Mikey Wastie has worked for independent Porsche specialist Autofarm since the late Nineties. He started out on the wrenches before buying out founder Josh Sadler with business partner Steve Wood in 2014.
Simon Evans runs Pro-9, which has specialised in servicing and modifying air-cooled 911s for almost 20 years. A recent customer project involved altering his 964 coupé to make it look like a 1973 RS 2.7.
Anthony Posner has been selling Porsches from Hendon Way Motors – established in 1951 – since the Sixties and has presided over the fall and rise of 964 values. ‘People are beginning to appreciate them more because they’re so well made,’ he says.
The once rather unloved 964’s many improvements marked the biggest change in 911 history at its launch in 1989. There’s renewed interest in it today because it’s the penultimate aircooled 911 and a charming mix of classic 911 silhouette and updated hardware. Its bonnet and doors may fit the apertures of a 1965 911 but Porsche claimed that 85 per cent of it was new. Though not as raw as earlier cars the 964 retains much of the same feel but with added refinement – and they don’t understeer as much as later cars. Get in quick before prices rise further.
The 964 is as beautifully built as any preceding 911 so panel gaps should be pretty consistent. Bodyshells are galvanised and fitted with wheelarch liners but rust in some places is becoming an issue – and accident damage is as much a possibility on a 964 as it is on any 911. Mikey Wastie says, ‘Front or rear accident damage is more common than side damage – look for even panel fit and body-colour front wing bolts. If the bolts have obviously been disturbed – suggesting the wings have been removed at some point – or the underside or wheelarches have been painted, ask why.’
The area under the headlights is a known rot-spot and the front boot floor is very low and easily damaged by high kerbs. Replacement can cost up to £1500.
Check that the chassis and paint stickers are still in place – they should be on the right and left inner wings with another located under the front lid. In addition the front lid, rear bonnet and doors are stamped with part of the chassis number so it’s obvious if these panels have been replaced.
On the doors they’re under the top trims about halfway along the glass opening. The 964’s front jacking pads are crucial because the plastic side covers mean it can’t be lifted by its sills. They are known to rust and Wastie has seen replacements glued on before now. If they need to be replaced, budget about £500 per side.
A more weather-resistant design means sills and kidney bowls – behind the bottom of the B-pillar – don’t rot like they do on earlier cars but in the worst cases can start to go under the backs of the doors just below where they begin to curve upwards. If you have to start chopping into metal here it will cost £3500-£4000 a side to fix; and if one side has gone, it’s likely that the other side has succumbed as well.
Rear anti-roll-bar mounts should be checked thoroughly but they last better than they ever did on earlier Carrera 3.2s. As with all 911s you need to check for rust bubbles around – and especially underneath – the windows plus the front-wing-to-scuttle joint – any rot here should be obvious.
Sunroofs don’t tend to give many problems because they have large drain tubes that don’t easily block. Targas are known to produce a bit of wind noise and can be prone to leaks but if a cabriolet roof raises and lowers square, it’s probably fine.
At the back, check the chassis/body supporting tubes on each side. These bolt on but in the worst cases their attachment points to the body can rot through. The right one survives better because it’s protected by seepage from the oil tank. Rear lights fade and cost £800 for the three parts, though DIY fitment is easy. The rear wing should raise automatically at 50mph.
The 964’s new M64 engine uses solid valve lifters rather than hydraulic lifters first introduced on the later 993. This allows for more aggressive camshaft ramp angles and therefore the sound and feel of a proper 911. It shouldn’t be unduly clattery when it fires and the noise should stay the same – unlike the 993, which gets quieter as it warms through.
Interior is basic and typically durable but some instruments can delaminate.
Corrosion is rare but can strike B-pillars and beneath the headlamps.
As on all Porsches, 964 engines tolerate abuse surprisingly well. They don’t use cylinder head gaskets – later engines use fire rings – so oil leaks coming through the cooling fins could actually be coming from the rocker shafts. Thankfully, Autofarm has a fix for this problem. Be sure to turn over an engine that has been left standing for a long period with the plugs removed before trying to start it because they are known to collect oil in the cylinders.
Tinware around the engine rusts because of its close proximity to the hotter parts of the exhaust – the catalytic converter and twin silencers. Rust is common on the underside but hard to see because of the engine undertray. Powdercoating flaking off the top surfaces is an early sign of trouble. Replacement is expensive because the engine has to be removed first – Autofarm would normally do this job at the same time as a clutch change.
A missing catalytic converter or silencer isn’t an issue and actually adds a little noise and power – standard 964s are quite quiet and subdued – but if you want a completely standard car, anything missing could be a bargaining point because they’re expensive to replace. However, bear in mind that just because a catalyst is still fitted it doesn’t mean there’s anything left inside it.
Oil pressure should be four bar at 4000rpm when warm, rising a little with more revs. A £200 compression and leakdown test is a good idea – it costs more on Turbos because there’s more to dismantle in order to reach the plugs – because an engine rebuild, including new shells, rings, chains, seals, oil tubes and more, costs about £10,000, £3000 of which is the price of camshaft chains and guides alone. Add another £3000 if it needs new barrels and pistons and expect to pay £25,000 if it needs everything bar new castings.
964s are either four-wheel drive (Carrera 4) or rear-wheel drive (Carrera 2), the latter available with Tiptronic transmission. The manual gearbox is a G50 but with a much improved shift over the previous 3.2 Carrera. ‘They’re pretty bulletproof too,’ says Mikey Wastie. Clutches, however, do wear and 964s run a dreaded dual-mass flywheel. Take-up should be crisp – if there’s any judder the clutch isn’t long for this world. Replacement costs about £2000 – split equally between labour and parts – and it’s the same on the RS, which runs a solid flywheel but suffers its own issues including heat cracking on the friction plate and in extreme cases on the flywheel face too.
Opinion is divided over the Tiptronic option. It’s a ZF four-speed automatic (ZF 4HP) and is generally reliable but don’t expect snappy changes or a Sport button. It will hold the gears for longer if you floor the pedal, however. Some say it doesn’t suit the 911’s character – pull away gently and it’ll start off in second gear – but if you’re comfortable with autos you’ll probably get on well with it. All reports suggest it is reliable – the first few changes from cold may be a bit jerky but it should smooth out thereafter. Frontal drivetrains on four-wheel-drive cars appear to suffer few problems if any.
4. Suspension and steering
The 964 was the first 911 to use coil-spring suspension instead of torsion bars but retained struts at the front and semi-trailing arms at the rear. All 964s can chew through suspension bushes so if there’s no recent bill for front control arms or bushes, assume they’ll need to be replaced along with the dampers – at least on an older car. This job totals about £2000 in genuine parts – though aftermarket is cheaper – and £1500 in labour. Similarly, anti-roll bar drop arms wear but these are easy to replace and only cost £30-£40 each.
Steering on four-wheel-drive cars should be as communicative as a Carrera 2’s – not as delicate as it is on small-bumper cars, but the wheel should have plenty of feel and writhe slightly in your hands. Like the Carrera 3.2 that preceded it, the 964’s steering loads up in corners – more so than in the older cars. Heavier four-wheel-drive cars will feel less lively through the wheel and initially understeer a bit more but it shouldn’t worsen if you push a little harder.
These are utterly conventional – discs and pads cost less than £400 per end fitted – but the alloy calipers and steel carriers corrode together. If you’ve having to push the pedal hard or you can’t easily push the car at standstill, the brakes are binding. You can clean out the calipers or even grind a bit off the pads but new front calipers cost £660 each, the rears a little less.
Electronics are basic and don’t give problems, though fault codes don’t always give the full story if any issues develop. Instruments have a habit of delaminating, particularly on those dials with a number of warning lights fitted behind them: they shine through the faces and exacerbate the problem. And be reassured if you find a spare fuel pump relay in the glovebox because it’s the sign of a diligent yet realistic previous owner.
Rebuilding this can cost £10,000 – more if it needs new pistons
MEET THE OWNERS
‘Driving at 150mph with the roof back is great fun’
Rick Anderton, Northamptonshire
Rick owns the lovely Carerra 2 in the studio pictures. He’s had several 911s including his current 996 GT3 but reckons his 964 is the one he’d keep. It has a massive and comprehensive history file. He says, ‘They might have been cheap to buy once but don’t be fooled – I must have spent £35,000 on upkeep in nine years. The days of cheap 964s are over.’
Richard Rimmer, Oxfordshire
Ford Model T specialist Richard has a secret – he owns a 964 Carrera RS. ‘I bought the car in 1997 after it was imported from Germany. I intended to buy a 911 for around £10k but after more thought I pushed further and got the RS. It’s a typical RS Basic (or Lightweight) with no radio and, being LHD, no power steering. I love its raw power and responsive controls.’
David Bladon, Worcestershire
The 964 Register secretary has enjoyed many memorable trips, including runs to the French Clastres circuit and the Porsche Museum. ‘Driving on the autobahn at 150mph with the roof back is great fun; your hair doesn’t blow around much if you fit a wind deflector. I enjoy track days, having the only convertible while everybody else sweats in their coupés.’
Trim can be prohibitively expensive – the three-part tail lights alone cost £800.
Four-wheel alignment (£200-£300) improves feel and handling but Mikey Wastie says it’s even more fundamental than that. ‘Before considering stiffening the car up you need to get it back to standard. They get a bit floppy over time so bringing the suspension back to as-new should make a real difference.
‘A front strut brace is easy to fit, sharpens up the front end feel and can even help to even out tyre wear.
Simon Evans recommends changing to an RS clutch and flywheel, which makes the engine feel livelier and more eager to spin up. He says, ‘Upgrade to RS camshafts too if you can afford it – then they become quite quick cars.’
For more extreme modifications Singer in the US has created its own modifying niche, from the mild to the wild. Its sole UK partner is Simon Furlonger Specialist Cars in Ashford, Kent.
TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATIONS 1989-1994 Porsche 911 964
Engine 3600-3754cc, dry-sump flat six, Bosch LH-Jetronic fuel injection (K-Jetronic on Turbo). Turbocharged version available
Power and torque 247bhp @ 6100rpm-380bhp @ 5600rpm; 228lb ft @ 4800rpm-384lb ft @ 4200rpm
Transmission Five-speed manual or four-speed auto, two- or four-wheel drive
Steering Rack and pinion, power assisted
Brakes Discs all round, vacuum-assisted on C2, high-pressure hydraulic on C4
Suspension Front: independent, struts, lower wishbones, coil springs, anti-roll bar. Rear: independent, semi-trailing arms, coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar
Length 13ft 11in Width 5ft 5in
Weight 1220kg (RS) 1375kg (C2) 1475kg (C4)
Performance Top speed: 159-162mph; 0-60mph: 5.5-6.4sec
Fuel consumption 22-30mpg
Cost new £41,505 (C2, 1989)
NEED TO KNOW
Engine rebuild £10,000-£25,000
Clutch change £2000-£3000
Set of dampers £2000
Brake discs and pads £800 fitted
Who can help?
Porsche Club Great Britain porscheclubgb.com, 01608 652911
Autofarm 1973 Ltd autofarm.co.uk, 01865 331234,
Pro-9 pro-9.co.uk, 08456 211911
911 Virgin 911virgin.com, 01895 255222
Design 911 design911.co.uk, 020 8500 8811
Hendon Way Motors hendonwaymotors.co.uk, 020 8202 8011
Singer Vehicle Design singervehicledesign.com, +1 818-504-7212
Simon Furlonger Specialist Cars simonfurlonger.co.uk, 01206 808257
CAR FOR SALE
1990 Porsche 911 964 Carrera 2. 104,000 miles.
Full service history and recent MoT. Recent clutch and service, engine rebuild at 49,000 miles. Former concours winner so no body blemishes or rust. Engine doesn’t smoke or use oil. Immaculate interior with original Blaupunkt Toronto radio/cassette player. Original toolkit and compressor. £39,995.
Carrera 4 launches with 4WD in 1989.
Carrera 2 with rear-wheel-drive follows in 1990, 100kg lighter at 1375kg. Tiptronic adds 31kg. Pay high £20ks to low £40ks, depending on mileage and history. Pay five per cent less for Tiptronic; more than half of buyers want manuals.
Cabrio From 1991 (rear suspension geometry changes on all cars as a result). Pay 10-15 per cent less than for coupés.
Targa Pay 5-7.5 per cent less than coupés. Speedster from 1990. Most have Turbo-style wide-body option. Recent auction prices are between £135k and £155k.
Turbo from March 1990 using M30 3.3 motor from previous 930 for 320bhp. From 1993, 3.6.
Turbo S with 376bhp; 80 made.
Turbo 3.6 360bhp, £75,000-£80,000. Last 90 are Turbo 3.6S (380bhp) with slant-nose option.
Cup 1990 racing version for Porsche Carrera
Cup. Welded-in roll cage, 55mm lower ride height, interior and soundproofing deleted. From 1992 uses 964 RS body, 18in wheels, another 20mm suspension drop.
Carrera RS Based on Carrera Cup racer, and as usual emphasis is on weight saving (1220kg) rather than more power (256bhp). Pay £200,000-£250,000 dependent on mileage, condition and use. A very few Carrera 3.8 RSs are made with 300bhp and Turbo body.
62,173 of all 964 types built.
‘There’s new interest in the Porsche 964, a charming mix of classic 911 silhouette and updated hardware’