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M491 identification

Old 01-01-2012, 07:15 PM
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Tremelune
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Default M491 identification

I'm thinking of purchasing a particular M491, but there are red flags that have inspired me to do more research. The car is being sold on consignment, so I can't ask the seller questions directly. I'm used to buying cars by sizing up the owner, looking at the car, and making a decision. I can't do that with this car, and I don't like it, particularly with this type of car. M491s are harder to find every year, and I know this dealer to be a pretty straight-up guy, so I'm still interested. I just don't know if the seller is holding information back from the dealer or what. I'm told that this is the second owner (purchased in 1992, took it California, returned in 2008) and I'm told there are records for the car dating back to the 80s. I just don't want to get duped by anyone down the chain.

The sticker under the hood is missing (the one with "M491" on it). My understanding is that this is a very substantial sticker that wouldn't simply fall off the car after 25 years. This leads me to believe that this car had front-end damage and had the hood replaced. It sure doesn't look it, but why else would the sticker be missing?

Another possibility is that the seller is intentionally trying to pass a standard coupe off that had M491 body panels attached. This also seems far-fetched (especially since it seems to have the Turbo brakes and suspension), but perhaps more possible than I'm giving it credit for. The dealer has told me that he has confirmed with Porsche that this model is a factory M491 and can get me a Certificate of Authenticity to this effect. Do these exist? Does Porsche give these to anyone who gives them $50 or what?

The other curiosity is that this (an April 1985 car) has a high-mounted brake light, which weren't required in the US until 1986, and it's definitely a US car. Would someone add one of these things on their own?

Other things I don't like are that the car has been chipped, has a sport exhaust, and Euro tail lights, but this is more about my preferences than about the origin of the car.

Is there a good way to ID true M491s these days? All I have is the VIN, my eyeballs, and the Internet.
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Old 01-01-2012, 08:29 PM
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Ed Hughes
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Ask them for a copy of the COA. They are supposed to list the options.

As to the brake light, Porsche added things in as they went. April of '85 would be somewhat in the latter part of the '85 model build timeline, I'd think.
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Old 01-01-2012, 08:47 PM
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The easiest way to spot a real M491 is to check for the 930 brakes which have larger, drilled rotors and black finned calipers with the PORSCHE script cast into them. Because of the huge cost, not many folks change a stock Carrera brakes to the Turbo system.

The 930 rear calipers are mounted toward the rear of the car unlike the Carrera rear calipers which are toward the front.

IMO the COA is a waste of money. It costs around $100 and they aren't always 100% correct. The gentleman who bought my ex-491 insisted on one even though I had the original window sticker.

Also, a copy of the hood sticker showing the option codes is in the maintenance manual.
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:23 PM
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The point was that they said they have access to the COA. Certainly PCNA would be able to ID that option.

I'd not go simply by 930 calipers, I've seen a number of sets of those change hands over the years. The guy who runs the registry pops on here periodically, he could probably verify by VIN. In fact, a pop over there would be timely.
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by jackb911 View Post
The easiest way to spot a real M491 is to check for the 930 brakes which have larger, drilled rotors and black finned calipers with the PORSCHE script cast into them. Because of the huge cost, not many folks change a stock Carrera brakes to the Turbo system.

The 930 rear calipers are mounted toward the rear of the car unlike the Carrera rear calipers which are toward the front.

IMO the COA is a waste of money. It costs around $100 and they aren't always 100% correct. The gentleman who bought my ex-491 insisted on one even though I had the original window sticker.

Also, a copy of the hood sticker showing the option codes is in the maintenance manual.
My race car is a Turbo look fake with the "917" brakes. But the rear calipers are mounted like the SC that it started as. Don't the Turbo and Turbo look cars have different banana arms and they also don't mount to chassis in the same spot.
It sounds to me that the seller has no proof that its a real 491 car and its up to him to proof it. Without the option stickers and or even the original sticker he would be best served to at least provide the C of A.
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:52 PM
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Yes, the 930's and M491's have different banana arms than a Carrera.

Assuming the owner's manual and the rest of the stuff in the maroon pouch is with the car, the options codes will be on a sticker in the maintenance manual.

Norbert with the turbolook register http://www.turbo-look.de/index-en.php can also verify the 491 authencity based on the VIN as Ed indicated.
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Old 01-01-2012, 10:58 PM
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For me, the sure check are the 930 rear calipers mounted behind the axle centerline and the larger 930 trailing arms. Those are so expensive that its not likely one went to the effort to buy & install them.

The COA cinches it, but PCNA will not sell you one unless you are the registered owner.
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Old 01-02-2012, 11:02 PM
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Great info, thanks. I'll give the brakes a good eyeballing and go from there.
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:22 AM
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Vin verification at http://www.turbo-look.de/index-en.phpis the only way to check. Helped me out tremendously when I bought mine. I've even heard of shady fellas reproducing the sticker under the hood to gain more from the sale of the car.
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by ruflife View Post
Vin verification at http://www.turbo-look.de/index-en.phpis the only way to check.
There is a syntax error in the URL quoted here. It looks like the word "is" got appended to the URL instead of being outside the [/URL] tag, so the link will not take you to where you want to go unless you remove the "is". This is how the link should appear: http://www.turbo-look.de/index-en.php

By all means, contact Norbert Franz at that website with the VIN you have and he can confirm whether or not it is a true M491 build. He has access to the factory database that has taken all the mystery out of the factory Turbo-look program in that era.

You can email him directly from the website with your question. He is usually very prompt in his responses.

HTH,
TT
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:57 AM
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Thanks Tom !

You find TL-R here: www.turbo-look.com and on facebook too : Turbo-Look Register

Norbert
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:14 AM
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Yup, I sent an email and got very quick feedback.

Sadly, the seller (broker, really) didn't seem to want me to get a PPI done by my own guy (possibly the most respected in the area), so things kind of soured in the deal. It's a shame, I was ready to buy.
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Old 01-16-2012, 01:14 PM
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wow thats a huge warning red flag right there
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Old 01-17-2012, 01:27 PM
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Peter Zimmermann
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Also, more M 491 info is available in my Excellence article, "Rare Air," on page 98, Feb '12 issue. Enjoy!
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