Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Dear Marj....

From: Porkerr
Sent: 10 May 2009 11:49
Subject: 968 CS

Hi Shoestring,

I'm looking to buy a 968, preferably a CS if within budget (max 9k£).

Would you say a Sport makes a good drivers' car too or is the CS really a must? (the car will be tracked)

I assume the cars without M030 are beyond reach with my budget, is the 968 still worthwile without this option?

Is the car reasonably bulletproof? I'm still a student and could not afford huge bills on a regular basis.

I'm sorry to bother you with this, but you seemed to know a lot about the subject..

All the best,


Hi Frank,

Thanks for the email. Not sure about being an expert, but I've had a couple of 968's as well as other Porsches.

The 968 is a proper old skool Porsche, without many complex electronics, and of a quality and solidity most brick out-houses would struggle to match. There are some well known weaknesses (pinions, cam transfer chain, brake callipers), but nothing really too serious.

They are also old skool in the way they drive, the controls are heavy, the gearchange feels like it has real metal at the end of it, levels of NVH are high, and the ergonomics aren't that great. I had a BMW E30 M3 at the same time as my 968CS. The BMW was delicate - and you drove it with finger tips. The 968 felt twice as heavy, and you drove that with your shoulders.

But the 968 was still quick enough to mix it with most moderns, both on road and track, the balance and handling (on new suspension and top quality tyres) was as good as anything, and it was so, so rewarding to drive fast and hard. And in my humble opinion, it’s looks have worn better than anything else of the period - the 968 has really earned its reputation.

But the problem facing all 968's is that they are now at least 15 years old, and susceptible to old car woes. In addition, although they are £8k - £12k cars now, they were £30k - £40k new and still have that appetite for expensive routine maintenance. So standard maintenance items such as belts+rollers, brakes, clutch, servicing, can easily run to £1,000p.a. over a few years without anything serious going wrong. And I suspect under those shiny bodies, a few are now beginning to suffer from corrosion around the crucial sill area. TO give you some idea, I spent £8k on mine in 18 months, which included a replacement gearbox, fresh suspension, and a brake upgrade.

So if you are thinking of one of these you have to feel comfortable about the likely running costs, and focus on finding a good car, not chasing colours or specifications. The fabled M030 spec. is great on paper, but its now 15year old technology. Standard brakes are fine on the road and for light track use (the alloy 4 pot callipers and vented discs are way better than any contemporary BMW), £500 Koni sport dampers are a good value upgrade, or a £2k KW set-up way better than anything that came out of the factory in 1993.

Sport, ClubSport or Coupe; look for a cherished car, with a comprehensive history, get a recognised specialist to check it over, and set aside a couple of thousand for any problems.

If this sounds a risk too far, in your shoes I'd be looking for a 944S2 (85% of the car, 60% of the money, or a ’89 2.7l 944Lux (70% of the car, 40% of the money), focussing on driving and enjoying the peace of mind.

I hope this helps.


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