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Classic Car Corner

  • Written by Tom Berg

I thought I could go the entire year without buying another car.  I’m not counting my new Real Estate car (Porsche Macan) that I picked up in January since I had ordered it in the fall.  I do like my new Porsche and thought perhaps I might one day need to add a Porsche sports car to my fleet but certainly at a later date.  Unfortunately one of my local car guy friends turned me on to the Bring a Trailer auction website.  It has that odd name because when it started out it was mostly for vintage cars that need work (thus: bring your trailer cause it ain’t gonna drive) but has morphed into a site that has a lot of Jags, Mercedes, PORSCHES and other nice European cars along with a few American classics.  Very few of the cars listed today need any work.  The listings have lots of photos, good descriptions, and a comment section where anyone can speak their mind about the listing.  It’s amazing the knowledge some of these people have and share on the site.  As it turns out, there are LOTS of Porsches listed so I started reading up on them.  They cost from $10,000 to well over $100,000. I knew that if I was going to buy one, it was going to be an entry level driver that needed no work.  I decided that the 914 would be the car for me.  I still didn’t think I would be successful in my bidding since I was only going to bid low just for the fun of bidding.

CarThe Porsche 914 is a mid-engine sports car that was designed, manufactured and marketed by a Volkswagen/Porsche combination from 1969-1976.  During this time the 914 outsold Porsches venerable 911 which is still being made today. The 914 was sold as a Porsche in America but as a Volkswagen-Porsche in Europe.  The engine is located just behind the driver and mounted very low so there is a low center of gravity.  It even has a trunk in the front and back.  They started out with an air cooled 1.7 liter 4 cylinder engine (as well as a few 6 cylinders) and then went to a 2.0 liter engine with all of 99 horsepower.  The 914 corners well and with the 5 speed transmission and 4 wheel disc brakes, they are sporty drivers.  The 914 is a Targa which means the roof comes off and can be stored in the rear trunk.  This can be done by one person as opposed to most convertibles.

I have a rule against buying cars sight unseen.  I’ve broken this rule four times and have not come out too well.  The cars on Bring a Trailer are from all over the U.S. so I shouldn’t have been even looking but I couldn’t help it.  I found one in San Diego that interested me.  It was unmolested, had original paint and needed no work so I bid on it and was surprised that I won.  I figured I would fly down there and drive back.  The seller said if it broke down before I got to Oregon he’d buy it back!  Upon reviewing the temperatures, fires and smoke in California, I got smart and realized driving it back was probably not a great idea so I had it shipped.  As soon as the new car was started, the horn started honking.  If you held the horn ring just right it would stop honking for a while but I couldn’t drive it until I finally figured out how to fix the horn.   Also the rear view mirror had fallen off but I was able to fix that.  I was sure the seller didn’t send it off with these issues so I guess the trailer it was on was extremely bouncy.  After driving this car a few times I’ve realized that I got a great deal.  It’s everything it was reported to be and should be a fun, problem free driver for me.  Now I just need to sell another car or two.

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