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Pre-purchase Inspections

Perhaps the most important aspect of any Porsche that we always check carefully is the evidence of proper servicing. This has never been more important with the change to 2 year/20K miles service intervals for the 2004 model year. Even with the older cars we are looking for those all important regular engine oil changes. With the younger models the wear and tear comes from everyday use, but a low mileage, older car may also have problems. 

Proper documentation is a crucial aspect affecting the value of all Porsches, from the registration document to the Guarantee and Maintenance booklet, MoTs and service bills. On the later cars we check that the Vehicle identification Label (VIL) is authentic and correct for the model.

Generally, the value of used Porsches comes down to condition and mileage. If an older (pre-1989) car is in top condition, then has a good service history, don\'t spend too much time wondering about whether its value is affected because it is Mocha brown rather than Minerva blue metallic! The value is in the quality, reliability and provenance of the car.

With the younger mainstream cars the colour is important. The dark metallics and silvers make the car more desirable than say Grand Prix White or Speed Yellow. 

The most important point to remember is that there are no Porsche bargains!


A tailored approach to the various models

Because there are so many different models of Porsche, we adopt a tailored approach to each of our Porsche inspections. No two inspections are the same! We pride ourselves in the specific detail check we use for given models from different eras. What is important in each case is to make the judgement between what is expected wear and tear on a car, and what amounts to poor maintenance or poor repairs. What follows here is designed to give you an appreciation of the way we approach each model. We take photographs throughout the check and these are integrated into the report on the car.

Our clients often use our inspection reports as a reference when they come to sell their cars on. If you are wondering if an inspection is really worth it on a recent car, bear in mind that identifying gaps in the service documentation, worn brake discs or pads, non-working seat adjusters, broken trim issues and so on can quickly payback the cost of an inspection. When we uncover poor or undeclared crash damage repairs, the value of the inspection is fully justified.

Early 911s (and 912s)

Early 911s are those cars built before 1973 - the pre-impact bumper cars. Peter has owned a 1972 911S since 1985, has completed three further restorations and just recently completed a 1968 911L. The 1972 911S restoration formed the basis of his first book (Porsche 911 Restoration manual). Over 20 years he has developed a thorough understanding of these cars and their unique problems. The early cars require very careful selection, because they did not have anything like the bodyshell protection of the post-1976 galvanised cars (the limited zinc coating of the cars made after 1970 is virtually worthless today). Understanding the differences of the cars made between 1965 and 1973 is half the battle, but knowing where to look for the corrosion and defining the originality standard are the principal tasks.

While full provenance is a \'nice to have\', it is condition and authenticity that are the top value added features on early cars. Colour and trim level is becoming less important as buyers seek a no-hassle car to enjoy. 

Our inspection focuses on the many rust sources to be found on these cars. Unfortunately, the market is full of unscrupulous sellers who give some cars copious amounts of filler, conceal serious problems and apply a cheap paint job to the upper bodies. The cars at most risk of this type of concealment work will be found in the £15,000 to £25,000 area. And a high price doesn\'t mean a car is in good condition. Full bodywork-only (no painting) restorations on corroded early 911s can easily run past the £20,000 mark with a \'make as new\' restoration easily costing £50-60K, so great care is required. This is why a full restoration is only worthwhile on a car that is both bought at the right (low) price and when finished, will be worth what you\'ve put into it.

Project cars (to give them an often misleading title) abound and buyers must exercise extreme caution when buying such cars. Expert help is essential if you want a car that will serve you well and not cost you a fortune.

The high value early cars (2.7RS and any 911S) are now a special case among Porsches. We pay careful attention to originality and authenticity using our significant experience of these models. 

List of cars

The late 1970s to late 1980s 911s

The 911SCs and Carrera 3.2s remain much sought after models, but these cars do require careful selection. Many feel these cars are now the \'sleepers\' of the classic Porsche family - and the evidence suggests they are right. Values on the 1974-75 2.7 Carrera have grown steadily and the base model 2.7, Carrera 3 an 911SC are highly sought after with prices adjusting to meet the demand. For a first Porsche classic, a Carrera 3.2 is a great proposition, but the early 915 gearbox cars are more prone to corrosion than the later G50 gearbox examples (but the later cars can rust!). Without power steering, they are quite physical cars to drive. The coupe is the best buy as the Targa can suffer from fatigue-induced corrosion in the sills (although this isn\'t a general rule). The 915 gearbox gives you exactly the same shift feel as the legendary Porsche 917 racing car, while the G50 has a more modern \'rifle bolt\' action. 

Often these cars have not been well looked after and can often be quite scruffy. Another problem is the onset of structural corrosion. The smallest of rust blisters can often be the only visible evidence of well-established corrosion.

Carrera 3.2s often have relatively high mileages and as a result these cars require careful assessment of the mechanical components, particularly under the car. Replacing rusted heater control valves, brake lines and suspension components can often accumulate an expensive repair bill.

The single-turbo 911 Turbo is one of the best Porsche driving experiences you can have and the 3.3-litre version is one of my all-time favourites. The earlier pre-1978 3.0-litre Turbo is a very rare bird today, and from an enthusiast\'s viewpoint, not such an entertaining drive either. The key inspection factor is again the bodyshell. If this is sound and the interior is in good condition, then the car is often a good prospect.

The Cabriolets were introduced in 1983 and those original roofs that remain are often in poor condition. We check that everything works and that the material is weatherproof. Not appreciating when a convertible roof needs to be replaced before purchase can be an expensive oversight.    

List of cars

944s and 968s

944s are the best value Porsches around today, but because many are run on a shoestring, their maintenance is often ignored. Both cars have all-aluminium engines and both can show wear signs that can result in big bills. We look for cam, balance shaft belt and idler replacement (that\'s the problem everybody has heard about!), but also wear on the inlet camshaft drive, engine mounting collapse, power steering pump leakage and so on.

These cars are beginning to show corrosion problems, particularly in the sill areas, while suspension wear and tear is always a concern.

The most sought-after 944s are the 3-litre S2 and the Turbo, mainly because these are the most powerful and because they appeal most to the classic car buyer. The 944S shouldn\'t be under-estimated, although it suffers from a famous power flat spot in the mid rev range.

A far better choice than a weary old hatchback!

The 968 (particularly the ClubSport) is highly sought-after today, but there were relatively few sold in the recession-hit years of 1992 to 1995. This means that good cars are very difficult to find and the unscrupulous will try to sell average or poor cars at high prices. Our inspection is focused on unearthing signs of cheap or unskilled repairs on these cars and evidence of poor servicing to the engine and chassis. On the engine, we particularly check the oil quality, check when the cam and balance shaft belts were last changed and listen out for the condition of the camshaft drive chain (that is also part of the Variocam arrangement). The same 944 belt issues also apply to the 968.

The bodyshell on both models is fully galvanised, but a careful check is required underneath to assess for corrosion attack after crash damage.

The cars commanding the highest prices are the Club Sport and the Sport models, but there are plenty of very tired examples around, so care is essential.

List of cars

928s

The 928 is fantastic value for what it is. If it is V8 power you want, combined with an almost full four-seater (you can get adults comfortably in the back), then the 928 is worth considering. Whereas that other Porsche V8 - the Cayenne - hasn\'t stopped depreciating (and then some!), the 928 has at last reached a level of stability.

Everybody will tell you the 928 is like a loaded gun. It\'s great while its running well and does more than you could wish, but just hope it doesn\'t go wrong. This reputation is a little harsh, but there\'s no doubting this is a car that needs tender loving care. Oddly, it is not generally the V8 engine that gives problems, but the electrics. Odd things tend to stop working on 928s and these can generate smaller or larger bills depending on what it turns out to be.

Many of the cars we see have been repainted, and this isn\'t such a big deal as long as it doesn\'t cover poorly repaired accident damage.

As always, we look out for a water-tight service history and loving ownership. The way a 928 drives is also a good way of telling the car\'s quality.

List of cars

964s

The 964s have acquired a mixed reputation among enthusiasts. Many traders will not carry them because of stories (and bad experiences) with engine oil leaks. But good 964s do exist and on pre-1991 cars my inspection always focuses on leaks, clutch/flywheel condition and on the early 964s tendency to upper body corrosion. If the car is dry and well-maintained it will give good service. Later 964s (post 1992) are great cars and if one can be found that has been well looked after, it won’t disappoint. There are quite a few 964s that were first registered in 1992-93, that are actually earlier specification cars. Porsche couldn\'t sell the early cars because of an economic recession and these cars must be identified as they have differences to the later models. It is important to say that the Turbo and RS models are not prone to the leakage and flywheel problems of the Carrera. But these higher performance cars will be subject to increased wear and tear.

The 964 Turbo is the last of the single turbo 911s and as such is one of the most entertaining drives you could ever wish for! The 1993 Turbo S and Turbo 3.6 are very sought after, but finding one that hasn\'t been shunted or poorly cared for is very difficult. Dubious histories also are also plentiful. The RS is another special 911 and establishing that the car is original and not damaged is the priority. Our experience suggests these special 964s also have their own unique set of older car issues and with the RS, establishing the car is firstly original and secondly hasn\'t been crashed is the top priority.  

List of cars

993s

Without a doubt this is the 911 - the last of the air-cooled 911s - many dream of owning and all 993s have appreciated strongly through the \'Noughties\'. The Carreras are great cars and it is important to appreciate the difference between the 1994/5 272bhp cars and the 1996-98 285bhp models. The later models are called the Varioram models and benefit not so much from the extra power but noticeably better mid-range torque. Note also the differences between the ‘narrow’ body 993s and the wide-body ‘S’ models. The 4S is the best of the breed with its full Turbo rolling chassis. The wide-body models look great!

\"\"With these cars we are always looking for crash damage repairs and cheap repairs to things like door check straps and front bumper dings. The 993 engine has a great reputation, but a good service history is essential. Nevertheless, these cars suffer from not being used enough, so cam covers leak, HT leads perish and brake discs corrode. We never take the engine inspection for granted, as often we find issues with the condition of parts. Component corrosion can also be an issue with these cars. 993s have also been subject to \'adjustment\' of the odometer and we always check for any signs of a mismatch of mileage data. A water-tight service history with another means of verifying the mileage is also important.

The Cabriolets roof doesn\'t seem to wear very well and water ingress can be a problem. Similarly Targas (hard to find) have their own set of issues that we always check for. 

The 993 Turbo and 993 RS are now highly prized and these cars are possibly the best Porsche investment you will find. However, there are plenty of very tired cars and those that have dubious provenance. Prices range very widely from the \'reduced to clear\' cars with obvious stories to tell to highly speculatively priced dealer models. Very great care is required.

List of cars

996s

The early 3.4-litre Carreras have suffered from a mauling on the enthusiast forums and a reputation for premature engine issues. Neither judgements have been entirely fair, but buying a 996 Carrera does require care. The small number of engines that have had major issues like cylinder fracture, bore scoring and intermediate shaft failure invariably give little or no warning of a problem, but the reality is that there are many more frequent issues that should concern the buyer. The possibility of a major engine failure should be considered a low probability. Perhaps the most well-known issue on these engines is the tendency to leak oil from the crankshaft Rear Main Seal (RMS) or indeed the intermediate shaft seal. These leaks are annoying, but they aren\'t showstoppers. We won\'t advise you to have an RMS that is only \'sweating\' to be replaced (as it is a £400 job), but will only suggest this if it is dripping.

It is still possible to find well cared for, low mileage 3.4 Carreras, but they do take some finding. Don\'t fall for the cheap car route - it will end up costing you much more than you wanted.

The later (post 2001) Carreras have 3.6-litre engines and were developed a little more for reliability and have become the 996 \'best buys\'. There are however, question marks over the reliability of the Carrera engines, with some cars experiencing expensive failures. Today, we tend not to worry too much about Rear Main oil Seal (RMS) oil leakages from the engine, but concern ourselves with the integrity of the cooling system and the likelihood of intermediate shaft bearing failure (an issue that gives little warning of its failure). The introduction of 20K mile/2year service intervals has introduced another variable into the question of reliability of these engines. Poor oil quality can destroy an engine very quickly and combined with sub-standard cooling system efficiency can result in cylinder bore scoring, particularly on 2004MY onwards cars. It\'s important to say these trending major issues do not affect every Carrera engine. Don\'t believe everything you read on the net, because most of these cars are perfectly OK! The starting point in the search for a good car is a solid service history and signs of careful ownership. The computerised MoT record at the DVLA also helps verify mileages that can be adjusted by the unscrupulous quite easily.

We always put a laptop on these cars to check engine operating life against the mileage, any system fault codes and prrevious over-revving (more common than you may think). These models also do not appear to be as robust as the earlier models so we always check bodyshell and interior condition and that all the electrical accessories work. Tiptronics are very popular and are the perfect solution for a busy everyday driver or urban living. The manual gearboxes can show wear just as easily as the Tiptronic and both transmissions require careful assessment.

The GT and Turbo models are not generally affected by the Carrera engine issues. They used the race proven core crankcase that can trace its linage back to the early 1990s 964 engine. As a result it is a much stronger package and doesn\'t usually suffer from many of the Carrera\'s failure issues. With all the faster Porsches, checking with a laptop is essential, particualrly for over-revving.

The GT3  (early or late 996, including the later RS) is a brilliant car, but because they are so popular for trackday work, their purchase needs great care, particularly where modifications have been made. Many trackday cars have damaged undersides or non-standard braking systems. Identifying these is very important.

The Turbo is a great car and great value for money, but has suffered from significant depreciation and its running cost shouldn\'t be under-estimated. Today, their values are flattening out and they represent a freat first time buy for  new Porsche enthusiast who wants a recent car. The running costs shouldn\'t be underestaimated as wear and tear will be higher than a regular Carrera. Like the GT3, it is arguably a modern Porsche \'sleeper\' for enthusiasts to follow in coming years. We are always extremely cautious when we check the ceramic braking systems as these require very careful ownership and replacement is prohibitively expensive. Whenever we check 996 Turbos we always devote more time to the underside of the engine, looking in particular for evidence of leaks and wear and tear in the turbo assemblies.

Note that the 996 model Carrera 4S, Cabriolet, 911 Turbo, GT2 and GT3 continued to be made into the 2005 model year, alongside the new 997 Carrera models..

List of cars

997s

Like the late model (facelift) 996s, Porsche made a lot of Generation 1 997s from its launch in Sept 2004 through to 2008. The result is that these cars are highly sought after today by those enthusiasts wanting top perfromance and good value. Depreciation has been an issue on younger cars, but once past 4-5 years, it begins to flatten out. But the key is to actually find an authentic car that has been well cared for. 

Our approach to these cars is to ensure our customers buy examples with top service histories and drive cars that haven\'t been involved in early life adventures. We use paint thickness gauges and long experience to determine the integrity of the body finish and establish whether the car has been involved in any repairs. Most important is the Gen 1 Carrera engine\'s perceived condition. These cars were on 20K mile/2year service intervals which many experts are now suggesting was a step too far for this engine. Poor oil quality, combined with an apparent weaker cooling system integrity can contribute to what is called cylinder bore scoring. It becomes evident with higher than expected oil consumption. We check for the outward signs of this issue and cooling system effectiveness. We always put a laptop on the ECU to check the engine data and get a view on the credibility of the mileage shown on the dash.  RMS leaks can be a problem still with the early 997s and like the 996s, a small number have been subject to unpredictable engine failure.

The later (07-09) Gen 1 997s appear to be more robust and in the Gen 2 cars (late 2009 on) we had what we should have had at the start of the 997 - a brand new engine designed to survive modern driving conditions. Nevertheless, good as these cars are, we always focus on checking for higher wear and tear and accident repairs.

Colour is important on the 997, with the conservative darker blues and greys being the most popular. Options are also important to the value of a 997, with Porsche Communications Management (PCM) being at the top of the must-have list. Other options that are nice to have are Bose sound, Porsche Switchable Exhaust (PSE), Park Assist, rear wiper (unfortunately not standard!), full electrically adjustable seats and Sport Chrono - the sports suspension package. Cars with Sport Chrono have the small stopwatch mounted at the centre of the dash top surface.

The 355bhp 3.8-litre Carrera S is a sensational performer and ideal for those long motorway journeys. However, don\'t dismiss 3.6-litre Carrera either. With 325bhp it has more than enough power to put a smile on your face! As noted above, the key aspect is the colour and options fit.

Like the 996, the GT and Turbo models use a different engine and do not suffer the Gen 1 Carrera engine trending problems. The 997 Turbo is a very sought after model, but many have led adventurous lives. They do have their own wear and tear issues and a good service history is the starting point with these models.

List of cars

Boxster (986, 1997-2004)

Surely Porsche\'s best sports car of the past 20 years, the Boxster is coming into the reach of many enthusiasts. Peter has owned both the Boxster and Boxster S as everyday drivers and knows exactly what goes wrong with them (and the very similar 996) down to the last broken centre console bin lid and rusted door catch mounting. These cars need careful looking after to maintain their condition and our inspections focus on the condition of the bodyshell from a wear and tear viewpoint, the interior condition and that everything works as it should. Because of its relatively high value, the unscrupulous have taken written-off Boxsters, repaired them and moved them back out into the marketplace. Identifying these damaged-repaired cars can be very important.

The other aspect is engine condition. Leaking Rear Main Seals (RMS) have caught the headlines on these engines, but there are various other issues that we always keep a close look-out for. All Boxsters are assessed using a laptop onthe ECU (for engine life comparison with mileage, system fault codes and over-rev history). The introduction of the 20K mile/2yr service intervals for the 2004MY has been criticised for this high performance engine and we are always vigilant for the outward signs of cylinder bore scoring and accelerated engine wear. Intermediate shaft bearing failure is another issue that appears to affect higher mileage cars (above 50K miles), but while perhaps 10% of cars have so far been affected, this issue gives little warning of failure. 986 Boxsters show a fairly typical series of wear and tear faults that are usually straightforward to fix - the question is usually who pays for it!  

The Tiptronic is very popular on the Boxster and is great for those who are looking for an everyday driver. The \'facelift\' models made from September 2002 came with the glass rear window and these cars continue the ever-improving build quality of the 986 models.

The Boxster S is a hotter car but won\'t suit everyone\'s needs as an everyday car. These cars also require careful assessment of the condition of the suspension, brakes, wheels and tyres.

As a general comment, we would advise caution on Boxsters that appear to be cheaper than your expectations. You only ever get what you pay for and there are plenty of damaged/repaired examples out there!

With this inspection, you will usually receive an assessment of the car\'s value, based on its age and mileage.

List of cars

Boxster (987, 2004 onwards)

The second generation Boxster is 80 per cent new and brings with it improved build quality and a completely new interior. As with the 997, sat-nav is beginning to play an increasing part in the desirability of the everyday 2.7 models, although perhaps not so important on the more sporting S.

The 2005 models now share the same engines as the Cayman, giving the Boxster S a thumping 295bhp and the 2.7 245bhp. These outputs shift the Boxster into the high performance category.

We have begun to see quite a few 987s and the main problem is scruffiness and poor service histories. The cars enjoy 20,000-mile service intervals and that seems to result in some owners neglecting to look after the everyday needs of their cars. As with all the 996 and 997 models the engine condition and ECU check is a priority with a used Boxster. The trending issues mentioned in the 986 Boxster and in the 996, 997 sections also apply to the 987 engines.
The basic Boxsters are very bland, so the best ones will have a good options list. Mileage and colour are also key factors in desirability and price. Options to look out for are Porsche Stability Management on the 2.7, full leather interior and full electric seats and sat-nav (PCM). Cruise control is increasingly popular also.

With this inspection, you will usually receive a professional guide assessment of the car\'s value, based on its age and mileage. We would suggest that like the 996 and 997, assessment using a laptop is absolutely essential for these models.

As a footnote, check which road tax band your prospective Boxster falls into before buying. Some of the later S models get hit hard!

For many, the stretch to the Gen 2 (late 2009-on) cars is worth the effort as these have the new engine. Prices of the early cars have now fallen considerably. 

List of cars

Cayman and Cayman S (2005 onwards)

The Cayman is simply described as a fixed head Boxster, but this does sell it short. With a very useful opening rear tailgate, there is more luggage space than the Boxster. It also enjoys perhaps the best Porsche styling since the original 911.    

The Cayman has been hailed as the best handling Porsche for years. It is perfectly balanced and its bodyshell is as stiff as the 911 Carrera - making it far more predictable in fast corners. Of course, the ride inside is much quieter than the convertible Boxster.

The Cayman is much sought after and the ones we\'ve seen (generally) have been well-looked after (unlike many of the 987 Boxsters). Most appear to be enthusiast owned, but crash damage and wear and tear are the main inspection points, together with laptop assessment of the ECU (for signs of clocking, over-revs and fault codes). Engine condition checks are more important on Gen 1 Caymans as with the 997 Carrera models, particularly looking out for cooling system integrity and signs of cylinder bore scoring.

With this inspection, you will usually receive a professional guide assessment of the car\'s value, based on its age and mileage. Again, if you can, make the stretch to the 09 Gen 2 cars, to benefit from the new engine.

List of cars

Cayennes, Panameras & Macans

We tried hard to like the Cayenne, but we are in this business because we have a passion about Porsche sports cars.

Great though the Cayenne may be for shunting the kids around, it isn\'t for us and we no longer inspect them. The same applies to the Panamera and Macan. Sorry!

Contact Us
If you would like to learn more about how we can help you,
call 01908 460580 (from outside the UK: +44 1908460580),
09:00 - 18:00 weekdays 09:00 - 12:00 Saturdays