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    Peter Morgan
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    Just looking by Peter Morgan / #Porsche-911-964 / #Porsche-911-RS-964 / #Porsche-964 / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche-911-964 / #Porsche /

    Author of 25 Porsche books, Peter has been involved with the brand for 35 years

    It’s open season for the Porsche-964-RS , but Peter Morgan says buyers have to watch carefully for any sleight of hand by some sellers…

    If I had to choose an ideal touring sports car, it wouldn’t be the 964 RS, by a long way. It’s harsh, the doors close with a clang, the seats are uncomfortable for long runs and it doesn’t have the visual elegance of the great Porsche tourers such as the 2.4S, the 993 S and the 981 Cayman S. But the 25-year-old RS is a peach to drive quickly and that alone makes it one of Porsche’s great 911s. When I was editor of the Porsche Club’s magazine Porsche Post, I recall my headline for the feature introducing the car back in 1991 read ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’.

    But not many had that reaction. The discovery that this RS was indeed one of the Porsche family’s hidden gems took some time to register.

    This really is the Porsche I wish I’d bought about 15 years ago when, battered and bruised from being thrashed around every piece of available asphalt in the land, they were there to be had for around £20k. But now, you’ll need at least £175k to start looking and another £50k to get a really nice one.

    Today, the 964RS stock available to buyers is very limited – and often not very good. The serious attrition suffered by the original UK-delivered RHD cars (with option code C16) has meant far too few good cars are ever seen. Carefully kept cars with good provenance and no accident history are like gold dust. And on top, there has been uncontrolled immigration – particularly from Germany (C00) and Japan (C18) – frequently of cars that should have been written off long ago.

    The repair quality ranges from very average to, in the case of many Japanese cars, very good. But the results are often not original or correct for the model. The result is that the UK market for these cars has become a minefield for buyers.

    With any RS, the most important factor is authenticity and the originality of the car itself – this includes the panels, special components and everything down to the labels. Wear and tear isn’t so much of an issue as that can be fixed, it’s the fundamentals that are the key requirement.

    A car that presents with dubious VIN markings is immediately flawed in the eyes of a careful buyer. In the worst cases it can suggest major repairs or even reshelling. This latter is where an original, usually wrecked, car is dismantled and all its usable parts are assembled onto a suitable donor shell. In these cases replacement of the stamped VIN, the adhesive labels and, if it is a good fake, the visible punched manufacturing panel numbers has to take place. Fortunately, with most ‘story’ cars (those that have a story to tell), just a close look at the VIN stamping is enough to give the car away, but this is an area where an expert is required. The easily observed panel numbers on the bonnet rear and engine lid front edge are just as revealing. We’ve seen an RS just recently that had suspect panel number stamps as well as an astonishingly inept VIN etching. The work could only have dated from the 1990s, when nobody really cared about maintaining the authenticity of a 964 RS.

    The other useful tools when looking for a good car are a paint thickness gauge and a micrometre. The gauge should read ferrous and aluminium and show the difference between skim and deep filler. A replacement rear wing or quarter can be given away by filler lines, even when the repainting overspray has been carefully buffed away. Often, though, a good eye and running a finger along the roof gutters can reveal a great deal. The micrometre should be used to check the door window thickness of 3mm. A reshelled car I once saw still had the original ‘thick’ side glass from its donor Carrera (and a renumbered C2 engine!). It did drive very nicely, but should have been £130k less than was being asked!

    Spotting a replacement engine can be difficult. Grinding off the number on the fan support and replacing it with another does reduce the ‘land’ on which the number resides. This is where a piece of tracing paper over the number can produce results, but an experienced eye can spot the reduced land and details like stamp weight.

    Aside from the ‘73 RS (allegedly with more on the world’s roads now than were manufactured!), I believe the 964 RS has become the most widely replicated or misrepresented street Porsche around. And with serious buyers prepared to spend upwards of £200k on a genuine car and too few to choose from, this is a market that has the climate of a wild west town. Finding a good one isn’t easy. There is no secret formula to finding one, it’s all about patience, due diligence and luck – being in the right place at the right time.

    “Useful tools when looking for a good car are a paint thickness gauge and a micrometre”
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    Peter Morgan
    Peter Morgan joined the group Porsche 911 964
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    Customising your Porsche may make you feel better, says Peter Morgan, but it can knock thousands off the car’s street value… #2015 #Porsche-Concept

    It sounds like a great idea for any enthusiast – personalise your Porsche so it makes a unique visual statement, or maybe ‘uprate’ the engine, brakes and suspension to make it go faster. But the reality is that changing the factory specification of virtually any production Porsche away from standard will reduce the value.

    It’s tempting when your car needs replacement shock absorbers or engine renovation work to go for ‘sports’ options, hotter ECU chips or louder exhausts. But in an ultra competitive marketplace, originality is the key to a top value car. If it looks and handles as it left the factory, it will sell faster.

    With their spectacular motorsport heritage, the engineers at #Porsche have arguably forgotten more about how to make a car accelerate, brake and go round bends than anything that aftermarket tuners might claim to know. And in my experience, when I drive, say, a standard 993 Carrera that has received harder springs and sports shocks, it takes the edge off its confident driving manners. It degrades that important first impression because the all-round ride and handling comfort has been lost.

    Body kits fitted after the car has left the factory not only compromise the authenticity, but new panels can also point to underlying extensive repair work. Factory fitted aerokits are always noted on the Vehicle Identification Label, but aftermarket aerokits are generally a waste of money on a collectible car and can hide a multitude of issues. This includes pattern problems so that the fit can be an instant turn off to the experienced eye.

    ‘Chipping’ Porsches has become an accepted part of the Porsche aftermarket industry. Nevertheless, changing the engine management map of, say, a 996 Turbo requires careful consideration. Yes, the car may be faster but it will be at the cost of fuel consumption and engine life. The tuners often suggest that the rev limit can be taken up by several hundred rpm, while altering the torque curve or maximum power. Not only does this use up the safety margin at the top of the engine’s rev range, when you put a diagnostic computer on the car the subsequent over-revs stand out. When you see a few of the over-revs some cars have been subjected to – with maximums in ignition range one (to continue with the 996 Turbo) and sometimes thousands in the IR2 range, it’s inevitable engine life will be degraded. With the 996 and 997 Turbos appreciating steadily today, you wouldn’t buy one without checking the ECU, if only to make sure there hasn’t been a ‘wild’ chip on the car. There’s nothing that shouts that a car has been thrashed to death more than a maxed-out over-rev log.

    Another model that is progressing nicely on the rising tide of prices is the 996 GT3. The first series made for the 2000 model year are unique in the water-cooled 911 story and good ones are very desirable. However, what would you make of one that had had some £24k worth of customisation mods to the suspension, brakes and engine? The reality was that somebody had persuaded an earlier owner to splurge on the ‘improvement’ of a car that had (uniquely, compared to the later GT3s) been set up in the Motorsport department at Porsche. The present owner found the car at a price well below typical market value – and all because of the significant modifications. At a very attractive price, it represents a perfect project car that should, one day, be restored to its original specification – and value.

    Meanwhile the custom parts may find their way on to an auction site. It’s not all negative when it comes to customising. There are some models for which a sympathetic modification can add to the standard car’s appeal. Usually they are faithful tributes to one of the faster RSs or GTs. Such mild customisation is best rewarded on the 964 Carreras, where the RS lookalikes always have a premium on similar condition/mileage standard cars.

    Don’t ask me why, but such customisation doesn’t work with the 993s or any of the pre-’89 models. There are some really, really rough customised 1980s ‘flat nose’ cars in circulation that are begging to be restored to their original glory. Go back to the first 20 years of the 911 and (condition accepted) authenticity and originality is easily the most important factor in the value of the car. Original colours, original numbers and original specifications – at least on what you can see – are the critical requirements for a top value car.

    The flip side is that if should you be looking for a project car on a budget, a customised mule can offer all kinds of cost benefits. And if the engine number isn’t matching, it can represent a further discounting on a car that would otherwise be out of reach. Customising sounds like fun and it can be. Just make sure you appreciate how far you can go before it seriously damages your investment.

    If it looks and handles as it left the factory, it will sell faster.
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    Peter Morgan
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