• Sign in
  • |
  • Sign up

Car Video:  Oversteer

I Bought the Cheapest Porsche 911 in the USA: 1-Year Ownership Report

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 1999 Porsche 911 Carrera 4
Used 1999 Porsche 911
$26,900
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 1999 Porsche 911 Carrera
Used 1999 Porsche 911
$18,900
RELATED READING
See all Porsche 911 articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Tyler Hoover October 2017

A little over a year has passed since I wrote about my first blind purchase decision for all the world to see -- and discuss how big of an idiot I am. As most regular Oversteer readers know, to call this car the beginning of a slippery slope is a gross understatement. Buying my 1999 Porsche 911 with 243,000 miles for only $9,500 a year ago was the starting point for me diving head-first off a cliff into my new life of pseudo-automotive journalism meets compulsive buying disorder -- and amazingly, nobody has tried an intervention yet.

My initial goal for purchasing this Porsche was to prove the infamous IMS-bearing-related engine failure was blown way out of proportion -- and I still maintain this opinion. The old 3.4-liter flat six in my Porsche had the IMS bearing changed twice in 243,000 miles as a preventive measure with each clutch job, which was probably a little overboard. Fastidious maintenance was the big draw to this car, as it had only one owner and was meticulously maintained by the same shop for over 15 years. The rare lobster-colored interior with sports seats, along with a very low price that made it the cheapest running 911 in the USA, helped seal the deal for me as well.

For 6 months, my car was a beacon of hope for 996-chassis 911 owners, who were tired of hearing the letters IMS from a naysayer every 5 seconds. I slowly racked up the miles, providing great anecdotal evidence that these engines can last a very long time. It survived a dyno test with good numbers, faired well on a compression test and put out respectable times at the drag strip. Shortly after a successful cross-country drive, I decided the next test would be a track day -- which turned out to be a fatal mistake.

The 996 is known for having issues with engine oil temperature on the track, and many recommend installing an aftermarket oil cooler before any sustained high-performance driving. I was unaware of this and dismissed my lower oil-pressure readings -- until the big bang happened. After 248,000 glorious miles, it wasn't the dreaded IMS bearing that failed, it was another design defect -- along with some serious pilot error -- that led to the demise of this exceptional engine. Perhaps an even greater mistake was the decision that followed, which proved to be really expensive.

Totaling up the entire year with the LS swap project, I have a little over $30,000 invested in this 911. The same money would have purchased me a high-mileage 996 Turbo or a newer 997-chassis Carrera 4S. I also could have bought a C6 Z06 Corvette, or both an early base 996 and an early LS2-equipped C6 Corvette -- BOTH. Financially, this swap project makes me look exceptionally stupid -- but thankfully, a recent online auction on bringatrailer.com gives me some hope of redemption.

It's an amazing coincidence that someone auctioned off this LS2-swapped high-mileage 1999 Carrera shortly after I finished my project. Cosmetically, this car was left largely stock, and the interior and exterior look to be in nicer condition than mine -- but the seller skipped on installing air conditioning, which would scare off many southern-state buyers. Despite the negatives, this car brought $26,000 at auction, proving I didn't throw my money away LS-swapping my car. Either that, or there's only one other person with $26,000 that's as crazy as me.

Of course, I have no plans to sell the Porsche, as I'm just starting to enjoy the fruits of my crippling debt. I recently finished a 500-mile road trip with the car, and it averaged a lower-than-expected 18 miles per gallon. This didn't disappoint me much, as I was pleased about the 911 feeling just as civilized as it did before the engine failure.

I gained plenty of hindsight from this past year -- but if you gave me the chance to do it all over again, I wouldn't stop myself from making the same mistakes. I've called myself an automotive masochist a few times, and an idiot a thousand times -- but really, I think the reason for my strange behavior is the adventure. Buying these sketchy cars brings me the same rush as jumping out of an airplane or climbing a mountain. While I'm only risking my ego and financial future, at least I have something to show for it when I'm finished.

Tyler Hoover went broke after 10 years in the car business and now sells hamburgers to support his fleet of needy cars. He lives in Wichita, Kansas.

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
How Do You Service an Exotic Car That's Never Driven?
Am I the Only One Who Hates the 1970s-1980s Mercedes SL?
Autotrader Find: Bright Pink 2003 Hummer H2 With Gullwing Doors

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 1999 Porsche 911 Carrera 4
Used 1999 Porsche 911
$26,900
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 1999 Porsche 911 Carrera
Used 1999 Porsche 911
$18,900
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
I Bought the Cheapest Porsche 911 in the USA: 1-Year Ownership Report - Autotrader