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Newbie/How do you know when you've found the one?


New member
30 Mar 2013
Hi everyone

Been a lurcker on this forum for some time and have been picking up lots of tips and info on buying and running a 996 model. It's been really useful, so thanks for all your contributions.

I've been dreaming of owning a Porsche for the last 10 years or so and now find myself in the fortunate position to finally be able to do something about it. I'm in the market for a 996 4s and am looking to find the best example that I can for 20k or there abouts.

Last weekend I went to a reputable indy, got carried away and so very nearly bought the first car that I'd looked at. Saw a second today at another slightly posher indy, which made me glad I didn't buy the first one. It turned out that the second one wasn't quite right either and although a lovely car, was lacking my top top option (PSE) and if anything, was maybe a bit over priced.

It's early days for my search, but so far, it doesn't seem to be quite as simple as a FPSH, PSE, reasonable mileage and looking clean and tidy with these cars.

How did you owners know when you'd found the right car for the right money and that it was worth taking the next step and investing in an inspection, or even (if you're brave), buying it there and then?
Well I am still looking. So far I've delved deep into the history of 6 cars and viewed three of those, one of which I wouldn't have gone to see if the history had been given to me correctly. I'm on the seventh, which I am off to see tomorrow. So keep looking. Only travel when you've exhausted all the history, mot, service, ownership, hpi, spec chasing and are still happy. Folk on here have kept me grounded and reminded me when it is time to walk away.
Don't miss out on a gem for the sake of (retrofittable or clonable) PSE, likewise, don't buy a dog just for its bark.
Wise words from GT4. Take your time, a good no expense spared FSH is normally a good start. I have the PSE and always have it on loud. I used to own a skinny 996 with an aftermarked sports exhaust (£800)that sounded v.similar so do not miss out on a minter if it is a non PSE just factor in the cost. Some other wise words were buy on condition sometimes a better maintained regularly used higher mileage car can be a better bet than an abused/ neglected low mileage example. Take a bit of the gamble out and buy from a good Indy (mine came from 911 virgins) had a few teething problems that were sorted out without any quibble. Finally go with your gut I went out just to start looking ( normally a month or two process when I get a new car ) 1st car was really nice but walked away as it was not mint. 2nd car ticked every box and was mint and a great colour slightly higher mileage than I wanted (60k) but was a 2004 that drove like new and had been over serviced . Knew she was the one even though it was the first day of supposedly looking :) :) :)
for that price i would be looking for a turbo,none of the nasty engine problems to worry about....
Some lessons to consider from my experience:
1. There are lots of cars out there, so be ruthless when there is a big choice and walk away if anyhting is not or does not seem right.

2. Use the phone to your advantage (let your fingers do the walking) and have your checklist with you as you enquire about the car on the phone. I filtered out many potential time-wasting trips by sensible use of the phone. Make sure you have your checklist written down with headings and take your time and go through it one by one.

3. Buy first with your head not your heart. People can be overwhelmed and whipped up with excitement when you view and test drive a car. This plays into the sellers hand - common sense really.

Keep looking up to a point where you feel that you have struck that balance point of compromise on spec versus further time to find the ideal car when all else ticks the box - age , history, service history, non-service maintenance, condition, well cared for and looked after but not in seal grey or arctic silver that you want.

Enjoy the search - the right car is out there.
I bought mine about 6 months ago now and in hindsight I guess looking back took something of a gamble in so much as I bought the first one I went to look at and it was a private sale!
However, I certainly did my homework in advance, I joined this forum a month or so before I purchased and must have read virtually every thread posted over the last 12 months or so so knew what to look for/not look for.
Armed with this info I had a budget in mind, a particular model/colour/type in mind and set about looking on auto trader. The first one I saw on auto trader was a slight compromise which in the end cost me £100 (non refundable) deposit as it was in silver (my preferred colour was black) but it was from a dealer, only covered 46k miles and was a 98 model.
The very week I was going to travel down south to trade in my Brera S I actually had a private offer for my Brera which was better then the px price and of course opened up the market for me to buy privately.
So I searched again, found my perfect combo of model, colour, spec etc (2002 model in basalt black) and took the plunge to go and view it (it was in Essex and I am in Staffs) so it was one of those "lets hope it matches the desription" moments as we had 1 way tickets! Obviously, I had spoke to the owner and tried to find out as much as possible as well as having a full HPI check carried out.
Anyway, to sum up, the service documentation was impeccable with all but the first 3 invoices present so I could see it was maintained at "no expense" with some of the OPC bills at over £1K and I could also see that it had had the troublesome rear oil seal replaced in 2009 I think it was. I have since contacted the supplying dealer who confirmed in writing that they had carried out the first 3 services so mechanically everything was spot on.
Cosmetically, it has received some attention from me in the form of a resprayed front end due to stone chips and I am having it detailed on Monday, the cosmetic side of things was down to the fact that the previous owner was a city trader who used to commute on train in the week so his weekend car (the car in question) although mechanically maintained at no expense spared was just left to the local grease monkeys to wash every other week!
So to sum up, I would say as well as the service history its about trying to get a feel about the previous owner (this is where buying privately is maybe of benefit).
Hope that helps.
Simple answer? Research, research,research.

Complicated answer?

I looked at 9 cars before buying.

Several could be perceived as "good uns". But I walked anyway. They just didnt feel right (much to wifey's frustration!)

For me, the car i ended up buying wasnt a garage queen by any stretch. But mechanically was sound, and had some good rep supporting the car from specialists and authoritative friends of the previous owner. And a PPI.

A GOOD PPI will find a lot of problems, stuff you would think of in some respects as insignificant. But YOU want to know!

Mine picked up stuff like a faulty cig lighter. Not the socket, just the item. And some dodgy painted wing-mirrors.
So, stuff I'd noticed and haggled anyway.

So as part of my owners blog (documenting all updates/upgrades during my ownership), this is all highlighted as either work in progress or completed.

Helps me in satisfaction/peace of mind, but will also assist in the eventual sale.

But do be prepared to travel for the right one! Have you seen Lee's (spectral uk) - looks like a lovely example :) (no other association than admiration of a nice car!)


Ps welcome to the forum ;)
Just accept that whichever one you buy there will always have been a better one that you should have bought. Stop looking for the perfect car - it doesn't exist. While you're umming and ahhing you could be driving. Just buy one.
:welcome: Try and get the lowest mileage car you can afford with fsh, If you look at a car with OPC/indie dealer history this can all be backed up and confirmed by calling the relevant dealers, check the MOT history on the DVLA website it shows any advisories that will give you a clue on how well the cars been looked after, after a run for peace of mind it's a good idea to put some paper under the engine to check for any leaks.

Good luck
There will be a mushroom grower from Mansfield along in a short while to say what a load of bollocks this low mileage infatuation is, so I won't comment on this. My comment is just to let you know that not everyone keeps the service invoices and those who do, not all of them part company with the car and supply them to the dealer. If you ring the guys in the service book you can validate that the service was done and the mileage. Ask them for a copy of the invoice with the previous guys details obliterated and you will get a load of bollocks about Data Protection etc.

So be realistic in this expectation and make sure you collect and retain all invoices for work you have done. You can write to the previous owners and ask them to request the invoices and post them to you but they may see this as a lot of hassle.

The MOT history is a good point - everything will be downloaded including advisories - quite why you can acccess this with the Data Protection bollocks but not service records beggars belief. But that's life.

Good luck.
You wake up in the morning, in your garage with your 911!
The hunt is part of the fun, enjoy :thumb:
Thanks for all of the tips guys and good luck with your search lofi.

I actually went to see another yesterday and everything seemed to check out and my gut feel was that it was a good example. I loved the car and so I have put a holding deposit down and will purchase subject to there being no show stoppers appearing in the PPI.

This is the Link to the car in question. Anyone dealt with these guys before?

I was going to contact Peter Morgan for the PPI, but wondered if anyone had any recommendations for PPI alternatives in West Sussex?

Ideally I'd like to get a PPI with borescope check (good idea?). Not sure if the seller will travel, so I will be looking for someone who will travel to the car.
Few things that you should discuss with Peter Morgan before commissioning him:
1. As far as I know he does not lift the car up on a ramp - the max height will be that possible with axle stands - so has to crawl under the car - that does not give as good a view as having a car high up on a ramp and standing under it. This is an absolute must - there must be no oil leaks or seeping (RMS weeping excepted) and I don't see how having his inpsector turn up with a jack and axle stands will be anything like good enough.

2. Ask him about borescope - as far as I know he is either not keen on this saying he can tell scored bores by visual signs or he feels it is not in scope for when he sends a guy out to the vehicle.

3. Ask him about test driving the prospective purchase. There are mixed threads about if he does this or if he follows behind with the owner driving the car. Engaging a specialist you need him to have a test drive for himself as he should spot issues with performance, gearchange/tip box or clutch. Brakes and steering as well as geometry can be felt to a trained eye.

Finally, I'd recommend an indy specialist and as you are considering buying from a dealer, they should feel comfortable taking it to a specialist within a reasonable distance. Second bst is for a specilaist to do a PPI on the vendors premises with the car up on the ramp. ECU download is via a laptop anyway - an essential in any PPI. Borescope is something that requires some dismantling and early signs can be detected in such a way. By the time there are visual signs - smoking from one side typically or audible piston slap it is too late and spells the need for a costly rebuild.

I have never used Peter Morgan so all I'm doing is making you aware of things to explore with him before you decide who is going to do it.

I hope this one works out for you. If not, move on, the right car is out there.

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