Having worked at a Porsche dealership in sunny Southern California and now at a Porsche restoration shop that goes so far as to start a car from a bare, cleaned frame, I understand where used Porsches have been.
Which Porsche is right for you? A 911, a Cayman, a Targa, a Cayenne, or a Panamera? When looking at used car sales you need to know a little about which Porsche you are looking to buy before you contact private sellers or dealers. For example, if you are looking at getting a 944 Turbo, will you notice if a previous owner changed the flag mirrors for the arrow type?
Research that will save you thousands
Doing a little homework on a used car for sale is always worth it. Checking the car’s history on Carfacts or Revs is one way to check if the car has had accidents, is still being financed, has any liens or has been written off as a loss by insurance. Cars that are total losses don’t die; they are sold by insurance companies at auctions to body shops that rebuild and resell the car or are bought by junk yards for the parts. When body shops rebuild a car they can choose to use new parts, aftermarket parts or used parts. The car cannot be sold with a clean title as it is a salvaged vehicle and can usually be had for a significant discount.
Things that get damaged in a crash
Not every used car has been through one accident or multiple. Having delivered replacement parts to body shops for many dealerships I can tell you what typically gets replaced.
On a front end collision, you usually replace the bumper, energy absorber, rebar and sometimes the radiator support on front water cooled engines. Hoods, fenders, headlights are also not uncommon as are replacing airbags.
For rear collision, it is the bumper, energy absorber, rebar, sometimes rear lights and different pieces per model. It is not uncommon for carbon fibre spoilers to be original and I would check them for any cracks as they don’t take abuse very well. Keep in mind that a typical repair scam is for a body shop to order Porsche replacement parts, tell the driver to take the expensive parts back, keeping only the most hard-to-get parts. Then the body shop installs cheaper aftermarket parts but charges the insurance Porsche original prices because they have the original dealer invoice.
Buying a Classic
When considering a classic Porsche be aware that many Porsche original parts are no longer available from Porsche dealers. There are junk yards and businesses that specialise in finding original used or even New Old Stock (NOS) parts, but also consider aftermarket parts. Some aftermarket parts are made by the same makers of the original Porsche parts, and it might be the only new maker of that part.
Buying a used Porsche for Performance
When buying a used Porsche in Australia for its speed, handling and ability to be modified keep in mind a few things. Will this be a fun car to drive to work every day or will this be a car for racing on the weekends? If you solely want to make this into a car for the race track, then consider what you plan to keep of the drivetrain and what you will be upgrading. Where I currently work we resell parts we do not need and add on performance parts we do.
Keep that plan in mind so as to pay only what this used car is worth to you since you know that you are going to upgrade it.