You'll need a second car. 911s are often touted as "daily drivers" but the noise, lack of creature comforts and servicing bills mean you'll need to be able to switch off your brain before you can go commuting in one.
The later 996 Carrera 2 still exhibits all the foibles of a rear engine, rear drive layout, meaning suspect brakes and oddball handling in the wet. A Carrera 4 with PSM is much better behaved, but an older model like the one you mention won't have such luxuries.
If advice from someone who, like the original reviewer, tried the dream, I'd save your cash for something more mainstream like a fast BMW or Mercedes. Once the novelty of the Stuttgart badge has worn off you'll be wanting to do that anyway. And you know, you won't be alone: it's impossible to find a four or five year old 911 that hasn't gone through four or five owners. The Boxster, well, that's a different story because it's a much better car bang for buck.
But if you must get it out of your system, nothing anyone says in here will make any difference. Best to get it over and done with :)
1990 Carrera 2.
Owned since 2000.
Rebuilt the motor a year ago at 96K miles.
I have a 1990 Porsche Carrera 2. And absolutely love it. It is just as fast as my friends 2001 996, and seems to handle just as well too. The Car I had before that was a 1995 M-3. The Porsche is 1000 times more the sports car than the BMW. Although the BMW was a nice compromise, it was just that. For the un-skilled driver the M-5 and M-3 can be very rewarding, but the cheap craftsmanship, obvious over-steer, and nervous handling at high speeds make it less than par than even a Miata. You might actually need some driving lessons to get used to the 911, but once you do, it should turn laps on any sports sedan. Most experienced drivers appreciate the under-steer. You can improve the turn in handling by installing an aftermarket strut tower brace for around $300.00.
Priced right, these cars are the performance buys of the century. I have taken mine to over 160MPH on the freeway and it is as solid as a rock. I have held my own against much newer and faster sports cars such as Corvette's, Ferrari's, and other newer Porsche's on mountain roads. I don't see any reason to sell my car just yet.
I have had a string of fast BMW's amongst other things and I have driven my 1996 Porsche 911 (993) Carrera 4S every day for the last 8 months. That's 21,000 miles to you. Bought the car with 62,000 miles and now at 83,000 miles it runs better than ever.
Servicing is very reasonable (i use a well respected Porsche Specialist), though it has gone through lots of tyres. :-)
No rattles, no squeaks, air con that's cold and wonderful seats and driving position.
I've recently driven lots of cars to try and find something to drive daily, so that I can reduce the mileage I'm putting on my 993. Nominees like M coupe, old M3, new M3, new M5, old E55, C43, Audi S4, S3, Mitsubishi Evo VII, Subaru Impreza WRX STi, the list goes on...
Reality? Nothing comes close to my "last of the air-cooled" 911.
As someone else has already said, the air cooled 911 is a "love-it or hate-it" car. Can you guess which one I am?
I hated the 911 The first time I drove it too, but after many hour of driving it becomes clear that what you need is smoothness and a slower entry to the corner than you would expect. This is because the 911's true speed comes from being able to out the power down very early in the corner.
It does take a long time to get used to, best done on track too, but it is worth it.
Errr, the guy was talking about a 996, the Porsche that wants to be a sports car and a school-run car and a status symbol all at the same time.
Expectations are high, but the reality is that for what it purports to be it's hugely noisy, cramped, and common. The Boxster sharing its nose and being an even commoner sight doesn't help the diluted feeling you have when driving it.
You on the other hand are talking about a 993, which is easily the pick of the bunch. Sure, you could argue that it's even noisier than the 996, but at least the noise is an evocative one!
I love my 91 C2. I bought it BECAUSE it is a loud, stiff, and relatively primitive car. I remember riding in my uncles '69 AMX 390ci V-8 when I was a kid and the 911 evokes the same feelings. It's an emotional response thing. I HATE the Boxster and 996, they are not the same as the air cooled 911's. The injection molded dash is the same as every other new car being made.
This is a great site. I've come across it from Hong Kong and am finding your comments quite useful.
I'm a total novice. can someone please explain the concept of understeer and oversteer to me? I'm just not sure what this means to the driver in terms of control or the car - or lack thereof.
I'm looked today at buying a 1994, 993, C2 "Turbo Look" model. very tempted, but also not sure if I need to be a pro to drive the car. I've previously been relegated to small family cars, but now am in position to get the real deal.
Finally, any thoughts on the Targa model? there is a 1996 Targa that is only marginally more expensive than the 1994, 993 I looked at today.
Foibles? I think the 911 has enough race winning to argue that its foibled layout stands up quite well to the rigors of serious motor sport. Suspect brakes? What do you mean, I don't know many people who wouldn't consider 911 brakes possibly the best in the world, and it's been that way for 30 years.
You can't jump into a 911 and expect to be able to drive it like a FWD car. It deserves respect. Accelerate or die, and that's what racers need.
What is a fair price for a 1990 911 Carerra 2. About 80K miles. Also what has been your experiences with the reliability of the transmission? Not knowing the service history on this car what can I expect in terms of "probably" needing replacement soon?
Appreciate your help.
To 14th Nov 03 commenter:
There have been entire books written on understeer and oversteer, but here's the basics.
Understeer and oversteer are the two most common types of slide that happen when a car is being cornered very hard and loses grip. Or being cornered "beyond the limit", as the magazines say.
Understeer is what most modern front wheel drive cars tend to do if you go beyond the limit in a corner. What happens is, the front of the car starts to lose grip, and the nose of the car will start to run wide. It feels like the car is trying to go straight on rather than round the corner. This means the car isn't steering enough, so it is "understeering". If we do nothing, it will run wider and wider until it leaves the road completely, so it has to be controlled, using a couple of different methods. This is typically by backing off the throttle, and/or by steering harder in the direction you wish to turn. These are both "natural" reactions anyway when a car slides, so understeer is general considered the safer option (which is why in our lawsuit-run world, most modern cars now tend to be set up for it)
Oversteer is the opposite, and is most common in powerful rear wheel drive cars, although some (but not all) front wheel drive cars can be made to do it also. Oversteer is terrifying when it happens to you for the first time, but with practice, is really quite enjoyable. When a car oversteers in a corner, the rear tyres lose grip, and the back end of the car slides towards the outside of the corner. This pivots the car around so its facing more towards the inside of the corner. The car is steering too much, hence "oversteering", and if we do nothing, the car will either hit the inside of the corner, or spin completely around. The method of controlling an oversteering car depends entirely on whether the car is front or rear wheel drive. Generally though, you will want all steering lock in the direction of the corner removed, and the steering pointing somewhere in the opposite direction (opposite lock). If the car is front wheel drive, you need hard acceleration (the front wheels are still gripping, so they will "pull" the car straight"). If it's rear wheel drive, the more throttle you have on, the further the back end will slide out, but closing the throttle totally could also cause a spin as the weight gets transferred off the back wheels. The correct method is to feed in gentle throttle and opposite lock together to control the car. It takes a lot of practice, and it can be expensive if you get it wrong, but it's fun.
That's not all there is to it, but it's a general overview. You also have four wheel drifts which are like a bit of both, and even more difficult to control since both ends of the car are sliding at the same time. A lot of 4WD cars do this.
Hope it helps.