BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
12/18/10 7:58 p.m.

I'm in a bit of a quandary - it now looks like I've got to sell my 911 in the UK as it's not old enough to import into the US yet and in an effort to quell my frustration, I checked up on the Pelican Parts. Big mistake, because I found this:

Trouble is, the spare change behind the sofa doesn't quite cover the cost of the car, so I'm looking at borrowing some money. Which I loathe. I'd feel a little better if I didn't have a car payment for a car that depreciates in front of my eyes so I'm asking the collective crystal ball for some advice .

Short version - it's a modified 911T (so not the most desirable long nose 911) with an SC engine and gearbox, modified to add lightness (no rear seats, RS door panels, buckets in the front, other items removed to save weight). I'd probably stick a roll bar in the back and just generally clean it up a little.

Question is - provided I buy sensibly, what do people consider the odds to be that the value of something like this would go down over the next 3-5 years? My understanding is that there's been an upward trend for longnose 911s over the past 5-10 years and the expensive special versions have been dragging prices up with them. Comments?

KaptKaos
KaptKaos Reader
12/18/10 8:34 p.m.

A) Make sure you get along with the R-Gruppe fellas first. They're an "interesting" bunch.

2) Best prices for cars are almost always for original, matching numbers cars.

C) A 911 long nose hot rod is still a desirable car. You are limiting the potential group of buyers with the hot rod, as it will only appeal to those that know what it is. So selling it will take time, compared to an all original car.

4) I am not a fan of car payments, particularly in these uncertain economic times. A double-dip, or deflation could erase any potential upside you have for a long time.

E) You need to know who has rebuilt the engine. There are several builders to look out for. Pelican BBS can give you lots of info on which ones to avoid.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
12/18/10 9:47 p.m.
KaptKaos wrote: A) Make sure you get along with the R-Gruppe fellas first. They're an "interesting" bunch.

Good point, guess that's another forum to sign up for then.

KaptKaos wrote: 2) Best prices for cars are almost always for original, matching numbers cars.

Yes, I realise that - that's more or less what I have in the UK at the moment, but I have this mental picture of a 'perfect' 911 for me and that's not original, nor does it have matching numbers . I've had modified cars before so I know this is one of the "you never get back what you put into it" scenarios; I would however hope that the base car wouldn't depreciate further unless I suddenly decide to convert it into an impactbumper car (nope, not going to happen).

KaptKaos wrote: C) A 911 long nose hot rod is still a desirable car. You are limiting the potential group of buyers with the hot rod, as it will only appeal to those that know what it is. So selling it will take time, compared to an all original car.

I would hope that I wouldn't get the itch to rid myself of it very soon and I'm learning to be patient when selling vehicles (and buying them actually). But yes, I realise it's a fairly limited market.

KaptKaos wrote: 4) I am not a fan of car payments, particularly in these uncertain economic times. A double-dip, or deflation could erase any potential upside you have for a long time.

That's one reason I'm anything but a fan of them, although one of the mitigating aspects is that it would allow me more breathing room when it comes to selling my UK 911 - if it sells roughly for what I want it to sell, I can pay off the loan I'd need for this one straight away, but I'm not rushed into selling it and thus discount it further than I want to.

KaptKaos wrote: E) You need to know who has rebuilt the engine. There are several builders to look out for. Pelican BBS can give you lots of info on which ones to avoid.

I don't think the engine has been rebuilt; it has been modified a little (at least to the extent that it's running Webers) but it appears to be a mostly stock SC engine otherwise.

oldtin
oldtin Dork
12/19/10 10:39 a.m.

I see prices ranging from 6k to 85k with few unmodified cars - a lot of the mods are things like S brakes and suspension bits on Ts or Es. But the high dollar stuff is RS replicas. No real shortage of tweaked longnoses. I don't think I would worry too much. It will probably hold on to it's value. That being said, I don't think I would go in debt. Sell the 911 in the UK - then go for one here. Better than half the 911s were sent to the US. There's always another car and another deal (unless it's a 1 of 1 thing). I've almost always been burnt when I had to have "that" car.

octavious
octavious New Reader
12/19/10 7:22 p.m.

I think what you want to do with the car is the most important. If you want a driver with good power and has a look you like I say go for it. However, if you are looking to have a car that can be entered in concours events and such then I'd look elsewhere. With the mods it would probably take more to put it back to stock then it is worth.

I think 911 long and short hoods will always be popular and will always get good prices. Well, as long as a car isn't totally butchered I think this. You see a lot of cars being converted to RS replicas which means someone will always want the early cars. Couple that with the people who hate the impact bumper cars and that is another segment looking at early cars. I also think anything that stays Porsche will always have a market. Taking an early T and putting an SC motor in it, at least keeps it Porsche.

I personally like the early cars in stock form with few mods. When you start getting in the impact bumpers I think all mods are fine, as long as they are kept Porsche. I'm not a fan of the Chevy motors and such in 911's, although I did see a guy who put a turbo'd Subaru motor in a mid year which looked really clean. Still to me if it stays Porsche its all good.

As for the car in your link $18K to me seems high, but that is only because you really have no idea about the motor. Advertising a motor as rebuilt and not really knowing if it is or not throws up a flag to me.

Lastly, since you already have one I guess you know, but I wouldn't get any older 911 without having a PPI done first.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid Auction Editor
12/20/10 2:05 p.m.

Hey Tim, here's my 2 cents from being a serial 911 owner, the count is up to 19 as of today.

First originality matters for the higher dollar cars for sure but the reality of the 911 market now is that a nice (Nice means a #3 condition car that would look presentable at a local show with no issues mechanically) numbers matching, rust free, original(and that means paint color, engine, wheels and interior) will cost at least 18 grand in the current market and the prices are on the rise big time.

I honestly think that the prices for long hood early 911s are a pretty safe place to spend your money.

I know that you understand the PPI deal and its importance. The SC engine is likely the best 911 air cooled engine ever constructed. I would pay 15k for the car and drive and enjoy it. At a price like that any upgrades you do, replacing the rear seats and such are easy to recoup when and if you sell the car. If you do an RS conversion and do it well the car will increase well beyond the cost of doing the RS clone work. People love the look and with that engine your car will offer the same kind of performance as a real RS and be easy to deal with as well.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
12/20/10 2:59 p.m.

Thanks everybody for their input. Just a couple of comments re some of the points that have been raised:

  • I'm looking for a fast road car with some HPDE use, not a concours car. The rear seats (which have already been removed anyway) would be replaced with some 'scaffolding', preferably of the SCCA/NASA legal kind. It would cost quite a bit of money to turn this car back into a stock 911T as it is but that's not what I want. On this one, the appeal is that it's partway there already and we're not talking about 'molesting' a matching numbers car.

  • The engine something that would need looking at to determine what's been done to it and how good it is - all the invoices for work on the car I've seen so far contain comments about how strong the engine is running and the (slightly dated) compression figures I've seen are still in the acceptable range, albeit at the lower end.

  • My main worry is the bodywork, I've been bit by this before on my other 911 and I don't plan to repeat the experience. From the photos it looks like an honest car but I would go over it with a magnifying glass anyway. PPI goes without saying, although I would try to arrange one while I'm present (given the nature of the car I wouldn't want to buy it without having driven it, I'd rather spend money on a wasted trip than buy something I don't like).

I'm still in two minds about it as the same sort of money would buy me a nice SC closer to home or I could just buy something cheaper that wouldn't hurt as bad if I had one of those 'ran out of talent mid-corner' moments.

Just as an aside re the financing - as mentioned I generally don't like buying vehicles on credit; that said, as a recent immigrant into the US with very little credit history here, a car loan for something that doesn't lose a third of its value as soon as I drive it off the lot would actually be somewhat beneficial in the grand scheme of things (like wanting to buy a house in a few years).

This whole decision making thing would be a lot easier if most of the interesting cars weren't on the other side of a snow storm...

oldtin
oldtin Dork
12/20/10 3:27 p.m.

Good point on the financing. Just food for thought - if you hire out a rebuild - it can be $4000-$6000 for an SC engine rebuild.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid Auction Editor
12/21/10 7:28 a.m.

Tim if the goal is a track day car, you can get a decent SC for about 8-12k and those also are not likely to decrease in value. It is a better value for the money to be sure.

aeronca65t
aeronca65t Dork
12/21/10 8:23 a.m.

Just a comment: I have been looking at these cars too, but I'm hardly a purist and would prefer a track day/commuter car.

It occurs to me that the newer 996 cars are very reasonable....and, of course, newer. So age-related problems (like rust) are less of an issue. I understand that the newer cars are more complex, but they are also fairly durable (and if service is needed, I have a strong automotive background).

I'd still be interested in a nice 911, but the 996s seem like a better value for many of us.

Tom Heath
Tom Heath Webmaster
12/21/10 10:37 a.m.
BoxheadTim wrote: Thanks everybody for their input. Just a couple of comments re some of the points that have been raised: I'm looking for a fast road car with some HPDE use, not a concours car. The rear seats (which have already been removed anyway) would be replaced with some 'scaffolding', preferably of the SCCA/NASA legal kind. It would cost quite a bit of money to turn this car back into a stock 911T as it is but that's not what I want. On this one, the appeal is that it's partway there already and we're not talking about 'molesting' a matching numbers car.

I love this. Too many 911s that I see (old, new, and in-between) don't seem to get used as the sports car they were meant to be.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
12/23/10 12:33 p.m.

Well, it would be shame to live out here with all the mountain roads and not use a sports car as it was intended, hence my idea of building/buying a compromise car that's both road legal and reasonably safe on the track.

Andy, after a few more trawls of the Pelican forums I'm beginning to warm to the idea of an SC (or actually a 964). They seem to be reasonably easy to find in California or down in Vegas (so no mega-travel budget just to view a car), I already have experience with a Carrera 3.2 and they're not too different. Plus, I seem to be better at finding some of the aftermarket stuff that I'd want (rear bolt-in cage, front tower brace, 'add lightness' parts).

I do like the simplicity of the earlier cars, which is why I'm not too keen on a 993 or 996 even though they're objectively better cars. I'm just not convinced that they're better at being a 911.

Oh, and an unintended side benefit of an impact bumper car is that I'm already a member of a really good forum for these cars.

More food for thought.

Dave_Jorgensen
Dave_Jorgensen New Reader
12/23/10 4:08 p.m.

Tim:

I currently own a '95 993 C4 with Bilsteins, M030 suspension, Flowmasters, and 18" wheels with 225/265 Conti Contacts, and I have formerly owned a 3.2 litre 914/6, a swb 2.4 Weber-equpped 911, and a 4-cam 928S. I can assure you that my 993 gives up nothing in driver feedback or "Porsche Presence." Some people define that Porsche mystique as tail-happiness and nervousness at the limit - if that's what you want, then stick with an older generation, but if you want a car where you can drive its socks off and feel in complete control even at 9/10ths, then don't neglect 993's. I'm looking at the classifieds in the November 2010 Porsche Panorama [Porsche Club of America's magazine] right now, and a good C2 from a club member seems to run anywhere from 20K to 30K - C4S's are more. But you'll spend at least 20K getting a long-nose set with contemporary brakes, wheels, springs, rubber, and modernized engine internals - so you may want to think about putting that money into an upfront purchase where the hard stuff has already been done at the factory. It doesn't matter whether I use my 993 as a transcontinental GT or as a Sunday-morning-backroad-carver, it's up to all tasks. Plus it looks a little like a 959 - no bad thing. It's got 'only' 280 horsepower, but I can assure you that in the real world, there isn't much other than a well-ridden litre-bike that'll leave it behind.

Cheers, Dave

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
12/27/10 5:46 p.m.

Dave, thanks for the 993 info. One of the reasons I currently toy with the idea of getting another 3.2 Carrera or an SC (probably an SC) are that they're a little simpler than a 993 (which means I can DIY some of the work) and most importantly, less powerful. I know this sounds odd but part of the car's job will be to help me learn track driving/race craft and I think a slower car might be better for that.

It now looks like I'll be selling my 3.2 in the UK first and then we'll see how we get around to another vehicle. I'll probably keep an eye on Pelican anyway but it looks like our Corvette has just grabbed the attention of my wallet .

Dave_Jorgensen
Dave_Jorgensen New Reader
12/27/10 6:25 p.m.

Tim, I understand what you mean about the power, track time, and the learning curve - as someone once said, "it's way more fun to drive a slow car fast than to drive a fast car slow." It's way more fun to go 70 MPH in my MGTD than to go 90 MPH in our 993 - and when the 993 gets sideways, you know you're REALLY in trouble.

Good luck on your 3.2 and SC search - there are lots of nice examples out there.

best, Dave

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