Editor’s Note: We love scouring the internet for reasons to spend money we don’t have on cars we daydream about owning, and these are our picks this week. All prices listed are bid amounts at the time of publishing.
Porsche is the sports car company. If you’ve ever driven either the Cayenne or Macan SUVs, you know the performance factor translates even to the manufacturer’s heftiest models. And while SUVs are now Stuttgart’s bread and butter, the lust-worthy cars wearing Porsche badges are still the tried and true sports cars.
You can find slightly more affordable Porsches with higher mileage, but you’ll run the risk of inheriting classic car reliability problems. That’s why the low-mileage examples below are so tempting.
1988 Porsche 930 Turbo
Location: North Andover, Massachusetts
What we like: This vintage 911 — the first Turbo model — earned the nickname ‘Widowmaker’ because its rear-biased weight would cause the car to easily spin in certain cornering situations, sending the car into a dangerous tailspin. It should be approached with respect. Porsches have always carried a high-performance reputation, but in the late-’80s the quotient was dialed up to 11. This 930 Turbo is incredibly clean and sports an iconic whale-tail spoiler.
From the seller: “The car spent time in Pennsylvania and North Carolina before moving in 2003 to Massachusetts, where it was later acquired by the seller a decade ago. Just over 3,000 miles have been covered since, and the car is accompanied by over $35,000 of service records from the last 15 years, including a receipt for a March 2004 engine rebuild.”
What to look out for: As with many turbocharged cars from the ’80s, problems seem to stem from the turbo itself. Keep an eye out for leaking fluids resulting from cracked or blown gaskets.
1983 Porsche 944
Location: Ridgefield, Washington
What we like: It isn’t a 911, but the 944 deserves mention. Before the mid-engine Cayman replaced it as the entry-level car for the brand, the 944 was regarded as one of the best handling cars Porsche ever built. Early models had their quirks, but few cars could hold a candle to the 944 in its day.
From the seller: “The car has been used sparingly since 1985 and has covered around 1k miles since 1999. The last timing belt service was performed in 2002, and more recent services include a fuel tank flush, new fuel injectors, pump and filter in 2008, and an R134 A/C conversion in 2017.”
What to look out for: When shopping around for 944s, it’s important to see them in person and take a look underneath the car itself. Oil and other fluid leaks are quite common.
2001 Porsche 911 Turbo
Location: Northbrook, Illinois
What we like: This manual 911 Turbo might have been a black sheep 996 vintage, but it’s fully optioned and at just 16,000 miles it’s barely broken in. You’ll essentially be buying a brand new car.
From the seller: “This 2001 Porsche 911 Turbo has 16k miles from new and is powered by a 3.6L Mezger flat-six paired to a six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive. The car was sold new in Dublin, Ohio, and has remained in the midwest from new.”
What to look out for: One common problem that causes the check engine light to turn on is a problem with the cam chain tensioner, which can occur even in lower-mileage example. A larger more serious problem is ring and pinion failure which will need immediate attention as it affects the differential.
2004 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet
Location: Cleveland, Georgia
What we like: It’s hard to beat a saddle tan interior no matter the car, and at 25,000 miles, this particular example’s interior is like new. The added removable hard top is afantastic bonus for the colder months as well.
From the seller: “A remanufactured 3.6L flat-six from RND Engines was recently installed by the selling dealer and fitted with an upgraded IMS bearing as described below. Several Porsche Exclusive options are present including wood interior trim and 18-inch SportDesign alloy wheels. This 996 Cabrio is offered with a color-matched hardtop, records of the recent engine installation, a clean Carfax report and a clear Georgia title.”
What to look out for: One of the more common problems for this generation 911 stems from the coolant system. Make sure you ask the seller if they’ve rectified any problems regarding the coolant reservoir as they can develop small cracks and leaks.
2002 Porsche 911 Turbo
Location: Los Angeles, California
What we like: Yes, there are two 911 Turbos from the 996 generation on this list. The 966 is looked down upon solely due to its headlight design. But one collector’s trash is the common man’s treasure. Low-mileage 996 Turbos go for half of what the previous and following generation 911 Turbos fetch.
From the seller: “The original owner was reportedly a long-time Porsche collector who purchased the car new from a Bay Area dealership and kept it in California until 2013.”
What to look out for: As with the previous Turbo, this generation has problems with thecam chain tensioner, which can occur even in lower-mileage examples. But, the bigger concern is the ring and pinion failure.