I’ll admit that a fair amount of these 10K face-offs are somewhat limited in their execution. Often, the examples of cars I’m able to track down for the day of the article aren’t the best that are out there or, more often than not, in an effort to fit the cars under the 10K budget they’re just not the prime examples or they’re not good matches. However, there are two performance convertibles on fairly equal footing that really offer a tremendous amount of proverbial bang for your buck these days; come to the table with around $10,000 and you can pick up either a E36/7 BMW M Roadster or 986 Porsche Boxster S. Granted, in some cases the stars have to align just right and there are many weeks where there aren’t two good examples in the price range – but today there just happen to be two very comparable examples to look at. Similar mileage, similar colors and similar power and drive mean that these two are still competing with buyers as they were when new. However, it’s there where the two cars seem to point towards the very different philosophies and character of their respective parent companies. Let’s then in the waning days of a summer gone by at two special and quite reasonably priced convertible sports cars:
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The 911E is a model that I particularly like. It won’t have the frenzied investment potential of a 911S, but it makes for a good investment while also possessing a few advantages over the 911T. All 911 models from these years are worthwhile in their own right, though there is a shifting balance between driver and investor and finding the right car is not always easy. The example we see here comes in the very period-correct color of Sepia Brown: a one-owner 1971 Porsche 911E, located in California, with a claimed 16,000 miles on it. Sepia Brown would not qualify as my favorite shade on a 911, but brown on brown does tend to fit the period and still serves as a departure from many of the standard colors we see today.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1971 Porsche 911E on eBay
With evangelists like the folks at flüssig magazine, the front-engined, water-cooled Porsches are finally getting the respect they deserve. Long living in the shadow of the car they were supposed to supersede, the 911, these sports cars have now become collectable in their own right, praised for their performance and practicality. Today we’ll take a look at four examples of the breed, all dressed in black and ready for some action. We’ll start with this very clean 944 Turbo for sale in Los Angeles.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay
I don’t often get excited at the sight of a 914, but as far as appreciating classics go, I don’t think anyone can count out Volkswagen’s Porsche. Like any other vehicle that has long fell just beyond the cursory gaze of hobbyists looking for the next “fad” vehicle, the 914 market is starting to perk up for best-of-breed examples. Is this one of those cars? It certainly seems strong cosmetically, with new floorpans already installed. The engine and transmission have been rebuilt, and the seller seemingly has a good relationship with their mechanic – interpret the virtues of that relationship at your own peril. As someone who relies on his local specialist for pretty much everything (yup, I’ve got the mechanical instincts of a gerbil), I don’t consider it a strike against a very pretty 914.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1975 Porsche 914 on eBay
This may be my imagination, but I feel as if we aren’t seeing the 912 come up for sale quite as often these days. Granted, there were never a ton of them to begin with since they were produced for such a short period, and given their entry-level status many of them were probably driven for a while and then removed from the population. An excellent 912 is a very rare thing, but even driver-quality examples have become somewhat hard to come by. So I was pleased to come across this example from the last year of long-hood 912 production: a 1969 Porsche 912, located in southeast Virginia, with a reported 33,320 miles on it. As with many Porsches from this period it would be nice to have that verified, rather than discovering the odometer has rolled over. The last year for these 912s coincided with the first year Porsche extended the wheelbase of their rear-engined cars, which should make this model an excellent handling machine given the better balance of the 912’s lighter 4-cylinder engine. By modern standards, few Porsches from the ’60s will stun you with their performance, but all remain a pleasure to drive and a long-hood 912 comes at a fraction of the cost of a similar year 911. We’re certainly dealing with differing levels of investment potential between the two, but for driver-quality examples a 912 can make for a very good choice.