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Old 2003-11-27, 12:35 AM   #1
sperry
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Default Porsche 914... to buy or not to buy?

Well folks, I saw the Porsche today. There's good news and bad news:

The good:
- Exterior looks AWESOME. Can't hardly believe it's 30 years old. Car's been painted (but it was originally white)... hopefully not to cover up body damage... but the lines are real straight! Turn signal lenses are cracked, no biggie. Both headlight motors work, both headlights work. Fogs are busted.

- The interior is in pretty good condition, the carpet's dirty but not destroyed, the seats have some tears, but they're not ruined. Tach, speedo, and fuel gauges work. It's got the cool center console which adds a clock, temp gauge, and voltmeter, and they all work.

- Motor runs real nice. Starts right up, revs smoothly all the way to the red-line.

- Tranny seems good. Clutch is at most 5 years old. There's a little grindage into 1st if you don't give it some time to spin down after pushing the clutch in, but if you shift it smoothly it doesn't complain.

- No major oil leaks... at least I couldn't see any fresh oil on the motor (I haven't scrutinized the pics I took yet, so perhaps the jury's still out on the oil)

- Tires... gotta be less than 1000 miles on 'em!

- The car is just plain cool. It really feels different than other cars I've driven... it's uber low to the ground, has push down pedals, a forign shift pattern, I dig it.

The bad:
- Rust. It doesn't really look too bad, but I'm not sure I'm qualified to make an educated call. Is this surface rust, or is the structural integrity compromised? There's rust on the battery pan, and under it in the engine compartment. There's also a spot of rust in the rear trunk where it looks like some water collected. the exhaust is rusted up (not that I care, since it's going to be pulled and straight piped eventually).

- The tranny cables are hanging down. Nothing a zip-tie won't fix for the time being, but perhaps it's an indication of the car's mantence history?

- Brakes. They need to be bled worse than any brakes evAr... I swear they're filled with 50% air. For a car as light as a 914, this thing took forever to slow down from the top of 2nd gear.

- Suspension. Totally shot. I don't think there's a saftey issue, but if I'm gonna race this thing, it needs new suspension bits. I might be willing to say it's on original or it's second set of struts. The body roll is REDICULOUS. I think I'd try to go with a decent coil-over setup on this thing, which knocks me out of CS. It also needs swaybars.... BAD.

So here's a summary: The motor, tranny, interior and exterior seem cool. The brakes, suspension, and rust could be the big issues.

Please, thumb through this gallery and tell me what you guys think: http://www.seccs.org/gallery/index.p.../Porsche%20914

Specifically, I need help on the rust issue. How much is too much? I don't know how to judge it. Here's the best picture of the notorious battery area:

[img:c795eb4d2e=600]http://www.seccs.org/gallery/Car%20Pictures/Porsche%20914/DSCF0129.JPG[/img:c795eb4d2e]
(click image for full size)

And another view between the motor and the battery:
[img:c795eb4d2e=600]http://www.seccs.org/gallery/Car%20Pictures/Porsche%20914/DSCF0127.JPG[/img:c795eb4d2e]
(click image for full size)

Here's the rust in the left rear corner of the rear trunk:
[img:c795eb4d2e=600]http://www.seccs.org/gallery/Car%20Pictures/Porsche%20914/DSCF0126.JPG[/img:c795eb4d2e]
(click image for full size)

Check out the passenger foot well:
[img:c795eb4d2e=600]http://www.seccs.org/gallery/Car%20Pictures/Porsche%20914/DSCF0120.JPG[/img:c795eb4d2e]
(click image for full size)

Now, some pictures of good stuff:

[img:c795eb4d2e=600]http://www.seccs.org/gallery/Car%20Pictures/Porsche%20914/DSCF0121.JPG[/img:c795eb4d2e]
(click image for full size)

[img:c795eb4d2e=600]http://www.seccs.org/gallery/Car%20Pictures/Porsche%20914/DSCF0117.JPG[/img:c795eb4d2e]
(click image for full size)

[img:c795eb4d2e=600]http://www.seccs.org/gallery/Car%20Pictures/Porsche%20914/DSCF0119.JPG[/img:c795eb4d2e]
(click image for full size)

What do you guys think? How much is this going to cost me to get up and running in NCS? Or should I just pass... too much rust to deal with. Maybe lowball an offer. I told the owner I'd get back to him on Friday.

Oh, since the car's in Roseville, any of you Sac guys (*cough* Sybir *cough*) wanna meet me out there on Saturday to look at the car?
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Old 2003-11-27, 01:06 PM   #2
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If you buy this will you be able to have it ready for auto-x in april? Cause if not maybe wait till midway through next season to buy it after talking to more people about it and stuff like that. I think between now and a couple of months you are going to get a lot of information, maybe even info that will help you find a better car. Not that this one is bad I don't know shit about rust and the such. It looks bee-u-ti-full from the outside. I have always liked the lines of the 914.

good luck.
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Old 2003-11-27, 05:03 PM   #3
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Sorry Scott but that rust has got to go. From the looks of it, the rust has eaten too much of what can be considered just surface rust. The entire battery area and the corner of the trunk looks like it may have to be replaced. Kinda hard to do without a work shop, and expensive to have fabbed up by a shop. Although because there is such a large following of 914 aftermarket parts, there might be replacements that offer quick and simple upgrades. But I would try posting pics in some 914 forums and get a better analysis from some pros before making such an investment. My $0.02.
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Old 2003-11-27, 06:04 PM   #4
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Ah, memories. Mine was white too (black interior though). The suspension wouldn't bother me that much, since to run it seriously you'd have probably upgraded much of it anyway. If the brakes just need bleeding, not a big deal either.

Like Shawn, I'm concerned with the rust. I'm no expert, but it does seem worse than just surface rust. I'd pretend to be the owner and take it to a body shop for an estimate (if possible). That way you get a professional opinion (mine's worth what you paid for it :wink: ). It bothers me that he told you there was no rust, when there clearly is. Makes me wonder about his honesty.
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Old 2003-11-27, 08:00 PM   #5
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The rust looks like mostly surface rust to me (judging solely from the pics); nothing some heavy-grit sandpaper and a hand-held grinder couldn't take care of. The battery area is a little more intense... hard to say from pictures how much it has rusted through. Even if there are some spots where it's rusted all the way through, it looks like it's mostly sheet-metal/floorpan, which at worst you could always have cut out and have some new sheet metal welded in. Mike has done some stuff like that in the shop... maybe 3-4 hours to cut & replace that uber-rusted corner of the trunk. My WAG would be $200-300 for some sheet metal restoration like that from a shop. That's probably a good area to knock some $$$ off the price with the guy, when there's quite a bit of visible, questionable rust. For an ordinary street car I'd say no way, you don't want to deal with hassles like that... but if it's a dedicated autocross car, who cares, really.

Otherwise the car looks fairly good for a 30 yr old mostly original car, minus the obvious stuff you pointed out like brakes & shocks. The only thing I might worry about is the price of replacement components since it's a Porsche, even for a 914. I haven't looked so I have no idea. I'd say the decision is mostly about whether you're ready for the jump to a whole new car type like that... if you've done enough research to really know what you're getting into.

Hey BTW if you read this before you take off back to Reno, your Maier Racing hat is still sitting here on top of my fridge waiting for you. :wink:
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Old 2003-11-27, 09:47 PM   #6
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I am by no means a car expert.....but the car looks like it needs a lot of work :? How much did he want? Because I dont think he will be selling it any time soon. I might make him an offer if you really want the car but I would start low and see what happens. He wasnt honest with you about the rust and that makes a difference in your decission and your offer. Was he the original owner? Is the title clean? If he is not the original owner even if it has a clear title it might have been in an accedent and not disclosed. I dont think I've seen that much rust on a car that hasn't been stored at a body shop for long amount of time or atleast sat outside unmantained..... which kind of makes me think he will sell cheap. The car to him wasn't part of the family so to speak and there is no personal attachment to the owner. I hope this helps atleast in to determain how much you are willing to spend on the car but again I'm not an expert and I could be talking out my A**. Ohhh and it might just be me but that looks like a lot of oil in pick 134?

P.S. - even if you go with this one or another car I think you will have lots of fun in it
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Old 2003-11-27, 09:59 PM   #7
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Fixing it is half the fun.. the rust isnt major, and hell, the suspension was going to get thrown out anyways.. i say go for it.
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Old 2003-11-28, 10:13 PM   #8
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Here's the deal on the car:

The current owner said he bought if off his business partner who was the 2nd or 3rd owner. His partner had the car just sitting aound for about 7 years, and the current owner bought it because his son's Honda was running poorly and he thought a Porsche would be a cool car for him. But his son hates the car, so he's selling it.

I asked the guy about the rust on the phone, and he told me "there's no rust, but I think the car's been repainted". When I got there and started pulling up the carpet and poking around in the engine bay and mentioned "rust" he immediatly told me, "oh, you're looking for rust in there? I thought you meant on the outside". So the guy obviously thought about the car in terms of asthectics when he set is asking price of $2200. My guess is he paid $2000 for it from his business partner and is trying to simply get his money back assuming someone would offer $200 under his asking price. Now, his price isn't too out of line with the market value of that car. The motor runs good, the tranny seems okay, and asthetically, it's not too banged up.

However, I have a safety issue to deal with. I plan on making this a dedicated race car. I really don't care how clean/nice it looks, I need it to be mechanically and structurally sound. The rust in the engine compartment is in a very bad location... it's where the motor mounts to the chassis, and where the rear suspension puts loads on the chassis. I certainly cannot have rust there in a car I plan on tracking eventually. So if I buy the car, the motor *will* have to be removed and all the rust *will* be ground off, and a roll cage will be installed. I just want to avoid having to cut out sections of the chassis and installing new pieces of sheet metal. If that's what this car'll take to get fixed, then I'm going to pass on it, and wait for a car that's got less rust, even if I'm paying $5000 for it. It will always be cheaper in the long run to have a sound chassis than attempting to repair a rust-bucket.

On the other hand, if I explain my situation to the guy, and he's willing to knock say $1000 to $1200 off his asking price, so I can spend $1000 on getting the car crashworthy, then I might consider it, but frankly I'd rather just save my money for a better 914 down the line. It's not like I don't already have a fast WRX that's plenty capable of competing in NSM next season. In fact, even a really nice 914 will probably be un-competative next season in NCS, due to it's age, lack of preperation, and my lack of experience driving it... it'd just be fun as hell to drive!
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Old 2003-11-29, 08:28 AM   #9
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Can't polish a turd my friend. I'd shop around before going with the first car you see. Especially if you are willing to spend $5000 on a track car.
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Old 2003-11-29, 10:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnS
Can't polish a turd my friend.
Hey, what are you talking about... I've been polishing my turd of a Mustang for years.
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Old 2003-11-29, 11:27 AM   #11
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In old Jeep/ Scout terms, I don't see any rust.

However, my concern is with the structural integrity of the frame, given that rust has developed in the engine compartment. If the frame rails are okay, then I wouldn't worry about it, you can always cut out the baterry location, etc, as long as the frame is intact
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Old 2003-12-01, 10:44 AM   #12
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Scott,

I thought I saw a 914 in the Big Nickle. Around $1000.

Theo
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Old 2003-12-01, 10:50 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theo
Scott,

I thought I saw a 914 in the Big Nickle. Around $1000.

Theo
What is this "Big Nickle" you speak of!?
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Old 2003-12-01, 10:58 PM   #14
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The Big Nickle is a free classified-only newspaper available free at every 7-Eleven in town (and probably every other convenience store, grocery store...).
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Old 2003-12-03, 12:13 PM   #15
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Yummy -

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...&category=6430
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Old 2003-12-03, 08:45 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sperry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theo
Scott,

I thought I saw a 914 in the Big Nickle. Around $1000.

Theo
What is this "Big Nickle" you speak of!?
Ok thats it .. I cannot for the life of me believe SCOTT does not know what the BIG NICKLE is ... :shock:
Dude!! where ya been all these Years !!!!
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Old 2003-12-03, 09:30 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOO
Quote:
Originally Posted by sperry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theo
Scott,

I thought I saw a 914 in the Big Nickle. Around $1000.

Theo
What is this "Big Nickle" you speak of!?
Ok thats it .. I cannot for the life of me believe SCOTT does not know what the BIG NICKLE is ... :shock:
Dude!! where ya been all these Years !!!!
Ohio for 1, Bountiful Utah for 5, San Ramon CA for 14, and San Luis Obispo for 6... none have a "Big Nickel".
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Old 2003-12-04, 01:25 AM   #18
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I rest My case!!!!!!!!!
LOL
No seriously .. Maybe thats the paper for the poor.. lol thats why YOU my friend have not heard of it ...
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Old 2003-12-04, 09:00 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOO
I rest My case!!!!!!!!!
LOL
No seriously .. Maybe thats the paper for the poor.. lol thats why YOU my friend have not heard of it ...
Right, you have a Jetta, a WRX, and an EVO, and I'm the rich one... ! The reason I haven't seen the paper is because I totally ignore newspapers altogether. They're mostly useless considering I have an Internet capable computer in front of me 90% of the day... newspapers are all old news.
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Old 2003-12-07, 11:48 AM   #20
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Yo, sorry, I just started a new job and haven't had free time to surf around o_0

Given what you're trying for (a solid track car) I'd steer clear unless you can knock some good $$ off the deal. My father and I lucked out on ours, it had been repainted a few times, but it was totally rust-free, and we picked it up for $3400. That was a 75 2.0 with rivieras, and 130k.

On the plus side, the running gear sounds solid, and that's the most important thing, as repairing the tranny is both a bitch, and expensive. If you can be patient, and take your time to pull the motor, and get the frame strengthened (a good idea for heavy use, as even the non-corroded parts are weak as hell) and braced, as well as some of the suspension parts, it's probably not a bad buy for say.....$1400 or so? You can pick up Rivieras or Empi's off a Beetle or whatever, get into the bay with a die grinder and some rust-fighter, and clean it off before it gets worse, and weld in some supports. If you have the car apart, I'm sure it'd be something Nate could help you with.

Also, since you're talking about doing a decidedly non-standard motor swap into it at some point, you're going to need to strip it out and brace it, reinforce it, and replace pieces anyways at that point, if it feels decently tight now, replace the battery box, reach what you can and clean it up, and roll with it.

On the minus side, the drivetrain isn't that important if you're going to be pulling it anyways (and you'll need to run an upside-down 915 (should be a side-shift, IIRC) unit with an EJ, as you'll grind the stock tranny to pieces in short order with that much torque). In that case, I'd honestly look at buying something that's already been prepped for PCA or track day stuff. If you're willing to drop 5k, 6-7k on a car already prepped, reinforced, and tweaked, isn't a bad investment. That or try to find a shell/unfinished project and just jump right in with the EJ (20/22/18/25/whatever) and do all that prep at once, instad of doing it once to drive it stock, then having to rip it totally apart and cut it to hell to do the big project. If you buy a rolling chassis, you're not going to feel bad cutting into a mint 914 to add a radiator, holes in the fenderwells to run 235's, yanking the crappy factory wiring to run your own management, etc.

If you want to buy a driving car, a cheap 914 is not a good idea Look at how much Beetles from the same era go for, in various conditions. You have sheds that got for $200, all the way up to concours/cal customs that go for 15k. You wouldn't buy a $1k beetle and expect it to be in the greatest shape, right?

G'luck, man

That interior is in really nice shape for the age. If you decide to reupholster it I know a place in Tijuana that does it with OEM VW vinyl for $180 for seats, doors, dash, center panel, etc :0
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Old 2003-12-07, 12:26 PM   #21
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Damn.. that was a hella informative post!!!
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