Thinking back about last weeks 2002 Porsche 911 C4S and the reaction it got, I thought maybe it would be interesting to look at the other end of the 996 range for about the same price. The C2 was literally as basic as you could get with the 996 911 with the narrow body and rear wheel drive. At the time, maybe a bit boring, but now it seems to be a thing to have a basic, rear-wheel drive 911, and I even think Porsche realizes this too with their 911 Carrera T. Sadly, most of the C2s are well-used by now and often are found in disheveled condition. However, this 2004 up for sale California has thankfully be well-preserved. So is it this, or the C4S?
The classic blues have been so popular on Porsche 911s, that the company actually wised up and offered as a standard-ish color for the 991 chassis. From a money perspective, it seems like an odd move seeing as they know they’ll get another $7,000 or so if someone orders it for paint to sample, but maybe it was a logistics thing of them selling more cars to begin with if they could sprinkle some of these cars throughout dealer lots around the county. The blue offered on the 991 was actually Miami Blue (not Mexico Blue) that had just a little bit of a teal shade to it if you look at it in certain lighting. Meanwhile, the Mexico Blue that I linked, is a much truer royal blue that you would associate the color of blue with. Now don’t confuse that with Rivera Blue, as that is a little lighter shade of Mexico Blue. Are we having fun yet? This photo explains it best with left to right, Rivera, Miami, then Mexico. Easy.
Naturally people want this color more than a black, white, grey, or silver, so of course Porsche charged more for it. You thought you were getting off that easy? A more standard color like Jet Black Metallic or Agate Grey Metallic is $710, but Miami Blue? $3,140. That bigger price tag just isn’t exclusive to Miami, a color like Lava Orange also carries the same $3,140 premium. So now that the 991 production is done for good, people are dumping their cars to upgrade to the 992 and these special colors are now on the used market. This 2017 C2 up for in, wouldn’t you know, Miami, Florida, just has 3,400 miles on it. I hope the extra money was worth it.
What if I told you, in the year 2020, that you could buy a 1995 Porsche 911 for just $33,000? Yes, a black over tan leather example with just over 100,000 miles. It isn’t one of the bait and switch listings where the one angle looks fine but when you click on it and scroll through the photos you see the other side was hit by a runaway garbage truck at 55 mph. Nope, this one run and drives just fine, and even has Cup wheels. Even better, it is a 6-speed! After my recent run of automatic 911s, it is finally time get to get back a true manual gearbox. So what is the catch? Well, there is always a catch.
A few weeks ago I took a look at a 1997 Porsche 911 Turbo S that had one of the more severe cases of “sticker shock” I’ve ever seen. Nearly $600,000 is what you needed to pony up to drive home with that car and as crazy as that price sounds, and it is crazy, that is still without a doubt a car that is worth hundreds of thousands. Just probably not $600,000. That got me thinking, what could you get for a faction of the price but not the fraction of the experience? Well, I think you know where I’m going with this.
This is a 1995 Carrera 2 is also finished in white, although Pearl White, not Glacier White. It has the Turbo Twist wheels that everyone loves and just 52,000 miles. Is it a Turbo S? Of course not. Could you still have a ton of fun in it and save $526,000? I think I could manage that.
Oh Paint to Sample, you’ve really done it this time. What you are looking at is a 1990 Porsche 911 C2 painted in “Karminrot.” In English, that is “Carmine Red,” but you can see that this car is not red. Even more so, if you see that a Porsche is painted in Carmine Red, it will look like this. So what gives? Why is this car pink? During a point in 911 history, Karminrot was actually this color. I suppose somewhere along the line they came to their senses and decided that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to call a pink car “red,” as well as the fact that no one was actually buying this color. That likely leaves this 964 as possibly the only example finished in a color most associated with bubblegum.
You know why we’re here. This 1991 Porsche 911 C2 is a left-hand drive ROW-spec that was delivered to Japan and painted in the wonderful Veilchenblau. That is “violet” in English, but it is very purple and I love it. I think this car doesn’t punch you in the face like a 991.2 GT3RS in purple does and doesn’t look like it is trying too hard. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, because the dealer has no problem listing a 964 Turbo S for $1,450,000, but for some reason won’t put a public price on this one. Don’t you love used car dealers?
1983 was the last year of the Type 43 (C2) model, as its replacement the revolutionary Type 44 (C3) design had already been hinted at with the 1981 “2000 Concept” model. The Type 44 would usher in more power, more refinement, and the addition of all-wheel drive. That meant that the Type 43 was quickly forgotten as the newer car emerged. Even in the mid-80s when these cars were nearly new, they felt and looked old compared to the rest of Audi’s lineup.
Performance was dimmed quite a bit over European counterparts, too. The range-topping 5000S Turbo model did feature the same basic engine as the Quattro, but without intercooling and hooked only to an automatic transmission. As a result they were quite a bit more pokey than the U.S.-spec Quattro, which wasn’t exactly a cheetah itself. The Turbo did offer a 30% bump in power over the standard 5000S to 130, though, and had 280mm front brakes and 240mm rear discs unlike the standard 5000S. Those larger brakes necessitated 5-bolt hubs, so the 5000S Turbo shared the 15″ x 6″ Ronal R8s worn by the same model year Quattros. These cars are increasingly rare to find today in functional condition:
1999 was the first year of the new 911, and it’s been a debate ever since. But Porsche had to move forward from the air-cooled design ultimately, and the new 911 Carrera was happy to pick up the pieces. The smoothed out styling made the 911 more aerodynamic yet was instantly recognizable as being from Porsche. So, too, was the exhaust note; a flat-6 still powered the best from Stuttgart, but now it was water-cooled instead of air-cooled.
The Carrera 2 and Carrera 4 shared a 3.4 liter variant of the flat-6, the M96. Out of the box, these cars had 300 horsepower – a number that a Turbo would have been happy with only a decade earlier. VarioCam assisted the motor in both being smooth in its power delivery and, unlike the Turbos of yore, that power was available in most of the tachometer. 0-60 was gone in 5 seconds and flat-out, even the drop-tops could do 165 mph. They were comfortable, fast sports cars that were capable in the tradition of the company. And today, they are without doubt the most affordable way to get into the 911 range.
Those first 1999 911s came in Carrera 2 form meaning rear-drive only as Carrera 4s rolled out a bit later, but you could opt for either a Coupe or this car, a convertible Cabriolet. The Cabriolet stickered at $74,460, but in typical Porsche fashion as you added in options the price went up quickly. But today, these cars offer a great entré into Porsche 911 ownership:
Update 12/2/18: The manual 1981 5000S has been relisted with a reserve auction and opening $6,500 bid price. It bid to $5,100 last time around and I was surprised it didn’t sell. Based upon the other Type 43 sales recently, the current listing seems ambitious so we’ll probably see this one remain for sale for a bit.
Update 11/11/18: The 1980 5000S sold for $2,600.
I wasn’t particularly effusive with praise for the Type 44 Audi 5000S, although it was almost certainly the car which kept Audi’s doors open and lights on in the U.S. during the 1980s. Part of the reason that the Type 44 was so successful was that it was a major step forward from the Type 43, a car designed in the 1970s that felt…well, decidedly like it was from the 1970s. It was big, boxy, not particularly efficient and not particularly technically advanced – especially when compared to the model which replaced it.
However, there were some great qualities about the Type 43. It was the model that introduced mass turbocharging to Audi with the 200 5T, a de-tuned version of which would appear in the U.S. as the Audi 5000 Turbo. Audi used that idea to launch the Quattro a bit later, and the rest is history. The Type 43 was also quite a handsome car, though like many from the period its looks were hampered by the DOT-approved bumpers. Although well reviewed by magazines and offering class-leading features and technology, the Type 43 never really sold in great numbers. A total of 163,442 sold here between its 1978 launch and 1983, the last model year before the Type 44 replacements rolled into dealers. That was just a bit better than the C1 Audi 100 had sold here, a car with a less-than-stellar reputation. Clearly, the Type 43 spent most of its time erasing the memory of the C1, and consequently it is important as it laid the cornerstones for the more successful Type 44.
Today C2s are pretty hard to come across, though we do see a regular flow of them across these pages. Today’s examples are the more pedestrian (and more common to find) 100 horsepower naturally aspirated versions rather than the early Turbo. Still it’s a bit of a treat to get two at the same time, so here we go:
In the long list of Audis I don’t really consider particularly appealing, the U.S.C2 is pretty high on the leader board. A design befuddled by Federally-mandated bumpers, perhaps its redeeming quality is that it introduced us to the characteristic inline-5 thrum that would hold over until the end of C4 production. Of course, what really made all of those cars sing was forced induction, and so within the C2 range, the model that ostensibly is the most desirable is the Turbo. And it was, when in ‘5T’ Euro 200 form. However, the U.S. cars were turned down, weighed down, and solely opted with a 3-speed automatic. Interest in this post has, at this point, waned nearly as much as the surviving examples have.
There was also a diesel, and a turbo diesel, version the C2. While they make frozen molasses heading uphill look brisk, they’ve at least got the diesel clique going for them. That leaves the normally aspirated Audi 5000S third in desirability in my ranking for a chassis I wouldn’t intentionally seek out. Not high praise, and this is coming from a pretty strong defender of the ringed corner of our world. But you could get a 5-speed manual, at least. This car doesn’t have that going for it, either, alas.
But am I glad someone saved one from being scrapped? Yeah, I sure am!