Budget Vintage Porsches Buying Guide

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Budget Vintage Porsches Buying Guide
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Budget Vintage Porsches Buying Guide

When you drive up in a shiny vintage Porsche, many non-car folks immediately believe you spent $30,000, $40,000, or more for your prize. But you can find several desirable, competent Porsches available for less than half of those prices. The following selection includes budget-friendly vintage Porsches, from several different production eras, that you can drive every day.

Discover Vintage Porsches

Even the oldest of the five vintage Porsches in this selection, if well-sorted and maintained, should give you many years of trouble-free fun. Best of all, when you go to sell, if you’ve taken proper care of your vintage Porsche, it should be worth at least what you paid for it, if not more.

  • 1962 – 1963 Porsche 356B coupe :Discover the last iteration of the 356 body style in 1962 to 1963 Porsche 356B coupes. Drivers and collectors treasure Porsche 356s for two primary reasons: the soundness and straightness of their bodies and the way they drive.
  • Porsche 356B body: You can find two body styles: the "early B" (T-5) and "late B" (T-6) body. Look carefully at the way the doors, trunk, and engine cover fit. Rust happens almost everywhere on the unprotected body and chassis, and you should just walk away from a car that has visible rust or evidence of ham-fisted repairs. Having a 356 expert go over the car is a real plus.
  • Porsche 356B driving experience: One of the reasons Porsche 356s engender fierce loyalty is that a good one is great fun to drive. If possible, take the car you plan to purchase for a test drive. Porsche 356s can produce power above 3,000 rpm, so be prepared to drive to the redline. If it doesn't thrill you, move on. Also consider joining the 356 Registry, one of the largest single-model clubs anywhere.

Car condition is more important than the body style and you should be able to find a decent, well-restored Porsche 356B or a nice example in original condition. Budget-friendly Porsche 356Bs are a great introduction to the mystique of the marque, but at bargain prices, you will not get a concours car. Instead, plan on having a solid body and well-sorted mechanicals in a correct, original color along with a few flaws and imperfections.

  • 1970 – 1973 Porsche 911T or Porsche 911E Targa:  Decent driver and near-pristine original 1970 to 1973 Porsche 911Ts and Porsche 911E Targas remain your best bet for owning a vintage six-cylinder Porsche at a reasonable price. Both the Porsche 911T and Porsche 911E Targa have been appreciating at a pretty good clip over the past five years, so you might be able to make a few bucks on a good one down the road. Porsche 911E Targas bring little or no premium; the same used to be true of open 356s a few decades ago. Buying a Porsche 911E Targa now, while they're still priced the same as far more common coupes, could be a prudent move.

Porsche 911Es sell for about the same as Porsche 911Ts, but require you to fuss with the crabby mechanical fuel injection systems. 1970 to 1971 Porsche 911Ts have smooth and easy-to-repair Zenith carbs. Expect to pay more for the 1973 Porsche 911T with the highly simplified CIS (constant injection system) engines.

Unlike original, unrestored 356s, which many owners drove into the ground and left for dead, you can still find many Porsche 911s in decent physical shape. Although Porsche 911s have tremendously durable powertrains, beware of bargains that seem too good to be true. Look for updated or replaced chain tensioners (and be sure the chain ramps were done at the same time), an original interior, and decent paint. Rust hides under the battery boxes in the front suspension pan and at the jacking posts under the doors.

  • 1973 – 1976 Porsche 914 2.0 roadster: The 1973 to 1976 Porsche 914 2.0 roadsters, the very best of the 914s, are enjoying a resurgence of enthusiast interest. While in no way fast, you can still have a lot of fun with them on a sunny day. All Porsche 914s come equipped with many genuine 911 appointments, as well as an authentic 911 transmission. Expect very nice examples to appreciate modestly and stay away from projects that will surely bury you. Pay particular attention to rust. When Porsche 914 roadsters were inexpensive, daily drivers let many of them experience bad weather, leaving body design flaws exposed to the elements.

Watch out also for any Porsche 914s that had their original fuel injection replaced by carburetors. Not only can it be hard or impossible to pass smog tests, but it also hurts originality and often drivability. If you want more power, a set of carbs won’t do it. Plan instead on inserting a 911 engine. There is plenty of that going on, and instructions on how to make the conversion are easy to find. Surprisingly, a properly done 914-6 conversion can bring big money, easily in the teens, which is nearly as much as a true 914-6.

  • 1978 – 1983 Porsche 911SC sunroof coupe:  The 1978 – 1983 Porsche 911SC sunroof coupes are arguably the greatest all-around 911s ever built. Updated tensioners make the engines bulletproof, the chassis were galvanized from new, and Porsche 911SCs have sturdy interiors. Know that Porsche 911SC sunroof coupes drive like very modern cars without the light, breezy feel of many vintage Porsches. Porsche 911SCs ride rather stiffly, as you trade low-speed comfort for high-speed capability. Also, because Porsche made so many durable 911SCs, the high volume will keep a lid on prices for at least another decade.

Get as original a Porsche 911SC as possible and even consider cars with 100,000 miles or more on the clock — an SC can go twice that far. The cars wear so well that 150,000 miles can look like 50,000. Transmission synchros are probably the weakest link, but are not any big deal to fix. Look for good service records and a verification of mileage claims.

  • 1992 – 1995 Porsche 968 sunroof coupe: The most modern Porsches you can buy on a strict budget, 1992 to 1995 Porsche 968 sunroof coupes, are true performance cars. Porsche put a tremendous amount of work into the nearly complete redesign of this final 944 iteration, providing it with 236 hp from a Variocam 3-liter engine, a six-speed manual transmission, and attractive lines. If you drive one, you'll be surprised how different it feels compared to the agricultural 924 that started this line.

Your target Porsche 968 should be in near-mint condition with fewer than 40,000 miles. Look for original paint and a very clean interior. Make sure all books and records are up to date and that the timing belt and water pump have been serviced on time. If they haven’t, do it immediately. Although the Porsche 968 won't appreciate just yet, one of these days all the folks who cut their teeth on Porsche 924s and Porsche 944s may look to the Porsche 968 as a car to own. The same thing is now happening to the Porsche 914-6, which was virtually sale-proof when new but is now an aspirational vehicle for all Porsche 914-4 owners.

Find Vintage Porsches on eBay Motors

Once you know what vintage Porsche you want, go to eBay Motors, click Passenger Vehicles, and start shopping on eBay!

  • Categories: First, select Porsche from the Categories list on the left side of the page.
  • Passenger Vehicles Finder: The Passenger Vehicles Finder on the left navigation bar allows you to narrow listings by make, model, year, and transmission type.
  • Search: Search eBay listing titles for specific words by entering keyword terms into eBay's Search box. You can also search using the Advanced Search feature on eBay Motors or search within categories by using the Search by eBay Motors Category option, which allows you to specify make, model, and year range as well as other options specific to vehicles, motorcycles, and parts. If location is important, try searching by distance in miles or ZIP code.
  • Compare: Mark the checkbox next to each car item listing that interests you and click the Compare button to view and compare auction and product details side-by-side.

If you can't find exactly what you want, try shopping eBay Stores, tell the eBay Community what you want by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a match becomes available.

Buy Vintage Porsches With Confidence

Hundreds of Porsches on eBay Motors will likely interest you. When trying to select the right one, get to know exactly what you're buying, research the seller, and understand how eBay and PayPal can help protect you.

As with all major decisions, in buying a car, you will want to conduct your own due diligence to make sure you get full information and the best advice possible.

Know your purchase

Many sellers put a lot of time into creating their listings, making an effort to ensure they include all the information buyers need. Carefully read the details in listings for the car(s) you consider buying and carefully review available photos. Before placing a bid or buying an item, be sure to:

  • Have all your questions answered. If you still have questions after reading the listing and reviewing the photos, contact the seller using the Ask seller a question link in the “Seller information” box in the top right corner of every car listing. Also request additional photos if you want to see the car from a particular angle that isn’t shown in the photos included in the listing. If you have more questions than you can address in email, ask for the seller’s phone number and call him or her. Some sellers even include their phone number so you can call them directly. Just remember that you need to actually bid and buy on eBay to be covered by eBay protection programs and pay with PayPal in order to be covered by PayPal protection programs (see "Buyer protection" below for more details).
  • Run a vehicle history report: By running a vehicle history report on a used vehicle you intend to purchase, you can learn about the history of the vehicle, including accident reports or title brands such as "flooded" or "salvage."
  • Get the vehicle inspected: An independent third-party inspection can validate a seller's claims about a vehicle's condition. eBay Motors recommends arranging a 150-point vehicle inspection through SGS Automotive.
  • Consider additional costs: Remember to consider other potential costs such as title, registration, and state taxes. Once you purchase the vehicle, be sure to complete all of the title paperwork and pay any required taxes on the vehicle. Please note that this information varies by state and vehicle type. Contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office for more information on taxes, title transfer, and registration.
  • Get delivery details. Calculate and include delivery costs into your final price. This may simply be the cost of driving across the city or state if the car is close-by or it may mean working with a shipping company that can transport the car from anywhere in the country. To learn more about shipping costs, ask the seller or contact DAS, an eBay Motors-approved vehicle shipping service.
  • Track items with eBay Toolbar. Use the free eBay Toolbar to track items you bid on and watch. It includes Account Guard, a feature that indicates when you're visiting a verified eBay or PayPal website and warns you when you enter your eBay password into an unverified site, even if it looks like eBay or PayPal.

Know your payment options

Always complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy It Now, or Best Offer). Transactions conducted outside of eBay are not covered by eBay and PayPal protection programs (see "Buyer protection" below for more details).

Never pay for an item using instant cash wire transfer services such as Western Union or MoneyGram. These payment methods are unsafe when paying someone you do not know. Instead, pay with PayPal for amounts less than $2,000 (including deposits), a money order, or direct bank-to-bank fund transfer.

  • Provide eBay with your credit card information: You are required to have a credit card on file with eBay if you bid more than $15,000 for an item. You will be notified that you need to provide this information when you bid. Allow yourself some extra time if you are bidding during the last minutes of an auction. Your credit card will not be charged; instead, eBay uses it to confirm your identity—a safety measure to help protect both you and the seller.
  • Apply for financing: eBay, together with several top lenders, can help you get the financing that you need. Visit the eBay Financing Center to arrange financing before you bid or after you buy or to calculate monthly payments.

Know your seller

Just as important as researching your car purchase is getting to know the seller. Take time to research the seller so that you can feel positive and secure about every transaction. Key things to look for when evaluating a seller are:

  • Positive Feedback. What is the seller's Feedback rating? How many transactions have they completed? What percentage of positive responses do they have? What do buyers and sellers say in their Feedback? Did the seller receive praise?
  • Sales history. Find out how long the seller has been a registered eBay user and look at the types of items a seller typically sells. It’s okay to buy a car from a seller who hasn’t sold one before — many of the car listings on eBay are from individuals selling their own car. If the seller’s feedback seems low, take the time to look at the Feedback details; sometimes a seller's Feedback looks low until you realize that they’re a car dealer and their Feedback count comes entirely from car sales.
  • Terms and conditions. What are the terms and conditions of the sale? Are the terms agreeable to you? Sellers typically set terms and conditions, but you should make sure you agree with them. If not, find another seller/car or contact the seller to find out if he/she is open to your suggestions.
  • Good communication. Once you’ve initiated communications with the seller, how is he/she communicating with you? Is the seller courteous and professional? Is the seller responsive? Once you bid on a big-ticket item such as a car, communicate with the seller through My Messages in My eBay. All legitimate Second Chance Offer messages will come through My Messages and not to your email address alone. Always contact the seller before accepting a Second Chance Offer, and never respond to any request to send money via Western Union or other instant cash transfer service.
Introduction and "Discover Vintage Porsches" were provided by Sports Car Market Magazine . © 2006 Sports Car Market Magazine. All rights reserved.
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