1981 Porsche 911SC Targa

I love coming across a high mileage 911 in good condition. Seeing a car that has provided so many joyous miles to its owners, yet that still looks as good as other cars with significantly fewer miles always makes me smile. Its past will hold stories and experiences, of going places, seeing things, and visiting people, which are the hallmark of our love for motoring. A pristine garage queen has its place. They are like pieces in a museum serving as representations of a previous era. But the well worn examples are more fun and dare I say more interesting. Here we have one of those well-worn cars: a triple black 1981 Porsche 911SC Targa, located California, with 202,639 miles on it. Of course, even 200K miles doesn’t equate to a lot of mileage on a yearly basis when looking at a 36-year-old car, but still we don’t see too many 911s on the market with this many miles and regardless of how many of those miles were covered each year, they were still traveled.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Porsche 911SC Targa on eBay

Year: 1981
Model: 911SC
Engine: 3.0 liter flat-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 202,639 mi
Price: Reserve Auction

1981 911SC Targa, Blk/blk, 202,000 mi, good condition, turbo look w/whale tail, original condition inside/out, pwr windows, a/c, cruise, am/fm/cd, pop off valve, hydr. chain tensioner, orig fuch wheels, paint in good condition, garaged, no accidents, car cover & bra. Top end overhaul at 150k mi., trans overhaul at 198k mi. Service records, invoices. Includes Porsche Certificate of Authenticity
Clean title and fresh CA smog certificate.

Exterior Color: Black
Interior Color: Black
Mileage: 202,000
Condition: Very Good

Paint in very good condition
Targa top in good condition, few small tears.
Original Fuchs wheels in excellent condition.
Turbo-Look with Whale Tail
New Continental Extreme Tires

Leather upholstery in good condition, typical bolster wear, one crack.

Features: 5 speed manual transmission, power windows, power outside mirrors, cruise control, a/c, am/fm/cd stereo, turbo look w/Porsche whale tail.
Mechanical condition: Very good; Service records since 2/2000 including top-end overhaul at 150k mi., transmission overhaul at 198k mi

Higher mileage vehicles always occupy their own class though in many cases they require similar questions and attention to detail in evaluating a purchase. Like with any wholly original low-mileage 911, documentation with be crucial as we want to know about its maintenance history. As I said above, while 200K miles is a lot it isn’t a lot on a per year basis so it’s easy for owners to continually defer that maintenance leaving the new owner to have to make up for all of that. We’re told records for this 911 stretch back to 2000 so that should give us a nice sense of its present shape. Add the obligatory PPI and I think most buyers will be able to make a decision comfortably.

The overall condition also looks remarkably good. Given their relative condition I assume the driver’s seat has been reupholstered while the passenger seat has not. Either that or this car has had some very fidgety passengers! But even the worn passenger seat doesn’t look too bad. The paint looks in nice shape and while a detailed engine bay is a nice treat what we see here doesn’t look neglected even if not pristine. All told, it’s a nice looking high mileage 911 and one that presents as if it should have a good deal more miles left in it.

Bidding has reached $25,100 with reserve unmet and I suspect most probably would not want to go too much higher than that. If the maintenance records provide enough peace of mind to feel good about any additional expenditures on the horizon then I could see the price coming up a little, but overall this seems about right. And, really, it’s not too bad for a classic 911 Targa even with those miles.


1981 Porsche 911SC Coupe “RS” Backdate

We come across a lot of backdated 911s in a wide variety of builds though nearly all based on a similar premise: the underpinnings of the 911SC or 3.2 Carrera mated to vintage long-hood 911 Carrera RS styling. A common version I’ve seen is kind of a Frankenstein: a 911SC chassis with a 3.2 Carrera engine and that RS styling. As with any build, quality can be almost as variegated as the color palettes. I like the idea and many of them look great and provide something that many 911 fans find quite desirable. Not for all, since purists will always cherish originality, but the variety makes the market more intriguing and might even give buyers some ideas of their own.

This one, at least on appearance, is a pretty interesting one. It is photographed well and that always helps these cars stand out because their colors tend to play up contrasts more so than a standard 911. It also comes across as a fuller package though not necessarily pushed to the limits. They’ve done not only exterior and interior treatments, but they’ve also put in some effort to bring a vintage quality to the engine by fitting Weber carburetors and generally restoring it to pristine shape. The details certainly won’t excite you like something from Singer – I don’t think there’s anything here that we’d call bespoke – but the overall execution looks solid and the selling price should be significantly below that of a Singer. As an alternative to a standard 911SC or 3.2 Carrera this might make for an interesting option.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Porsche 911SC Coupe “RS” Backdate on eBay

Year: 1981
Model: 911SC
Engine: 3.0 liter flat-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 173,691 mi
Price: Reserve Auction

1981 Porsche 911 SC Backdate

This project started as a clean 1981 911 SC, it has been tastefully updated and modified to look like a pre-’73 car.
The car runs very strong, the transmission shifts great, and it handles very well.
These backdated cars are the best of both world, retro looking but with the wider, stiffer, rust-proofed body.
This car looks fantastic and gets a ton of attention no matter where you go.
Car has Air conditioning and retro modern stereo with auxillary capability

Fresh window out re-spray in original Chiffon (Light Ivory)

Custom finish fiberglass long hood from TRE Racing. Under the hood has been left raw as in the original ST’s.

Fiberglass fenders and bumpers

Thru hood fuel filler with custom drilled chrome fuel cap.

Drilled early style square push button door handles with fresh chrome

New lenses with new rubber gaskets (front and rear)

New windshield with new rubber gaskets (front and rear)

New bright trim for windshields (front and rear)

New horn grills with fresh chrome on headlight rings

Driving lights mounted on the hood as used by the racers of the 60′ and 70’s.

Strong running 911SC 3.0-litre engine with 40 IDA Webers. (3% – 5% leakdown on all cylinders)

Black ceramic coated headers and sport muffler

Engine just had new Webcam 20/21 camshafts installed, RSR rocker shaft seals, and new Viton seals thru out. (No leaks, no drips, no smoke)

Elephant Racing finned oil lines and fender mounted cooler with dual cooling fans

Distributor recurved and rebuilt to RS spec by Aaron Burnham at Burnham Performance

MSD 6AL ignition and coil

New custom engine wiring harness

Replaced clutch, throw out bearing, pressure plate, resurfaced flywheel

Rebuilt original alternator and new starter

New powder-coat and paint on all engine tin, valve covers, fan, etc.

Almost every nut, bolt and washer was yellow zinc plated

Rebuilt and repainted brake calipers

New Hawk brake pads and braided stainless brake lines, ATE “Blue” racing brake fluid

New Bilstein Sport Shocks

Camber plates with monoballs up front

Fresh corner balance and competition alignment by Mirage International

Lightweight interior, with custom upholstered dash seats and door panels, all done in matching black basket weave with brass grommets

Appbiz charcoal RS style carpet -New

Autobahn light ivory headliner -New

Early chrome SWB rear view mirror

Black Nardi steering wheel

Coco floor mats

Opening front and rear quarter windows

Freshly refinished, original Fuchs 16 x 7’s & 8’s, with brand new Bridgestone RE 11 205/55/16 (front) and 245/45/16 (rear)

Full folder of invoices, from 2007-2015, showing everything that went into this build.


Owners manual

I always struggle to come to terms with pricing of these builds. In part, that’s because there’s so much subjectivity to the pricing. And in part, it’s because I know there is typically a lot of work been put into these builds and that can be difficult to properly value. If the right buyer comes along a seller could likely extract quite a premium. But waiting for that buyer might require more patience than some sellers are willing to tolerate. Bidding here sits at $46,300 and the reserve is unmet. How high will it go? I have no idea! $60K? Perhaps higher for that perfect buyer. Given how often I’ve seen builds optimistically priced above $100K I never quite know what to expect. In many ways the donor car and engine will tell us a lot. The SC and 3.2 Carrera builds, when more or less maintaining their original power levels, shouldn’t see too high of a price. One based on the 964, or even more rare showcasing a 993 engine, fall into an entirely different tier and with those we can really have something special with a price to match.

For a 911 like this I tend to think of it as being a really nice 911SC that’s had a good bit of work to return it to spirited and pristine form. There is value to be had there, though not necessarily as much as an original SC in comparable condition. And that’s where the pricing becomes difficult. I suspect many buyers will lose interest once the price drifts too far above $50K, but if the drive is as delightful as the appearance then I’m sure some can be persuaded to pay more.


1981 Porsche 911SC Coupe

This is a very pretty 911SC. It’s hard to tell that from the pictures, but it’s a Light Blue Metallic exterior over a Cork interior and that combination always produces excellent results. Here, parked in front of an idyllic farm setting, it reminds us of the joy of carving a section of backroads with little traffic and great scenery. For someone who lives in a city it’s an enticing combination. We’ve seen quite a few 911SC Coupes hit the market in the past six months or so and this one is priced a good bit higher than most of those. However, it has only had two owners and is said to be in entirely original condition with nothing more than some minor touch-up paint here and there. If those points can be verified, then that higher price may be warranted.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Porsche 911SC Coupe on Excellence Magazine

Year: 1981
Model: 911SC
Engine: 3.0 liter flat-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 62,000 mi
Price: $52,900

Factory built with Light Blue Metallic paint, Special full leather interior (Cork), Option Group J17 (16″ Forged Alloy Fuchs wheels, Front Spoiler, Bosch Fog Lights, Stereo prep w/ 4 speakers/antenna), Automatic speed control, and Electric sliding sunroof.
Delivered new to L&W Porsche in Bernardsville, NJ in December 1980, and it’s first owner in April, 1981. Dealer serviced, until traded with 57k. miles in November, 2002. The second owner purchased it in December of 2002, and continued to officiously service it at a local Porsche Specialty shop in his area.
Updated with Hydraulic Tensioners, Air Box Pop-off valve, Rotary Scroll A/C compressor, updated fans, Clutch kit & syncros. Everything performs as it should…Most recent service includes New brake calipers all around, brake lines, and pads. New oil supply hoses, and sunroof cables, Spring of 2016.

Original Bill of Sale, Second owner Bill of Sale, Factory original window sticker, Complete service books, and records.
Very fine original condition, showing just lite touch up with our Q-Nix paint gauge. Interior is 100%, and quite remarkably original. Lovingly Lexoiled since new!

As stated, these pictures aren’t the greatest for truly grasping the current quality of the paint. Everything is a little too bright and none of these are high-res. Perhaps better pictures would be available on request, but if we are dealing with a 911 with original paint it’d be good to have a nice look at it to see its condition. At this asking price, the condition needs to be quite good. I don’t see much to make me doubt it is in good shape, but again certainty is better than guessing. The interior pictures aren’t of a better quality, but it is usually easier to get a sense of things and here things look good. There is little evident wear to the seats, the dash appears crack free and in nice shape, and the entirety looks very clean and – other than the radio – correct.

All in all this looks like a lovingly cared for 911 and with only two owners of record we can hope its history will be easily traceable. The available documentation hints that it should be. Even given those points I’m not sure a SC with more than 60K miles with fetch more than $50K, but this is one of the better looking I recall coming across in recent months. Bring the price down into the mid-40s and I think interest certainly will rise.


1981 Porsche 930

Enthusiasts never like it when manufacturers remove cars from our market, especially when said car is still being produced in other markets. Frustrations are elevated even further when the car is a higher performance model, as is typically the case. It was precisely this scenario in which Porsche’s US customers found themselves mired in the early-’80s when the 930 was no longer being produced for the US market. At the time, Porsche did not want to commit the money to meet stricter emissions requirements so the model was pulled. It was only in 1986 that it returned. On the bright side, since the 930 still was being produced it was not impossible for US customers to find a way to get one. And, of course, in later years importation also represented an opportuntiy. We have just such an example here with this Black 1981 Porsche 930, located in California, with 49,794 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Porsche 930 on eBay

Year: 1981
Model: 911 Turbo
Engine: 3.3 liter turbocharged flat-6
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 49,794 mi
Price: $109,000 Buy It Now





– INVOICE DATE 11/08/1980



– $30,000.00 INVESTED IN 2015 / 2016








Like with many RoW cars we come across for sale in the US there isn’t a lot here to tell us about this 930’s importation: when it occurred, by whom, and under what circumstances. That Porsche fans might desire to bring the 930 to our shores during its hiatus makes plenty of sense, but it’s still nice to know its history. Especially given that the fairly low mileage likely renders this 930 bound for someone’s collection. The general condition of the one we see here appears quite good because even though we don’t have a ton of pictures to go by there’s little wear to speak of on almost any aspect of the car. The paint looks in nice shape all around and the interior is clean with crisp, well conditioned, seating. The radio appears to be the only non-original item.

While perhaps of less importance to the collector, these RoW versions do hold particular appeal for US buyers as they had higher horsepower than our emissions-restricted models. The difference isn’t significant, but, hey, more is more right? However, I have not seen that potentially greater appeal work its way to the market in any significant way as the RoW models tend to see similar prices as those from the US. That assumes similar levels of documentation though. If the necessary documentation is available for this 930 then the price asked here isn’t too bad, though given the glut of 930s we’ve seen lately it does make for a tougher sell. Outside of an ’89 there are lots of 930s from the ’80s to be had for under $100K so you’d have to really desire this one (or a RoW model in general) to begin to stretch above six figures. Still, this is a very good looking example so I imagine it will attract a bit of interest.


1981 Mercedes-Benz 500SE

6If you wanted a V8-powered, short wheelbase W126 in America, you had one option: the 380SE. Unfortunately, the 3.8 liter M116 V8 under the hood was a bit of a dud. Thirsty and somewhat underwhelming, it was eventually phased out in 1985. From then on, US-based customers had to buy a long wheelbase 420 or 560 SEL to get a V8 in their S-class. The Europeans, however, got the 500SE, which combined the more impressive 5.0 liter M117 V8 with the shorter and (in my opinion) more attractive chassis. But it was never officially offered over here. Nonetheless, some of them made it to these shores via the gray market. Presumably that’s how this one ended up in Michigan.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Mercedes-Benz 500SE on eBay

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1981 Mercedes-Benz 380SLC

Last week I took a look at Kermit’s convertible – a early production run R107 450SL that was all green. Today’s 1981 380SLC represents the end of the run – but not for the 107 chassis in its entirety. As Mercedes-Benz moved to the new W126 chassis, it moved the big, personal coupe from the SLC to the SEC in 1982 and 1981 was the last year of C107 production. By the end of the run, there had been some changes to the lineup. Gone was the 4.5 liter M117, replaced by the smaller displacement M116 3.8 liter V8. With a single-row timing chain which proved problematic and low compression generating only 155 horsepower, they might just be the least desirable Mercedes-Benz V8. The later U.S. cars also enjoyed the added weight both physically and visually of the DOT-mandated 5 m.p.h. safety bumpers. It was as if Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron were playing out with automotive subjects. But there are a few reasons to like this SLC. Like the early 450SL I covered a bit over a week ago, today’s 380SLC comes to market looking like it could be Kermit’s personal luxury sports coupe:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Mercedes-Benz 380SLC on eBay

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1981 Mercedes-Benz 280S


Believe it or not, at the beginning of W126 Mercedes-Benz S-class production, you could still spec one of these luxury sedans with a carbureted engine. Built from the beginning of production up to the 1985 facelift, a little over 42,000 280S models with the M110 inline-6 were manufactured, none of which were sold new in the US market. This 280S for sale in Aachen, Germany has yet to break the 30,000 mile mark and comes equipped with features not commonly seen in US spec W126s, such as cloth interior, rear crank windows and a 4-speed manual gearbox. With prices trending upward on all W126 variants, an extremely well-preserved example is a tempting proposition, no matter how base level the spec might be.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Mercedes-Benz 280S on Mobile.de

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1981 Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet

For a decade the Mercedes-Benz R107 SL held a monopoly on topless motoring in Germany. Granted, the Beetle Convertible ran alongside the R107, but honestly they were no where near the same product and certainly didn’t appeal to the same clientele. The company narrowed the gap in 1980 though; Beetle Convertible production ended and a new topless VW came onto the market in the Golf Cabriolet. Modern engines and driving dynamics made the Cabriolet a much more appealing affordable option to those who wished to have some fun in the sun, and though Porsche and BMW would join the topless crew a few years later it still seems that the R107 and the Cabriolet personified the ends of the market and both were extremely popular in their own right. While the Mercedes-Benz has been gaining traction as a collector-status car, the Cabriolet has been slower to be appreciated by enthusiasts but a mint condition original model in European trim is certain to raise some eyebrows as it drops its top:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet on eBay

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1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup

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After Friday’s wallet-busting Rabbit Pickup, we have a sweet little diesel model that doesn’t have quite the top-to-bottom shine as the low beige caddy but is looking to pack quite the value. Pretty much everything under the hood has been redone with top-notch parts from OEM supplier The Parts Place, so you can bet this little pickup is going to run for many decades to come. The value comes in because there’s still work to be done on the interior and running gear, but those are things you can do over time, improve, and customize in much simpler ways than the motor. The reserve is still on the auction and bidding is hot, but it’s looking like this is going to be a right-priced economy truck with tons of potential.

Click for details: 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup on eBay

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1981 Porsche 911SC Coupe

We are in what I perceive to be a pretty good time for purchasing some air-cooled 911s. It’s not the best time, since prices are still higher than what they were a few years ago, but with values having either reached a plateau or taken a step back over the past six months we can now look around with less urgency and fear of missing out on quality examples. And all things considered some of the prices aren’t too bad. Outside of a 911 Turbo, these early cars aren’t going to blow you away from a performance perspective relative to many modern machines, but for enjoying backroads they still provide plenty of punch and a sense of oneness between car and driver that is tough to find once cars become shrouded in technology. As usual, for the best values we must turn to the 911SC and the one we see here appears to be in excellent driver condition and comes in a pretty subtle, but very pretty exterior color: a Light Blue Metallic (Hellblau) 1981 Porsche 911SC Coupe, located in Florida, with 122,000 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Porsche 911SC Coupe on Excellence Magazine

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