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Considering 964

 
Old 05-31-2015, 07:01 PM
  #1  
amchediak
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Hi All!

I'm new to the forum world so please excuse any lack of decorum. I'm dropping a note because I've been snooping around Rennlist and learned enough to realize I need some help! I was hoping you all might be able to help provide some insight and advice.

So, the backstory is I've always loved 911s and leased a car about 2.5 years ago with the intention (and hope) that my career/life would put me in a place to go for a 911 in about 9 months from now. I'm in a position to execute this plan! Originally, I intended just to look at more recent iterations (997 or 991) and I've casually started looking/researching. Somehow, in that process I've become much more interested in 964s. I was ~6 years old when they stopped making 964s. To me, its not really the 911 I grew up with but something "new" and intriguing. Before I seriously consider a 964, I'm trying to understand a couple things. I think first and foremost is the feasibility of my "plan" and then secondarily the quality of garages/shops that can potentially help with this type car in my area. From my snooping around here, I've noticed that the 964s can turn into projects whether intentionally or unintentionally.

Part 1: Realistically I have nine months to replace my current car. I drive so seldom that I'm looking at the 964 as a daily driver. As an example, in the last 24 months I've driven my current car about 4.5k miles. In a perfect world, I would purchase a 964 in the about 6 months, giving me 3 months to work out any kinks and ensure the new 964 reliable enough for even my sparse usage. From a budget point of view, I would feel okay spending 35-45K to acquire. When I consider 991s and 997s, I'm assuming there is much more flexibility on the financing side, hence they become affordable today. On the 964s I wouldn't consider financing (not sure if there is even a market for this). From what I've seen, this price point can work. What I think I need to understand is on top of the acquisition cost, what kind of additional cost do I need to consider in case I run into immediate issues?

Part 2: I know I'm lacking on the mechanical side. I've owned a couple of BMW E46s in the past and made some modifications to those cars but always more aesthetic. So, I know there is going to be a learning curve here. On the plus side, its something I've always wanted to learn about and I have some friends/family that have decent experience. If I do go the 964 route, I was hoping to get some guidance on reputable and trustworthy garages/shops to work with in South Florida / Miami. Any recommendations? Getting comfortable with someone locally is a major priority to me before taking the dive!

Let me know if you all have any thoughts, comments or suggestions. Thanks in advance for your feedback!
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Old 05-31-2015, 09:26 PM
  #2  
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Go with a 964 and try it out for a couple of years. If you find it attracts more Miami *** than you can handle then sell it for more than you bought it for and get a 997 which will go down another $10k by then.

You should be able to find a nice example within your budget and timeframe. I would start looking now though. You're going to be spending more time on cl than a Vegas *****.

There simply aren't that many 964's for sale. Last thing you want to do is buy one for $40k that needs a $15k rebuild shortly thereafter so a PPI is a must.

Glad to hear that you plan to daily drive it. Nothing compares to roaring around town in an oil cooled 911.
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Old 05-31-2015, 09:27 PM
  #3  
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I guess I'm somewhat qualified to answer this question. I acquired my 93 C2 Coupe 5spd back in January and my car prior to that was an E46 325ci coupe 5spd. I'm based in Los Angeles so I can't really give great feedback regarding shops in your area but I was very fortunate to find a great shop here and that has helped immensely with the process.

I guess the first question is what type of car are you looking for? Coupe/Cab/Targa, Tip/Manual, C2/C4 (I'm assuming no turbo). Again this is a situation where I can only speak to the C2/coupe/manual combo. Pretty much any other combo was not even an option for me.

PPIs are a must and will give you a much better idea of what you are in store for regarding initial costs to get a car sorted. Some things will be trivial, others substantially more. The advice I learned from the people here and on other forums was that you basically pay for what you get for the most part (although this may have changed as the market continues to inflate).

When I got my car, I knew that there was a fair bit of work that would be needed and budgeted a total of $45k after taxes and other fees to get it all sorted. The initial plan was to try to bring the car back to as close to standard as possible outside of suspension as the car had come with Eibach springs that were not properly matched to the dampers. The fact that they had never been replaced after 22 years also meant that they had to be replaced anyway so that was done. A strut brace was already installed on the front of the car so that was a bonus.

Car had come with new tires so that was taken care of. The brakes initially felt like they were too hard/high on the pedal but after discussing it with my shop, they maintained that they were fine for now and when we get to the brake upgrade part, we can address those issues. These are two issues that MUST be addressed and should not be overlooked. The tires are the only thing that is in contact with the road and being able to stop... well... that's kind of important. =P

Biggest gotcha for me was the shot AC evaporator. The cost to replace is very high but given that summer was coming, it was a no brainer to pay to get it sorted. We ended up going with Griffiths upgrades and the AC unit seems to operate as well if not better than some modern cars. It wasn't cheap but I'd rather pay once to get it done right and very well than have to deal with it again later. Some people put this off as it isn't a must have but given your location, I'm assuming AC is a necessity if you want to keep from melting in your car during the summer.

Oil leaks can be mild or severe and a history is always preferred so you know where the car has been and what has been done. That could be the difference between some oil weeping that doesn't even drip which is something you can put off for a bit to more severe leaks that could result in an engine rebuild. Given your mileage and the fact that the car is a daily rather than a track car, this may be less of a huge issue but if you are looking for a trouble free car, be willing to pay up a bit. A trustworthy shop will be able to evaluate what you think is worthwhile for your pattern of driving. I'm currently dealing with a SLIGHTLY damp motor but given the mileage of the car (about 80k) and the fact that I'm not going to be tracking the car quite yet, I'm just hording funds for the inevitable engine rebuild. The plan is to let the car run for about 2-3 more years before getting to that point but we may accelerate that timeline if necessary. I'm currently budgeting for all the bits and bobs and debating if going down the slippery slope that everyone talks about is in the cards. =P A valve adjustment that I have scheduled shortly should give a bit better of an idea of what we are dealing with. And after 20 years, the motor mounts were shot so they were replaced.

Electrical gremlins were also an issue for me starting out. The car was having issues starting after longer drives which we were able to track down to a worn ground cable. However, a new DME relay is good to have on hand per everyone's advice. Not everything is straight forward though as electrical issues can cause all sorts of problems and they are not always related to what sensors are saying. I was lucky in this respect.

One HUGE concern I had (and still sort of have) is rust with the car. Depending on where you buy from, that could absolutely decimate any form of a budget for a given car. Repairs are not cheap and if you start digging, it tends to be a lot worse than you think. I cannot speak to this particular scenario but be wary of cars coming from snowy climates where salt and moisture may cause issues with your car. Mine was originally a NJ car but seems to have been taken well care of. There is some hinting of browning on the front windshield area but it isn't bubbling. I'm looking to have it inspected after the summer to see where I stand on that.

Despite all these issues, I managed to come under my 45k budget of car + getting it sorted. There were a few other things that I added onto (Momo Mod 07 + hub, new Recaros that are waiting for me on my next trip to Japan, steering rack brace/bushings) that pushed me over but those were more day to day personal touches that were more to my taste and weren't necessary.

All of these things were well covered by a PPI, but it is only as good as the shop performing it (mine was done by someone who appears to have been crazy OCD but that made me that much more well informed). Make sure you get a good, reputable shop to do it for you. If you see something that makes you uncomfortable, don't be afraid to walk away from it and find a better example. I was fortunate to find my car for the price I did and while there were some yellow flags about the car, ultimately I knew that I would be able to deal with those issues.

All this being said, have you had an opportunity to drive/ride in a well sorted 964? The driving experience is quite a change from a E46 and I could see how not everyone would like it depending on what their preferences are. I was looking for something that was going to be more of an analogue driving experience to the current crop of cars out there at the cost of being less livable. I knew I'd be giving up a fair bit of creature comforts and refinement. When I first started looking around, I wasn't sure if I could give up that part of the driving experience as I do all sorts of driving from short hops around town to longer stints to Vegas and San Francisco on a semi annual basis.

In the end, the driving experience won me over on both the short drives that I was lucky enough to have on previous air cooled 911s, as well as the longish test drive that was taken. The long drive back home in traffic only served to cement my belief that I had made the right decision for me (although I am looking for a good set to earplugs for the road drone at some RPMs for extended periods of time =P). It makes my daily drives more exciting and involving and perhaps most importantly, gives me that sensation of being connected to the road.

If you haven't had one yet, I would definitely see if you can find a local that would be willing to take you for a ride in his/her car to see if it fits your needs/tastes before jumping in. I had tried both a 996 and a 997 and found that they were great and were closer in feel to my E46 in terms of refinement with a hell of a lot more performance and driving dynamics, but I was looking for something a bit more involved. Only you can answer that question.
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Old 05-31-2015, 09:29 PM
  #4  
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porterhaus's suggestion is a very good point as well. Buy now to sell later at a profit. All depends on if you want to do the leg work.
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Old 06-01-2015, 01:29 AM
  #5  
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Thanks for the input gents Extremely helpful. Porterhaus - I like that idea. Good way to look at it. This is probably the only opportunity I'll have to go down this route for the foreseeable future. I'd be happy with a scenario like that and just breaking even! For me, right now, this about just plain enjoyment and a bit more involvement! To answer Penpen's questions, first and foremost I'm looking manual, coup or targa but no cab. To be frank, I leaning C2 but would be open to C4. I need to understand drive and maintenance differences better before taking a hard line on this.

I haven't driven an air/oil cooled iteration. I did ride in one but that was about decade ago. I distinctly remember the different sound and the connected feel it had, even as a passenger. On the other hand, I've driven various water cooled 911s. They're a blast to drive compared to the E46s. With my driving habits now (1-3 round trips a week for about 20 minutes are at a time) I'm trying to maximize the fun of these drives and can skimp on creature comforts. Thats part of the reason I think its a good time to take a hard look at 964s.

I'm gathering that the "budget" really has to established post identification and PPI. So best course of action is probably 1) find my way into a 964 to ensure experience is what I looking for and then 2) find a shop I want to work with. Once these are sorted, I guess only thing left is find the example I want to pull trigger on. As far as timeline, any thoughts on 3 months to do initial leg work?
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Old 06-01-2015, 06:47 AM
  #6  
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I was pretty picky in what I was looking for which made the search take a fair bit longer. It was fortunate that I found an example in the timeframe that I did and was looking for about a year or so on and off until circumstances came up that allowed me to pull the trigger. Given the fact that you are open to targas as well as C4s, not only is your budget a bit more flexible but also the options for cars is substantially larger. I can't speak to if 3 months is enough but I was looking very specifically for a later model C2 coupe manual and saw 3 come up in about 6 months. I don't see your timeline being completely out of the question. That said, I wouldn't set a hard timeline like that if I could help it. Looking to buy in a window is fine but if the right car doesn't come around, you shouldn't be feeling pressured to buy one that you aren't happy with.

In terms of differences between the C2 and C4, there are a lot of resources here for you to check out but a lot of it will boil down to how much you want to work on the car yourself. You mentioned that on your E46 you were primarily doing cosmetic modifications yourself so this point might be moot, but I chose a C2 in part because certain things required less unusual tools (brake fluid flushes being one) and in general are simpler platforms to work on as I tend to tinker myself. In the end, finding an opportunity to drive one (or at the very least riding in one) would probably be the thing to do.

Also note that I feel that I have to be much more aware of what the car is doing from a maintenance stand point on a day to day than my E46. In many ways, it still feels like an event getting in the car and starting it, but also when I get home, I tend to make sure all the gauges are reading correctly, oil level is looking about right, etc. For me, it feels less like a car you just hop in and drive without a care but a car that you have to run pre and post drive checks to ensure that bad things aren't happening. That is part of the fun though. =P
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Old 06-01-2015, 08:47 PM
  #7  
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For the "right" car, your search should be national for best options. Locally I recommend you contact Lucky Driver Sports Cars. Speak to Tony and let him know what you're looking for. If he can find a car that fits your criteria, I would think he'd work short if he had a guaranteed sale. For the "right" local service, I recommend European Auto Center (129th St) if you're in the Miami area. There are at least 3 other shops (Vertex, Parkhaus and Scott Finlay) as well. Luis Gill, owner of European has been in business for 25+ years and only services Porsches, 90% of which are air cooled. Very fair and knowledgeable; can be a bit slow but his work is good and he's vey reasonable.
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Old 06-02-2015, 12:55 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by amchediak View Post
I leaning C2 but would be open to C4. I need to understand drive and maintenance differences better before taking a hard line on this.
Adrian Crawford says he's driven 100's of both 964 C2s and C4s comparing them 'back to back'. http://www.performance2and4.co.uk/964di_1_n.htm
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Old 06-02-2015, 04:22 AM
  #9  
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Hi Amchediak,

These 964 are getting old so there are roughly 3 type of owners today:
1- The racer/spirited enthusiast who has the skills, time and money to maintain it tip/top after each track session/blast in the wild
2- The guy who had the car for so long that now he knows what will need attention soon, what it costs, and what niggles he can live with for the time being.
3- The classic car owner (which ranges from die-hard passionate collectors to cupidity-driven-'investors')

If I were 25/35 today and wanted performance, fun and peace of mind, I would go for a 986 Boxster S.
More performance, less conspicuous, no qualms if you bend it.

I'm a bit blunt here, but it may help you to clarify what are your wants and what are your needs in this expensive journey.

Whatever you decide, have fun!
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Old 06-02-2015, 08:12 AM
  #10  
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The 911 lanscape is changing very fast. Imagine that the price of a 911 from 1989 to 2007 didn't change over all those years and then in a few short years since then it has almost doubled. The manual gear box is quickly disappearing from the line-up, car is getting longer, interior is getting more complex, and just announced all new models will be turbo...so NO more normally aspirated. The 991 engine is not accessible and with all the complex systems it is now impossible for DIY repairs.

As long as the economic improves, 964 prices will keep going up, and even 997 prices have started to increase so I wouldn't bet to see them $10k lower if it's a quality specimen.

So to answer your question, you should buy a 964 or a 997 if you have the budget. The issue with a 964 is that they move so fast it's hard to get a PPI with not losing the deal. With a 964 you will have to weigh the issue that it will likely need a $10-15k engine rebuild shortly....although with 5k miles a year it could be in 5 years. The 997 will be a turn-key, much more reliable, much more comfortable solution.

Also, do you prefer the smell of quality leather or oil & gas fumes? I happen to enjoy both, and believe that I can enjoy each car more by having both.... so I couldn't live without either car
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Old 06-02-2015, 09:54 AM
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Mine is up for sale......Pm me if you would like some details.

Goodluck!
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Old 06-02-2015, 10:07 AM
  #12  
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Congrats on your success. You can't make a bad choice between the 964 and 997. While the 997 in my opinion, won't depreciate sharply from here with 5000 miles annually, it probably won't appreciate like a 964. It's easy to get too analytical when buying a 911. Factor in maintenance and upkeep etc.

They're dissimilar in driving dynamics and usability, so that's a personal thing you need to decide. If you're interested in becoming more mechanically aware of your car and have the time to devote to it, this will help you enjoy the 964. Get a good independent Porsche shop and get streather's book. Tons of cool projects you can do to the car. Good luck and post as you need any opinions. Everyone on here is essentially a defacto representative of the Porsche brand.
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Old 06-02-2015, 05:32 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by amchediak View Post
Part 2: I know I'm lacking on the mechanical side. I've owned a couple of BMW E46s in the past and made some modifications to those cars but always more aesthetic. So, I know there is going to be a learning curve here. On the plus side, its something I've always wanted to learn about and I have some friends/family that have decent experience. If I do go the 964 route, I was hoping to get some guidance on reputable and trustworthy garages/shops to work with in South Florida / Miami. Any recommendations? Getting comfortable with someone locally is a major priority to me before taking the dive!
Learning is all about the experience. If you decide to pull the trigger on the 964 we have a great support system of DIY tech articles that can help with your learning. You can check them out here. Otherwise, we do have a good amount of content for the 997 as well. Good luck with your research and let us know what you end up buying!

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