Porsche 968 Ownership Update

I thought it was about time I gave an update on the Porsche 968 experience. It’s my first time owning a P-car and it’s fair to say I’ve had my ups and downs with it.

Read on…..

Porsche 968 ClubSport

Driving a Porsche 968 Clubsport is absolutely fantastic. It is – by some distance – the most impressive car I’ve ever owned in terms of road feel, handling and over all performance.

I went for a drive with a few friends at the start of the month. We covered around 180km of winding country roads and it was outstanding fun. The car didn’t miss a beat all day. It didn’t miss an apex, either. I experienced some of the best driving fun I’ve ever had and felt totally in control all day. It was a hot day but my A/C kept me cool with typical Teutonic efficiency.

Maybe the one word that best sums up my 968 is capable. It does everything it’s maker intended it to do with immense capability.

Inspiring? When you push it, it can be. Perhaps the problem with the 968 is that it’s SO capable that its limits are well beyond mine. Maybe I just need to get to know it better.

It’s not the most handsome car on the road, but it definitely has presence. I still prefer a 944’s styling to the 928-inspired nose on the 968. But I’m happy to put up with lesser looks to get the mechanical upgrades that make this car so enjoyable.

Porsche 968 Driveway

Owning a Porsche 968 Clubsport is proving to be slightly less fantastic than driving it.

First, there are my driveway problems. I’ve made a temporary fix in the form of some wooden platforms that lift the front wheels as the car goes over the hump. They do the job, but they’re a pain to lay out every time I want to use the car.

I have two basic choices to remedy this (three, if you count selling the car, which I don’t – yet). The first is to alter the driveway, flattening the degree of angle between the road and the descent. That’s going to cost around $4,000. The second option is to move to a new house, one that not only has a sports-car-friendly entrance, but also more garage, workshop and studio space. I’ve been exploring this option for a while now.

Next, there’s the occasional anti-Porsche sentiment you encounter. Porsche owners love Porsches. Aspiring Porsche owners love seeing Porsches. Most other people just think you’re some wealthy wanker that loves to show off – and given that I spent less on my Porsche than what they did on their new Camry, that can be a bit annoying. That anti-Porsche sentiment isn’t a huge downer and it doesn’t happen that often. But when it does, it’s usually in the form of aggressive parking officers, aggressive lane-protectors in traffic and other minor annoyances.

The final problem with Porsche ownership is the cost and hassle of maintenance. I bought this car with my eyes wide open. I knew that it’s relatively rare and will cost more to service than a regular car. Still, I didn’t expect this much hassle.

The first challenge you face is finding someone to work on the car that you’re happy with. This wouldn’t be quite the same problem in a bigger city, but here in tiny little Hobart, the simple act of finding someone you knows the car, someone that you can trust is a problem in itself. Thankfully, I’ve got that sorted.

The second challenge is the cost of parts and the labour cost involved with the work.

Right now, my car is still in pieces at a workshop in central Hobart. It’s time for the 120,000km service and given that it’s been four years since the last change, it’s also time to change the timing belts. I decided to get the brake pads done on all four corners, too.

My initial parts spend was $750 plus freight from the US. Since then, the mechanic called and told me to source a water pump and a timing belt tensioner, as well as a few associated ancillaries. There’s another $1,000.

Why source them in the US? Because as expensive as those prices seem, the parts would cost nearly twice as much if I got them from Porsche Australia.

I’m expecting labour to come in at no less than $1,500. Plus fluids.

Bottom line, I’m going to be up for something between $3,500 and $4,000 and that’s with nothing extraordinary being done.

And today, my parts supplier emailed me to say that the parts were going to take at least another three weeks because the US was out of stock and they’d have to be sourced from Germany. I’m tapping a 968-owning friend in the local Porsche club for another source right now.

Waiting at Baskerville

The bottom line: Driving the Porsche is outstanding when I can get it out of the driveway and really drive it under the right conditions. Some cars can make driving to the local shop an experience to behold. The 968 needs a bit more provocation than a leisurely stroll down the street to justify the difficulty of getting it out of the driveway. Personally, I think that’s a bit sad.

When you DO get it in the right scenario, though, it’s absolutely outstanding.

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19 Comments

  1. Owning a Porsche was always going to have its ups and downs. Getting up your drive and over the gutter is a trial in itself, for sure. I have the same issue every day getting the Hirsch out of my driveway and it isn’t anywhere as aggressive as yours. My front spoiler is looking rather scuffed at this point.
    Service costs can really hurt, not matter what car you drive. But a Porsche is on another level altogether. Can you do a minor service yourself next time? Maybe not, given the ‘book’ issues I suppose. But as an automotive asset it would be one of the few cars these days to actually hold its value. You wouldn’t sell now given the dollars spent to this point…

    1. I wanted a stamp with this one given that it’s a scheduled service. I can do oil, etc, in the in-between times but I figured it was best to get it properly checked out first time round.

  2. It’s an expensive hobby. No way around that fact. When I see someone driving around in an old Porsche or old Lotus, or whatever, I assume they’re likely a real enthusiast and love the car for its own sake. I am the guy who would come up to you at the pumps and say, nice car, and hope you’ve got a good story to tell. Which you do, obviously 🙂 From the pictures, the situation of your house looks very attractive. Do you have a great view, I wonder.

    1. Do we have a great view? Yes, indeed 🙂

      The bad part about Hobart is that we’re at the end of the world and only the most dedicated want to live away from big city conveniences. The good part is that we have a nice, wide river and it’s surrounded by hills. This is just part of the 180 degree panorama outside our window.

      View

      Sydney to Hobart yacht race finish, above.

      Not the Sydney to Hobart yacht race finish, below 🙂

      View2

    1. Ours is a pretty busy street. I park on the street once every few weeks to make driving the next morning easier but I don’t sleep so well on those nights 🙂 We’re in a good neighbourhood but even accidental scratches will cost a bucket of money to fix.

      1. I get it. Reading between the lines I’m guessing you’re also worried about about the ‘Look, there’s a Porsche – let’s kick the wing mirror off just for the heck of it’ mentality. You should have seen the city street I used to have to park in. ‘Look, there’s a fairly unassuming three-year-old Saab saloon. Let’s kick the wing mirror, stamp on the bonnet, bend the wipers, jump on the roof … oh, wait, I just saw a Porsche!’ Leaving aside the fact that the parallel parking down one side rendered the street a narrow single lane, so you can imagine the accidental parking bumps and scrapes, on two occasions in the space of about three months every single car on the street got messed with in some way: windows smashed, wipers pulled off, though strangely mine on both of those particular occasions got off lightly. Then there was the brand new Audi S3 that was usually parked about 50m up the road that had the wing mirrors surgically removed by professional thieves twice in the space of one month. No lock-ups, you see!

        1. you should see the state of my 9-3 after parking it in the streets near my work over the past couple of years. No idea what happened the last time it took a knock, but presumably someone crashed their scooter into it.

          The only positive is the satisfying feeling of using a dent puller. When it works.

          1. I’m glad you actually got a dent out with one of those things. Mine ended up with crease dents, so no hope without $$$ body-shop repair.

  3. Wow….unless you can get another house with the features you need *and* that view, I would consider what is necessary to add what you need to the house you have….if possible. I am sure there are many factors involved in the total package decision, but there is much value in the calming benefit of a view like that.

    1. Mark, the beauty of Hobart is that it’s surrounded with hills like ours. You don’t pay much of a premium for views at all.

  4. Epic view. What about garaging the 968 off site?

    And I thought my 2001 9-3 was getting difficult and expensive to maintain as an only car. Yikes. The Saab turbo is exotic enough, thank you.

    That driveway would be interesting in the -20 C polar vortex winter we’re hit with in Canada at the moment.

  5. Well.. what else do you go to work for other than to have enough spondoolies to enjoy the time you’re not strapped in your office chair? If that time is enjoyed as much as it sounds when you’re strapped in the 968’s drivers’ seat, it’s all money well spent. Life is for living and so on and so forth (Captain Platitude to the rescue!).

    Looks like you just need to pour some concrete over those ramps, and be done with it.

    Flying to Hobart tomorrow! I’ll keep my eyes peeled for you!

    1. Welcome to downunder-downunder 🙂

      You won’t see the 968 out and about because it’s in pieces at the moment. However, if you’re coming for pleasure and happen to be wandering around Salamanca market on Saturday, do call in to site #30. The Mrs and I will be there selling her prints (no need to buy, just stop and say Hi).

      Enjoy your visit!

  6. Hey Swade!
    hmm i have to ask… have you tried to go out in “another” way? I mean you dont have to take the bump straight ahead and the problem with the angle and the asphalt also… i mean not to drive out in a 90 degree angle towards the street BUT
    to drive from the highest pont ina 45 degree to the street… i am almost sure you will not hit touch the asphalt.

    p.s. the view looks really really palatial!!!

  7. ok, it just looks like it’s going to work out… i have the same problem and this is how i park in and out…
    And i know ist’s not a new house… but the P is new 😉
    Have a nice weekend!

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