Feb 3, 2011

The Morning After

After purchasing any used car comes some anxiety. Fear of finding all the things you might have missed lingers for a while.  Carfax has alleviated a good amount of that anxiety, but all incidents don't necessarily involve the police or insurance claims.  So Carfax is certainly not infallible, and not to mention it can even discourage the purchase of  great cars.  So clearly the first few weeks after getting a your dream car can be stressful, till you're reassured  of your brilliance.  

My garage is very cool during this transition.
The Cobra joins the Carrera for a short time while awaiting pickup.
Soon all that will be left is photos, magazine reprints & trophies.

I took the Carrera out for it's first real ride on Wednesday and I'm going to detail my discoveries here as I find them.  Do not despair, even the best used car is still used. 70K miles is not much for a Porsche, but the miles take still their toll somewhere. The good part is that I enjoy taking a car from good to great.  So assuming no major expenses, it will be fun.  My experience with Porsches is that DIY projects can be fulfilling because the quality is so good.  Nothing satisfies like a car that will actually go back together after you take it apart.  I think I made out well over all buying this car using my pharmacist's intuition.   I've sold narcotics to liars and addicts for 15 years.  A unique qualification for used car shopping I confess.

Keep in mind this is not a 993 buyers guide.  You can assume umentioned common problem areas are fine.  Plenty of buyers guides are out there if you're shopping.  Furthermore, I'll add to this list over the next 100 miles if relevant issues arise. I doubt I'll find much,  It's a great car.

Post Purchse Inspection
Not that I didn't look it over, but at home you see with different eyes.  Frankly, I was transformed somehow into a 14 yr old boy shopping for his first BMX bike after laying eyes on this car.  Next car I'll take a sedative.


Rear brakes squeak.  The pads look to be good, but sometimes the disks get glazed a little or the pad material is a  "low dust" variety which make more noise.  New pads or even some good old aggressive driving will often fix this.  I'll pull them and inspect soon.

Driver's door A-Pilar.  This is common in Carreras. A repair was attempted by an amateur welder in this case.  This looks like it will pull apart again soon (see crack). Figure $700-$1000 to fix properly and 2 or 3 days at a body shop.   Any educated, calm Porsche shopper should spot this prior to purchase. It is a good example of why you should keep your head when inspecting a car.  Or get a PPI if you cannot. This was a bummer. Even if I caught it I likely couldn't have used it in price negotiation.  I  had too much fear of loosing the car to dare.  Even if I'm gentle myself with the door a valet can mess it up pretty quick.   I doubt the previous owner was even aware of this situation.  He clearly loved this car.   I'll be opting  for the expensive fix eventually, so the car's quality is not tarnished by a chepo repair.  Nothing devalues a nice car worse than improper repairs.


 
Unmolested passenger side.  always less wear.

Poorly repaired drivers side already cracking


Curb rash.  Yes of course, but easily fixed.
Yellowing of one front indicator lense.   It's hard to look at this car and remember it is 13 years old.  These yellow with age.  Most likely the other clear and colorless one (not pictured) is a replacement or they'd match in discoloration.  I will use a $10 plastic polishing kit from Tap Plastics.


Interior bits and pieces.  A few little covers for bolts etc are missing here and there.  Pelican parts will be the answer.
Seat vinyl has tuned black somehow from friction perhaps.  It isn't dirt, but a loss of the vinyl's original tan dye. Most often Carrera's have the full leather option, which means this location would have been leather too.  But the standard setup, like mine, is leather fronts and vinyl sides. This is an easy fix with vinyl dye for about $10.  You've just got to buy a the right color or the wrong tan will look cheap.   This will will fix up perfectly once I find a supplier of the right color.


Driving impression

Nothing feels as substantial to me as a Porsche.  Looking at those gauges takes me back to the evolution of the brand.  Just like the video documentaries and magazines I've poured over for 20 years.   I love the bits that have remained unchanged for 30 years because they worked.   Few cars get allowed to evolve this way.


Other testimony to racing importance over luxury or convenience are apparent.  Like the fact that you can't even see the climate controls from the driver position.  Nor can you reach the radio very well either.   Cupholders?  Nein!  This is not to say it isn't somewhat luxurious.  Compared to the RS America, which came so close to a pole position in my garage,  it's quite luxurious.

It doesn't make a lot of commotion about going fast, which will take some getting used to.  Remember, last week I was driving a Cobra with side pipes.   It's quiet, the wheels rarely spin and the suspension is softer than my BMW E46 M3.   I was going through the gears and thinking to myself, "this is much slower than a few of my previous cars."   I then looked down at the speedo, which indicated I was already going 100mph!   The "power band" is there in the higher RPMs if you go looking for it, but the build-up you expect somewhat is hidden by the Varioram's flat, tall torque curve.  Big blocks have this in spades, but it's not common in a small displacement car like this.   Long story short, keep your eyes on the speedo if your darting about, you may be going faster than you think.

Don't shift!  I used to lug the Cobra around all the time.
 It kept it quiet and handled like a pussycat.  
With 6 gears and good low end grunt, it's easy to be in the wrong gear all the time.  I will learn to keep my rpm's up over 3000 as often as possible.  Don't want that Secondary Air Injection (SAI) to clog up.  People think lugging a car around is being gentle.  Not always the case.

My ride was only about an hour or two, but no handling or mechanical issues were apparent, which is always a relief when you boldly buy without a PPI..  

Best thing about owning cars for me is looking back at them after I've parked. 
I know, it's pretty simple.  But it makes me very happy. 

This is why I bought a Carrera S.
 I love the look.
Overall impression

Buying used is stressful but you can get a lot for your money.  So those of us on a Mustang budget with Porsche dreams must bridge that gap and take some chances.   That said, I think I did quite well, and acknowledge the risks I have taken. Owners don't always know what lies around the corner when selling so a read on them can only take you so far.   You must do your best to identify the risks that are immediate, by assessing both seller and the car to the best of your ability.  Perhaps to the best of an experts ability would be even better.

I'd say overall I couldn't be happier.  I got the exact car, mileage, color and interior I wanted.  I didn't have to spend money I didn't have on shipping from out of state.  That clearly increased my budget to afford this particular model.  I got to see my car in person and meet the owner, Kelly.  All for the price of a couple fixes that I think I can handle in my own time.

That's a win to me.

*oh, and one more thing... this car is clean.  I mean really clean.  It is so clean that if the hospital runs out of operating rooms I could volunteer my Carrera.  Special thanks for http://www.northwestautosalon.com/ - they detailed the car with a level of thoroughness I've never seen before.  Cheers guys.

(To see these guys convert a Ferrari to matte black watch this video in this link: http://bit.ly/gDagIA)

2 comments:

Scott Kinnebrew said...

Hi,
I am also a sports car guy and, mainly, a Porsche guy. The 993 is also probably my favorite iteration of the 911. Although, Porsche hit a homerun with the 997... especially the 997 GT3. I've owned a 914, a 944S and a Boxster. I just bought an 08 GTI w/ the DSG transmission and I am very happy, but it was sort of a compromise for the growing family. Anyway- just wanted to say I love the blog and I just bookmarked it. (I found it by doing a Google search for Passport iQ articles). Keep up the good work!

Scott

Anonymous said...

Wow. Great article. I went though the same thing with my 993 c2s. Great cars and as an investment, these cars will certainly go up and up in value as time goes on. Cheers!