For a long time I’ve dreamt that I would someday own and drive a Porsche 911. I’ve bought just about every Porsche book and subscribed to every Porsche magazine available. I didn’t want a new Porsche. While the modern (last 5-6 years or so) 911 is an awesome automobile, I’ve always been a fan of the “middle-era” cars. In addition the prices on newer 911s is out of this world!
The Porsche 911 is a special kind of car with a unique (and b>long) history. First shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1963, the 911 has remained basically unchanged and in production longer than any other production car in the world. Each year minor updates were made to the design, and every few years more significant updates were made. The “early-era” cars were built from 1964-1972. Today the “early-era” cars can be classified as rust buckets, race cars, or collectors items. The bodies on 911’s were not galvanized until 1974 so older cars are prone to rust. I didn’t want a race car, and since I wanted a car to drive daily, a collectors item was out of the question. Besides cars built in the ’60s are just a little to primitive for my tastes.
The “early-middle-era” always looked good to me. Because of rust I had ruled out anything prior to 1974. But reliability in the cars built prior to 1981 seemed suspect to me (the 2.7 liter engine had serious longevity problems). In 1989/90 the 911’s look was significantly altered with the introduction of molded bumpers and sleeker aerodynamics. Some prefer this era’s (called the 964) look. Not me. In 1995 the most dramatic change to the 911’s look was made. Whereas before the 911 was beautiful because of the engineering excellence it stood for, the “Type 993” was even more beautiful due its styling. However as I mentioned above these newer cars are very expensive. Thus the 911sc, built from 1978 to 1983 was what I thought most about. I didn’t really pay attention to cars newer than 1984 because of price.
The 1988 model year was a sweet spot for the 911. It was the year prior to the introduction of the of the “molded-bumper, high-tech-4-wheel-drive” cars of the 964 and 993 types. From 1984 to 1989 the engine was a bullet-proof 3.2 liter, DME-controlled, 217hp, musical instrument. These cars were called Carreras (the “SC” in the previous generation stood for Super Carrera). In 1987 the Carrera got all new transmission, the G50, which is much smoother and more reliable than any previous 911 transmission. There is virtually no difference between the 1987, 1988, and 1989 Carreras. The “original” 911 platform was discontinued completely in 1990 with the introduction of the Carrera 2 and Carrera 4 models (internal Porsche designation of Type 964). These are the first 911s with the aerodynamic molded bumpers.
If you pay attention to the 911s you see on the street you’ll know that there are basically four body styles: Coupe, Cabriolet (convertible), Targa (lift off top), and Turbo Look (aka “Whale-Tail”). I can’t picture myself in a convertible, the roofline of the Targa ruins the shape of the 911 (except the 993 Targa which I would own in a heartbeat), and whale-tails stand out too much. The coupe is just clean design.
In terms of color, my daughter will tell you that her daddy’s favorite color is blue. But I’ve also always loved silver cars. German cars are supposed to be silver. 911s have come in lots of different colors, but the three that I’ve always liked the best were, light (e.g. Aluminum) silver, dark silver/blue, and midnight-blue (almost black).
This spring, my lovely wife was driving to the grocery store in my Infinity G20, doing about 40mph. A dolt in a mini-van turned left in front of her and she T-boned him. The Infinity was totaled and my wife got whip-lash. This unfortunate event turned out to be most fortuitous for my pursuit of a 911!
A few weeks after the accident the insurance company called to confirm that the car was indeed totaled. My wife called me at work to tell me and we decided to go down to the Audi dealer that afternoon and buy a new Audi A4 Quattro (purchasing a Porsche was discussed only jokingly).
We arrived at the dealership and began looking at an Audi. The salesman, whom I had previously spoken to before about Porsches, mentioned off-hand that a 1988 911 Carrera with 6800 miles on it had just become available. “Is it a coupe?” was my first question. “What color is it?” was my second. “Yes it’s a coupe, and it’s Slate Blue. Wanna see it?”. I didn’t immediately realize what color “Slate Blue” was, but we said “Sure, why not?”. “Does it really have only 6800 miles on it??!?! Wild!”
Right Front View
The car was in the service bay. It looked brand new. We fell in love. We bought it. It’s a newer car than I expected to own. It’s also in much better shape than the 911 I thought I’d get someday. It also happened sooner than I expected. But how can you pass up a car like this? The right “era”, the right shape, and the right color (it’s actually “officially” Venetian Blue).
So how did this come to be? How in the world did this Porsche/Audi dealer end up with a 1988 911 (built in November 1987) with only 6800 miles on it? The story is priceless.
Apparently this lawyer in a smallish town in our state bought the car for himself in 1988 and drove it infrequently until 1990. His son turned 16 in 1990. He told his son not to drive the car. Ever. One night dad went out and when he came back the engine cover was warm. He was so mad that he decided to take the car down to his place of business and essentially hide the car from his son.
Recently a client of the lawyer, who happens to be a Porsche car salesman, told the guy he should sell the thing. After all, it’s just sitting there. So the lawyer sold it to the dealership. Apparently “some lady” had already put a deposit on the car and was supposed to make her final decision by 10am the morning we visited the dealer. She didn’t show up, so we got it! Turns out she came by the next week wanting to buy the car, but it was already in my garage! We just happened to be there at the right time! The car still had 1990 license plate tabs.
It’s kind of like the stories you hear about finding an old car in perfect condition in some grandmother’s barn.
Pretty cool, eh?
May 22, 1997
May 5, 1997
I had my first track experience at Seattle International Raceway. I attended the Proformance Driving School and had a blast. Read And then the instructor puked in my car... for the whole story.
I discovered that the car suffered from what is known as "premature valve guide wear". I have an entire page dedicated to this portion of my car's history. Read Premature Guide Wear Sucks for the whole story.
Still have my baby. It's still 100% stock. Has about 25,000 miles on it. It's still in absolute mint condition. Time for new tires
The picture at the top of this page was taken April 27, 2008. As you can see she's still in perfect condition. About 31,000 miles.
I entered her into two shows. I won 1st place in the PNWR Show & Shine on July 25, 2010 and won 2nd Place for all Porsche's at the Kirkland Concours d'Elegance on September 12, 2010.