What is the best air-cooled Porsche 911 to buy if one is just coming to the air-cooled Porsche world?
Sooner or later, the aura around air-cooled Porsches eventually draws every Porsche fanatic to consider buying one and Bob is no different. Several years ago Bob bought his dream, a 2015 Porsche 911S (991) in Sapphire Blue. Bob loves the car, but now wants to experience the air-cooled Porsche experience with the addition of an air-cooled Porsche to his family fleet.
The question is which Air-Cooled Porsche to buy?
As I wrote in an earlier column, Porsche owners who come to the air-cooled world from a modern water-cooled Porsche often pursue a “modern” air-cooled Porsche that I defined as being a 964 or 993 model. Bob is no different. He first experienced a 993 and found that it was an extremely well driving car offering many of the conveniences a modern Porsche driver is used to; i.e., power steering, power brakes, ABS, air bags, etc.
The problem is that the 993 and now the 964, are expensive models. For a coupe you will easily spend $70,000 plus and this is tough to swallow as an additional play toy in the garage.
So Bob thought maybe he should experience a lesser priced air-cooled Porsche. Air Brigade has a 1986 Porsche Carrera 911 in the garage so it was offered to Bob to experience the car. In Porsche air-cooled vernacular this is a G-Series Porsche and is the model I recommend if someone wants to experience an air-cooled Porsche. Specifically, I suggest one of the 3.2 liter Carreras offered from 1984-1989.
The Carrera 3.2 is an affordable option since it is generally priced in the $40,000 - $50,000 price range. The engine is bulletproof and the car offers a tight air-cooled experience. By 1984, Porsche had evolved the 911 considerably from its first 1965 model so that the drive was smooth, powerful and road holding. Generally a Porsche air-cooled newbie will find a 3.2 Carrera to be a nice offering of an air-cooled semi-visceral driving experience without the making tremendous sacrifices of comfort and conveniences one is used to from a modern water-cooled Porsche.
So Bob drove my ’86 911 Carrera 911 on some back roads around Asheville and enjoyed the drive. He understood why I recommended the Carrera 3.2. Based on a previous test drive of a 1978 Porsche 911SC, he quickly understood the advances Porsche had engineered into the Carrera 3.2 in the evolution of the G-Series air-cooled Porsche, but he still had reservations.
The main reservation is safety concerns of buying an older air-cooled Porsche offering before ABS and air bags were available. Bob will occasionally be driving the car from Asheville to Atlanta that will entail freeway driving. The thought of driving a classic Porsche in those traffic situations raises too many concerns for his safety so the search will continue for an affordable 993 or 964.
Tags: Buying Air Cooled Porsche, Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2, Porsche 993