Porsche 993 Buying Guide
Last of the air-cooled 911s! Prices have flattened but they won't stay that way for ever, so here's how to buy one
How much to pay
• Project £20,000 • Good £35,000-60,000 • Concours £60,000-£200,000
• Most expensive at auction: £1.8 million (GT2)
Running costs ★★
DIY Friendly ★★★
For many people, this is the ultimate 911. It’s the variant that retains all of the essential elements, from air-cooled engine all the way to floor-hinged pedals and haphazard ergonomics, and combines them with modern touches such as ABS, electric everything, airbags and a double-wishbone rear end that keeps it firmly planted to the road.
Designed by Harm Lagaay and Tony Hatter, it more radically updated the classic shape than the 964 had done, but it did so in a brilliantly cohesive manner. Buyers could – and can – choose between two- and four-wheel drive, Coupé, Targa and Cabriolet, Tiptronic and manual transmission, versatile Carrera and bonkers Turbo. And that’s to say nothing of the ultra-collectible and highly focused RS and GT2.
Buying can be a minefield, so be patient and make the most of the specialist and club back-up that’s on offer before you settle on a car. Do your homework and you’ll be left with one of the most electrifying driver’s cars of its generation.
Your AutoClassics Porsche 993 inspection checklist
The 993’s engine is tough and reliable, although the higher-stressed turbo tends not to be as durable as the naturally aspirated version. Many of the faults that you’ll see, such as the need for new distributors and leads, occur on cars that have either been stored or which cover very low mileages.
Check for oil leaks, which can often be traced to the lower cam-cover gaskets because they have been known to shrink over time. Also make sure that the air-conditioning pump’s belt is in good condition and at the correct tension.
Regular oil changes are essential, so go through the history to ensure that they’ve been carried out. Any smoke emitted from the exhausts on cold start-up is a bad sign, and could point towards worn valve guides. Don’t be surprised to find a sports exhaust in place of the original.
Mercedes-Benz 500 SL 1985
The Mercedes-Benz R107 was produced from 1971 through to 1989 and was the second longest single series vehicle produced by the firm, besides the G-Class. They were sold under the SL-Class and SLC-Class model names. The R107 took the chassis components of the mid size Mercedes-Benz W114 model and mated them to the larger engines from the S-Class. The SL variant was a 2-seat convertible/roadster wiFor Sale | 20 Jun 2018 | Beaconsfield, UK£ 31,950
Jaguar XK150S Roadster 1958
1958 Jaguar XK150 S Roadster Chassis number: S830674DN Presenting amongst the most original XK150S Roadster's in existence. History. Harold Sunshine graduated from the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Arts in 1928 and would go on to be a textile designer operating his own company Harold W Sunshine & Co. Harold ordered the car in 1958 whilst living in Paterson, NJ. In 19For Sale | 20 Jun 2018 | UK£ POA
Porsche 914-6 1970
Legends are delighted to offer this 914 / 6 war horse, prolifically campaigned throughout the 1970’s and 80’s by Clay Grady of Rennenhaus fame. Porsche Certificate of Authenticity: Production date: 28/01/1970 Selling Porsche Centre: Porsche USA Chassis: 9140430220 Engine specification. Complete, disassembled and crated. Documented and photographed. 7R 2.7 case Mechanical Fuel InjFor Sale | 20 Jun 2018 | UK£ 60,000
Renault Alpine A110 1964
The history of this stunning A110 can be traced back to 1977 was exported from southern France to the USA. According to its first US owner the car looked as if it was used for competition, having virtually no trim, no ignition key (just a master switch) and various other competition features that were available in period from the factory, including a lightweight body, plexiglass rear screen, fibreFor Sale | 20 Jun 2018 | Knutsford, UK£ 99,950
Plymouth Coupe 1937
1937 Plymouth Coupe condition: excellent cylinders: 6 cylinders drive: rwd fuel: gas odometer: 52000 paint color: custom title status: clean transmission: manual 1937 Plymouth Coupe Completely Professionally Rebuilt Original Flat Head 6 with less than 100 miles on it. All steel body. All original suspension. Extremely clean with no rust. Can be driven anywhere as a turn key claFor Sale | 20 Jun 2018 | Lockport, IL, USA$ 23,000
Chevrolet Impala Convertible 1968
1968 Chevy Impala fuel: gas title status: clean transmission: automatic type: convertible 1968 Chevy Impala Convertible, runs well, stored last 18 years in garage, originally from Florida. Had new top, new seat covers, and new carpet and door panels installed about 10 years ago, all in nice shape, solid floors, solid frame, solid trunk. Had quarters repaired 20 years ago, mostly compleFor Sale | 20 Jun 2018 | Creston, OH, USA$ 6,250
Plymouth Special Deluxe 1948
1948 plymouth special deluxe fuel: gas title status: clean transmission: manual 1948 Plymouth Special Deluxe, 2 door Sedan. Car is mostly original with several upgrades: Carb has been rebuilt, lowered 3" in front, front disc brake conversion installed, new exhaust from manifold back, newer optima battery and may more. Car is daily driver in summer. 218 flathead 6 with 3 on the tree.For Sale | 20 Jun 2018 | Upland, IN, USA$ 7,000
Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham 1968
1968 cadillac fleetwood brougham condition: like new cylinders: 8 cylinders drive: rwd fuel: gas paint color: grey size: full-size title status: clean transmission: automatic type: other 68 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham w/ rebuilt motor, new paint, new exhaust and breaks. Car is in mint condition and I am the third owner. Car runs excellent. Wanting $15,000 obo. Feel free to coFor Sale | 20 Jun 2018 | Indianapolis, IN, USA$ 15,000
Nash Metropolitan 1954
1954 Nash Metropolitan condition: excellent fuel: electric paint color: red title status: clean transmission: other Award-winning 1954 Nash Metropolitan $6,500 and located in Leipsic, OH Runs on four 12 volt golf cart batteries and rear axel (and is charged in the front on the grill) Two 1954 Nash Metropolitans were purchased to create this one from the best parts of the two As yFor Sale | 20 Jun 2018 | Leipsic, OH, USA$ 6,500
Chrysler New Yorker 1977
1977 Chrysler New Yorker condition: good cylinders: 8 cylinders fuel: gas paint color: green title status: clean transmission: manual Green on the Outside, Green on the inside! Clean 1977 Chrysler New Yorker. 440 7.2L V8, 88k Miles, newer tires, original radio still works, interior is in great condition, exterior is in pretty good shape a little rust but not too bad for a 40 year oFor Sale | 20 Jun 2018 | Fishers, IN, USA$ 5,500
The 993 was available with either a six-speed transmission – a 911 first – or the four-speed Tiptronic that allows a ‘manual’ change via buttons mounted on the steering wheel. As with the rest of the car, the gearbox is pretty robust, but cars that are abused or routinely driven hard might display signs of a worn clutch. During the test drive, ensure that it’s not slipping. A ‘clonking’ noise could signify problems with the dual-mass flywheel.
The Tiptronic models aren’t as popular with enthusiasts and now tend to be slightly cheaper. The ’box sapped some of the flat-six’s power and, while it’s proven to be a reliable unit, you don’t want to hear any noise from the torque converter.
Suspension and brakes
Overhauling the 993’s suspension is an expensive business. Problems can occur in cars that don’t get much use, or that are used hard without the necessary attention being paid to maintenance.
Check for wear in the wishbone bushes, top mounts and balljoints. If the dampers are worn and need to be replaced, that will be particularly expensive, as will new lower control arms for the front end.
Standard ground clearance was 120mm for US cars and 110mm for European models. The Sport chassis dropped that to 90mm and added 17in wheels rather than 16s. It’s now rare to find any 993 still on the latter, and be wary of Cabriolets or Targas wearing 18s. They can put undue stress on the bodyshell.
The brakes should still feel impressive. Cars that have been in storage or little-used can suffer from caliper problems and sticking pistons. DIY rebuild kits are available.
The 993’s bodyshell was 20 per cent stiffer than the 964’s and, like its predecessor, was galvanised. Even so, you need to be vigilant. Check the floor of the front compartment, plus the areas around the front and rear screens. Carefully ease back the rubber seals to look for bubbling.
You’ll also need to look at the sills, wheelarches and valances – the area under the front bumper can begin to rust if it’s been grounded. The rear-bumper support tubes can rust, too, and it’s important to look at the rear chassis legs.
The Cabriolet was 30kg lighter than the Coupé while remaining stiff. The Targa used the same shell but was 60kg heavier – there’s extra bracing around the windscreen. With the Cabriolet, the plastic rear window can go cloudy. As with the soft-top itself, cheap replacements can be a false economy because they wear more quickly.
Look all round for uneven panel gaps, and make sure that the door check straps haven’t failed. The tell-tale sign is a crack as the doors reach their fully open position. Replacing them is expensive so some owners don’t get it done.
Specialist knowledge will be vital in terms of assessing these areas, in particular with regard to the quality of any repairs, so pay for an inspection on any car before buying it.
The 993 boasted superb build quality, even by Porsche’s own high standards. Interiors therefore last well. Leather seats were standard and wear on the side bolsters, but replacement or repair isn’t difficult. The 1996-onwards optional sport seats have plastic backs, and on all of them ensure that the electric adjustment operates as it should.
As always, try everything electrical. Although the system is reliable, any repairs that are needed will be expensive. If the heater doesn’t blow hot air through once the engine is up to temperature, the heat exchangers could have rusted out, and they’re particularly costly. The RS will have fewer goodies because of its simplified loom and weight-saving ethos.
The 993 Targa featured an electrically operated sliding glass roof that’s watertight but which can fail with age. The Cabriolet’s roof is also powered, so check that it raises and lowers itself properly.
- 1993: 993 launched in Carrera form.
- 1994: Cabriolet and Carrera 4 added.
- 1995: RS, RS Clubsport, Turbo, GT2 and Targa all introduced.
- 1996: RS production ends. GT2 Evo and Carrera S (turbo body) launched.
- 1997: 996 replaces Carrera – production of 993 S, Turbo and Turbo S ends in ’98.
Condition is the most important factor when looking for a 993. Considerations such as colour and spec should be secondary to that. The range can be bewildering, so specialist knowledge will be key to ensure that what you’re looking at is what it’s supposed to be – and to help you avoid the expensive pitfalls. Originality and a rock-solid maintenance record are what counts, and are worth paying a premium for.
The agile Carrera and versatile Carrera 4 each have their champions, while the top end of the 993 market is inhabited by the Turbo and, in particular, the highly collectible RS and the hardcore GT2. Each one benefits from the model’s revered status as the final air-cooled 911, with the recent rise in prices providing a stark contrast with its immediate successor, the 996.
Ready for a Porsche 993? Here are the 993s for sale on AutoClassics
Classic Cars for Sale
The Mercedes-Benz R107 was produced from 1971 through to 1989 and was the second longest single series vehicle produced by the firm, besides the G-Class. They were sold under the SL-Class and SLC-Class model names. The R107 took the chassis components of the mid size Mercedes-Benz W114 model and mated them to the larger engines from the S-Class. The SL variant was a 2-seat convertible/roadster wi
1958 Jaguar XK150 S Roadster Chassis number: S830674DN Presenting amongst the most original XK150S Roadster's in existence. History. Harold Sunshine graduated from the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Arts in 1928 and would go on to be a textile designer operating his own company Harold W Sunshine & Co. Harold ordered the car in 1958 whilst living in Paterson, NJ. In 19
Legends are delighted to offer this 914 / 6 war horse, prolifically campaigned throughout the 1970’s and 80’s by Clay Grady of Rennenhaus fame. Porsche Certificate of Authenticity: Production date: 28/01/1970 Selling Porsche Centre: Porsche USA Chassis: 9140430220 Engine specification. Complete, disassembled and crated. Documented and photographed. 7R 2.7 case Mechanical Fuel Inj
The history of this stunning A110 can be traced back to 1977 was exported from southern France to the USA. According to its first US owner the car looked as if it was used for competition, having virtually no trim, no ignition key (just a master switch) and various other competition features that were available in period from the factory, including a lightweight body, plexiglass rear screen, fibre