This is the second Porsche 944 I’ve looked into buying. I could tell enough about the first one (5 years ago) to know that it wasn’t a good car for me. It was a 1983 model. It looked great, but that’s where the good news finished. The interior was horrible and the car felt like it was about to fall to bits.
I had much higher hopes for the car I had tested today (Friday). It’s a 1990 model Porsche 944 S2. Much better model with more power, better mechanical technology, much better interior and it even looks more contemporary thanks to the body changes that first saw light on the Turbo from 1986.
The photos looked good. The buyer seems like a really responsible guy and the car has a complete history from its Australian delivery to present day. Promising, no?
The mechanic looked over the car today and I think I can summarise the occasion with his words, stating that this could well be one of the best S2’s on the road…… eventually.
First, the good bits. The paint is quite good. There’s some evidence that parts of the car (at least) have been repainted but there’s no lasting damage and the resulting paintwork is very presentable. The interior is one of the best the mechanic’s seen without a full restoration. He was amazed at the condition of the dashboard and the seats had been retrimmed in leather in the last few years. He took the cam cover off the engine to inspect the cam lobes, an easy tell-tale that inadequate oil has been used, but it was all good there, too.
So…. body OK. Interior OK. Engine internals OK.
Then we get to the list of stuff that needs attention. It’s a reasonably long and expensive list.
A lot of people desire originality in their cars and that’s fair enough. Unfortunately, this car seems to be too original. All original pipes, hoses, gaskets, seals, bushes, mounts, etc. That is, barely anything has been replaced and given the current condition of most of them, that’s a shame.
Put short (and again, in the mechanic’s words), this is car that could soak up $10K or more on top of the purchase price very, very easily.
The must-do list:
Hall effect sensor
Rear main seal
Rear brake discs
All brake hoses
Cam cover resurfacing (yes, a must-do)
Radiator fan motors (x2)
Fuel lines to fuel rail
Various cooling hoses
Yes, they’re the considered to be the must-do items. All are essentially the original items that were fitted to the car when it was built in late 1989. Many are on their absolute last legs and others might default to the near-term list (with the radiator header tank, a/c compressor, steering rack and other bits).
Now, there is a caveat in here. The mechanic who inspected the car is extremely finicky. It’s better to be fussy than lazy, but in talking to him I get the impression that anything that isn’t in concours condition is due for heavy criticism. But even if I could live with half of these items being done six months or a year from now, that’s still around $5K or so worth of remedial work that needs doing straight away.
That would push the price into the mid-upper $20K range. Fixing everything that needs doing (along with a few cautionary items that are recommended while you’re working nearby) means there may not be much change from $30K or more.
And at that price you’re into 968 territory. See, it’s never easy.
I’m yet to fully digest the report and go over the major points with the seller. I doubt he’s going to come down to a price that would justify the purchase for me.
We’ll see what happens. I’m not looking for one, but today’s experience just reinforces the fact that there’s no such thing as a cheap Porsche.