Crazy Ivan's Porsche 911 Experience: Part 1

Unlike Suren, I hail from the other side of the states. I've loved cars since I could see over the dash of my dad's Trans Am. My high school driver's ed teacher actually called my mother to warn her of my bad driving habits. I have been through many vehicles, most of which ended up totalled or close to it, that is until I started getting older and wiser. How I'm not dead yet is beyond me, as I've been in many horrible accidents. Guess I gotta just keep trying!

I started off with a 1987 Prelude with a purple neon light in the front grill and two Orion 12s behind the flip down seat. Neon lights were new to the scene, as this was at least a decade before Fast and Furious came out. If I continued to detail out all the cars I've owned, we would be here all day, so I'll leave that for another time. After many cars, I got out of the car scene when I got married. Since then, it was difficult to find a car that was worth writing home about. It wasn't until 2011 that I purchased a brand new Mitsubishi Evolution GSR, unbeknownst to my wife at the time. That went over just as expected, and she moved out... my first victory with the Evo! And while I may not have won many races with it, I did participate in quite a few, and I did have a blast with that car.

Once I made the decision to give up racing (due to circumstances beyond my control), I had to make the decision of what my next carriage would be. Starting off, I intended on going the Doug Demuro route and buy something from CarMax, mostly because of their warranty. I spent a good day going through a number of cars on their web-site, including but not limited to BMW Ms, AMG Mercs, and a couple of Jags. I was looking for something older, something that has depreciated enough to warrant the purchase. It's ridiculous what you can find in the $25k to $30k range nowadays.  I mean, look at this ‘05 SL55 AMG at only $25,000. Keep in mind that this car once cost over $60, and can still show up a number of today’s sports cars with its 5.5l V8. I was hell bent on buying something stupidly unreliable just to take advantage of the warranty, and part of the reason why I wanted the warranty was because I was switching over from a Lancer Evolution. Anyone who’s owned one knows that the warranty is about as good as the interior, and if you as much as use an unauthorized air filter, the dealership will do their best to screw you over on warranty work.

Then the light bulb flicked on, and I remembered a Jalopnik article about the poor man's Porsche 911. Yes, Suren... it IS a 911 no matter how much you want to deny it (which he denied in this article). I started my research, as the Evo taught me many valuable lessons, one of which was the importance of doing your damn research before you buy anything for a car! The Evo was my first sports car in a long time, but now that I’m divorced (talk about more lessons learned), I figured why not get another.. Owning a 911 is definitely a bucket list item, considering I can't afford a Ferrari or Lamborghini. After much research, I knew what I was looking for. It had to be the pre-facelift 1999 model Carrera, it had to be rear wheel drive, most definitely did not want another turbo, most certainly had to be manual, and I didn’t want a sunroof. Before I go into the reasons for these decisions, let me disclose that my beater car is actually my dog's 87' E30. Simba, my loving dog and best friend I got from a rescue, will throw up in any vehicle unless it's an E30.... no kidding. I love my E30 because it's very simple. Night and day difference between the Evo and the E30. Although my Evo was reliable, there is a certain paranoia that goes along with daily driving a $35k car with more electronics than is needed to send a man to the moon.

I settled on a 1999 for a number of reasons: It was the one year model that didn’t get any of the useless electronic gadgets (such as using cables instead of wires to open the hood and decklid). It was also one of two years with a reinforced bearing, you know that thing Suren changed that he didn't need to? I didn't want a turbo or 4wd, because again... gotta keep things simple! I wanted a vehicle that was powerful enough to kill me, all the while not having the controls to stop me from doing so. Another advantage of not having these options is the weight loss, as the Evo was a pig no matter how much the electronics try to fool you. Suren hit the sunroof on the head; it's extremely rare. I still have a hand crank sunroof in my E30, so I don't have high expectations. Then there’s the manual transmission... do I really have to explain that?

With the options decided, I needed to think about the wear and tear. I had to stop and consider how many miles would be good for a 17 year old European vehicle? Low mileage usually means the car was a garage queen, and cars that sit are about as much of a gamble as cars with tons of miles. On the other hand, I didn't want it to have too many miles, because that leaves you to wonder whether or not the car was maintained properly. With being pretty lenient on the color of the vehicle, I began my search. Given I was adamant about my options, I opened the search to a 500 mile radius. Even though I wasn't familiar on long distance purchases and transportation, I still went head strong. Day one, had one in Texas and one in Florida fall through. Day two, faith knocks on my door. While downing my morning caffeine and searching for the latest listings, I finally found what I was looking for! She was not more than thirty minutes away, and was at a very well known dealership. How did this happen on day two of my search is beyond me, but rather than question it, I just decided to be thankful!  1999, two owners and a ton of service history at 62k miles... with the aero kit! Damn beautiful in this color, and paint was well taken care of for a 17yr old car. Having done my research (unlike Suren) I knew I needed a PPI (a.k.a. a pre purchase inspection). I found a nearby Porsche mechanic to do the PPI, which in hindsight missed a couple of things... nothing like Suren's nightmare though.

The PPI revealed that the two brake rotors and pads needed to be changed, broken horn button, and coolant change required. During my search for this 911, I did notice that no one would negotiate on price like a typical run of the mill vehicle. I took this to my advantage, and had everything fixed/replaced with original OEM equipment. Keep in mind, I still haven't seen this 911 in person nor driven it. I just knew it was meant to be, kinda like prom all over again. Now to deal with all the paperwork before I could get her to the motel at the end of the night. Prom night was successful! I had a great test drive before I had to do the dirty work to get her home. This 996 911 is mind blowing in my opinion. However, I may not be as spoiled as Suren. I've never driven, nor been in a Porsche before. Stay tuned for my review and experience of the 996 911!