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.
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.
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.
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.