First this got lengthy, so crack a root beer if under 21 or a beer if over 21. For the ADD kids in the crowd, I bought another car, now go ride a bike or play with the dog or something.
I’m not really sure where or when my dream of owning a 911 started. But I have this distant memory of somebody having a poster of the side profile of a red 911 with a tail and thinking wow that is an amazing looking car. I am pretty sure this memory was well before I knew about handling or HP or what it would take to own a 911. But I remember thinking, “Man I would like to own that car someday”!
Well fast forward to the real world and being post college, having a manageable mortgage and having no kids and the ownership plan slowly started to come together. I had been tossing money in a savings account for a few years specifically labeled “Porsche 911 Fund” but expected it to take a long time for the money to really add up. Well, slowly the account balance was growing and when I sold the caddy this past fall I decided to put all of that cash into the “Fund” account to give the account a boost.
Then tax season came around this year and I realized I was getting a couple thousand dollar refund and I made a list of places to put the money. Seventh on the list was “Porsche Fund” but I went ahead and put the tax return into the “Fund”. I told myself that I would withdraw the money from the account when I decide which one of the 6 house projects on the list was most important. Well making that deposit was either genius or stupid as once I saw the balance, the 6 house projects in front of Porsche ownership lost momentum.
Over the years of savings I would periodically watch cars both locally and nationally get listed and what they would sell for. I also collected a few books and read about the different generations. I also listened when I happened to be around 911 owners or 911 mechanics to see what they were saying. With the info I had gathered in my head I was pretty darn sure I wanted a 2wd 964 and that is mostly what I watched on eBay and places like that. But oddly, when I really got down to looking at the 964, it just seemed a little too soft for me. I knew this car was going to be a driver and I wanted something with AC and some comfort, but I was not ready for crash bumpers, airbags and more electronics, I wanted some feel when I drove the car. This quickly narrowed me down to 84-89 cars and I also knew it would a primary color, with black interior and have to be a coupe. Targa’s and converts have their place, but it wasn’t what I pictured in my head as my Porsche.
So over the last few months, I searched for an 84-89 Carrera coupe. I enlisted help from all angles. I had Luis, Aaron from FlatSix, Kris C and a few others were looking and watching forums for me. I looked at every car that fit my description of 84-89 coupe that I could find listed online. It was amazing how quick I could rule out cars when looking at them online. Things like tan interior, a billion miles, highly modified track cars or intentionally forgetting to put Targa/944 in the title of ad’s ruled out cars.
Then I found it! Red 85 Carrera with black interior and 49,XXX on the ODO at a small high end used car lot in Chicago. Lots of pictures in the eBay ad and for the most part it looked good. The pictures pointed out some issues, but they were stuff I was willing to deal with. I made an offer via eBay and the dealership accepted. I scrambled to come up with the last bit of cash and took a day off of work. My dad and I drove to Chicago on a Tuesday night and grabbed a hotel room. Wednesday we got up to go to the dealership with my plan being to drive the car home from Chicago and my dad would follow me home in the other car. I even borrowed a set of tires and wheels from FlatSix as the tires looked to be close to original and I did not trust them.
I’ll keep this part of the story short, but this quickly turned out not to be the car. Gary the sales person/manager/owner promised in the ad and on the phone that, “everything worked and nothing leaked”! After inspecting the car I think he might have meant to say “Nothing worked and everything leaked”! In his defense the body and the interior checked out great, but it needed a full mechanical restoration. I made an offer 2.5K cheaper than I had made on eBay and he acted like I was nucking futs. At that point my dad and I left and went and picked up what might have been the world’s most expensive “to go” deep dish pizza from Gino’s and drove home. It was a long drive home, where we talked about shady car salesman and life.
The Chicago experience while frustrating, really kicked the search into high gear. I looked a lot, emailed some and finally found a red 86 that seemed to check out. I won the auction on eBay, but the reserve was not met. The owner emailed me and we worked out a deal where he dropped his reserve price to my max bid. Everything seemed to be going along fine and I was moments away from buying flights to TN to go get the car when I got a frantic email from the seller. He said, "there was a new scratch on the driver’s door and he could not sell the car with the scratch". I tried to talk him down and told him, we could work it out as I still wanted his car. A few emails were exchanged, but he was getting slower and slower at responding and a picture of the scratch was never emailed. At this point I figured this car was gone. I figured either a local, sniped me on it or he got cold feet. I resisted the urge to email the owner and ask if he was having cold feet or call him bad names, but I checked his user name almost every day on eBay to see if he relisted the car, hoping for more money.
I moved on, I tried to grab a black one in Seattle that sold within 24 hours of being traded in. I talked to the owner of a white one in NC, but it just wasn’t what I wanted. At one point I realized I was watching every red 84-89 Carrera on eBay and none of them excited me like the red one I had won on eBay from TN and tried to purchase. Then suddenly the owner of the TN car sent me an email with a picture of the scratch. I’m not sure what changed in his life or mind and he claimed he was out of town for work for almost two weeks. I am still not really sure if he did or didn’t go out of town, but found it odd that he didn’t at least email me in those two weeks. Anyway, I decided I best jump on an airplane ASAP and grab this car.
I made arrangements and invited my dad along for the ride and we flew out bright and early (actually, before sunrise, so just dam early) last Friday morning to Knoxville, TN. The owner picked us up at the airport and I was glad to see he was a very clean cut older man. We went to his house which I was happy to see was also meticulous and I looked the car over. I found a couple things that were not mentioned to me, but overall the car looked great, drove great and was what I wanted. My dad and I were heading for the interstate by 1 in the afternoon and made it home without any major issues on Saturday. The thing just hums right along at 80 mph on the interstate, like it is just waiting for you to stomp on the go pedal.
Up next is cleaning the road grime off of it, replacing a power seat switch that is dead, finding two misc. pieces of missing seat belt trim, replacing the steering wheel and investigating a squeaky AC fan. After I get the car to a 100% functioning in my book, I’ll worry about things like H4’s and possible 50% window tint. This car came with a receipt for a $21,XXX motor and tranny rebuild this winter and a $1,6XX recent brake job. So I’m hoping mechanically, I should be good to go for a long time!
I have only taken a few Iphone photos of the car so far as I have not had a chance to wash the road grime off of it, since getting home on Saturday. I’m sure with time there will be plenty of pictures taken of it.
Southern car that has been garaged a lot of its life. This might be the first frost it has seen.
P.S. I will be selling one of the Montana Green GTI’s real soon.