Buyers Guide: Porsche 911 (993)

By: The Car Spy
By: The Car Spy

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.

By: The Car Spy
By: The Car Spy

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

By: The Car Spy
By: The Car Spy

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.

By: The Car Spy
By: The Car Spy

Long Termer: Land Rover Discover 3 TDV6

land rover discovery 3
By: The Car Spy

It’s been service time for the Disco. Basic oil change and new air filters. Ignoring the binging and warning light for the brake pads is not advised, certainly not for the few weeks I have done. It means that the pads have chewed up the disc rotors and they need replacing. The wife managed to puncture a tyre and so two new ones have been sourced from Tempe Tyres and a new screeching sound has been heard that points to a problem with the electric handbrake. This could mean a very expensive change if the whole system is up the spout. Hopefully, the handbrake just needs realigning and a quick service. Obviously I’d prefer the latter, for a replacement system costs something like $1600. Ouch.

Whilst removing the wheel Graham Cooper Automotive discovered one of the wheel nuts had been so badly damaged that, if it had been missed, the chances are it would have fused to the wheel completely. So a very difficult and stressful job avoided then, because I know that a puncture would have happened one wet and windy night on a busy road. The family would have been subjected to a tirade so incandescent I would have frightened them for months.

The time has come to replace the compressor for the air suspension. After 2 years of incessant binging I think it has finally given up the ghost. Fair enough really, it’s only a small thing intended to raise and lower a 2 tonne vehicle every time the ignition is turned. It has done so heroically for nigh on 8 years and 272,000 km now. The system works exceptionally well, but the amount of bad press Land Rover have had over its suspension system makes me wonder if a more conventional set up would have been more reliable. Then again, I would not be able to raise or lower my vehicle on a whim, and its off road abilities would be curtailed.

The decision was made because for only the second time in the last 2 years the suspension bottomed out leading the car to bunny hop over anything more substantial than a manhole cover. This in itself is not so much a problem at low speeds, bouncy but manageable. But at 30, 40, 50 km/h + it’s nigh on dangerous, certainly when my wife is driving and the kids are in the car.

IMG_0155As before however, you only need to switch off, let the car cool down for a few minutes and then start up again. The system seems to right itself and you can be on your way. However, just the very next day the same problem occurred, so perhaps it’s telling me something. It’s as if the car can sense that my bank balance is marginally more healthy this month and intends to raid it as soon as possible.

On top of all this the immobiliser key has started to play up and a new one has to be sourced from the UK, proof of ownership spied and a fee to calibrate the software to my car. All up it takes 10 business days to arrive. An 8 year battery life seemed reasonable, but at a cost of $500? There’s much to be said for the simple life and I don’t see my insurance premiums improving with all this electronic gadgetry either.

When you look at the outgoings this quarter, the Disco is proving to be a very expensive car to own. I had budgeted between $2-3,000 for maintenance a year, but costs are exceeding that now. However, let’s put it into perspective. The suspension compressor will last another 5-8 years, the key likewise. If I had not ignored the brake pad warning for so long I could have avoided paying for new discs, and tyres are tyres. If the wife is just a little more careful and stops thinking she’s driving at some monster truck rally, we won’t be having many more puncture incidents. Regular servicing at a specialist, like Graeme Cooper, who doesn’t rip the customer off will help too. So with any luck the next couple of years will be a little more reasonable.

The car feels more planted since the new compressor has been installed and it’s a joy to drive without the binging. The new tyres up front have helped too and now it’s a bit of trial not to play with the settings and raise and lower the car much like those low riders in the States. On a recent trip out with my son, one of his mates called out as we drove past, “cool car,” so I am happy with that, for now.

Stay tuned.

By: The Car Spy


Costs this Quarter

Servicing – $275

Front discs and pads, air filter and sensor – $613

Remote Key inc. programming – $480

Air Compressor for suspension – $1360

Labour – $262

Tyres x2 – $500


Faults to be diagnosed:

Electronic Handbrake (replacement – $1600) or service ($150)


To Porsche or not to Porsche

I have dreamed about driving a Ferrari and have snicked that iconic H box up into 4th, 5th, 6th even. But in my dream I had no idea which model I was driving suffice to say it must have been pre-2011 for that was when they stopped offering manual boxes and forced those moneyed enough to buy the flappy paddles.

I have dreamed about being some sort of Bond-esque character and obviously about to jump into an Aston. Any would do I guess because again the model did not come into it.

By: FotoSleuth

I have dreamed about climbing up into the driving seat of one of Europe’s continent crossing trucks, most probably laden with Albanian refugees or some such cargo, but again the make and model of the vehicle is unknown or unseen.

However, when I dream about Stuttgart’s finest the model is unmistakeable. It is always and very obviously a 911. That upright wheel, the almost vertical rake of the windscreen, the less is more dash and of course it has a stick and a bunch of gears just waiting to be found by my left hand. Yes, it does sound sexual, because it is, sort of.

So are my Porsche fantasies only destined for my dreams only or will they ever come true? Glancing through the classifieds reality does appear to be looming closer. Smart 993’s are available from $35k upwards. If my budget could stretch another $20k I could just about get hold of a 996.

By: The Car Spy

So which would I go for?

Do I opt for modernity, a water cooled engine and a sleeker look or am I swayed by the charm of an air cooled engine, higher mileage and that infamous rear drive kick in the teeth?

By all accounts the best bang for buck is the 996 TT but it does have IMS issues and if I choose a car that has not been well looked after I could be staring at a hugely expensive engine change just because of a silly little gasket thingy in the drive train that should have been changed.

No, lovely as it is and however unlikely an engine failure may be, I would probably go for the 993. Its retro looks, its unmistakable sound and its fabled status of pure drivers’ car in which you must learn its limits as well as your own, yes that is my first Porsche. And at first glance its cheaper too.

Now who will let me drive one?

By: FotoSleuth

Has someone just bettered the best Porsche?

Singer Vehicle Design Porsche 911

No doubt the costs of this beautiful 911 is out of reach for many of us, but isn’t it great that people around the world are attempting these things.


The words, writes the BBC,  “Everything Is Important” are scrawled large in black ink on the whitewashed walls.

Successful musicians often buy exotic cars, but rarely do they make them. Singer Vehicle Design Porsche 911 is what happens when that rule of thumb is broken. Rob Dickinson was a member of the 1990s alternative rock group the Catherine Wheel, before tiring of show business and moving to California to make cars ….

TVR Tuscan mk 1

By: The Car Spy

TVR’s were fast and furious and it is incredible that such a small factory with limited resources could have turned out anything as accomplished as the Griffith, Tuscan, Chimera or Cerbera. Of course these were the culmination of almost 50 years of development under various owners, but the four mentioned above, under the stewardship of Peter Wheeler, were arguably the best they ever made. It’s just such a shame that after almost 25 years he sold out to a 24 year old Russian millionaire, Nikolay Smolensky, who ran the firm into the ground in only 2 years.

As a teenager in the early 80’s I yearned to own a Griffith. It was quite simply the coolest car around. Not only was the modern Griffith, like its predecessors from the ’60’s – the 200 and 400 – a V8 powered 2 seater, it was also a convertible. And to a spotty youth a convertible meant sexy, it meant pulling power. It was so different to anything else, it was ahead of its time. Its shape could grace a motor show today and you’d be none the wiser that it was in fact 30 years old.

But there was a sting in its tail. It was notoriously unreliable. TVR did not have the billions to check and double check its products and the only testing that could be done was by the customer after delivery. Of course the firm learned and things improved but only to a point.

Tuscan Speed Six Mk1

By: The Car Spy

Though a proposed Speed Six Griffith never made production it did evolve into the Tuscan Speed Six and an even sexier shape. The twenty years preceding its arrival had helped TVR to improve its cars and build a brand new engine, the speed six; a normally aspirated straight-6 that was the most powerful ever to be fitted to a production car with 350 bhp (261 kW) up to 405bhp (302kW) as in our Tuscan.

The engine had issues with poor lubrication and cooling. This led to valve gear failure, worn out cam lobes and finger followers. In the case of the finger followers there were reports of poor batch products and some cams were made from substandard material. As such the lobes on the cams wore out quickly. Therefore it is essential to follow a proper warm up procedure and avoid driving the engine too hard before the oil has fully lubricated the engine.

The Tuscan had a poor clutch design that could cause some components to fail after only 32k kms and its slave cylinder was definitely sub-standard. So check gear changes thoroughly and if the clutch feels spongy with little resistance, the slave cylinder seals may have gone.

Water ingress was also a common issue; in its combustion chamber leading to the head gasket failing in the engine and into senors controlling EFI warnings and power windows in particular. The ECU in the transmission tunnel has a tendancy to get wet too and this can cause the electrics to stop working. You could, for instance, be stuck inside the car as the door opening buttons are electric. Luckily there are emergency door release pulls beneath the dashboard.

It is also imperative that owners remove the front near side wheel and check the battery compartment every 6 months. One of the bolts in the battery tray can wear through the housing on the charging point causing it to short. The danger here is that it could set the vehicle on fire, so hopefully you will remember where those door pulls are if you’re inside when or if this happens.

Problems from rust are unlikely due to the fibreglass body, but its tubular steel chassis could be susceptible if it spent any time in a UK winter. Its rear screen often pops out, particularly when the targa roof panel has been taken out, mainly because it was slightly too small. They revised the size in the mk 2 and if your mk1 hasn’t had the change, go and source the newer one.

The original suspension was never the best and this can lead to tramlining. Fitting after market shock absorbers could help and the original ‘spider’ alloys have been known to bend quite easily.

For more detailed information visit

Also check out

Both sites are from the UK and considering you will more than likely need parts at some stage, why not go straight to the source.

Typical Costs

I’m still working on these. If anyone has a recommended service centre, please let me know. It seems wise to assume that owning a TVR is not going to be cheap or stress free. Sure you will be the envy of all at most track days or quarter mile sprints but you don’t want to be re-building the engine after each occasion.