Unfortunately, the vast majority of used car buyers will never be able to afford the six-figure price tag that a modern-day Porsche 911 commands, let alone its tax and insurance costs. Thankfully, however, there is another way. Why not opt for a classic 911 instead? Not only do they enjoy the merits of classic insurance and classic tax (a measly €48 per year), but their asking prices are also far more affordable. As a result, a classic 911 can make a shrewd investment, and, although there’s a huge gulf between the cost of a new and classic 911, there isn’t actually such a huge difference between a classic 911 and its modern- day counterpart.
Most motoring enthusiasts will already know the similarities between the Porsche 911 and the old Volkswagen Beetle. Despite the fact that the cars are worlds apart in terms of performance and prestige, the 911 was actually based on the Beetle (compare both car’s rear-wheel-drive platform, egg-shaped headlights and sloping rear window and you’ll see what I mean). In 1963, the 911 made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany, and was marketed as a replacement for the utterly outdated Porsche 356. It was originally named the Porsche 901; however, French car firm Peugeot argued that it had exclusive rights to car names formed by three numbers with a zero in the middle. As a result, when it went on sale in 1964, Porsche had to rename it the 911 (pronounced nine-eleven). At first, critics blasted the 911 for its unorthodox Beetle-based layout, and claimed it would not last long on the production line. Little did they know that it would later become an iconic symbol of the Porsche brand. The 911 became a hit in the years following its release, so much so that it overshadowed and outsold its intended successor, the Porsche 928. The 911 became too profitable to be cast aside, which is why you can still go out and buy a new one today – some 46 years after it was first released!
The original 911 changed its engine spec more than times than Ireland has been cheated out of the World Cup. The very first 911 (1963-1969) was fitted with an air-cooled 2.0-litre, flat-six engine that produced a peak power of 128hp. These particular models are extremely hard to come by nowadays, as most were snapped up by collectors. There are plenty of later 1970s 911s to be found on the market, however. In 1970 the C series 911 was introduced, sporting a flat-six cylinder engine yet again, but this time it was enlarged to 2.2 litres. As a result, power was increased to 155hp. The C series also received a longer chassis than its predecessor to correct some nervous-handling problems found on the first 911. This model only ran for two years before it was dropped and replaced by a 165hp, 2.4-litre 911 in 1972, which ran through until the end of 1973. Numerous other models, including the Targa, Carrera and ‘S’, were also introduced into the 911 lineup From a driving perspective, the Porsche 911 Turbo is the one to go for, however. It was launched in 1975, after Porsche started applying turbochargers to its racing cars. It is probably the most distinctive-looking 911 with a huge ‘whale tail’ spoiler mounted on the rear and enlarged wheel arches to accommodate wider racing-style wheels. The 911 Turbo was heavily modified under the bonnet, too, boasting a 3.0-litre, turbocharged powerplant that produced almost 260hp. Porsche initially intended to sell the 911 turbo in a limited-edition batch of 500 units – however, such was its success that over 1,000 were sold in the first year alone. The Turbo was revised in 1978, and its engine size was increased to 3.3 litres, and the power upped to 300hp. Even by present-day standards, the driving experience in the 300hp Turbo is hair-raising. From a handling perspective, all 911s offer a similar feel, despite differences in weight, chassis length and engine size. Most have four seats inside, although the rear bench is very small, meaning the 911 is best viewed as a 2+2, rather than a proper four-seater.
Porsches tend to command a high asking price, and unfortunately the classic 911 is no exception (although prices are significantly lower than those of modern models from the marque). Expect to pay anything from €15-35k for an early Carrera model, or €20k+ for a classic Turbo. Obviously, price is dependent on mileage and engine spec. If you can, get a mechanic (preferably a 911 fan), or someone in the know to check out the car you’re thinking of buying. Remember, buying a poorly cared for 911 could prove to be a very expensive mistake.