There’s something inherently special about deciding to go shopping for a vintage set of wheels, especially if it is something from your favorite brand or model.
Where buying a brand new car – or upgrading your current model – criteria like value for money, fuel efficiency, safety specification, and even the output of the audio system are important. However, most of these fly out of the window when considering a vintage model. Here, buyers are first and foremost looking for the most original model they can find: this means the original dials and materials, an engine that has not been opened or modified, and bodywork that is accident-free. Especially in the case of a premium brand like Porsche, these well-engineered sports cars certainly don’t require modification to perform at a high level, even decades into their lives.
However, what else should you consider when shopping around for a vintage Porsche?
Choosing your model
If vintage Porsche is what you’re looking for, you have many model options at your disposal. While the 356 (Porsche’s first production automobile produced from 1948) must be one of the ultimate Porsche collectors’ items, you won’t find nearly as many of them as the 911.
In both cases, many original examples remain as most owners go all-out to preserve the condition of these sports cars. The four-seater models were generally produced in higher volumes, but early versions suffered from poor ventilation. Then again, as you are unlikely to use your purchase as a daily driver, this shouldn’t be a significant deterrent. There’s really no glaring ‘weak link’ in the vintage Porsche model range.
If you have no idea where to start, consider a 911SC, produced from 1978 – 1983. Their air-cooled, flat-six motors were a huge step up from previous versions, and especially the models produced from 1980 onwards were pretty much bulletproof.
Body styles: which one?
Many purists insist that the 911 coupé, with its more structurally rigid body, is the only option. However, it doesn’t make much sense to pass up on a pristine Targa or Convertible model, should you find one. Unless you have a specific desire for a certain body style, all Porsche 911’s remain true driver’s cars. However, convertibles will typically suffer from more insulation issues, so require special attention when testing and viewing.
Bottom line here: the condition of the car is more important than the body style.
Who or where to buy from?
Overpriced private sales of vintage Porches are common, as well as the possibility that the seller has run into some kind of trouble with their car – trouble which you could be inheriting. That said, it’s not impossible to find a thoroughly decent private deal, and if you do, be sure to react quickly.
It’s wise too to listen closely to what the seller prioritizes in their sales pitch, and which aspects of the car they appear to skirt around. These could very well be clues to issues not visible to the eye. Be it an independent dealer or private seller, it is always advisable to have the car checked by a reputable service center before committing to the purchase.
No matter what your budget or desired Porsche classic model, a valuable tip is to begin the process not intending to purchase too quickly. After a few viewings or test drives, you’ll be able to gauge a good deal from a bad one in no time, and ultimately make a better decision. Here’s to finding your ideal vintage Porsche and enjoying many miles in one of Zuffenhausen’s best!