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A Buyer's Guide For The Porsche 911

top half of the cover of the book Buyer's Guide Classic Porsche 911

Book Review: Classic Porsche 911 Buyer's Guide

Wie geht's? ... Over the past 20 or so years the ineffable Porsche 911 has become a much sought-after, top-level collectible and that makes it more important than ever for potential buyers to fully understand the car that they might consider buying.

By The Editors

Mon, Jul 4, 2022 08:28 PM PST

Images courtesy the publisher.

… And so, this amazingly-detailed and thoughtfully-written guide is hereby quite STRONGLY recommended reading (and heeding) for anyone who is even half day-dreaming about buying a classic era1965-1968 Porsche 911.

image of pages 174-175 of the book Buyer's Guide 1965-1998 Classic Porsche 911
Pages 174-175 of Buyer's Guide 1965-1998 Classic Porsche 911

The Book

Randy Leffingwell's Classic Porsche 911 Buyer's Guide 1965-1998, a truly comprehensive resource that’s recently been updated and now available to aid new, old, and in-between buyers of the brand in the trek across the (expensive) terrain of any (and all) of the potential pitfalls that are likely to present in their pursuit of Stuttgart's all-time classic sports car.

This heavily-illustrated, colorful, year-by-year guide will help readers select the model and year that aligns with their ownership goals and aspirations, helping them to discern which features are timeless and which to avoid like Covid. The rundown pages are as brutally honest as they are accurate and (very frankly) helpful.

image of pages 216-217 of the book Buyer's Guide 1965-1998 Classic Porsche 911
A "map" of the problems you might encounter on your 1995 Porsche 911

You pays your money and you takes your chances with any car, and even classics like Porsche 911’s can have had very hard lives especially here in Los Angeles where some owners intentionally mispronounce the car’s moniker just to sound (somehow) cool.

The buyer’s spirit guide and acknowledged breed emeritus Leffingwell, loves the cars, and here pulls no punches as to parts and places where Porsches are vulnerable to neglect and mistreatment.

image of pages 176-177 of the book Buyer's Guide 1965-1998 Classic Porsche 911
Pages 176-177 of Buyer's Guide 1965-1998 Classic Porsche 911

There are charts, lists, ratings, and special information for each of the over 30 years that Porsche 911’s were (that word again) ineffable. And then, on a whole ‘nother level, just having the knowledge that’s provided in this cool little book, might be enough for some … bragging contests and bar bets are made from the sort inside info that one may happily acquire here.

Dreams are wonderful, but solid information about an (probably quite) expensive used car acquisition is the smart cornering line here. These cars are masterworks, knowing mission critical information about them before acquiring one is smart, and now pretty easy to do.

image of page 154 of the book Buyer's Guide 1965-1998 Classic Porsche 911
A "map" of the problems you might encounter on your 1985 Porsche 911

The Author

Randy Leffingwell wrote his first book, American Muscle, in 1989 while still a staff photographer at the Los Angeles Times. Since then, he has authored more than 50 other titles, covering subjects from sports cars to motorcycles to farm tractors.

Leffingwell is considered one of the top transportation photographers and historians working today. Some of his previous best-selling (and highly recommended) Motorbooks titles include: Art of the Corvette, Porsche 911: Fifty Years, John Deere: A History of the Tractor, and The Harley-Davidson Motor Co. Archive Collection (with Darwin Holmstrom).

Site-Tip For Daydreaming Of Your Purchase

You too can play the Porsche 911 $$$ game in the privacy of your own home. Just point your browser in the direction of - you’ll see a pretty good passing parade of Porsche 911s (along with a dazzling display of other very cool cars and stuff) all up for auction, which you can watch come down in real time.

Just remember the old caveat about making mental bets and loosing ones mind.

cover of the book Buyer's Guide 1965-1998 Classic Porsche 911
Book Cover - Buyer's Guide 1965-1998 Classic Porsche 911

Sidebar: All That Glitters, Costs Gold

For a certain group of car people this book has a feature that can easily arm someone who has just about had it with "those" puffed-up Porsche People who are so damn proud of their little German cars. Two-page photos of each year's model covered in this book with like 10-15 problem areas to look out for - along with an educated guess as to the cost of the fix in some cases (hint: it’s a Porsche: none of 'em are cheap).

But in truth, the specs and speculations presented in this book are not as condemnations, but a far more and not-so-subtle bit of reality that warns to do your homework even as it cajoles.

So, for the do-it-yourself contingent, there’s an eye-watering list of prices for some of the most common replacement parts that will do just that. For example: An alternator for a 1987 911s is called out at $1073.65, a replacement windshield is $1011.43, and a shift knob is something of a bargain at (only) $97.42.

Yeah, I know oddball prices when just about every gadget on TV is only 'nineteen ninety-five'. Co-opted advice: "Forget it Kurt, it’s Stuttgart."

So … where are we then?

It looks like Leffingwell’s full takeaway is that there are consequences associated with Porsche ownership: most very cool, some (many, really) pretty pricey, but all part of the package. And all good to know about ahead of time, with clear eyes.

By Randy Leffingwell 
updated by Matt Stone 
Paperback, 240 pages, 
200 illustrations 
$32.99 US, $42.99 CAN 
ISBN:  9780760377192 
Published by Motorbooks

This article was compiled by the editors of LACar.

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