Porsche 928 buyers guide

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What to pay when buying a Porsche 928 in the UK in November 2010 - prices are holding firm

This guide is published only at 928.org.uk - the home of the 928 community in the UK, and on ebay, on my account.

There really has never been a better time to buy a 928. Read this buyers guide to find out invaluable information.

Join the 928uk mail list at www.928.org.uk and take your time to choose the right one. But get on with it and act now and get yours in time for the next 928uk meeting!

Anything under GBP 2,000 will likely be a basket case. Nowadays I think there are three clear bands of 928s people search for. This doesnt mean quite exactly three bands of pricing but it almost does. Exceptions for truly mint cars make this an inexact science. Please dont rely solely on this guide. Get plenty of advice and opinions. Read on for full analysis

Band 1 - Pre S4 - I group all these cars together, I dont see any difference between a 78 and an 81 in value. Nobody will pay more than GBP 4,999. Most desirable are the first cars from 1978 and the last cars known as 86.5's because they had a lot of the S4 running gear without the complexity. Dealers price mint cars at GBP 5,999

Band 2 - S4 Analog Dash - The entry point into the revised shape is GBP 4,499.

My favourite analog dash car is the 1988 S4 SE which doesn't fit the normal valuations at all and is these days roughly equivalent in value to a perfect GT. Analog dash ended with model year 89. Which also introduced polyamide pipes so no crimping 89 or later! Dealers price mint cars at GBP 9,999

Band 3 - S4, GT, GTS Digital Dash GBP 4,995 to 9,999 for S4 and GT models, GBP 6,995 - 16,995 for GTS. My model of choice here is a tie between an 89 GT and a 95 GTS manual. I think a top priced GTS would have to be nearly perfect or have a fantastic warranty from a trader to achieve GBP 18,999. Average GTS price in 2008 and 2010 was just hovering between GBP 9,000 and 12,000. Retailers sell for more with warranties of course. Dealers expecting over GBP 20,000 are dreaming.

LHD cars sell for less here in the UK but are worth more in Germany where 928 values are higher.

I talk to a lot of potential buyers in person and mostly by email. Most people today are not reliant on the 928 as their main car so they are spending a lot of time finding the right car for them. This is a good thing because its really important to have one you can live with in terms of colour inside and out and manual vs auto and then the rest of the spec. It is more important to buy one which has the basis to be a good car to keep and to build up to be what you want it to be. Its no good buying the right colour but neglected car unless you have deep pockets. All 928s are getting old now so there are very few perfect cars.

There are many good cars though and when looking you should expect to see evidence of reasonable history of attention to upkeep as well as an ongoing list of things to attend to. These are the signs of a well maintained car. Its a question of keeping on top of things rather than thinking that you'll never need to spend a penny on the car. I personally budget for servicing and tyres plus one major project per year. That way I will get to things in a planned way. I was over budget for the first two years but still happy. In 2006 and 2007 I was under budget. I spent GBP 1,500 in 2008 chiefly on tyres and mirrors which is up to me or a relatively fixed cost whatever car you have. In 2009 I spent nothing, except on a new steering wheel. In 2010 I sorned my 928 for the first half of the year due to lack of funds, and put her back on the road in July for £500 (a service and fixing the heater). She started first time as I had a battery conditioner on all the time.

People always ask me about prices. The truth is that bad cars are priced high and good cars are priced low. Think about it for a moment. All 928s have depreciated as far as they can due to false images of Ed Strakers car from UFO, and myths of unpopularity and expense. In fact if you look at a 928 today it is undated. Only the wider panel fit and heavy wood construction interior door panels give away older design and production techniques. Many have been neglected by owners who couldn't really commit to the planned maintenance idea. A 928 at any price is a terrific price/performance equation if it doesn't cost you the earth to run. If it costs an extra GBP 5,000 in year one then that's not so good.

I think only the certifiable would pay over GBP 15,000 for a 928 in 2010 unless it was absolutely perfect and was delivered in a Tardis. I suppose with a bullet proof warranty I could see it but even so... You can after all buy a 996 or a 964 for GBP 12,000. So Its not about what people in the 928 community think these cars are worth - its about what they are worth in relation to other desirable cars.

There is overlap here because condition is king. A really good GT sold in January 2009 for around GBP 9,000 is worth more than a smoky or poorly looked after GTS. Caution though. Traders value 928's at a lot less. Near perfect cars in desirable colours are the ones that hold their value.

Recent history of Porsche 928 prices in the UK - how low is low?

Prices were stable over 2004. Prices rose for some models or stayed put in 2005. In 2006 prices held 2005 levels but only for cars in super condition with few faults. In 2006 a slide began in any cars not perfect or in hard to resell colours. In 2007 prices dropped quite a lot more sharply with numerous bargains around GBP 6,000 in the Pre 1989 model year non-digital dash S4's. GT prices fell too. In 2009 Cheap S4's started at from GBP 4995 at 928.org.uk and on ebay.co.uk and even at dealers. Earlier cars are variable in price. 928's and 928 S models are bargains or basket cases depending on your point of view. S2's are selling well but its very hard to get more than GBP 4,999 for an S2 no matter how special the car, even the 86.5s

GTS values are indistinguishable now from GT's and have suffered from inter-galactic depreciation. GTS's can be found from GBP 5,999 to GBP 16,999. Dealers are sticking out for more for what they imagine are really special cars but any prices above GBP 16,000 are just not realistic and the dealer may have had the car in stock for years on consignment. These dealers need to be providing a spectacular warranty or preparation service to reach these prices so caveat emptor. The Porsche 928 may seem special to the dealers but comparative car prices (Range Rover V8 Westminster, BMW 850, Aston Martin DB7, Ferrari 456GT, Ferrari Mondial, Porsche 996) wont allow any 928 - even a perfect GTS to have a premium so dont fall for this.

Rarities like the SE continue to be extremely hard to value (I've heard of sales for 6500 and double that in 2005 and in 2006 no less than four sold through the site for high prices reflecting condition and rarity. These rare cars continue to come up and sell for high prices on 928.org.uk.Prices generally are holding firm or even slightly rising in 2010

Overall though I still think the price band for the SE is now the same as the GT. There is just not the awareness of just how special these models are. Theres a black one in London with one owner since new with under 30k miles so who knows what that would be worth (he's not selling it - I tried!). Caution though - even though these cars are the equivalent of the RS models in 911 land they don't seem to hold value in the same way and may only have value to members of our community so are likely to remain uncertain going forward. Its especially important to get the right insurance for them - so that they don't get under valued as an S4 and written off all to easily. (voice of experience).

I would not recommend mileage as a good indication of value. Porsche 928s need regular use and without it gremlins creep in. A fully maintained high mileage car with regular detailed planned maintenance program is a better proposition than a low mileage car that will need to be recommissioned (think disks, pads, pumps, fluids, fuel pipes, other pipes, all belts, ac, heater matrix, battery, alarm, tyres all of which is a couple of thousand at least). Recommissioning is not for the faint hearted but if you are buying a car to rebuild make sure this is taken into account in the purchase price and get the work done by a 928 specialist not a general Porsche specialist.

Used Porsche 928 Buying Checklist

The following checklist represents in large part all the items that an informed buyer should check on any car they are considering buying. Some of these items will be less important to you than others, but knowing what needs replacing or repairing will put you in a stronger bargaining position if you are interested in the car.

Shop around

I would strongly recommend that if you have doubts about any of the mechanical aspects of a particular car, that you walk away from the car. Contrary to what many dealers and ebay sellers will tell you, the 928 is not a particularly rare car, with up to 8 cars appearing for sale on the web site each week and loads here on ebay, so there is no reason to compromise on condition.

Drive more than one

If you are considering buying a 928, I suggest that you drive as many 928s as you can which will give you an opportunity both to compare the different models, and to find out what a good 928 looks and drives like. One current owner drove five in one day and it quickly became apparent that two were good, one was so-so and two were bad. The two bad ones had been patched up and looked great from both the outside and inside, but driving soon showed their real condition.

Meet other 928 owners and check out their cars

We will be delighted to welcome you to one of our 928 meets during your search for your 928, which will give you the ideal opportunity to see and talk to the owners of a wide range of 928 models in an informal setting. Join the mail list too and someone near you will probably take you for a spin in a similar car to what you are looking for.

Colour and value

In the end your choice should come down to interior and exterior colour, manual or automatic transmission and value for money, not just condition. Remember you will have to look at it on the drive for years so dont get something you cant stand the colour of. That includes the interior. If you can’t afford a GTS, but prefer the later look get a good S4, or start looking for a good S2 rather than get a bad S4. The engineering of the 928 makes them one of the best sports tourers available, but also means that they need regular and timely maintenance to keep them in good condition, both before you buy the car and after. Remember, the 928 cost £20,000 in 1978 and £72,000 in its final year of production, and all the models have servicing costs appropriate to those high prices. (around £1000 for a full service at a main dealer - find a real specialist near you by asking us.) The Porsche 928 was from its very beginning a precision-engineered car that could more than double the UK legal speed limit at a time when many standard road cars couldn’t reach 100 mph, and that performance depends on the precise functioning of all the components. You wouldn't expect to be able to run a Ferrari on Fiesta money so why would you therefore expect to run a 928, which is just as much of a performance car, any cheaper, simply because it’s relatively cheap to buy? That said, if you buy a good one, you should not have any surprise bills for a long time. See the Running and Servicing sections for more details on costs and maintenance schedules.

Independent check

When you have found your ideal 928, then we strongly recommend that you take the car to a 928 specialist for a pre-purchase check. If there is no 928 specialist close to where you live, then all of the official Porsche dealers and many of the independent Porsche garages offer pre-purchase inspections, which will give you a further insight into the condition of your prospective purchase. Also, ask the specialist to give you a costing of all the remedial work they find during the inspection, which will give you a good idea of some of the costs involved in restoring and maintaining your purchase in full working condition. Its about two hundred quid, and then you will have a list of all your projects for the next year. Dont expect any 928 to be perfect. Check with the mailing list whether problems found are common and easy to fix or nasty and expensive. For example dont worry about worn disks and pads. Do worry about broken air conditioning if you care. Remember an OPC inspection will tell you what you need to do to put the car to showroom condition. Dont be put off by this and do remember the cars arent new anymore. If its basically a good car the inspection serves as a great list of projects to do over time. Dont be put off by paint if its been done right unless its unexplainable and extensive. Stone chips are common and parking bumps mean most 928's have had bumper and many have had door paint.

HPI

The checklist below is intended to provide you with a tool for finding and informing yourself about your target cars, and is not intended to replace a specialist mechanic’s review of the car on a ramp with the proper tools. In addition, this would be a good time to do an HPI check which will cost around £40 to see if the car has outstanding finance on it, has been written off by an insurance company, or is reported stolen. Dont worry about plate changes on the HPI check. Most 928s have had many different number plates in their lifetimes.

Precautions

If you buy from an enthusiast, chances are the car will have been well looked after, and you will have the comfort of a stack of service bills to know what has and has not been done to the car. When buying a car privately, it is a good idea to assess the owner. Have an informal friendly chat with the seller (or with the last owner of record if buying from a dealer), to discover what type of person they are. Also take the opportunity to meet them at their house, if possible; if the house looks well maintained, then usually they would look after their cars as well. Never buy from someone who will only meet you in a service station or a lay by, or who can only be contacted on a mobile telephone number. Its also not a good idea to buy from someone just leaving the country or their agent or someone selling for a friend. They could be genuine but...

Porsche 928 Specification - Things to check during initial phone conversation

Not an exhaustive list :-)

  • Auto/manual
  • Mileage
  • Body colour
  • Paintwork and panel fit - every panel
  • Vin number matches docs - check for signs of tampering
  • Engine number matches docs - if its absent walk away
  • Interior colour(s) and material
  • Does it have an MOT and service history
  • Service history - all bills or service book stamps only FPSH or independent?
  • Number of owners and who
  • Length of current ownership
  • Reason for sale
  • Central locking working
  • Air conditioning – working? really working not just gassed for sale?
  • Electric windows – working?
  • Electric mirrors – working?
  • Electric seats – working?
  • Electric lumbar – working?
  • Electric heated seats – working?
  • Correct type of wheels. All identical? Check part numbers carefully!
  • Original or replacement wheels? Spacers? (Wider rear track)
  • Correct tyres? Really? N' rated? Not just the right brand?
  • Toolkit complete, spanners and drivers, towing eye, jack, hazard triangle, compressor, spare, plastic gloves and bag for dirty wheel
  • Luggage cover
  • Sunroof motor working - expensive
  • ABS
  • Stereo
  • Engine bay all correct? Anything obviously missing?
  • Recent steam cleaning? Why?
  • Pas reservoir leaks? (Big ZF labelled bottle to the right)
  • Engine oil on undertray? (Sump Gasket)
  • Coolant in V of engine (leaks)
  • Any spares or extras such as service manuals
  • Check the list of option codes in the service book or on the sticker in the boot (look them up on this web site)
  • Price, warranty, agreement to inspection by a third party
  • GTS models are particularly prone to oil issues due to porous cylinder liners affecting some engines. Check the engine has been replaced or it is not an oil burner..
  • Automatic engines can be destroyed by incorrect flex plate tension. Ask if its been checked. Always check before buying an Auto. If the owner doesnt know what this is have it checked or walk away.
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