Drive a Porsche for Free

I have a buddy that used to buy and sell used cars. He would always find a great deal on all kinds of cars. Some of my favorites were several Porsches (a 944, a slant nose 911 Turbo look, and a 911SC), a Corvette, and a Mercedes 450SL. The amazing thing was his ability to buy a car, drive it for as long as a year, then sell it for even money and sometimes a profit.

I’ve been intrigued by that concept ever since. My biggest problem is I know next to nothing about the mechanical workings of a car. It’d be kind of like a 1st grader playing the stock market. Although, based on the performance of my mutual funds lately, I sometimes wonder if a 1st grader could get better performance out of my portfolio. But that’s a topic for another day.

With the economy the way it is, I think we’re presented with some unique opportunities to possibly employ the “Drive a Porsche for Free” concept. After all we’re seeing lots and lots of Porsches go up for sale, sit on the market for a while, only to have their prices lowered by owners and dealers who really need to sell. Sure you’re playing the odds a bit by not buying the absolute best car for your money, but the goal in this scenario is not a long term keeper, but a short term freebie.

Also, you may need to settle on a model, year, or style you might not normally choose as your “permanent” Porsche. Maybe a cabriolet instead of a coupe, or a Boxster instead of a 911. Maybe you could consider a Cayenne instead of a Durango or Tahoe and get the best of both worlds. You might have to look at a color you wouldn’t normally buy or one that needs some internal cosmetic work that could prove to be some fun projects for you and a family member or friend. My theory is as long as it’s mechanically sound, and hasn’t been in a wreck, you should be able to get back out of it fairly easily if you buy it at the right price.

With that in mind, here’s some cars that seem like reasonable enough or even good deals to possible get into, then back out of in say 12 months when the market starts to turn back around.

Deal #1
1997 Boxster
Ad Details: Black exterior, 97,000 miles, 5 speed, Black leather, Excellent condition
NADA Clean Retail Price: $11,850
Price: $10,000 – I’d offer $8,500
Thoughts: Not an ideal year for the Boxster in terms of features, power, etc, but a dang lot of car for under ten grand. Leaves a fair amount of room to even do some cosmetic stuff and a fix or two on the cheaper end.

Deal #2
2001 Boxster S
Ad Details: Black in/out, 58,000 miles, Carbon fiber trim, Premium sound, Recent service
NADA Clean Retail Price: $19,925
Price: $17,000 – I’d start at $15,000
Thoughts: More bang for the buck and a newer car with fewer miles. A great daily driver option for the price of an entry level sedan. Plus the chances of driving it for a year without a lot of work leaving you the potential of getting out at even money.

Deal #3
1999 911 Carrera Coupe
Ad Details: Burgundy paint, Black interior 73,000 miles, Usual options, Premium sound, Turbo twist wheels
NADA Clean Retail Price: $27,275
Price: $18,995 – I’d make an initial offer of $17,500
Thoughts: This is the best deal of the bunch if the mechanicals check out. This should leave plenty of room for taking care of the little stuff and still be able to sell it when the market turns around. Plus you get A LOT of car for the money in my opinion.

As with any used Porsche, it’s worth the little extra investment to have your local Porsche dealer do a full pre-sales inspection. The Porsche dealer in my area charges $285 for this and it’s very thorough. I have also had other shops do inspections for me such as a local exotic car dealership that sells a little bit of everything including Ferrari, Lamborghini (they are the local new Lamborghini dealership as well), Aston Martin, Porsche and Lotus. They charged me $200 for a pre-sales inspection. Other options would be local mechanics specializing in Porsche. You definitely want to know what you’re getting into, so that you can enjoy the car for a year without getting nickel and dimed to death.

Some tips I found while looking for the 911 Cabriolet we’re giving away:

  1. Watch for cars that have been listed online or in print for a number of weeks. Obviously the longer the car has been sitting, the better chance you have at making a deal.
  2. Don’t be afraid to make contact with a private party and/or dealer, sound them out, and make an aggressive offer. I’m not advocating that you start low-balling every car on Craigslist, but by making contact, you’ll get a sense of how desperate someone is to sell. Take advantage of their need to sell, and your desire to buy.
  3. Look at as many cars as you can in your area. Different parts of the country are responding differently to the economic conditions we’re in among other factors. For instance, in Portland, November, December and January seem to be THE right time to buy a convertible. It’s raining (or worse) here and everything is thinking SUV. I’ve lived with a convertible for several years in a row as a daily driver in the past and handled the rain and snow just fine PLUS I had top down fun on those rare warm spring days while everyone else was rattling around on the road in their SUV with studded tires.
  4. Don’t get emotionally attached to a car. This is the #1 problem when buying any car…new or used. Get emotionally attached to finding a killer deal.

One last example. I saw a later model 996 Turbo online with “MAKE AN OFFER!!!!!” at the end of the post title. I emailed the owner and found out he had another car coming and really needed to sell this car. He was already listing it for $11,000 less than he’d paid for and put into it just last year. His exact words were: “If you are at all interested I think this could be a “killer” deal for you.” He was needing to sell it and told me to pitch him ANY offer.

You can gamble on a lot of things in life, but not many that will be as much fun as driving a Porsche. You may call me crazy for even thinking about short term Porsche ownership not costing me an arm and a leg, but I think it’s very possible and within reach for many, if not most, people. At the very least you’ll have had a blast driving the car while you had it and shouldn’t come out too bad on the other end even if you end up with a less than perfect car.

Anyone have a “great deal” story to share?

Comments

  1. Good advice and tips. Now is definitely the time to buy the porsche or car of your dreams if you can afford it. With the economy in a recession, many dealers have steals on higher end cars. I bought a 2000 Boxster in April before the economic meltdown and while I love the car, I obviously wish i would have waited a few extra months. For what I paid, I could of probably gotten an 01-02 Boxster S model. A decent 996 can easily be found in this area (new england) in the 18-25k range.

  2. Great ideas. Inspiring. Makes me want to buy another 911. The “turbo-look” was a 77 911s converted with fiberglass fenders up front and fiberglass flares in back. It had a 3.3 turbo with the ’77 5 speed (instead of the turbo’s 4 spd). It seemed to run pretty good, especially back in “the day”.

    Since we’re sharing stories…bought the turbo-look car for 15k, sold for 20k and had a blast for a few months. I bought from a private party but picked up the car at the dealer who had it for consignment. I drove it home and it ran like crap. I was hoping it was a small issue. I took it my mechanic and he listened to it idle for a minute…reached back while it was running and connected a disconnected spark plug wire. The car ran like a dream and it was a great feeling to finally feel that turbo power.

    Still have a picture of that car in my office.

    I love the website!

  3. I loved that slantnose. Red wasn’t it?

  4. Yea…guards red. Black interior. It had a turbo tail like on an ’86 turbo. I was looking at some of the older turbo’s on ebay and am still amazed at how cool a 911 turbo really is.

    This is funny…I would take my kids to school in that car…they didn’t like it because it was too small, it smelled like old Porsche, it was loud, etc. When they saw a picture of the car ten years later…they were like…”you had that car? why did you sell it? are you crazy? that’s the coolest car ever”.

    Now…I usually run my car buying decisions through my youngest son (14 yrs old) because he cares. All the boys are into it, but he is the only one that doesn’t now drive himself to school.

  5. I’ve been car shopping lately and, like with the home market, the buyer definitely has a lot of power right now. The dealers are weak – make them pay for it. =]

  6. Makes me wish my job didnt depend on the housing market, which is worse then the used-car market!

  7. So basically what your saying is to make an investment in a porsche? Buy it now and get your money back next year or so when the economy is better? If thats the gist of it, that is a great Idea, if youv’e got the coin to for over for now

    • That’s the idea. With many of the deals out there, even after you pay interest on a loan, you should be able to come out close to even once the economy turns around a bit. Can’t think of a much more fun experiment if nothing else.

  8. Geoffrey M says:

    I’d give it a go if I had the spare change to do so.

  9. Hey Ryan, I’m looking for a 911 Can 4 2000 and up preferably. Wherea re the best places to look nationwide and it’s all about buying right and looking for desperate sellers to get a killer deal. . .where do you suggest I look? And what’s your opinion on auctions?

    • @BobinCT – I’ve found the best places, at least in my area to be Craigslist.com and a couple of local dealers that seem to cycle through cars from California among other places. It seems like Craigslist ALWAYS has something on there. Course I live in a little bit bigger area which helps. The Giveaway Porsche we actually bought from a local used car dealer who has had a long history of solid cars. There are lots and lots of deals still to be had. I think most people get too wrapped up in finding a car quickly and end up settling for a lesser car or not as great of a deal.

      As for auctions, I love the idea of finding a deal on an auction. I hate the idea, though, of buying something and realizing it’s not all it was advertised to be. Personally, I think you have assume worst case scenarios on auction cars and figure you’re going to have to spend a decent amount of money on the car right off the bat.

      I think you could almost do as good or better finding a couple of candidates in popular places like LA or Florida, flying down for a weekend, lining up a local mechanic to do a pre-purchase inspection on any candidates you found and either driving or trailering the car back. There are some screaming deals in some of those over saturated markets on nice cars and even with airfare, hotel and transportation fees for the car, I bet you could still walk away with a bargain.

  10. We are going to have to do some searching for a tempting Porsche. Would love to find a good deal out there.

  11. Kathy Zanewicz says:

    A Porsche any year, any color, for free, OMG!!!! I have not seen many woman on here thou. My daughter turns 16 on May 4th, wants to drive very badly. I wouldn’t let her touch this car, I would give her my malibu!

  12. Stephen says:

    Maybe I should let my daughter drive and tell her this is what you can achieve when you continue your great grades.

  13. One thing that id say is you should avoid doing this sort of thing with a car just under a big milage bench mark like the 97 Boxter listed, because once a car has hit 100k its a lot less appealing to your average buyer than one that has mabye 95,000 because it seems like a lot bigger difference than 5,000 miles. Basically if you bought a car with miles that close to a benchmark and you drove it enough to take it over that benchmark of 100k, your going to lose some money on it unless you put some effort into fixing it up.

  14. Stephen says:

    How about giving me one for free?

  15. the advice regarding emotional attachment is quite good.
    other nice Porsches are always around the corner

  16. 911 very nice looking.

  17. in a year,if market does turn around,what then?you sell and have nothing and have to buy something else at a higher price.

    • Maria, I suppose that’s one way to look at it. Although I like to think of it in a bit more positive light. Like I drove a Porsche for a year for free. It was just an idea that I think is worth trying and would be a blast in the process. Besides, regardless of what the economy does there will ALWAYS be a deal to be had somewhere. You just have to look a little (or a lot) harder to find it.

  18. Great advice on “I’d offer”. I haven’t purchased a used car for several years…somehow I’m still in the dark ages and would have thought a Porche would hold it’s value and the dealer wouldn’t budge from sticker price. Thanks!

  19. i was amazed to find out how cheap you can get a good porsche…….goodbye mustang

  20. Stephen says:

    This would work. Buy in an area that is low on population, then sell is an area with a high population. I have friends that purchased thier cars on Ebay.

  21. The porsches are beautiful! I would love to win one!

  22. Cool, I’m going to do this. I’ve never driven a Porsche but it has always looked like fun.

  23. I can’t believe the prices on used porsches! I thought they would be more!

  24. rather buy something i really like and hold on to it.so many peole regret selling cars they really liked just because they were getting a little old.

  25. i agree.people are to quick to go out and buy something different for no other reason that having something different.

  26. Phil Schneider says:

    Imagine, everyday there is someone out there
    selling a beautiful Porsche that’s in perfect condition
    way below blue book. She’s out there. Research and
    some dumb luck. Keep searching.

  27. R Hicks says:

    I love the burgandy porsche.

  28. Susanna Phelps says:

    Mustang was never in the same class

  29. Stephen says:

    I would go with the 97 boxster

  30. Drive a Porsche for Free! Gee would I be in heaven!!!!

  31. The Boxter S looks like a pretty good deal. Somebody buy it, and give us a report.

  32. Stephen says:

    Jeff, If I had an extra 20K in my pocket, burning a hole, I would buy the car and give you a report ……. but sadly, I only have a few bucks in the wallet.

  33. Kristina Brown says:

    Some good tips in your post. It sounds like it may pay to check for deals in areas where the economy has taken a big down turn. It would be fun to drive one for a year at cost if not for a profit.

  34. The porsches are awesome & a great ride! I would love to win one!

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  1. […] Drive a Porsche for Free – I know it has a potentially big downside, but the concept of driving a Porsche for darn near free is pretty intriguing. I still think it could be done and would love to see someone try it. […]

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