While me may all dream of owning a classic Porsche 911, the reality is that most derivatives are now prohibitively expensive. The more affordable SC, however, proves that you don't have to break the bank to get your 911 thrills.
Engine: 3.0-litre, flat-six, petrol
Power: 152kW at 5900rpm
Torque: 267Nm at 4300rpm
Transmission: 915-type, five-speed manual
Weight: 1 160 kg
Years of manufacture: 1978-1983
How many were built: around 38 400
Where was it built: Stuttgart, Germany
What you can expect to pay for a good-condition example: from R650 000
Think of Porsche 911s and models like the S, GTS, RS, GT2 and GT3 are often the cars we dream about. But what about just a standard or even "entry-level" model? Are they worth a look, too?
The 911 SC fulfilled this role from 1978 until early in 1984. Engine power started at 134kW in 1978, increased to 140kW in 1980 and finally to 152kW for the remainder of its model life.
From model year 1983 the SC became the first 911 to offer a fully open-top cabriolet experience. Throughout the car's lifespan, from 1978 to 1984, the SC was also available in Targa form.
The "minder" of this beautiful example has owned the car since 1997. It was officially imported through Lindsay Saker and was first registered in January 1984.
When the owner bought the car it had 86 000km on the odo, and since then he has added another 17 000km, pushing it to just over the 103 000km mark.
“I’m still in contact with the first owner and he also recently supplied me with a picture of this car in 1984 parked next to his Porsche 928.”
The owner is very enthusiastic about this car: “I love the form, the colour, the details, such as the black window frames, and then the sound when you start the car and the acceleration. There is performance available in each gear. The design is just perfect. The only thing I would have changed, is to have a better air conditioning system in the car… that is it.”
This car is also not used exclusively in town, but has completed a number of 1 000km return trips to George and Stilbaai. More of those will still be added in the future.
This particular SC is one of the higher-specification 911s of its time. Equipped with leather upholstery, electric windows, air conditioning and a sunroof, it is thought to have formed part of a package Porsche originally offered to its South African customers. Other options included a full-colour interior. This option – which is still available today – included the seats, carpets, dashboard, door cards, A-pillars and sun visors, all of which were draped in brown.
Despite such low mileage, this Pewter Brown (code: U1U1) with a tint of bronze in it, has a few stories to tell.
“I’ve replaced the shock absorbers and I’ve replaced the tyres twice. But I need to replace the tyres again now. The brakes are in a good condition and there still hasn't been a need to replace the clutch in the past 17 000km. Fluids are replaced every year, and every second year I send the car to Porsche for the bigger services.”
The owner explains that, once everything is running smoothly, one should put aside just over R5 000 a year (excluding insurance and fuel) for servicing and routine maintenance.
Unfortunately, this car's engine was damaged prior to the current owner acquiring it. “It started with an airbox leak. The technician changed the engine’s setup to run leaner. This eventually led to a burned valve. Eventually the engine had to be rebuilt. This included, but was not limited to, new pistons, rings and gaskets.
“To sum it up, this cost me more than the car did when I bought it! While this engine rebuild was done, we also replaced the engine studs. This is a well-known issue with some of these engines. The result is that I now have a car and engine that will last until my son is my age (55),” he jokes.
“Other than that, the air-conditioning system is currently problematic. The evaporator is at the front and the compressor at the rear. So I used to fill the gas once a year, but now I will need to have the compressor refurbished or I will have to replace it.”
What should potential buyers look out for?
“Rust, originality, ownership and service history and then also what has been spent on the car in the last five to 10 years. Cars with very low mileages might carry more risk with it than you might think. Also, cars that have changed owners quickly might also carry some risk.
“Keep in mind that fixing mechanical issues are very expensive. Parts are available, but they are costly. If you know what has been done to a car and that it has been used regularly, then the chances of not knowing of something that might go wrong are so much lower.
“A car that has been standing for five years that people say are 'perfect' might have rust, electrical, brakes and/or tyre issues. For me it is less about the amount of mileage a car has done, but rather about whether it has been used and maintained and whether there is paperwork to prove it."