endorsements, so I used a phrase I never thought I'd hear myself say: You only live once! A deal was made for his asking price, despite a couple attempts at trying to save a little bit. But that's okay. I was now the owner of a 1999 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Cabriolet with 97,000 miles that we bought for just $13,500. Since my wife was part of this one, too, I have a feeling that it'll be around for a long time! ... or at least until that first enormous repair bill comes across the desk.

So, yes, I did purchase a cheap Porsche! Stay tuned for: "Should I Have Bought a Cheap Porsche, or Are They All Destined For an SBC Swap?"

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I Bought a Cheap Used Porsche 911 (And I'm Thrilled With It) - Autotrader