Tried & tested with consultant editor, Chris Horton - #Porsche-911-Carrera-3.2-Cabriolet #1988
/ ‘F’ 70,718 MILES / £26,995 #Porsche-911-G-Modell
It had become something of a long-standing joke between me and RPM Technik’s Darren Anderson – entirely good-natured, of course – that none of the company’s cars featured in these Tried & Tested stories over the years had ever managed the full quota of four rows of five ticks in the Value at a glance panel at the bottom of the page. Happily, though, I can now redress the balance by giving this genuinely lovely #Porsche-911
Carrera 3.2 Cabriolet precisely that top rating. It is just about flawless in every significant respect.
Registered on 1st August 1988 – hence the ‘F’-prefix registration – it has had seven owners in its 26 years. RPM has known the car since 2006, last May selling it to professional valeter and detailer Rob Goulding, now based in the building right next door. Rob spent the next few months, plus several thousand pounds’ worth of brandnew parts and his own and others’ labour, turning what was plainly already a very good car back into a truly exceptional one. But he always had his heart set on a 997 of some description – partly to help promote his then new business – and late last year did a deal with Darren on a white Gen 2model, part-exchanging the 3.2 back to RPM. I shall return to the car’s stunning condition in just a moment, but first let’s look at what you will get for your money in terms of specification and equipment. Guards Red paintwork, obviously, and inside the cabin a beguiling mix of cream leather with red piping, and black carpets.
Those are protected by after-market black overmats, again with red piping. Gearbox is the later #G50
five-speed manual unit – so much better than the now generally terrible 915 found in earlier 3.2s and previous 911s.Wheels are colour-coded Fuchs five-spokes (with locking securing nuts), and all four tyres recently fitted Pirelli Cinturato P7s. Back inside again, there is a modern and as a result perhaps slightly incongruous Sony head unit, and also a Viper alarm/immobiliser, which I am pleased to report is – unlike many similar systems – almost seamless in operation. There is no air-conditioning – it was a rarity back in those days – and I can’t tell you whether the quirky semi-automatic heating and ventilation system works precisely as it’s supposed to, but it certainly cranks out plenty of hot air from all the right places. (Although you might want to take a look at the blower control; one of the fans seems to be running permanently at low speed.)
The car’s condition, as I have suggested, is genuinely breathtaking. There has plainly been some new paint over the years, not least to eradicate unavoidable front-end stone-chips, but it was clearly to a very high standard, and many hours of expert machine-polishing by Rob Goulding (with not a trace of ‘product’ residue to be seen) has left the entire car with a deep, glossy lustre that’s hard to resist touching simply for the sake of it. There remain a couple of tiny chips – primarily on the leading edge of the right-hand wing, and on the trailing edge of the left-hand door – and the lower front apron is plainly original and thus in need of a refurb, but the overall impression is of a brand-new car, and most definitely not a 26-year-old.
No less impressive – unsurprisingly for a professional detailer – is, well, the detail. Bumper bellows, front ‘smile’ (the strip beneath the leading edge of the bonnet), the so-called shark’s fins behind the doors, sill and bumper strips, and not least the trailing edge of the classic whale tail rear wing: all straight, black and perfect. Likewise the recently refurbished wheels – the red enamel is like glass – and the manually operated convertible hood, both inside and out. The fabric looks new, and the plastic rear window is unmarked. I didn’t lower the hood, but I have no doubt that it works impeccably. The front seats, too, were professionally cleaned and refurbished during Rob’s tenure of the car (Furniture Clinic; 01582 380750) and unlike some similar items we have seen look absolutely superb; like new. Thanks to what must be fairly new struts both front and rear lids remain fully open unaided, and everything inside both of those compartments is exactly as it should be: spotlessly clean, and simply as new. Remarkable.
The car drives – of course! – as well as it looks. No rattles or squeaks (and not too much wind noise), a nice, pliant ride, light steering that loads up reassuringly as you turn in to a corner, and predictably great brakes (all four discs are unmarked). A broad spread of pulling power from that classic and famously torquey engine, and not least the precise, easy gear change that the 911 had deserved right from the start. If I was being picky I might suggest that the clutch is rather heavy, and bites quite near the upper end of its travel, but it’s smooth and progressive. The door windows, too, are a little slow in operation. But neither would put me off the car, and certainly wouldn’t warrant deleting one of those crucial ticks!
Background: A classic #Porsche
911 Cabrio that has had the benefit of being owned and at the same time modestly refurbed, inside and out, by one of the UK’s up and- coming detailers, leaving it essentially perfect – and an ideal basis for a concours contender. Good service history – comprehensive, but not overwhelmingly so, and nicely presented. Road tax to the end of May, MoT to early June, and obviously comes with RPM’s usual generous warranty
Where is it?
RPMTechnik is at Units 6 & 7, Old Airfield Industrial Estate, Cheddington Lane, LongMarston, Hertfordshire HP23 4QR; tel: 01296 663824; www.rpmtechnik.co.uk
For: Condition. It’s that simple! Colour, mileage, history and provenance, too, of course – and even as a Cabrio-sceptic I’d be quite happy to live with that rather pram-like hood for the sake of everything else this amazing vehicle offers.
Against: Not much at all. One or two very minor gripes – clutch and windows; see main text – but neither should be a deal breaker. And it’s probably not a car you would – or even should – use every day.
Verdict: These earlier 911 Cabrios can be an acquired taste, but I think there will be a long queue of eager buyers for this one, so best get your skates on. If you’d like Rob Goulding of ExtremeDetailing.
To work his magic on your Porsche, by the way, call 01296 660000, or e-mail him at [email protected]
Value at a glance
Poor 1 / OK 2 / Fair 3 / Very good 4 / Excellent 5