Porsche buying Guide
A bit of a Porsche buying guide from from one of the UK’s longest established used Porsche specialist dealers. We’ve bought and sold around £200 million pounds worth of used Porsche cars over the years and we are still learning, every day really is a school day. If we tell you 10 things to look for there may be an 11th reason not to buy a particular car and sometimes it takes an extremely well trained eye to spot. We also use specialist diagnostic equipment which allows us to see beyond the immediately obvious. There is however some general advice we can offer when buying a used Porsche privately or from a dealer.
A good service history is critical for a number of reasons. It shows the car has been maintained to a high standard but it also helps shed light on the provenance of the vehicle. Without service history it would be easy to falsify mileage for example. When looking through a service history don’t worry too much what happened decades ago, if the car had new brake discs in 1995 they are unlikely to be still be on the car now. But if specific jobs are due or have fallen due recently have they been done? Spark plugs, brake fluid, polyrib (serpentine) belt and so on will all have routine replacement times.
This should be considered in conjunction with the service history. Just because the service history shows brake discs and pads were changed relatively recently don’t assume they are still in good condition. Look at the actual vehicle, ultimately this is the most important thing. For us mechanical appraisal is easy, we do it several times a day in our workshop. We appraise the whole car not just supposed weak points on a particular model. Buying a specialist car takes specialist skills. There is no shame in holding your hand up and using experts. We have had some very difficult conversations over the years with people who thought they knew best but ended up buying trouble.
Is the car actually the car it says it is. Porsches are high value items so there is a strong incentive for those of less honest character. There are some online checks you can carry out surrounding V5 registration documents, MOT certificates and so on but use common sense as well and once again look at the actual car. If someone is supposed to have owned a car for 5 years it would seem odd if they struggled to answer basic questions. Are all the physical markings such as chassis or VIN numbers and build numbers in the right places and correct for that particular vehicle. As marque specialists we know to within fine tolerances what everything should look like.
We have been members of HPI for more than 30 years and check all cars across their database as a matter of course before purchasing. It’s worth mentioning that not all consumer data check services cover outstanding finance on vehicles for instance.
Whilst you can easily change worn tyres or a leaking oil seal, badly repaired accident damage can never be corrected. We don’t mind corrective paintwork to repair stone chips or minor altercations providing they have been carried out to a high standard but we are looking for original metal panels. Once a car has been badly damaged there is little you can do to restore integrity. Again decades of Porsche experience means we know what to look for.
A Porsche isn’t something which is bought new then run until it falls apart. People change cars to experience the latest innovation or to discover new models. Even within one model there are a number of variations which enthusiasts might want to explore. The GT cars in particular are owned by enthusiasts always keen to broaden their horizons. The average ownership for a Porsche is probably around 18 months so number of owners on older cars isn’t really something to base your buying decision on. Treat each car as you find it. You also tend to find that each change of ownership corresponds with the car being brought back up to optimum condition.
It’s funny, people looking to buy cars search what’s out there starting from the cheapest upwards, people looking to sell cars start at the most expensive working downwards. Particularly as cars get older there is a huge variation in condition and you can’t rectify a bad car for anything like the monetary saving over a prime example. Some cars advertised have been there since the dawn of time and will never sell. Again, for us it’s easy because we have an intimate knowledge of what sells and what doesn’t. We don’t just track our own sales we look across many platforms and combined with our understanding of relevant condition feel able to make fairly accurate predictions.
Particularly as cars get older there is a huge variation in terms of condition. You need to buy the best example you can find but if you throw in limitations that won’t happen. Searching for a particular colour car with specific options means you vastly limit the pool of cars from which to make a selection. We wouldn’t suggest compromising to the extent of a bright Pink car with a vibrant yellow interior but try to bring as many cars as possible into scope. It will result in a better car for potentially less money.
We hope you’ve found that useful. It isn’t intended as an exhaustive list but more a catalyst for future discussions. If you want to chat through any aspect of buying or selling a Porsche please don’t hesitate to get in touch either by email or phone.
911virgin.com – 01895 255222