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Porsche 915 vs G50 Transmission in a Porsche 911 Carrera

The 1984-1989 Porsche 911 Carreras are very similar cars with one big difference: in 1987 Porsche replaced the 915 transmissions with a new G50 transmission. The market recognized the value of the smooth shifting, more precise G50 transmission so it has always valued the 1987-1989 Carreras at a higher price.

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 for sale
1984 Porsche Carrera with 915 Transmission (top), 1987 Porsche Carrera with G50 Transmission | Bring-a-Trailer

However in 2020, a pricing shift occurred as Porsche 911 Carreras with the 915 transmission caught up in pricing and in some cases surpassed the G50 transmission Porsche 911 Carrera. This statement is based on the median prices at market for these two models as reported by Sports Car Market (SCM) magazine. According to SCM, the median price for the 915 transmission equipped Porsche Carreras available in 1984 to 1986 is $77,000. A similarly equipped G50 transmission equipped Porsche Carrera from 1987-1989 is showing a median price of $63,500.

Air Brigade was surprised to see this price shift as the G50 Carrera has always garnered a premium price and was the recommended G-Series 911 Carrera to buy. A quick look at sales results on Bring-a-Trailer (BAT) from 2020 supported this data by SCM.

Why is the 915 transmission equipped 911 now worth the same or more than the G50 transmission equipped 911?

Several reasons may exist for this recent market trend.

  • The 915 transmission 911 Carrera was more affordable than the G50 for many years so buyers may have gravitated to the 915 911 to get into the market and slowly drove the prices up to match the G50 model.

  • Some buyers desire the more traditional Porsche drive and feel that the 915 transmission delivers.

  • Today’s buyers just want a traditional air-cooled Porsche 911 and are not as discerning with the specific features.

  • The right color and options on a 915 car will drive its price to G50 levels.

Air Brigade takes a look at two early 2021 sales on BAT of a 915 transmission equipped Porsche Carrera and a G50 transmission equipped 911 Carrera. The 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe with the 915 transmission sold December 30, 2020 for $72,001. The 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera with G50 transmission sold one day later on January 22, 2021 for nearly the same price of $60,500.

1984 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe Sale with 915 Transmission - $72,001

Porsche 911 Carrera for sale
1984 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 with 915 Transmission as sold on Bring-a-Trailer

Sold on Bring-a-Trailer on December 30, 2020

  • Black over Black

  • 38,000 miles

  • 16” Fuchs wheels

  • Aftermarket stereo

  • Front and rear spoilers

  • Sunroof

1987 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe with G50 Transmission Sale -$60,500

Porsche Carrera for Sale
1987 Porsche 911 Carrera with G50 Transmission as sold on Bring-a-Trailer

Sold on Bring-a-Trailer on January 22, 2021

  • Diamond Blue Metallic over black partial leather

  • 127,000 miles

  • 17” Fuchs-style wheels (original 16” Fuchs are included in sale)

  • Aftermarket stereo

  • Sunroof equipped

  • Upgraded suspension: Turbo tie rods, Bilstein shocks

  • Repaint in 2019 after car was keyed

Opinions on G50-Equipped Porsche 911 Carreras versus 915-Equipped Porsche 911 Carreras

This comment from @mbaum describes these G-Series 911’s perfectly

“Awesome write-up, @StampedeKevin. I think that the G50 cult is way overrated and Kevin said it all. This car is sensational on condition and color alone. The current bid is no surprise. Who thought the impact-bumper cars are where it’s at for the 911? I love that it attracts a younger crowd to the brand and Porsche is so masterful in leveraging the brand’s heritage like no other car manufacturer. There are not many cars that stay so fresh and desirable for almost 60 years.”

@Glenfield makes a good point regarding the 915 transmission

“Buy the condition of the car. On that metric, this looks fantastic and has the right amount of miles to enjoy (not low enough miles to be a garage queen) in a great color. Don’t just buy the g50 transmission as you’ll be sure to overpay. A 915 that’s well serviced shifts very well. With a $50 mod, it can also be made to center in the 3 – 4 plane (eliminating a legit gripe with the 915). The 3.2 is a good place to start if you want inexpensive and reversible power gains (and that’s something I’d consider here)”

And finally, read this excellent description by @StampedeKevin about the merits of the 915 transmission versus the G50 equipped Porsches.

“Apologies to the seller for the the rabbit hole I’m about to go down regarding G50 transmissions.

Your car is really quite lovely and absolutely has “the look”. I’m sure the next caretaker will be very happy with this purchase.

Drdjet: The G50 transmission, built by Getrag, is solely the type designation for the transmission available on the 1987-1989 3.2 Carrera. Prior to that, back to the early 1970s, Porsche used the 915 and the 901 and 911 before that.

Many desire the G50 as it is *generally* regarded as more robust and better shifting. A G50 transmission is stronger than a 915 and will support more torque and so is more appropriate for later high horsepower engines should one wish to do a swap. That is the reason Porsche used a 4-speed in the 930, as they felt the 915 wouldn’t last in the hands of the general public. There are no companies that manufacture products that can strengthen the 915 to handle more power and heat.

A G50 shifts very nicely, but a well put together and serviced 915 will shift as well, though with a bit different feel. G50s have a hydraulically actuated clutch where all other earlier 911 transmissions are cable actuated. A G50 trans also has a spring centred shift gate (in neutral will spring back to the centre position between 3rd and 4th gear) where the 915 does not. The 915 has Porsche designed synchronizers, which work well, but are somewhat fragile when compared to the G50’s. Some claim the G50 carries a large weight penalty over the 915, but is actually only about 20-25 pounds. A G50 will likely cost more to do any major maintenance or repairs. A competent 911 mechanic can rebuild a 915 in less time with far less cost, but over the long life of the car will need it done more frequently so likely is a wash. The rear torsion bars and thus, the torsion tubes, of a G50 car are different than the 915 cars. The shift pattern is also slightly different with reverse being to the left and forward next to first, as opposed to the right and rear, below fifth.”

Porsche Carrera for Sale
Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 - Left a 1984 with 915 Transmission, Right a 1987 Porsche with a G50 Transmission

Tags: Porsche 915 Transmission, Porsche G50 Transmission, Porsche 911 Carrera Transmission

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