words/images by pablo deferrari
I've only driven her once...so had my wife; and it was only for a test drive. The moment we got her home, she went straight into the garage and up on jack stands. That's how I deal with newly acquired Porsches.
Why, you might ask, don't we drive what we just bought? Well, some might like to get to know their new whip behind the wheel a bit, go for nice little drive somewhere on a nice day...you know, enjoy what you've waited for.
Not me. I'd rather wait and avoid any nasty surprises that comes with a car you don't know. To equate this in a more colorful light; it'd be like having marathon sex before engaging in some heavy petting. There's a certain way to go about things early on to ensure a mind-blowing journey.
coolant on the power steering adjustment barrel with a belt nearly past its prime
Now every newly acquired vintage Porsche has quite a few issues, but this 968 had very little. The previous owner addressed most of the important bits, all things considered, so I'm essentially picking up where he left off. This is where the intimacy begins.
First of all, the mood has to be set in order for me to feel engaged. What that means is that some classic soul music has to be playing in the background, a cold beer needs to be in hand, and a factory workshop manual has to be opened on a cleared-out bench. Once these elements are in place, I'm ready to absorb everything that needs to be addressed.
"Surely there must be a medical condition where this sort of illness falls neatly into place..."
I love this part. Call me sick if you like, but I get a boner when I see things that need replacing. There's nothing in the world like driving a vintage Porsche that doesn't leak, runs like a hand assembled Swiss watch, and had parts replaced making it look like it just came out of the factory. Surely there must be a medical condition where this sort of illness falls neatly in place; I'm sure my case would call for me to be institutionalized.
oil leak from the front of the engine could be an easy fix or a downright pain in the ass to sort out
ah...the oil cooler lines. 20 years out of the original means that replacing them now means I won't have to replace them again until I'm 61
I'v been under the car for five minutes and already I begin taking the air box, belts, timing covers, and electric fans in my mind just to see where the coolant leak is coming from. The oil leak in the front of the engine followed by the wet oil cooler lines don't alarm me one bit either, they're just another item that begins to show it's age after 20 years...par for the course when it comes to pre-'98 Porsches.
"This is why only badasses own vintage Porsches."
By the third oil leak I've been wanting to look into since bringing her home, I'm ready for another beer. This one coming from the lower balance shaft is going to be a pain in the ass. By being able to move its rear cap with my finger, it suggested a hardened o-ring...not a fun job, but on the bright side, I'd get nearly a decade of service after replacing it.
shit...this one's gonna turn me into an alcoholic by the end of the job
moving back a bit shows you just how much room I have to work with
classic power steering line leaks...no problem, a pleasure actually since I won't have to service them until after I'm 50 once done
Alright, things are exactly as I thought they would be. I'm not phased, though. I've been though these repairs already on the 944S, and being that they're so similar in layouts, I don't see them as a big deal...the motions are still fresh in my head, the only difference is that I'll need more beer.
The leaking power steering lines are a walk through the park...riddled with broken glass. I've already ordered them, but that's the easy part of course, changing them requires patience that I don't have but can easily be compensated with cheap American brew...
I'll stop here to let you in on a secret.
These repairs would have cost just south of five figures. Yep, it's a Porsche. Don't ever be fooled that the older they are, the cheaper things will be. Horseshit. This is why punters lease Boxsters and Caymans—they're less expensive to drive than this date and at the end of your term, it'll be someone else's problem while they move on to renting the next soulless model. This is why only badasses own vintage Porsches.
3000 mile oil changes since birth tell me that this engine will go the same distance reserved for legendary Mercedes-Benz diesels
need I say more?
In the end, the tattoos on the oil and fuel filters tell a very good story—she'll last an incredibly long time, in fact, I may just have to will this 968. But I want you to take note on another thing. Whenever you read a buyer's guide that gives you a market price on vintage Porsches, they never, ever, figure in the small example of repairs that I've just showed you. It's all bullshit.
The truth is this, any Porsche under 25K means that you'll be putting in twice the amount of the purchase price to make it a "needs nothing" car. The market values given are the price of entry, that's all. It's up to you to make them right and to do it on a smaller budget means you need three things; brains, beer, and balls. Without any of these, you'd be better off leasing a "yeah, I have one too" Porsche.