Hello from France!
Really sorry for the late note. The car arrived on the boat ten days late on August 1, the day before we were going on holiday. We caught 6:00 a.m. train to Le Havre and then drove the car five hours to our country home, where it stayed in the garage until...this morning.
I just managed to prep her a bit last night (front number plate and change back to the wingless engine cover) and Sue stole it to go shopping!
Say farewell to our 1985 Porsche 911. It is off to find a new home in France. We spent 15 fun-filled months with our vintage 911 and wish it well on its next phase in Europe.
Was it worth the time and effort?
Read our final thoughts in the full wrap-up of our 1985 Porsche 911 on Inside Line.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
An interesting question piqued our curiosity as the year-long adventure with the 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera M491 -- affectionately known as the Black Plague -- comes to an end. Does it cost more or less to keep a classic car on the road than a modern equivalent? Fortunately, we know someone who commutes in a late-model Porsche 911 and shares the same OCD-esque fervor for recordkeeping as we do. So let's compare maintenance, repair and depreciation costs between old and new. Naturally we'll omit other operational costs such as fuel and insurance since mpg varies according to the lead content of ones right foot, while insurance premiums differ whether Clearasil or Polident is on your shopping list. We've also added another component with the Edmunds True Cost to Own (TCO) calculator.
Heres what weve discovered.
After loading up our long-term Porsche 911 with all the extra parts, I was ready to drop off the car at the transporter in Rancho Dominguez, Calif. -- about 25 miles from the Edmunds offices. One shipping requirement was that the car be delivered with no more than a quarter tank of gas. This is probably to keep the weight down in shipping. I had just over a quarter when I left the office, so I was in good shape.
Stephane Moreau had made the shipping arrangements with Direct Express, Inc. I had never been to a shipping warehouse and in my mind's eye, I pictured the huge government warehouse at the end of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" -- and as it turns out, I wasn't far off.
From the outside, Direct Express had the layout of a typical industrial park. I went up a small flight of stairs to the office. There was a large window in the rear that had an impressive view of the warehouse below.
There were a few things to take care of before sending our long-term 1985 Porsche 911 overseas. The first order of business was to re-install the rear wing. This would save room in the car for the extra parts that came with our Porsche 911. We've had these in storage and wanted to include them with the car, figuring that the new owner could decide what he wanted to do with them. But 911s aren't exactly known for their cargo capacity, so I wasn't sure if all the parts would fit.
We were sad to bid goodbye to the Black Plague as it was packed into its container for the trip to France. (More about that tomorrow.) If we could have been more patient, we might have been able to spend more time finding a buyer here in the U.S. who might have been able to pay our price and offer us occasional visiting rights, but it might have taken all summer and we just couldn't wait.
Fortunately Stephane Moreau seems to be the right kind of owner. Plus the Black Plague's outlook for the future is bright. From now on, it will always get better as its owners alternately improve it and reap the rewards of its escalating value.
Just ask Keith Martin, who is pretty much the smartest guy I know in the old car hobby.
So Stephane Moreau writes us, "I am normally quite pragmatic but I now really want this car. If few hundreds $ more to reach your target price can help you decide that the Black Plague will go back to Europe rather than stay in the U.S., I would be more than happy to arrange. After spending so much time with her, I am sure there is also room for your heart in this deal."
That's it, we decided, this thing is going to France.
We cast our net pretty wide in an effort to find a new home for our 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Turbo Look, but it turns out that we should have stuck to hard-core Porsche guys like Stephane Moreau all along. After dealing with the halt, the lame and the witless, it was pleasure to connect with a guy who gets what the Black Plague is about.
We're getting the Black Plague ready for its turn in the spotlight with a new owner, so we took it a Porsche shop to install its original M491 Turbo-style wing plus get a light-duty oil change.
We took it to Aase Motors in Fullerton, a Southern California specialist in race-prepared Porsche 911s. It's a place where you see all the best cars of the Porsche Owner's Club, which is pretty much the most racing-oriented group of club-level Porsche drivers in the country.
Aase Motors had no less than a dozen cars at the big spring POC event at Auto Club Speedway. All those cars and rich guys, it's kind of like the Scuderia Ferrari of Porsches, only without the old weird guy sitting in a dark room near the test track.
Long ago and far, far way, guys used to take the chassis of a Volkswagen Beetle and put a plastic body of a Porsche on top.
It was called a kit car, and such things were all the rage in the 1960s and early 1970s, when everyone wanted to build his own cool car and there were a million dead Beetles to work with. After all, a Porsche 356 was just a re-bodied Beetle to begin with, wasn't it?
Oddly enough, guys are still buying Porsche kit cars, only now they start with Porsche 911 components. And I can't help looking at the Black Plague and thinking about disassembling it and bringing it back to life Frankenstein style as an Intermeccanica Speedster-6 as seen here.
As we count down the days to the departure of our own car, here's a Porsche-project tale for you:
Don't you hate it when somebody else messes up a hugely important undertaking and you're asked to drop everything to fix it? And then, don't you get a little frisson of excitement?
Imagine that the task is to repaint to exacting standards an iconic, very expensive, celebrity-owned Porsche race car that's scheduled to be driven in the Monterey Historical Automobile Races and shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Oh, and it's Porsche's 50th anniversary appearance at the events. And the job has to be done in three weeks.
That's the challenge that Wilhoit Auto Restoration took on in 2009. A film by John Hillis Sanders, "Revealing #12," scheduled for release in the fall, documents the work that went into the repainting of the #12 908-3. The owner of the 1970 race car is fanatic Porsche collector Jerry Seinfeld. You can see the film's trailer after the jump.
It appears the new kid on the block, the Infiniti JX35 has been busy hauling from the day it arrived. It fits a ladder, a huge box of Jeep parts, even a Riswick. Then it should come as no surprise it fits a wing. I was asked to transport the 1985 Porsche 911's "Whale Tail" to a shop for re-installation. As you can see, it fit with ease behind the second row.
Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 1,573 miles
We're getting all misty-eyed over the 911, so I thought this look at how the Porsche 356 was built back in the day might be fun for y'all. (That's how they say it in southern Germany.) Part One of "Made by Hand," complete with kitschy music, is after the jump.
Because the sale of our 1985 Porsche 911 is pending we haven't been driving it. After a complete detail job it has been sitting in our parking garage waiting for the embrace of its new owner.
But I couldn't resist one last drive in what has become one of my favorite long-term cars of all time.
Our Scott Oldham was cruising the Internet for cool cars late at night as usual and stumbled across this 1989 Porsche 911, a car of the same generation as our own.
It's not the usual thing that you find on bringatrailer.com, Oldham's favorite site. Instead this is a car transformed by Ruf Automobiles into one of its famous supercars, a Ruf CTR. This is the car that made Ruf's reputation with its 200 mph capability.
And it makes us wonder if the cheap price of our Black Plague will lead to interest from Europe, where the Euro can buy a lot of dollars. If you bought the Plague and took it to Ruf in Pfaffenhausen along with a big bag of money, you could probably get something pretty neat.
Yet, they have the same hips.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor
(Porsche photo: Kurt Niebuhr, VW photo: Scott Jacobs)
One day long ago when Sean Lee was roaring around in his desperately crummy Toyota Corolla AE86, the handle for the window winder broke in his hand. He couldn't get another in the junkyard, so thereafter whenever he and his then girlfriend (now wife) Angel drove around, they would pass the single remaining window-winder handle back and forth to roll down the windows for fresh air.
Right then he promised her that one day he would drive a car in which they didn't have to pass the window winder back and forth.
Today the window winder is immortalized on the mantle of Sean Lee's home and he's trying to explain to me why he owns three Porsche 911s.
So am just back from driving a new Type 991 version of the Porsche 911 from one end of Mulholland Drive to the other and Mark Takahashi, Edmunds.com Automotive Editor, is next to me and were looking at the new car next to our 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera M491.
They look different, he allows.
The next thing I know Takahashi is rattling through his camera bag and he has that crazed look he always gets when hes planning to put his Art Center-trained Photoshop skills to some evil purpose.
A number of readers have requested an update on the sale of our long term Porsche 911. After not meeting its reserve in two eBay auctions, we took out an ad on Autotrader and Autotrader Classics. We also advertised the car on Rennlist.com and PelicanParts.com.
With the death of Butzi Porsche and Tony Lapine in April, two great names in the design of the Porsche 911 have passed from the scene. When you see the newest 991, you are seeing the shape they created.
Oddly enough, no one thought Butzi Porsche would every amount to much as a designer and he freely admitted that he could never draw very well. Fortunately he found his way to an innovative new design school in the late 1950s, Hochschule fur Gestaltung (HfG).
The idea of a club for Porsche guys sometimes seems like an idea from another century, so maybe it's no wonder that the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart has created a special display to celebrate the whole idea.
And yet in a few words and pictures, this display shows us that the idea of a car club is meant for this century as well as the last. In fact, we might need the Porsche club now more than ever.