So Great Aunt Mildred has left you some cash and rather than do the proper thing and save it, or put it towards a mortgage, or buy
the wife that massive rock she always wanted, you have chosen to blow the lot on a Porsche. But not just any Porsche, you have chosen to go back to its air cool days and to those magic numbers, 993.
So to ensure your crown jewels remain intact after you first drive up to your front door, grin fixed wide on your doey eyed face and confront your better half, you want to make sure you are not getting a lemon.
One of the beautiful things about the 993 is that you can at least ensure you arrive in once piece. 911’s of yore have the reputation for filling you with confidence and then on one seemingly innocuous curve, snatching it all away. Its rear end oversteering madly and whatever you try with the wheel, you know you’re heading for that ditch, that tree, or worse.
Porsche decided to alter things for the 993, and bring a 30 year old car up to date and use a rear suspension set up that resembled a double wishbone system, something they called an LSA, Light-Stable-Agile, multi-link set up. This effectively banished the lift off oversteer issues of its predecessor to the history book. Additionally it made maintaining it easier and cheaper, because the whole design meant the engine and gearbox were far simpler to install and remove.
Aside of rocking up in one piece, what else should be considered?
The all-new suspension was strong, but you should ensure that all service work is logged properly.
The body parts were not zinc galvanised, and although a lesser problem in Australia, any signs of rust should tell you it has probably not had a healthy lifestyle. Check the bottom edges around the front and rear screens and also the rear bumper. Up front, like any low slung car, check for damage or corrosion brought about by scraping over bumps.
Brakes are powerful but check the discs are not pitted.
Make sure anything electrical works. Standard Carrera 2’s did not have air-con, so if one is there then that is a bonus.
If the doors make a loud cracking noise when opened fully, it may be wiser to put up with it, but it does tell you the door straps have worn with age and it’s an expensive job to repair. Some owners may have welded the straps to the A-pillar but this has been shown to let rust take hold inside the door pillar and will be costlier still to repair.
If you chose the Targa, assuming it came in under the budget, make sure the roof is watertight and there are no electrical malfunctions and that the wind deflector pops up ok. The soft-top rear plastic screen will deteriorate with age and look a little milky. If you decide to change it, it is better to buy a genuine item as they last much longer.
Make sure the carpets are not damp in the front luggage compartment and whilst in there check that the compressor that is supplied still inflates the tyres (what a great touch).
Much like the Beetle, 993’s employed heat exchangers to bring hot air from the engine to the front and they can get rusty, so check that hot air blows effectively from the heater.
If the budget extends to the Turbo, GT2 or RS, make sure the body additions are present and well looked after. The GT2’s bolt-on arch extensions were particularly damage prone and its doors and bonnet were made of aluminium to save weight but are pretty
delicate, so keep a look out.
Better to go with standard interior trim and colours too, far easier to resell.
Make sure the chassis legs have not been completely sprayed, for Porsche left part of them in a white base coat. If the base coat is not evident then you may be looking at a crash repaired vehicle.
Finally, check all 3 areas where Porsche stamped the VIN (vehicle identification number) matches that in the log book – the metal tag under the petrol tank, the label on the right hand side B-pillar and the left hand lower corner of the windscreen.
Now to reality. This is Australia and so as usual new prices started higher than almost anywhere in the world and even 20 years on they remain high. There are very few 993’s available for sale it seems so this compounds this issue.
You can find more options overseas. The UK market will throw up nice examples starting from GBP 29,000 upwards but tantalising as this may seem, to have a car shipped over is not cheap – shipping costs, GST, you must show ownership of more than 12 months in the country you are buying the car from and if the price exceeds the luxury car tax threshold, currently a tad over $60k, then you’ve a 33% loading on the amount above the threshold.