By on May 25, 2010

Ryan writes:

I have a car purchase dilemma. I currently have a 2005 Acura TL that is a fine car. It does what I need it to do as I live in Chicago and only have to drive 1 mile to work. I am looking for a change though, and the Chicago winters always make me want something with 4-wheel drive. My fiancé’s car is a 07 Civic. We drive it most of the time around town because it is easy to park, great gas mileage and its a tank as far as reliability is concerned. I had a 2006 RL come on my radar recently for a great price (father of a co worker selling). I also found a 2001 Porsche Carrera 4 in great condition, low miles and great price available. What should I do?

Sajeev Answers:

The answer is easy, in a dream world: get the Porker. You want something more interesting than your current ride, and you gave us plenty of justification why. But your choices stink: even with AWD in mind, who cross-shops an RL with a 911? If one test drive doesn’t tell you what type of vehicle you want, check your pulse. Or, more to my point, your pocketbook.

You might be avoiding the big picture, so let’s go there: future cash drains such as a wedding, kids, college funds, mortgage payments and who-knows-what else lie in your future. And if you believe honeymoon periods are short and sweet, prepare for a double whammy when you buy a 9-year-old Porsche on your way to marital bliss. Even a 911 with a truckload of service receipts shall not last longer than true love. And that’s putting it mildly.

My advice? You got more important things to worry about than your next ride. So don’t. For the love of all that is holy in this world, don’t change horses in the middle of a stream.

Steve Answers:

Wait a second. Aren’t I the tightwad around here? I guess Sajeev is channeling the Lang spirit these days. Anyhow he also happens to be right. I don’t see a mile commute justifying a five figure purchase. As you already mentioned, driving around Chicago pretty much sucks. So why throw any more money at it?

What you may really want is a change of scenery. To just get the hell away from your native habitat and find something with a bit more bang for the buck. Costa Rica? Maine? Seriously, if you have all this money to blow on a car you can pretty much do twenty journeys into what interests you and be all the better for it. I hear Greece and Thailand are especially cheap and invigorating these days. I would go there, but then again I always like to try to hit em’ where they ain’t.

So with that in mind, if you must get a car… I would go for the truck. Get a Ram 2500 with a Cummins Diesel or Hemi, a nice large camper with all the features of home, and see the world. Or at least the American version of it with great food, beautiful scenery, and a hot chick. Hopefully the one you’re dating at the moment. You will always have the memory of wonderful adventures and who knows? Perhaps the experience will open your eyes to a bigger world.

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to mehta@ttac.com, and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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150 Comments on “New Or Used?: The Last Temptation Of The 996...”


  • avatar
    william442

    With the exception of my current 11 year old AMG, every performance car I have owned has been an expensive pain.
    That said, get the Porsche and enjoy.

  • avatar
    tparkit

    Ryan writes: “I currently have a 2005 Acura TL that is a fine car. It does what I need it to do…”

    Life is full of temptations, so save your cash for a more meaningful one.

  • avatar
    twotone

    “the Chicago winters always make me want something with 4-wheel drive.” I’ve been living in Denver for 33+ years driving RWD cars (BMW & MB). You do not need AWD for Chicago winters — just four good real winter tires (Blizzaks, X-Ice, etc.). The AWD on the Porsche is not going to help with winter driving. The low clearance will be a problem in any snow deeper than three inches.

    Twotone

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. Winter tires give you most of the advantages of AWD in the winter with none of the maintenance cost increases. All you give up is a little quiet (they’re somewhat noisier) and the storage space for the extra set, and you have to endure the bother of changing twice a year. The fuel savings versus a truck or SUV will pay for the tires in no time, and you can run your all-seasons down to the wear bars without being wild and crazy.

      If you want the fun car, by all means get one, but you don’t want to drive a Porsche on a snowy day. Besides, if you can manage it you could always get winter tires for it too, and run proper performance tires in the summer. At least that way you could enjoy it most winter days.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Absolutely. You really only need FWD to reliably get around urban areas. I felt compelled to get a 4WD Subaru after enduring the snow-heavy winter of ’79-80 in Chicago, and both Chicago and I learned a lesson. I learned that FWD gets you around in any conditions in which you should even be trying to get around, and every mayor in Chicago-land learned that if you do nothing else, you’d better keep the streets plowed.

      That said, with a 1 mile commute each day, I sure hope Ryan is getting that Acura good and warmed up on the weekends. Even in Chicago traffic, 1 mile will barely get the engine warmed up. My wife did significant engine damage years back doing a similar commute without cooking the water out of the oil often enough. If Ryan walked, biked or bussed to work, he could give up the Acura, rely on the Civic for mundane trips and get the Porsche for fun driving. Life is short; eat dessert first.

    • 0 avatar
      tbp0701

      I live in the NE Ohio snowbelt and commute 40-miles each way from a rural area to Cleveland. That said, a 2000 Accord Coupe with Blizzaks made me feel super-human last winter. Sure, I learned to drive in bad weather (with a powerful RWD car, no less), but the Blizzaks on a fairly balanced FWD car kept amazing me.

      But to the overall buying dilemma – you sound a bit like you’re caught between practicality and desire, which is similar to my lines of thought. I’m still working on a solution, but I’m currently intrigued by Mazdaspeeds and turbo Subarus.

    • 0 avatar
      Acc azda atch

      twotone
      Please.. remind me…

      If YOU are EVER in the Phila / NJ / DE / MD area.. with your aforementioned AWD / 4wd snow tires comment..

      Id buy you a CASE of beer.. anywhere.. for that comment ALONE.

      I am so GOD DAMN TIRED of hearing EVERYONE yapping about how they need 4wd / awd. Front wheel drive.. with a set of snows.. is fine!!

      NO one.. and I mean NO one needs this as much as they think they do. Learn how to drive the damn car in the 2-3 months ya might have a use for it.. and ya be fine. Ya don’t need the coupling. Ya don’t need the locking diff, ya don’t need the weight or the power / handling issues.

      Buy a DAMN car ya can have fun with.. not this obese 4wd / awd f’b.s!

    • 0 avatar

      I live in Michigan, where winter is just as severe as Chicago. I’ve driven RWD, FWD, AWD and 4WD vehicles and only gotten stuck once or twice. Having owned an AWD Chrysler minivan and leased a 4WD Ford Explorer, though, if I had to pick one vehicle to make sure I’ll get there, all four wheels will be driven.

      The 4WD system in the Explorer was pretty sophisticated and the vehicle also came with a limited slip rear differential so you’d have to be a complete bonehead to get stuck. With the LSD, even with the high center of gravity, even on dry pavement it handled better than most FWD econoboxes.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian E

      “With the LSD, even with the high center of gravity, even on dry pavement it handled better than most FWD econoboxes.”

      Ah, but the TL isn’t an econobox. It’s a big, heavy car with 60% of the weight over the driven wheels. Between that and stability/traction control, it does *just fine*, certainly better than the flow (such as it is) of traffic.

      Keep in mind that the roads in Chicago are well plowed. Why? The only time we vote the buggers out is when there’s a blizzard and the roads aren’t cleared promptly. You run more risk of losing traction on road salt than on ice around here.

      Oh, Michigan winters are worse. Lake effect is worst on the south side of the lake (Michigan City area) but worse on the east side (Holland / Grand Haven) than on the west side. Even right up next to the lake it’s nothing like the typical Michigan winter. I’ve got a bunch of family in Michigan and I can’t think of one of them who has AWD. They’re doing just fine in FWD econoboxes or RWD with winter tires.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      What year was that Explorer, Ronnie? They must have done something special to it, because the handling of a 2006 Explorer 4×4 is much worse than that of the Suzuki Reno, Dodge Caliber, Hyundai Accent, Toyota Yaris, Kia Rio, Nissan Versa, and Honda Fit of similar age. In Car and Driver testing, the Explorer pulled 0.71 g on the skidpad, with a lane change of 54.3 mph. The worst of those econoboxes – the Caliber – did 0.75 g and 62.1 mph. The best – the Fit – did 0.79 g and 71.4 mph.

      I do agree that having all wheels driven in winter is ideal. Sure, you can get around fine with 2WD on winter tires, and AWD doesn’t help you stop or turn, but it’s far more pleasurable to be able to accelerate like it’s summer with AWD and winter tires. AWD makes it much easier and safer to merge and cross traffic on slippery days.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    I mean dang, there’s got to more reliable performance cars out there for the kid but living in Chicago do you have the space to park three vehicles? Cause if your going to get a hot performance car you better have a back up. Even my crazy ideas (discussed in a previous “New or Used?”) included using my old pick up as a back up. Don’t ditch the Acura and get something more temperamental than my ex-wife.

    Of course with a mile long commute get a bicycle and the Porsche, just plan on riding the bike quite a bit.

    • 0 avatar
      Acc azda atch

      Id just like to know…

      An 06 RL, a 05 TL and a Civic.

      I see a automaker pattern here…

      But god.. what TOTALLY different driving dynamics as well as market demographics for the TL and RL.

      I wouldn’t even look at an RL regardless of the price or the automaker. I sure as hell wouldn’t touch it for the demographic ALONE.

      THE TL is SUPPOSED to be the sportier of the two, takes turns nicer and tighter.. but for a mile to work.. doesn’t even sound like the car even gets broken in — oil isn’t even warmed in the crankcase yet.

  • avatar

    Speaking as one who has been down this sort of road several times, take this advice to heart: If you WANT the Porsche, pass it by, because it makes no practical sense, it’ll be a huge money sink, and it’ll drive you (and your soon-to-be spouse) crazy. Marriages have been wrecked over such things. I kid you not.

    But if you HAVE TO HAVE the Porsche, if you lie awake in the middle of the night thinking about it, if you fear in your heart of hearts that your life will be diminished if you pass it by, buy the best one you can find and don’t look back, because if you are that kind of person and it is that kind of car, the benefits will totally, totally outweigh the downsides. (And if you picked the right spouse, she’ll get it.)

    • 0 avatar
      stationwagon

      what makes Porsche cars such financial blackholes? What goes wrong with the cars? Electronics and accessories? The engine, suspension, steering? I would hate to pay big money for an unreliable car. If Porsche has a reliability problem they should fix it, especially for the prices they charge their customers for their cars.

    • 0 avatar

      Porsches aren’t particularly unreliable for the most part. But a 9-year-old Porsche will have needs just due to age and complexity (and long periods of sitting unused, if it’s really “low miles”), far more needs than a 5-year-old Acura, and you’ll pay out of pocket for those needs at Porsche’s part prices and Porsche-expert labor rates. The ongoing expense is on a whole different planet from running a nearly-new Toyota/Honda/Ford/whatever product. Ask anyone who has tried it.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Fast and sexy is always expensive. In everything. Always.

      That is not bad or good, it just is. The sooner you learn that the less complicated your life becomes, and you learn to prioritize. For some people the fun/attention/excitement/angst/financial strain is worth every penny. Others have different priorities.

    • 0 avatar
      PartsUnknown

      jrosevear is right. I had an ’86 911 Coupe for a while, and it was actually day-to-day reliable. It’s just the repairs and maintenance that were expensive. About 5 years ago, I paid $1,800 for a clutch replacement. On my wife’s Jetta, a new clutch was $900. I paid $400 to get the blower motor replaced on the 911, on a “normal” car, it’s half that. If I remember correctly, the 3.2 took something like 8 or 9 quarts of top-shelf syn. Stuff like that. If you have the coin, they’re worth it. Once I got married and had kids, I no longer had the coin, so the 911 had to go.

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      The problem is people are comparing Proches to “normal” cars. What they really are is an exotic that are relatively affordable and practical to drive. There’s a good article in “Jay Leno’s Garage” about how Porches hold up to abuse SO much more reliably than Ferrari, Lambo, McLaren, etc. They just aren’t Hondas though.

  • avatar
    jmo

    I don’t know the latest numbers but are Porsches the second most reliable cars after Lexus?

    • 0 avatar
      twotone

      Yes, because most are not daily drivers. Porsche owners typically have three or four other cars.

      Twotone

    • 0 avatar

      Check the numbers on 9-year-old Porsches bought by young enthusiasts who attempt to use them as daily drivers, and who have no warranty to cover the (extremely expensive) parts and labor when things break.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      I don’t know the latest numbers but are Porsches the second most reliable cars after Lexus?

      Yes, Porsches are very reliable for the first 90 days. That’s why they ranked so high in the JD Power 90 day survey.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      wsn,

      The numbers I saw were after 5 years of ownership.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      jmo, citation plz. I know they do a 3 year study but never heard of a 5 year study by JDP.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      http://www.wheels.ca/article/785013

    • 0 avatar
      JeremyR

      Quoting the above article: “The annual study measures problems experienced by the original American owners of vehicles after three years.” (emphasis added)

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Jermey,

      My bad – but wsn said after 90 days. I believe 3 years is 1095 days. And they aren’t the second most reliable car after 3 years they are THE most reliable car after 3 years.

    • 0 avatar
      Bancho

      They might be very reliable but that doesn’t absolve them from routine maintenance. To keep the car running as it should there is required maintenance that must be accomplished. In the case of Porsche, that maintenance is expensive. You can’t just take one down to Jiffy Lube…well, you can, but it would probably be a really bad decision.

    • 0 avatar
      JeremyR

      jmo, I will certainly agree that three years, while not as significant as five years, is a lot more meaningful than 90 days!

      Bancho, you’re correct that the routine maintenance is a bit costlier than with the average car. But, for someone who doesn’t mind performing their own maintenance, it’s not that much more expensive. Paying shop labor rates and buying Porsche-branded parts at dealers is a big part of the cost.

      Most of the routine maintenance comes in the form of oil changes, which aren’t inexpensive when the car requires 8+ quarts of full synthetic. And while a Porsche-branded oil filter will set you back $25, the identical OEM filter is less than half that.

    • 0 avatar
      Bancho

      @JeremyR:

      As a fellow fan of wrenching myself I agree but unless the member in question is willing to do that then regular maint can be quite a bit costlier than his current TL. He’s also describing a terrible duty cycle on a daily basis for this car which won’t help much either. If this was a car for fun times or a longer less trafficked commute then it would seem more appealing. Getting up and nursing a cold Porsche the single mile to work seems like the opposite of a fun vehicle to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      JeremyR

      Bancho,

      No argument–a Porsche is a costlier car to maintain than most. I’m just pointing out that those costs can be reduced from “ridiculous” to merely “unreasonable.” :-)

      And as for the one-mile duty cycle, subjecting any car to that is just asking for trouble…

    • 0 avatar
      Bancho

      @JeremyR:

      I agree 100%.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      OK jmo. The study is for the reliability of the first 3 years of ownership. Most cars are still under warranty anyway. The guy who is considering the 01 car is 7 years late to the party. It is not responsible to hint that 01 Porsche is reliable.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      It is not responsible to hint that 01 Porsche is reliable.

      What evidence do you have that an 01 Porsche is any less reliable than any other 01 model year vehicle? All the evidence I have indicates that Porsches are among the most reliable cars available.

      Is a 01 Porsche as reliable as a brand new Lexus? No. Is it as reliable as a ’01 SC430? Sure.

    • 0 avatar
      littlehulkster

      Twotone was right here, but there’s another factor.

      The main problem with JD Power is no weighting. They just register complaints, many of which are trivial. For example, when you delve deep into their data, you find that things like squeaky brakes (Which are sometimes normal, and can be caused by the pad, as opposed to the car) and dash rattles are rated just as bad as catastrophic failures of engine and transmission.

      Without some sort of system to weight the problems off severity, it’s a totally flawed study. Which would you say is more reliable, a car with 10,000 engine failures, or with 10,000 squeaky brake pads?

      JD Power says they’re the same.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      jmo: What evidence do you have that an 01 Porsche is any less reliable than any other 01 model year vehicle? All the evidence I have indicates that Porsches are among the most reliable cars available.

      Is a 01 Porsche as reliable as a brand new Lexus? No. Is it as reliable as a ‘01 SC430? Sure.

      Well, do you count the TTAC posts by actual owners evidence?

      For you, a 3-year study is enough to decide whether a car is reliable or not. For me, reliability starts after the 3rd year mark.

      And no, Porsche is nowhere close to Lexus reliability. Don’t make me laugh. You can try to imagine somehow Germans are a superior race, but they are not.

    • 0 avatar
      JeremyR

      There’s also plenty of evidence to the contrary: numerous M96 engines have gone 200K miles or more and are still going. I’m an active member of the local PCA (Porsche Club of America) region, which has close to 2000 members. Many of the cars are 986/996/987/997 models. I don’t personally know anyone who has experienced a catastrophic engine failure.

      But this is all anecdotal. The surveys, flawed as they may be, are the only information we have that has any chance of being statistically significant.

      For what it’s worth, what I understand of the IMS issue is that it usually manifests itself in lower-mileage engines (say the first 50K or maybe even 30K miles). So, while there are still no guarantees, that older 996 just might be a safer bet than a somewhat newer one.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      msn,

      Again – I need some data not just some random anecdotes.

      All the data we have says that porsche’s are more reliable than any Japanese make. It is generally accepted that reliablity at the 3 year point is a good indicator of long term reliablity.

      Please, link to some data indicating otherwise.

    • 0 avatar
      ccd1

      The real question here is which do think is more reliable: a 2006 Acura RL or a 2001 Porsche 911. That is his choice. Secondly, which do you think is more expensive to repair???

    • 0 avatar
      JeremyR

      That may be your question, but I don’t think it’s the would-be buyer’s question. He doesn’t need TTAC to tell him that an Acura will probably be more reliable and have lower running costs than a Porsche.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    “You might be avoiding the big picture, so let’s go there: future cash drains such as a wedding, kids, college funds, mortgage payments and who-knows-what else lie in your future”

    Oh my god! What depressing boring advice. If it’s affordable, get the Porsche immediately and drive it for two years. By then, if you still love it, keep it. If you don’t, sell it. If you’re planning to buy something anyway, and the Porsche is comparable in price, there is no need to buy a sedan now for kids that you’ll have in two years. Plus, infants are small, they can go in the back seat if absolutely necessary. If you don’t get this out of your system now, you’ll be saying “I wish I had” later.

    • 0 avatar

      Even if you think its affordable, it is most certainly NOT. 996 engine failures are well documented, aside from all the other nickel and dime things that are more like hundreds and thousands on a Porker.

    • 0 avatar
      blue adidas

      Sajeev,

      He needs to find a way to do what he knows he wants to do. Regardless if it is THIS particular car or not, he should get a Porsche now while he’s still young and has no kids and no real reason to be practical. As you get older, there are many opportunities to talk yourself out of things. Too many men get old, regretting what they haven’t done and become resentful of their wives or children that they weren’t able to do certain things. An Acura RL for christsake? That is a very pronounced swing in the wrong direction. No one reminisces fondly about an Acura RL. Get the Porsche. Once he’s had one, he can check if off the list.

  • avatar

    This reminds me a scene of an old Tom Hanks movie “Bachelor Party” when he is being bribed to leave his Fiancee for a Porsche… “take the car, no ..take Deb!”
    funny scene anyway.

    Fortunately you are not in this kind of desicion, but listen to the wise ones…
    A sports car can be more expensive than a dumb son at the MIT!
    My humble opinion, I would save that kind of money for the expenses to come.

    Saludos from Mexico

  • avatar
    jaje

    The 996 can be a $15k new engine candidate if the intermediate shaft bearing fails or the rear main seal. Porsche did not recall these cars and only did fixes under warranty. Though they are a blast to drive – they should not be your sole means of transportation.

    As most noted here ground clearance is helpful for one part of dealing with snow but also traction. Though I own and drive several RWD cars and often hear the saying that RWD is just fine driving in snow and ice IF you purchase a 2nd set of wheels / snow tires. Though that solution does help – it ignores the fact that if you do the same to a FWD or AWD car they will still have superior snow/ice traction than a RWD car (you cannot get that weight transfer). Almost all cars sold today have a front engine/drivetrain layout – all that weight over the driving AND steering wheels on slippery surfaces is superior to RWD. It is just simple physics. Ironically the best RWD car to handle snow and ice happens to be a 911.

    A Subaru Impreza or Legacy are great cars that gets decent mileage (mid to high 20’s), are quick, have decent ground clearance, AWD, and great reliability. If you look at a turbo’d unit make sure that its new or not raced to within an inch of it’s life by over boost junkies.

    • 0 avatar
      bking12762

      You are absolutely right jaje! The intermediate shaft issue is a little secret Porsche wants to keep secret. I write service at an Independent Porsche repair shop and from what I read, it has been estimated that 20%-30% of all MY96 engines (the family of engines in 996’s and Boxsters) will have the “IMS” failure. Definitely go to rennlist.com and do your due diligence by reading up on the car and the IMS failures. Also, get a pre-purchase inspection. It is money well spent. If you can, get a C.P.O. car. When you go naked with a Porsche, you exposure yourself to ridiculously priced repairs.

    • 0 avatar
      JeremyR

      While the IMS issue occurs way more often than it should, there’s no way that “20-30%” figure is credible.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I think the lack of driving enjoyment may have something to do with Chicago traffic rather than your current car so I would stick with what you have. However, if you have some cash to burn on automotive fun why not treat yourself to some track time at Skip Barber or similar driving school?

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    First, what you want to hear. If you really want it, GET THE PORSCHE.

    Now, close your ears to what you don’t want to hear. That Porsche is not necessary nor financially responsible (geeze, is that boring or what?). It will bleed you dry with cost of maintenance and repairs. My wife was bitten by the Porsche bug at a young age and finally succumbed to the disease a little less than one year after we started dating when she bought a very used 911. When it was out of the shop and she was driving it, she was all smiles. When it was in the shop (about every two months), she was very depressed – separation anxiety, IMO. After about six months, she awoke to the realization that maybe she and her bank account weren’t cut out for this Porsche thing.
    –> You can listen to this part again <–
    She found herself another used car (a lightly used Mustang Cobra, her second most favorite car) and sold the Porsche for what she paid for it. So go ahead and buy your dream car, just don't expect the honeymoon to last forever.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I’m with the nay sayers. If you are having trouble piloting your TL in the winter, buy a set of four top end real snow tires and have them mounted on cheap steel wheels (no studs!). Put these on your TL for the winter months and you will be amazed how capable your vehicle is in the snow.

    Then, either put your excess cash in the bank or spend some of it seeing the world. An older Porsche is a money pit designed mostly to stoke the ego of the driver. There are more interesting ways to spend money if you must.

  • avatar
    carve

    Go ahead and get the 911, but DON’T use it for a one mile commute or for a snow car. Short trips like that, that don’t let the motor warm up, are hard as hell on motors. You’re putting most of your miles on a cold motor without warm, circulated oil and you never allow the blow-by to boil off.

    What you need for your commute, in order of priority is…
    1) Bike or shoes, for 70% of the time
    2) An old 4wd you can abuse for bad-weather. Think at least 10 years old, Cherokee, Explorer, maybe an old CRV or Subaru. It doesn’t even matter if it’s not that reliable- you’ll have to walk under a mile and have a backup car.
    3) The 911

    Also, in the winter, keep in mind that 4wd will be great for keeping you from getting stuck, but a 2wd car with winter tires will be better at braking and cornering when the whether is bad (on dry days, the 4wd with all seasons will be better). I find 4wd gives a false sense of security.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Wanna see if Porsche ownership in Chicago is for you? Lease trader.

    I think you’ll find that wanting a Porsche is better than owning one… in Chicago.

  • avatar
    Dr. Nguyen Van Falk

    Why do you drive 1 mile to work in Chicago?

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    How much does a 2001 Porsche cost?

    At under 5000 miles a year what would the annual repair cost be?

    Very few of us are going get out of this world alive. Grab the Porsche and enjoy!

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    One word for you Ryan: “Equity.” Buy some property that will still be worth something when its payed for, or when you do decide to pack up and move to Maine.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Gee – isn’t that the kind of advice that resulted in the greatest economic crisis since the great depression? And this just in – real estate prices are still falling and by some metrics we’re still 20 to 30% over valued.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Please don’t pack up and move to Maine. We have enough “people from away” here already driving up real estate prices.

      If you can honestly afford it, buy the Porsche. Life is too short. Find a good independent mechanic to maintain it for less than the dealer. But be absolutely sure to buy only the very best historied Porsche you can buy! Nothing is more expensive than a cheap expensive car!

      In general, I disagree with the naysayers. While I don’t personally own a Porsche, I do have friends who do. While they are certainly not Honda-cheap to run (but in the real world niether are Hondas), they are not ruinouos in the way that an Italian exotic is. If you can comfortably afford to buy and maintain a new Acura, you can probably confortably afford a good used Porsche. Though IMHO a well-maintained example of one of the last air-cooled cars is the one to go for.

      But what do I know? I have had nothing but excellent service form various VWs, Saabs and BMWs that the wingnuts on here say should have put me in the poorhouse.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    @who cross-shops an RL with a 911?

    Sajiv, Sajiv. You are not a veteran used car shopper. When interesting used cars come across your path, you HAVE to cross shop them. Even when they don’t cross your path. A couple of years ago, I was shopping. I have always wanted a big 90s Town Car. I have always wanted a Miata. I ended up with a Gen1 Honda Odyssey. Not because I always wanted one, but because the one that came to my attention was that rare combination of great condition and low price. A dedicated used car shopper does not turn one of these down.

    My advice is this: If either the RL or the Porsche is an unbeatable combination of great condition and low price, and it is a car that you like, then buy it. If it does not fit either of these criteria, then keep looking

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Mr. Cavanaugh is a true “old school” veteran used car shopper, like my father. You must consider vehicles in your “local” geographic area that are in awesome shape for an awesome price and meet whatever your needs are. That is why my father would start used car shopping months before he was ready to buy. He knew it would take that long to find the right one.

      Lang and Metha and most of the people on this site take the modern “find what you want online no matter where it is and go get it.”

      I am torn between those two positions. Comb local area or hop online and find exactally what I want even if it’s 500 miles away.

    • 0 avatar

      Autotrader.com was invented for a reason. Ditto their classic-only car finding website.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Hey my dad doesn’t even own a computer, but he uses one daily at work and has for almost 3 decades. I don’t get why he doesn’t utilize the power of the internet in his daily life. Especially since he’s talking about selling his 1967 Mustang Convertible.

    • 0 avatar
      jpcavanaugh

      I see the lure of AutoTrader and its ilk, but I am afflicted with a terrible condition known as “high standards.” I have lost count of the times that someone (either an owner or a salesman) tells me by phone or email how really nice his car is (even with lots of detailed questions). Then I go look at it, and it falls (on my scale) somewhere between “Uhhhh-maybe this is for someone else” and “what are you smoking?”. I don’t think that these people are dishonest, but maybe are just used to average-at-best cars.

      By the way, Dan, what did you decide about your commuter car?

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      I have decided that I should get a Lexus LS from the late 90s with less than 75,000 miles or a Cadillac Fleetwood/Brougham (RWD) from about 1987-1996. So yes the internet will be my friend. My love of luxury flagships won out over my love of sport coupes. (I say should get because I haven’t gotten the job yet, I’m interviewing around.)

      If I had indulged my practical side (wow there’s an oxymoron) I would get a Ford Fivehundred or a Mercury Sable/Montego and revel in the depreciation. Thank god there will be plenty of time to be practical later.

    • 0 avatar
      jpcavanaugh

      Dan, both good choices. I drove an 89 Brougham daily from about 2001-2005. Bought it from the original owner with 76K on it. I would look for one with the 5.7. My 307 was reliable but accelleration was, shall we say, leisurly. I think that 94 and up use the R134 air conditioning, which would eliminate another headache. As for the Lexus, some day I am going to own a big LS 4something. I turned 50 last year, so I am getting into the right demographic.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      “I would look for one with the 5.7. My 307 was reliable but accelleration was, shall we say, leisurly.”

      Oh you mean all two copies built with the 350 between 1987-1992? Sorry for the sarcasm, it just feels like that. I’m such a car geek and Oldsmobile lover I’d get off on my Caddy having an Olds V8.

      Oops, now I think we’ve hijacked the thread…

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      The real jewels are outside the interwebZ as the buyer of my Impulse RS discovered. The price was a steal (shame on me) and the guy is in love with the car. He knew about it from a friend of both.

      That said, yes the interwebZ is an awesome tool for getting or seeing used cars (on this, interwebZ>newspaper) but the real nice cars need some street kicking for finding them.

      Also, at least down here, the tucarro.com.ve prices are CRAZY (crack pipe crazy), sometimes you can buy at less cost outside the cars sold there.

      @Dan, the last gen Fleetwood with an LT1 would rock. Or get a Custom Cruiser.

      I usually don’t like Toyotas, but an SC300/400 or 1st/2nd gen LS would hurt.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    There’s an old saying about yachts. If you have to ask how much they cost, you can’t afford one. Ditto for Porsches. As they get older, they are extremely expensive to maintain.

    The “cheapest” way to own a Porsche is to buy it new, or nearly new, get the longest, most extensive warranty you can find, and sell it when the warranty expires. You will get killed on depreciation, but that is more predictable, and possibly less expensive, than fixing the thing.

    A Porsche is not economical winter transportation. To Porsche fans, driving one on salty winter roads is sacrilege. Their best use is as a summer toy for those who appreciate their performance and can afford the expense.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, as real hardcore Porsche fans will tell you, an air-cooled-era RWD 911 (or 356, for that matter) is about the most awesome fun snow-day car you’ll ever encounter. Borrow an old SC or 3.2 Carrera with good snow tires and try it sometime.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    Why do you want or need AWD for the Chicago winter? I do just fine in my TSX, and that’s on lousy all-seasons. If you want better winter traction, get a set of Blizzaks.

    Don’t get rid of the TL, though. It’s a modern classic and will provide reliable transportation for years to come. If you have to get the Porsche, make it a supplement.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Nguyen Van Falk

      Yeah, I have a Ford ZX2 on all-weathers in Chicago and have no trouble in winter other than clearing frozen slush when it’s plowed in, and that’s still not that bad. If this guy’s deciding between an RL and a 911, I’d imagine he has a garage, which makes the AWD even less necessary.

  • avatar
    rm

    If you like the Acura and haven’t tried snow tires yet, give it a shot. Gives you 80% of the capability for a small fraction of the cost. I live, commute, work, and play in lake effect country with a similar FWD car and get along just fine with snow tires for late Nov-late Feb. The car is night & day different compared to all seasons in the winter.

  • avatar
    richeffect

    Been there, and done that. What Non-Porsche owners don’t realize is just the magnitude of service these cars require.

    Imagine this: You and your fiance save up $3k for the perfect trip to Hawaii or (insert vacation here), but the Porsche is making noise and you take it in for a look. Turns out the water pump needs replacing because the seals around the pulley are giving out. It turns out they need replacing every 60k–$600. You also might as well change the belts because they need adjustment every 15k and replacement every 30k–$400. You just spent $1k for things that broke that would normally not on an Acura. Vacation postponed.

    Hurt yet? Ok, now go look up “Intermediary shaft failure” and you’ll see why the Porsche 996 series’ prices are so much lower than that of the 964. This also applies to most 986’s (Boxters) too. We’re talking complete ENGINE FAILURE. Oh, and sorry your warranty is out. Apparently, the bean counters at Porsche realized that bolting the crankshaft together would be cheaper (that’s right, they went to Home Depot, bought a bunch of nuts/bolts and put the CRANK together like a LEGO SET). Failures were happening within the warranty period. They were designed to last the warranty period. The perception here is that Porsche doesn’t care about 2nd owners–they don’t have to. The image will keep the love alive. The things that you take for granted with less exclusive, run-of-the-mill cars do not exist in the status brands.

    Given your situation, I’d get the Porsche. You won’t know what you’re missing until you experience it yourself. When you get tired of the repair bills, that’s when you sell it, get a Hyundai Genesis Coupe or (insert reliable brand name here) and realize how good life can be when you’re not contributing to the Porsche repair center retirement fund.

  • avatar
    VerbalKint

    I once bought an eight year old Targa. It eventually needed new 1st & 2nd gear synchros, 2nd gear and since it was all apart I had the output shaft bearings replaced. (Boy did I buy the wrong car!)

    Second gear cog was alone was $750.

    The cost of repairs would have been a fair down payment on a brand new Integra.

    • 0 avatar
      richeffect

      I also encountered transmissions problems on my 944 with a blown transmission (my fault), but I found a used transmission at 1/3 price of repair. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    Another voice for snow tires – Blizzaks, in particular; WS60s if you can. I put the WS50s on my Saab, and they’re not as grippy; the compound isn’t the magic one in the WS60s.

    The difference is staggering; all-seasons would result in an all-wheels-locked sideways skid down a polished snow driveway; Blizzaks result in a neck-jarring snap-stop if you jam the brakes on in the same conditions. Driving in snow without *good* winter tires is insanity – you wouldn’t drive in a downpour on slicks, so don’t drive in the winter on all-seasons.

    • 0 avatar
      littlehulkster

      Bilzzaks are actually a mid-tier snow tire, and they are seriously handicapped by only having half the tire with a snow compound.

      General Altimax Arctics are better, and less expensive, and Nokian Hakkapeliittas are the very best, and have been for some time.

      Nokian even makes winter tires for bicycles, which is what this guy should be doing for a paltry mile commute.

  • avatar
    ccd1

    I’m sorry, but FWD/AWD is the most over hyped option know to auto-kind. If you were to go to New Hampshire or Vermont, you would see that the locals have the houses close to the road and their cars even closer to the road. The reason is simple, they know how to plow in those states and the locals understand they need only navigate from their driveway to the street. It’s the people from out of town that have the fancy AWD SUVs and the long driveways.

    I’m sure the same is true of Chicago, wait a minute and the road will be plowed. If lacking AWD keeps you off the road, count yourself lucky as you won’t have to contend with all the asses out there going too fast for the conditions. There is a reason why the majority of cars stranded on the side of the road in snow storms are SUVs.

    I think you need to sit down and decide what you want. Cross shopping a 911 with an Acura tells me you really haven’t thought about your needs/desires. I was looking at a used Cayman, but the costs of ownership would restrict my golf budget and I’d rather play golf. You might have other things to do with your money as well. Porsches are generally reliable cars, but when they break, the repairs tend to be VERY expensive. You need to have $2-3k lying around all the time for unexpected repairs and that is being conservative. If you really want a Porsche, get a used Boxster/Cayman that is still under warranty. A 9 yr old 911 is a disaster waiting to happen.

    • 0 avatar
      richeffect

      I second ccd1’s comments.

    • 0 avatar
      Baumer

      Sorry, this is dead wrong. AWD in places like Vermont, or wherever there’s slick, hilly terrain for a good portion of the year, as there is where I live, is an indispensable tool, and one that I swear by after enduring many winters in a RWD BMW. FWD was surely better, but AWD has been far superior to both. People who claim otherwise a) have never used AWD for its intended purpose, or b) probably sell RWD vehicles for a living.

    • 0 avatar
      ccd1

      I lived in Boston for over 20 yrs and skiied in Vermont and Maine much of that time. You need a good set of snow tires and some common sense, not FWD or AWD. Wait for the plows to finish plowing the road and you are fine. FWD/AWD is hardly indispensible in most places where they know how to plow.

    • 0 avatar
      Baumer

      Well, CCD1, Boston is a great city and they do get a good amount of snow, but I live in downtown Montreal, where plowing is decent, but not great, and we have real hills with real snow and ice, 6 months of the year. For our road conditions, AWD is simply the better tool.

      I’m not really concerned with how much hype or lip service AWD receives. I just go by my actual experiences in owning an Acura TSX (FWD) and then a 3-series BMW (RWD), both with snow tires, and the occasional – but not infrequent – struggles in inclement weather that I had with either car.

      Conversely, I was sold on my current car, an AWD Subaru, the first time I accelerated from a dead stop at the top of an icy hill. Had I tried that in my Acura (let alone my BMW), I would have slid all the way down, much as I have done in the past.

      Moreover, for ski trips up to the Laurentians, or down to Vermont, especially for those early morning 1st track powder days at Jay Peak, where you’re often driving on unplowed State routes, AWD has tremendous advantages.

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    Get the 996.
    Get a pos mid 90’s small japanese car for the winter, put winter tires on it…you are set.

    The other 8 months out of the year you can walk or ride a bike.

    • 0 avatar
      Lumbergh21

      I knew an engineer in South Sanfrancisco like that. He had a Targa for the weekends and drove a beat up 10-year old Camry for everything else.

  • avatar
    JeremyR

    I wouldn’t subject a Porsche to driving just two miles a day. Actually, I wouldn’t subject any car to this sort of abuse. But if you actually intend to drive it the way it was meant to be driven, by all means get the 996.

    Having said that, the intermediate shaft (IMS) issue that others have mentioned is real. While there are plenty of 986/996/987/997’s that have never and will never experience this problem, the failure rate (which nobody outside of Porsche really knows) is higher than any catastrophic failure rate should be. I wouldn’t say that the cars are ticking time bombs (incidentally, I have a 987 myself), but you need to be prepared for this sort of thing to happen.

    Also, make sure you’re really getting a “great price.” The 996 is one of the least-favored 911 generations in the market (partly due to the aforementioned IMS issue, no doubt), and should be priced accordingly. And be sure to get a thorough pre-purchase inspection…

    • 0 avatar

      Hmm… I had a 986 and I definitely felt the tick of the timebomb – glad to be rid of it. Are you saying they didn’t fix the problem in the 987 even? Absolutely ridiculous – especially since there are aftermarket preventative fixes out there already.

    • 0 avatar
      JeremyR

      At some point, a dual-row IMS bearing replaced the single-row unit, which mitigated the problem but didn’t eliminate it entirely. There may have been other incremental improvements, but I haven’t kept track of them.

      The “987.1” model, which debuted for the 2009 model year, has a new engine design which has eliminated the IMS entirely. Of course, it remains to be seen what new issues will pop up in the new engine…

  • avatar
    jberger

    The picture at the top of the article is perfect.

    DO NOT BUY A USED 996.

    In-laws 996 is a garage queen, perfectly kept, driven only in perfect weather, 2nd car, etc. It’s been in the shop for 3 weeks and looks like it’s the shaft issue mentioned in the thread. The shop did not bat an eye when they said it’s a 15K repair.

    Thankfully, it is barely under warranty so he’s not having to pick up the tab on the repair.

    Even he says the for sale sign will hit the windshield the minute it’s out of the shop and it’s the last Porsche he’ll own. This guy has been a Porsche owner for 40 years, but this is the end of the road with him.

  • avatar
    thats one fast cat

    My 2 bits

    The 996 C4 is a great car, and you will like every minute behind the wheel. That being said, however…

    Porsches are expensive cars unless you wrench it yourself. Even if you do, it is still going to be costly, but manageably so. Sure, the 996/983 water cooled sixes suffer from intermediate failure, but don’t believe for a second that they are any more unreliable/more likely to detonate than an out of warranty BMW or Audi. The more likely things that are likely to go wrong are things you can replace yourself if you are handy with the spanner and that is were the cost will surprise you. Tires, suspension parts, brakes, etc are simply more than run of the mill vehicles. Doesn’t bother you? Then make sure you also factor in significantly higher insurance. If you are in Chicago proper, you really need to budget 3-4K in maintence/insurance yearly.

    Too high? Then don’t buy. I have had several Porsches (an 87 911 with 35K currently graces the garage) and have enjoyed every one. But NONE of them have been cheap….

  • avatar
    stroker49

    1mile! You should buy the Porsche, a Ducati or a boat or something funny. Or spend your money on travels or something else because you don’t need another car in your household! Take the bicycle to work in the summer or walk. If you don’t have the car in a garage it will take you longer time to scrape the windows in the winter than walk 1600 meters. Your girlfriend has a good car for the time off work and you will get free exercise.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Why not buy a new 911? Problem solved!

    Oh, wait, you can’t afford one? Then, you better stick with the TL. Many would believe that a German car purchase would make a nobody into a somebody. Actually it doesn’t. Same with Hummer, it doesn’t extend your penis.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr Strangelove

      Can we drop this penis nonsense already? I’m sure everyone has heard that particular pearl of wisdom often enough by now.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Nguyen Van Falk

      I see too many peacocking losers in chromed up hummers on rubberband tires, so no, the jokes haven’t run their course because some people don’t know how stupidly hilarious they look by puffing their chest through the most over-accesorized gaudy autos.

      Until those cars are gone and those fools know their shame, the jokes must go on.

  • avatar
    william442

    The transmission is failing in my daughter’s 2007, babied, Honda S 2000 with 12,500 miles. The lease and the warranty have two months to go. It probably won’t make it. We talked her out of the Boxter she had chosen.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      The S2000 has a famously fragile transmission. Odd, because it’s the same piece used in the RX-8 and people hardly ever have issues with it.

    • 0 avatar
      akitadog

      Interesting to hear about the S2000 transmissions. I was considering picking up an 04-07 as a toy, but that gives me pause.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Transmission, or differential? The pumpkin is basically Miata guts in a different case, and is known to respond badly to rough wooing. The gearbox itself seems to hold up well enough, and even if one did die there are plenty of low-miles boxes out of wrecked S2000s available as inexpensive replacements.

      Seems to me the ideal Porsche would be a Boxter with a JDM EJ20 swap.

    • 0 avatar
      JeremyR

      bumpy, I sometimes wonder what I would do if my Boxster’s engine decided to implode, and a Subaru engine swap is certainly on that list! Blasphemy, perhaps, but it’s blasphemy of the pragmatic kind…

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    “I’m sorry, but FWD/AWD is the most over hyped option know to auto-kind”.

    I agree about the AWD, but I wasn’t aware FWD was an option also.

    I thought 80% of cars came that way.

    • 0 avatar
      ccd1

      FWD=Four wheel drive, not front wheel drive. Was just trying to distinguish between cars that can be put into 4wheel drive as opposed to AWD vehicles that are always in that mode

  • avatar
    bucksnort

    You had better do some research in back issues of Excellence magazine before you by a Porsche with the M96 engine. According to the tech editor of Excellence, M96’s, especially early ones and a 20% chance of an intermediate shaft failure and the resulting carnage….boom.

    Later M96 engines may be better.

    I would think long and hard before I would buy into a 20% negative lottery.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckR

      Google is also your friend – search on M96 and M97 engines.

      If you have to have a 911, consider one of the last aircooled – a 964 or 993 model. You do need to have some bucks lying around just to service a Porsche. For example, the 30K interval services in a 964 will run $3-$3.5K from a dealer provided they don’t find anything wrong. Don’t know about the 993s. Still cheaper than a replacement/used M96/M97 engine. Expense wise, think of them like a boat, a vintage wooden sailboat…..

  • avatar
    babucat

    Check Lotus forums for a used Elise.

  • avatar
    gsnfan

    Keep your cars and walk to work.

    • 0 avatar

      Bingo.
      It’s been said before, but driving any car such a short distance is bad all around for engine, exhaust etc.
      If you’re lucky enough to live a mile from work then a good pair of walking shoes and / or a bicycle is all you’ll need.
      Good luck.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    People don’t buy a Porsche because they want AWD; they buy Subarus for that.

    People buy Porsche AWD because it offers a little extra stickum while driving a Porsche fast – which is counter to what you’ll be doing in a Chicago winter.

    Just get four dedicated winter tires and mount them on a separate set of rims if you want. This is all I do for western PA winters for front-drive cars, which are similar to Chicago’s, except that we also have the hills to deal with.

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    I was planning to buy a Porsche as a replacement for my Audi A4.

    Soon changed my mind on that.

    Intermediate shaft failure on those cars and early Boxsters is very common. Check out the number of Craiglists cars that are advertised with new / rebuilt / replacement motors.

    Driving any modern ICE car less than 2 miles a day is a serious problem,as in sludge, you are a perfect candidate for public transportation or an electric vehicle.

    If you have to have a Porsche buy an older classic one and wrench it yourself or buy new with warranty. Definitely not a daily driver.

  • avatar
    DearS

    Porsche I’m sure is a good car, but their are a million cars more fun than a TL/RL. I’ve used RWD for the past 6 years in RI, no winter tires, and my issues have been minimal. If the reliability and expense is scary, save the trouble and get a Bimmer, AMG, even a Miata. Seems like some compulsive and obsessive behavior going on. Are we so afraid of things not going according to plan? We cannot predict what might happen, we can only make some choices and live with them. I’ve be looking at not just a 996, but an Intagra R, S2000, 350Z, RX8, Mustang, M3, or Evo. The goal is fun, not political correctness, status, or perfection. Lets be kind to ourselves, relax and lighten up. Don’t take the choice so seriously, no one is perfect.

  • avatar
    geeber

    This car-as-a-substitute-for-endowment nonsense always says more about the person using it than it does about the intended target. It does, however, reaffirm the wisdom of learing to mind your own business when it comes to other people’s choices in automobiles.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Nguyen Van Falk

      I’ll do that when you mind your business about people’s choices of jokes to make.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Minding one’s own business about other people’s automotive choices is the more informed approach. Generally, professional busybodies bore people – at least, those who can think for themselves.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    A Porker? Are you nuts???? Get a Ferrari F355 instead! With a 1 mile commute, and being not yet married, an awd 911 is far too practical a choice. Don’t let these downers steer you wrong. You only live once!

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    To get an idea if you should get a 911 for use in Chicago, you’ll want to talk to someone who A) lives in Chicago, B) has a 911.

    That means, I’m your guy, seeing as I meet both criteria.

    My advice… if the 911 is to be your sole vehicle, don’t. If you’re wealthy enough to have the 911 as a second car, fine. Otherwise, forget it. Run away.

    First of all, pre-2002 (996) 911s have a reputation for a nasty engine failure (rear main seal). If that happens, and you don’t catch it within a few seconds, your engine will grenade. And you will have to buy a new motor. It will cost you two years’ rent. Meanwhile, you’re walking that mile to work for several weeks.

    Secondly, the AWD 911 is for damp roads at best, and will offer you no benefit whatsoever during a good ol’ blizzard off Lake Michigan. You will be hopelessly stuck. And depending on which road you live on and how fast the city gets round to plowing it, you could be walking again for several more weeks. Why? Because the 911 might be able to drive through two inches of white stuff. Any deeper, you’re high-centered.

    Thirdly, have you priced out a recommended interval service — or just a basic oil change at an area specialist or Porsche dealer? Again, if you’re wealthy and love cars, fine. Otherwise, forget dining at a restaurant for the month of your service and enjoy your peanut butter sandwiches. (And no, don’t ever bring a 911 to a quick lube thinking you’ll save a few bucks — overfill a 911 a smidgeon and you’ve just ruined your muffler due to oil burn-off. That’ll be $800 plus installation at $200 per hour, please.)

    Yet another reason: I don’t know your age, but I assume you’re in your 20s or early 30s. That means your insurance company will punish you severely for owning a sports car, especially a very fast German one. Then tack on some more financial discomfort as Flo or the Lizard realize you’re in a big city, with lots of crime, driving a fancy sports car. More PB and J for you.

    Then there’s parking. Which you will always worry about, and spend a lot more on, given how much you will be worrying about your ride.

    So, in closing… You live in Chicago. With salt and snow and terrible drivers all conspiring to kill your car. Do you park on the street? All the more reason to get a car that already has the Second City patina. Save your cash for real life. Paying down any credit cards. Saving for your house. Or helping out her parents with the wedding. Or going on a beautiful honeymoon.

    Old 911s — gotta love them. And I do. It’s just that mine’s a toy, lives in a garage in the burbs and only putters around on sunny weekends. Until you make the jack to indulge yourself similarly, get a used Jeep and a roof rack (so you can go on adventures outside the city) and use your money toward the things that’re gonna make you much more happy, and a lot less stressed.

    • 0 avatar
      JeremyR

      Just a slight correction–the rear main seal is another issue that can happen with these engines, but it isn’t nearly as catastrophic as the intermediate shaft (which I think is what you actually meant). At least, a leaky RMS isn’t going to cause the engine to grenade within seconds.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Jeremy, you are correct, sir.

    The RMS will not blow up the engine, just piddle a while draining one’s bank account exponentially faster. Just another way the Porsche may give our young owner the “shaft.”

    Of course, the vast majority of 996s are roaming the highways and byways with nary a hiccup. The problem for Ryan, however, is how lucky does he feel?

    The Porsche he ponders is a wonderful, sensational car. But timing is everything. Even as a Porsche fan, I strongly urge Ryan to consider something more practical.

    And just as a disclaimer to this free advice….

    Wanna know where my Porsche is, this very minute?

    That’s right. In the shop.

    • 0 avatar
      JeremyR

      I wish I could recommend a Porsche without reservation, as they are very rewarding cars to drive. But, yes, there is a certain element of luck involved in avoiding expensive failures.

      My Boxster is an ’05 2.7, which has benefited from some of the M96 upgrades introduced over the years, but IMS failures are not unheard of in this model. Still, I don’t spend too much time worrying about it. I let the engine properly warm up before driving the car hard, and I change the oil at least twice as often as the service interval calls for. 47K miles so far, and the only real issue was the aforementioned rear main seal–replaced under warranty. Excuse me while I find some wood to knock on!

      I hope your current visit to the shop doesn’t turn out to be an expensive one!

  • avatar
    johnharris

    Thanks for this post and thread. For some time I’ve been able to afford a good used 911. Having driven 911’s, they are simply my favorite car of all time. But I’ve done a lot of research and concluded that while I could afford to buy a good one, I wouldn’t want to bleed cash to maintain it. This was a sad revelation, but this thread makes me feel better.

    Instead, I bought a new Mini Cooper S. 14k miles and no problems yet, though I expect them sooner than later. (It’s a second car.)

  • avatar
    findude

    Ryan, it sounds like you don’t need a car at all! Walk. Take cabs when the weather is bad. Learn the bus routes.

    If you need a car for reasons not stated in your query, then just keep the TL (a nice city and highway car), but you should still walk to work.

    If you’re like me, you’re constantly looking at (and sometimes buying) cool cars. It’s a habit of mind, a way of being. But, remember the supermarket concept that many posters have alluded to (if not by name): you can spend your money and time on things other than cars! Or you can save your money!

    If you’re looking for cheap, reliable fun, pick up a used Miata that already has some door dings. Negotiate hard and you can get several years of no-worry fun for a great price. If you want to spend more and explore the twistys at the limit (though I recall Chicago-land being more or less devoid of topographical variation and having mostly straight roads everywhere), then locate a good 2005/2006 Lotus Elise. Do not buy an Elise if you have to park on the street as it will quickly become a very expensive casualty to incompetent parallel parkers. If you pick up a Miata or Elise, then invite the fiance to a weekend driving school.

    • 0 avatar
      JeremyR

      I’m not sure an Elise would be a better choice. They may very well be more reliable, but any body damage would cost a small fortune to repair.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    FWD does gave more traction, but once u exceed the limit, u can kiss your sweet Derriere & say Hasta la vista baby.
    I spun out of control once, it was not funny.
    That was icy glaced near 40 miles east of Quebec city. Climbed from the ditch then see what a miracle it happened, I missed guard rails , I went for the 50 ft of opening if not I would have bounced around like a Billiard ball!

    He has 2 choices either do the Porsche now keep her for couple of yrs then get on with the Marriage, kids obligations.
    Or be a very good boy just by another almost mundane econo box.

    Sports car and marriage are almost diametrically opposed unless u have lots of mulla, fixing the car will put severe strain in the system.

    As folks pointed out driving 1 mile the engine does hardly warmed up, no matter what kind of car he will face precipitous consequences as time goes on.

    Driving the AWD Porsche during winter is kind of as making sense as wearing a Tux to go moving house. Msny yrs ago one fnd had a 89 AWD Porsche, he said he may may drove her while it was too cold, he tore the engine or trans seal. U wish a bottle of stop leak will do. If it does work those bottle will sell for $500, as it saves u at least a grand.

    Or just buy a bad beater for winter driving.
    If u only drive 1 mile do u need AWD? God forbid if u live infront of some steep hills though. Then mind as well think of a Polaris Skidoo.

    I had a W 126 300sd Merc, I did pack the trunk full of tools & junk, I had almost new snow tires, she got me home on the day of a bad snow storm without much drama it took 4hrs for 20 mins drive as all the bridges were blocked. She just plough thru like a
    Tiger tank, except one deep hole my front wheel stuck in, a few passerby helped me to pushed her out.

    Speed will make anything spun out. More power = hitting ditch faster thats all.

  • avatar
    meefer

    You seem to enjoy Honda, you want something more fun/exotic. NSX? I’m not aware of anything majorly wrong with those except crappy window regulators and snap ring issues for the manual tranny but that’s easy to check by VIN.

    If we’re limiting it to the RL and the 996, I’d have to pick the Porsche.

  • avatar
    shortthrowsixspeed

    let me start by saying that i love you guys. i really do. i love this site. And i have the utmost respect for Sajeev and Steve. But . . .

    is it just me or are these “answers” usually an exercise in telling the questioner that they should not be asking that question? Poor Ryan didn’t ask if he should purchase another car. He asked whether he should go for a 2006 RL or a 2001 carrera 4. He didn’t inquire as to what the hot destinations were for a relaxing getaway on his honeymoon. he asked a CAR question. And i imagine he expected an answer about a car; not his budget, or his priorities, a car.

    why does this response not explain the up and downsides of the two vehicles mentioned? and who cares why he’s cross shopping an RL and a carrera 4, he is, so deal. i think Ryan and the readers would be better served by our great TTAC staff accepting the premises of the question (unless, of course, they are factually incorrect) rather than attempting to change the question entirely.

    i’m just sayin’.

    • 0 avatar
      blue adidas

      EXACTLY!!! Get the Porsche.

    • 0 avatar
      littlehulkster

      If I asked about hitting myself in the face with a hammer, would you just explain the best way to do it, or tell me it was a stupid idea?

    • 0 avatar
      ccd1

      If that were the choice, I would get the TL in a heartbeat over that Porsche. I don’t care how well maintained the car is, a 9 yr old Porsche is going to be expensive to keep on the road. After owning this car for a year, that “great deal” you got on the car won’t look nearly so great.

    • 0 avatar
      shortthrowsixspeed

      @littlehulkster

      if you asked about hitting yourself in the face with a hammer on a site dedicated to “the truth about” self-mutilation then yes, i would expect an answer dedicated to the best way to accomplish that task.

      In the same way, it erked me that when Ryan asked a car question on a car site he got an answer I would expect from a money management or travel site.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    RX8?
    Z4 coupe?

  • avatar
    1600 MKII

    Look. If you don’t buy the Porsche now – when you have the chance – you’ll be kicking yourself the rest of your life. It will cost you a fortune but before the family thing happens. Just don’t drive it to work…drive it to Mexico…drive it to Florida…drive it to New York and back, just for the hell of it. In fact – quit your job, grab your girlfriend and forget everything…just do it!

  • avatar
    werewolf34

    I agree. This is the end of your ‘Ferrari’ window. Before kids, before mortgages, before private school fees and swagger wagons.

    Buy it, enjoy it and don’t cry when it’s time to sell

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    Passion, desire…cars…Acura vs Porsche…impending life.

    Listen, I’ve been there, all the way through to the other side of marriage. While I have regrets, pursuing my automotive passions is not one of them.

    You want the Porsche, or else you wouldn’t be here asking the question. You don’t need our permission, you need your own. Buy the Porsche, love it. Make sure it’s the right one, spend time, dream about it…that’s so much a part of the fun, the desire.

    But truly, walk when you can walk. Then take your Porsche out of Illinois, to places with real roads, not the Dan Ryan, not Rt 83, go someplace with curves. I’ve never so much regretted the cars I’ve owned while living in Chicago/IL, as I have living in Chicago/IL where there are no roads within 60 minutes where I can go and truly enjoy what the cars have to offer.

    Let us know what you do. You have our attention.

  • avatar
    littlehulkster

    It really is funny to see people who live in places that have a lower yearly average snowfall than we get in a single month talking about how AWD is stupid for everyone ever and if THEY can get through those horrifying 4 inchers with RWD, it is clearly the ideal solution for all problems.

    Anyway, buying this Porsche is stupid. Get a nice bicycle for the commute, then buy a motorcycle, which will be faster, cheaper, more efficient and more reliable than the Porsche. Take the rest of the money and (gasp!) save it.

  • avatar
    Bunk Moreland

    Ryan;

    Is your next car for the one-mile ride to work, or is it for driving outside of the commute?

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    Meh.

    As the 928 (with apropo snow rubber) was better in the snow than it’s 911 contemps, do show any data that proves any 911 more adroit than the Pana AWD.

    Please…

  • avatar
    ccd1

    I really, really do not understand the support for a 9 yr old 911. The only person who should consider this car are: a Porsche mechanic, a former Porsche mechanic, someone who loves to work on their car and knows a Porsche mechanic who can help him out, and someone who is married to or has a Porsche mechanic in the family.

    When buying an old car like a Porsche, it’s not just about the purchase price, it’s about maintenance costs. I love the old Ferrari 355 and could possibly afford to purchase it, but I could not afford the $5-7k it would take annually to keep it on the road. This is why cross shopping this Porsche and a TL is insane: the purchase price may be close (we never did get any prices), but the maintenance costs will be VERY different. Factor in maintenance costs and you could afford a much nicer car than the TL.

    If you really want a Porsche, there are newer models that will not rape your pocketbook. There are plenty of low mileage Boxsters and Caymans available that are still under warranty and relatively affordable. Better to buy one of them than a ticking time bomb.

  • avatar
    xyzzy

    Are lease deals ever offered for Porsches? That might be the best of both worlds. Drive one for a couple of years and give it back before the warranty expires. Judging from your 1 mile commute you can probably get the lowest miles available lease without fear.

    Someone else mentioned it but check out leasetrader.com, maybe you can pick up the last year of an overextended yuppie’s lease, have a blast and either get it out of your system or realize it really IS for you long term.

  • avatar
    ra_pro

    I was going to recommend the Porsche because sometimes it’s just best to be cured of the disease by getting it and thus building the immunity against it. But seeing the numbers being tossed around (15K) for engine failure, I really wouldn’t wish that on anybody.

    The thing I noticed in my 740 is that the mechanical failures may not be related to the actual mileage but often relate to the age of the car. When I bought my car it had less than 35k miles on it yet soon after I started experiencing all the typical 740i failures (front end, colling etc) which I was assured by other owners don’t happen until at least 100k miles. So low mileage may not mean that you will actually save on repairs.

    If you need a toy have a look at a previous gen M3. Close enough to a Porsche in performance yet still practical and not a money pit of maintenance though still pricey.

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    @littlehulkster,

    You sir, are responsible for coffee coming out of my nose from laughing so hard! Thanks!

  • avatar
    Spyderguy

    I agree with many of the previous posts. Winter tires can make just about any vehicle fine for a year round car. My daily driver is a Toyota MR2 Spyder. I also live just outside of Chicago. I’ve driven it through 6 winters and some brutal snowstorms. It’s served me well. Never been stuck in the snow.

  • avatar
    ccd1

    Domestic Hearse is right on the money with regard to old 911s. Old 911s ARE toys that spend most of their days in the garage waiting for the ocassional ride on a sunny day. And even then there will be maintenance issues. It’s an expensive toy and you have to have the bank to own and maintain this toy. This is not a daily driver even if the drive is one mile.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    A Porsche is a toy like a boat. There is no point in trying to rationalize buying/owning one. That’s what makes it fun to own. If it gets your heart pumping seeing it parked in your garage/driveway every morning on your way to work then go for it. But screw driving it on road trips although I suppose that could be fun. Join a Porsche club and put it on a track every chance you get. Drive it like a rental and have a blast!

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I think an important distinction needs to be made – just because a car is EXPENSIVE to maintain, does not mean it is unreliable. If you follow the Porsche maintenance schedule, at a Porsche dealer, you bet it will cost you plenty of money just in scheduled maintenance. But in this day and age of easy access to Internet Forums and owner’s groups, it doesn’t have to be that way. Plus there are plenty of independant garages out there.

    Sure, a Porsche of any variety will cost more to maintain and fix than an Acura RL. But personally, I would rather walk than drive a bland Japanese appliance sedan. So go for it. And really, skip the whole kid thing – it is the best thing you can do for the planet anyway. We don’t have a limited resources problem on planet Earth, we have a human overpopulation problem.

  • avatar
    kvolkan

    Having a Porsche in Chicago would like having a surfboard in Antartica. When I lived in Chicago there were potholes that would easiy swallow a Porsche! I drove a ’73 Old Omega with 150k miles on it – the engine was nice and loose which allowed it to start when it was 50 below out. The entire car rusted until only the engine was left. Still ran great when I gave it away too. Seriously, get an AWD car – Subaru WRX STI or Mitsu Evo, then mod it like Mad Max – that’s a proper Chicago car. Or an ex cop car like in the Blues Brother with cop everything…I did see Mr T driving around downtown in the late 80’s in a Rolls convertible, but unless you are Mr T don’t try this……

  • avatar
    CDN_Stig

    These guys aren’t car guys,

    GET THE PORSCHE, you only live once.


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