A Tale of Two Porsche Pre-Purchase Inspections

Everyone always says you should get an inspection done on any used Porsche you’re considering before buying. The car can be expensive to purchase and even more expensive to maintain, so why take chances.

While looking for a Porsche a few months ago, I decided to take one of the cars I was considering in for an inspection before I bought it. The car happened to be a 1999 911 Cabriolet, only in white instead of the black one I actually ended up buying.

The natural place you think of going for such a service is the Porsche dealership, so off I went. I have to say, my experience at Sunset Porsche was pretty good. The service guys I dealt with were nice and answered a lot of questions. Other than going back and forth trying to get the tech on the phone who actually performed the inspection, it was pretty painless.

Here’s the thing though. Take a look at the sample of some of the pages, especially the cover page:


It’s probably a little tough to see, but the whole inspection report is like a bad photocopy from a bad copy of several originals ago. It’s got grainy effects from dirt on the copier, and the bottom is shifted left like someone put it in the copier crooked at one point.

Now I know it’s just paper a tech used, and the real value is in the service performed, but come on, can’t they print a fresh copy out for the tech to mark up? After all, this is PORSCHE. I can turn out a better doc than this on my little portable color inkjet. I just think it presents a poor image for a Porsche shop to give a customer this low grade report.

The service, which is really the whole point of the pre-purchase inspection, was really good. They spent about 4 hours with the car going over more things than I would have expected. All the usual stuff, plus things like measuring gaps, looking for fit and finish changes, etc. In fact, they found a few things that appeared suspect leading me to believe the car had been in some type of accident at some point, even though CarFax produced a clean report. I passed on the car for this reason alone.

Inspection Cost: $285

Although I hadn’t really thought of it ahead of time, I realized that there are lots of places that can provide inspections of vehicles you’re thinking about buying. One of the places I’m hot on at the moment is Gran Prix Imports. Take a look at their inspection report:


That’s much more in line with what I expected to see from Porsche. Covers pretty much the same stuff only much nicer looking. In fact, this one only looks a little beat up because I carried it around for a couple of weeks. Here’s the great thing…

Inspection Cost: $200

I’m quickly learning that you really don’t need to go to the dealership for much of anything. My first thought is always “the dealer will do it better” but that just isn’t the case. There are lots of little reputable shops and other places like Gran Prix Imports. Heck, Gran Prix is the Portland Lamborghini dealership. A different beast altogether, but the level of technical expertise and service required is at least equal to what Porsche would require, if not greater in my opinion. I’ve found their work on the Giveaway Porsche to be excellent. I’ve also talked to a couple of other Porsche owners who use them for their service work.

Bottom line, a pre-purchase inspection is a must unless you’re mechanical. Even then, the couple hundred bucks is a worthwhile investment to avoid a major ownership disaster. One piece of advice, make sure you go over the inspection with the mechanic who performed it. Preferably while the car is still in the shop.


  1. Timely posting for me. I’m in the process of finding a shop for a pre-purchase inspection right now (but I haven’t even been considering a dealer). I like the smaller shops myself and the relationships you can form with the workers/owners.

  2. Good article! I totally agree that a little inspection money up front can prevent huge headaches for a Porsche owner down the road. How did the giveaway car check out?

  3. Two thumbs up for the pre purchase inspection. Don’t bother going to the Porsche dealer, unless you want to be overcharged.

  4. What – no update today?

  5. I demand them by 8am so that I have something to read when I get into work! If you could wake up at say 4am and start blogging that would work great for my schedule. =]

  6. An inspection is great, The emotion of desire can override your ability to see potential expensive problems. Lots of things can be “cleaned up” and hidden easily too to the unexperienced!

  7. Several years ago I was interested in a ’83 911 SC with
    28,000 miles on it. It looked great but a few things had not
    been retrofitted ( i.e. pop off valve or new head studs) so
    I asked if I could have the car inspected. He refused and I
    walked away. It was painful to let a car like that go but I
    had no choice.

  8. Good call though phil. You had to do it.

  9. Today I dropped off my Saab for some service
    (it’s a money pit) but in the showroom of this place
    was my long lost ’83 911 SC that a person snatched
    up before I could even make an offer. At the time it
    had less than 25 K in mileage (5 years ago) and now
    has a bit over 30k. I was in a rush so I didn’t ask
    how much (the guy years ago was asking $20,000)
    but I don’t believe he had done the chain tensioners,
    head studs or pop off valve. It still looks great, painted
    in a metallic cappuccino sort of color and those beautiful
    fuchs. The paint has some scratches that ideally needs
    some attention but the car looks really good. I wonder
    how the engine and suspension are doing. Gosh, I still
    want this car.

  10. I’m getting my mileage with this car screwed up.
    Sorry folks. I’m really freaked out that I bumped
    into this car again after 5 years. 28 K. I think
    that was right but apparently the woman who
    grabbed it didn’t put too many miles on it if it
    only has a bit over 30 K. This car is mocking me.
    I’ll find out more info when they finally fix my Saab.
    I wonder if they retrofitted all this stuff? I’ll post
    the answers when I go back. Why does this 911
    have such a hold on me. I guess that I like the
    older ones.

  11. http://www.eurocarsofwmsbrg.com/

    This is their website.
    Scroll down a bit on the first page and
    you’ll see the ’83 911 SC.

    33,441 miles.

    Go to their sales page and there are several pictures

    Enjoy everyone.

  12. Let me know your opinions. They fixed my Saab
    so I’ll find out details on Wednesday. Posts to come.

  13. I’ll find out Wednesday

  14. It will be interesting to learn if the car is priced
    higher than the 20,000 that the original owner
    wanted 5 years ago.

  15. Ok, so they want $25,000 for this car. They say it’s
    completely original except for a radiator.
    When I asked the mechanic if the chain tensioners,
    pop off valve and head studs had been retrofitted he
    gave me a confused look and repeated that it was

    So the car goes up $5K and apparently hasn’t had
    those fixes. I’m going to call and ask for someone
    who knows more because once again I was in a rush to
    get back to work.

    Did anyone check out the website and car? She’s pretty.

  16. no takers?

  17. could someone lend me 25K or so?

  18. nobody is interested. so sad. i need more money in my life.


  1. […] since it's a bit older and probably a bit on the rougher side (you might want to check out my Pre-Purchase Inspection post if you consider the first Porsche […]