BODYWORK & CHASSIS
Don’t let any talk of the galvanised body distract you. The Porsche 911 can rust. Accident damage is high on the list too, an issue because not everybody respected the Porsche handling as they should. Be wary of any uneven panel gaps, check for any repairs that are not up to par. A quick blow over can make even the roughest 911 smart at the first glance. Rot strikes the Porsche front wings round the headlamps, but you need to get down underneath and check out the rear suspension mountings and the inner wings. If there`s a sign of bubbling up ahead near the rear wheels, and above the door sill line, the expect significant rot. But also check out the ‘kidneys’ – this is the panel work at rear of the door shut. Any rot here is terminal, so be sure they`re both solid.
These Porsche engines are very tough, now with the new hydraulic timing chain tensioner which is a huge improvement over the earlier models. But, Porsche 911s cover huge distances, so 1st check the service history and see if the mileage can be verified. Any noise or clattering at all from the engine is going to be bad news and will suggest at least a top end rebuild is likely. Watch for any blue smoke too from the exhaust, as the cylinders do wear, especially if it’s had lots of short journeys. Check in the service history for any work that’s been carried out as well as the important stamps. Any recent engine work isn`t always good news.
Until 1987, the Porsche 915 gearbox was mostly used. This is a very clunky box in 1st and 2nd, more especially when cold. The later Porsche G50 box is considered a big improvement – spot this by the reverse gear being next to 1st. It did come with a hydraulic clutch, so makes the pedal should lighter. Once warm though, either gearbox ought to allow nice quick, crunch free changes.
The big brakes should haul the car to a halt with the very minimum of fuss. The Porsche torsion bar suspension system has very little to go wrong, worn dampers can make Porsche 911 feel very skittish and worn out tired bushes will lead to a clonking and some vagueness. Don`t be tempted to modify the ride height. The power steering should be very accurate and entirely free of any play. You want deep tyre tread, not any worn out cheap rubber, a different manufacturer on every corner means cut price running costs.
Porsche ventilation is a very weak point, make sure that the air conditioning is fully working if its fitted. Check all the electric windows, and make sure that the heater can be turned on and off. Any damage to any the seat is very rare, as they`re extremely hard wearing, look at wear on the steering wheel, as well as pedal the rubbers, this can be a good guide to gauge whether the mileage recorded is genuine.