[Car Stories] The Porsche 911.

I Find Karma (adam@cs.caltech.edu)
Wed, 24 Jun 1998 05:25:57 -0700

I love Charlie Kindel's Porsche 911 story at


included here in case you're too lazy to click the link.
(As I'm usually too lazy to click the link when someone
FoRKs an URL without a description.)

What a great car story... maybe one day instead of my
nightmare-of-a-vehicle, I'll have a *ride* too...

Speaking of which, the Porsche 911 has quite an interesting history...



For a long time I've dreamt that I would someday own and drive a Porsche
911. I've bought just about every Porsche book and subscribed to every
Porsche magazine available. I didn't want a new Porsche. While the
modern (last 5-6 years or so) 911 is an awesome automobile, I've always
been a fan of the "middle-era" cars. In addition the prices on newer
911s is out of this world!

The Porsche 911 is a special kind of car with a unique (and long)
history. First shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1963, the
911 has remained basically unchanged and in production longer than any
other production car in the world. Each year minor updates were made to
the design, and every few years more significant updates were made. The
"early-era" cars were built from 1964-1972. Today the "early-era" cars
can be classified as rust buckets, race cars, or collectors items. The
bodies on 911's were not galvanized until 1974 so older cars are prone
to rust. I didn't want a race car, and since I wanted a car to drive
daily, a collectors item was out of the question. Besides cars built in
the '60s are just a little to primitive for my tastes.

The "early-middle-era" always looked good to me. Because of rust I had
ruled out anything prior to 1974. But reliability in the cars built
prior to 1981 seemed suspect to me (the 2.7 liter engine had serious
longevity problems). In 1989/90 the 911's look was significantly altered
with the introduction of molded bumpers and sleeker aerodynamics. Some
prefer this era's look. Not me. In 1995 the most dramatic change to the
911's look was made. Whereas before the 911 was beautiful because of the
engineering excellence it stood for, the "Type 993" was even more
beautiful due its styling. However as I mentioned above these newer cars
are very expensive. Thus the 911sc, built from 1978 to 1983 was what I
thought most about. I didn't really pay attention to cars newer than
1984 because of price.

The 1988 model year was a sweet spot for the 911. It was the year prior
to the introduction of the of the "molded-bumper,
high-tech-4-wheel-drive" cars. From 1984 to 1989 the engine was a
bullet-proof 3.2 liter, DME-controlled, 217hp, musical instrument. These
cars were called Carreras (the "SC" in the previous generation stood for
Super Carrera). In 1987 the Carrera got all new transmission, the G50,
which is much smoother and more reliable than any previous 911
transmission. There is virtually no difference between the 1987, 1988,
and 1989 Carreras. The "original" 911 platform was discontinued
completely in 1990 with the introduction of the Carrera 2 and Carrera 4
models (internal Porsche designation of Type 964). These are the cars
with the aerodynamic molded bumpers.

If you pay attention to the 911s you see on the street you'll know that
there are basically four body styles: Coupe, Cabriolet (convertible),
Targa (lift off top), and Turbo Look (aka "Whale-Tail"). I can't picture
myself in a convertible, the roofline of the Targa ruins the shape of
the 911, and whale-tails stand out too much. The coupe is just clean

In terms of color, my daughter will tell you that her daddy's favorite
color is blue. But I've also always loved silver cars. German cars are
supposed to be silver. 911s have come in lots of different colors, but
the three that I've always liked the best were, light (e.g. Aluminum)
silver, dark silver/blue, and midnight-blue (almost black).


This spring, my lovely wife was driving to the grocery store in my
Infinity G20, doing about 40mph. A dolt in a mini-van turned left in
front of her and she T-boned him. The Infinity was totaled and my wife
got whip-lash. This unfortunate event turned out to be most fortuitous
for my pursuit of a 911!

A few weeks after the accident the insurance company called to confirm
that the car was indeed totaled. My wife called me at work to tell me
and we decided to go down to the Audi dealer that afternoon and buy a
new Audi (purchasing a Porsche was discussed only jokingly).

We arrived at the dealership and began looking at an Audi. The salesman,
whom I had previously spoken to before about Porsches, mentioned, sort
of off-hand, that a 1988 911 Carrera with 6800 miles on it had just
become available. "Is it a coupe?" was my first question. "What color is
it?" was my second. "Yes it's a coupe, and it's Slate Blue. Wanna see
it?". I didn't immediately realize what color "Slate Blue" was, but we
said "Sure, why not?". "Does it really have only 6800 miles on it??!?!

The car was in the service bay. It looked brand new. We fell in love. We
bought it. It's a newer car than I expected to own. It's also in much
better shape than the 911 I thought I'd get someday. It also happened
sooner than I expected. But how can you pass up a car like this? The
right "era", the right shape, and the right color (it's actually
"officially" Venetian Blue).


So how did this come to be? How in the world did this Porsche/Audi
dealer end up with a 1988 911 (built in November 1987) with only 6800
miles on it? The story is priceless.

Apparently this lawyer in a smallish town in our state bought the car
for himself in 1988 and drove it infrequently until 1990. His son turned
16 in 1990. He told his son not to drive the car. Ever. One night dad
went out and when he came back the engine cover was warm. He was so mad
that he decided to take the car down to his place of business and
essentially hide the car from his son.

Recently a client of the lawyer, who happens to be a Porsche car
salesman, told the guy he should sell the thing. After all, it's just
sitting there. So the lawyer sold it. And we just happened to be there
at the right time! The car still had 1990 license plate tabs.

It's kind of like the stories you hear about finding an old car in
perfect condition in some grandmother's barn.

Pretty cool, eh?

Charlie Kindel
May 22, 1997

P.S. For a really great article on what to look for and avoid in used
911's read Bruce Anderson's article.


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Copyright ) 1998 Charles E. Kindel, Jr.

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Last revised: May 10, 1998.


If I quit now, they win.
-- X-Files: The Movie