If you find yourself desiring a classic 911 from the ’80s you’re immediately presented with a few decisions. The first of which, while seemingly the most straightforward, can actually present the biggest quandary: which model do you get, the 911SC or the 3.2 Carrera? Both are great and their similarities in design and performance are such that either model should fulfill your desires. But let’s say you’re set on the 3.2 Carrera. You want the improved performance and slightly more refined feel. You still have one more decision to make: would you rather find one of the earlier models (1984-1986) utilizing the long-standing 915 5-speed transmission or a later model (1987-1989) with the newer G50 5-speed transmission? It seems a minor detail, but the transmissions do make a difference. Most drivers find the G50 to be the nicer shifting of the two and it is a more stout transmission to begin with, a point that certainly could make a difference 30 years from new. However, the G50 also is heavier and typically the prices for the later Carreras, in part because of that transmission, tend to be higher. If you’re thinking strictly about adding one to a collection the G50 probably is the one to get. For a driver? It’s not so straightforward.
Generally speaking, unless you’re very patient most of these decisions will be made for you since you’re typically best off by buying the best available option from these years. A well sorted 911SC is likely to bring you more joy and fewer headaches than a 3.2 Carrera with some issues. Sometimes, however, the options are such that you really can have your choice and, in fact, in our case here your choice really is distilled down almost completely to the different transmissions.
Here we have two Grand Prix White 3.2 Carrera Targas with pretty similar mileage, pretty similar asking prices, and seemingly very similar condition. Both also are located in the same general region of the country. The only real differences are the interior color and the model year. Let’s proceed in chronological order and begin with this 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa, located in Miami, with Burgundy interior and 103,000 miles on it.
After seemingly going a while without seeing one it now appears Turbolook 911s are all coming out of the woodwork. I’ve posted a couple that I particularly liked, one of which specifically because it was a coupe as those still aren’t coming around very often. It is still the case that most of those we see are the earlier, and slightly less desirable, models with the 915 5-speed transmission. There are fewer of the later G50 transmission models with the ’89MY naturally leading the way in rarity.
But here we have one of those later models. It’s not a Coupe, but still has plenty of appeal in its own right: a paint-to-sample Marine Blue Metallic 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa with the M491 package and 81,713 miles on it.
We sometimes can be a bit hard on cars with very low mileage. Why buy any car – especially a performance car – to park it in a garage and treat it like a museum piece? Or some ornamental furniture? It seems wasteful. This 911 has suffered from no such stagnation. It has almost 250K miles on it. While that’s still not a ton of miles per year, it is a good bit more than most 911s we see. It’s been enjoyed. It has stories; drives bringing its owners excitement, and perhaps even some heartache whenever it was sold. It’s also damn good looking and sitting mostly in its original specification of Granite Green Metallic over a Grey-Green interior. All of this beauty is on auction with no reserve. We really can’t ask for too much more with any 911.
If you’ve been searching for a Turbolook (M491) Carrera Coupe, then take note. These have begun to come around for sale so rarely that we cannot pass them by regardless of condition. Thankfully this one appears to be in nice shape. This isn’t one of the extremely rare G50-equipped Coupes, but even the earlier models are uncommon enough and desirable enough that I’d expect a lot of interest.
For those unfamiliar, the M491 package gave buyers the option of fitting the 930 rear, suspension, braking, and front and rear spoilers to their standard 3.2 Carrera. Basically you got a 911 Turbo minus the engine. Hence the Turbolook moniker. During its early years on offer the 930 wasn’t available in the US market so the M491 was the closest you could get. Better handling, improved braking, and arguably better looks, but with a less high strung engine. You can see why these have remained very desirable still today.
I suppose it’s a testament to how much I like the classic 911 that I can spend nearly as much time looking over the details of a 911 like this one as I do with the various exotic, rare, and/or high performance 911s I also feature. As I’ve said before those high-dollar 911s are great and they’re great to look at and ponder, but when it really comes down to a 911 I might enjoy spending a lot of time with I invariably come back to the ’80s.
Whether you prefer the 911SC or the 3.2 Carrera largely is a matter of preference and in many cases can be a matter of availability. The two models share enough useful characteristics that a good one from either model is better than one that’s a little lackluster. There are certainly differences and for those who might want more certainty about its value the later G50-equipped models do make a little more sense. Otherwise, find the one you like! Perhaps this one: a Guards Red 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa, located in Illinois, with Black interior and 47,903 miles on it.
I can’t say that I’ve really considered a brown car for myself, nor do I tend to specifically look for them. Not surprisingly, they’re fairly rare outside of the late-70s when the color apparently was more in vogue so whether I was looking for one or not the opportunities would be few and far between.
There is something about them though. Maybe it’s that they’re a natural color, even in one of the darker hues, which produces an affinity in us we didn’t anticipate. I do know I have a strong preference for metallic brown over the non-metallic variants. There are exceptions to that, but they are truly exceptions.
This one, a Cognac Brown Metallic 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa located in Colorado with 67,754 miles on it, doesn’t bother with being an exception. It’s metallic and even though the lighting does not do justice to it this 911 looks really good.
I’ve been looking at a decent number of high-end and modern Porsches lately – something I’ve enjoyed more than I realized when it comes to the modern cars – but it’s time to, at least briefly, return to the roots of my 911 obsession: the classic 911. We won’t be moving into the territory of incredibly reasonable pricing because this one is pretty expensive, but it is the ethos of the machine that draws me back. In truth it is the 911SC that really started it all for me, but the 3.2 Carrera is a close enough sibling that I tend to group the two models together as one long evolutionary development.
Here we will move right to the end of 3.2 Carrera production for one of the best looking examples I’ve come across in a while: a Guards Red 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe, located in Ft. Lauderdale, with a Beige interior (more on that later) and 65,980 miles on it. It seems nearly the entire car has been replaced, restored, and/or rebuilt making this Carrera look almost factory new. Outside of a few ultra-low-mileage examples I cannot recall one whose condition looked this good.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen one of these 911s. This is the Commemorative Edition (aka the Jubilee Edition), which Porsche released in 1988 to celebrate the production of the 250,000th 911. Like other special editions of its time the special enhancements were almost entirely cosmetic. In this case that meant special exterior and interior colors: Diamond Blue Metallic for the exterior, with color-matched Fuchs wheels, and Silver Blue Metallic in the interior (the seller refers to it as Diamond Blue in the interior as well though I’ve always seen it called Silver Blue). It makes for an attractive combination that’s quite elegant as these things go.
You also got Dr. Ferry Porsche’s signature stitched into the seat headrests, a shorter shifter, and an electronic top for the Cabriolet. I suppose the most unique aspect of this particular Commemorative Edition is that it’s had the model designation deleted. You probably don’t care about that. These 911s are pretty rare with only 875 produced in total. I believe the seller’s statement that this is 1 of 100 imported to the US refers to the number of Commemorative Edition Cabriolets rather than the number of Commemorative Edition 911s imported in total. Still, there aren’t a lot of them.
Among Porsche option packages there aren’t many that draw more attention than the M491 package (along with the associated M470 spoiler delete) available for the 3.2 Carrera. Commonly dubbed the Turbo-look, the M491 Carreras were exactly that: a 3.2 Carrera with braking, suspension, and rear body from the 930, but no turbocharged 3.3 liter engine. For some this was a very desirable package as it gave the look and improved handling and braking of the Turbo, but without the higher maintenance (and higher cost) engine. Of course, some simply saw them as fake Turbos and in a way the original purpose was as a way to placate the market during the years the 930 was not available in the US. Once the 930 became available again in 1986 M491 numbers shifted and dwindled. Cabriolets became the most popular and by the time we reach the final model year the Targa and Coupe had become exceedingly rare. This being an option package numbers aren’t always easy to pin down as the VIN tells us nothing more than that it is a Carrera, but we see them very, very, rarely.
That means when we do come across one we must snap to attention. Here we have one of those very rare G50-equipped M491 Carreras: a Coral Metallic 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa, located in California, with Mahogany leather interior and 43,354 miles on it. If you’ve been looking for a M491 Targa with the G50 transmission you’ll find yourself with few opportunities.
Porsche likes to celebrate and over the years they’ve produced a lot of special and commemorative editions. Some of those are really special in that they provide both unique aesthetic enhancements and also improvements to performance. Some, however, are entirely aesthetic. In earlier years those aesthetic variants abound. The one we see here, a Satin Black Metallic 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe 25th Anniversary Edition released to celebrate 25 years of 911 production, actually is one of my favorites. I must admit though that I prefer it mostly due to the model on which it’s based rather than anything particular to the Anniversary Edition itself. But that’s ok because it makes for a very attractive package.