The vehicles section on Junk Mail is not exactly where I would first look if I wanted to buy a luxury sports car.
If you are more adventurous than me, however, you would find a 2001 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet with 120,500km on the clock for R349,900.
The Carrera 4 model is the second-most-affordable 911 you can buy, with the “4” standing for four-wheel-drive.
In February 2001, the going rate for one of these was R850,000 – which translates to roughly R2,432,000 in today’s money.
Considering this Porsche has lost 86% of its value in 20 years, any potential buyer will have a few questions – like “Are there any problems?”
First off, it is the 996 variant – which some have argued is not the best-looking Porsche ever made.
Looks are subjective, though, and I personally do not find it overly offensive.
The second potential issue the next buyer of this 996 needs to look past is the high mileage.
Porsches are known for their ability to act as daily drivers, even though they are track stars, and this car has 120,500 kilometres on the clock.
For reference, similarly-aged Porsches that are currently on the market have around 40,000 kilometres less.
High mileage points to a plethora of potential mechanical problems that can be had in the not-so-distant future.
Fortunately, the reliability and dealer presence of Porsche in South Africa does make this relatively easy to deal with.
While old luxury sports cars can come with high repair bills, it’s nice knowing you’ll have support if a problem arises.
What you get
These two hurdles are the largest factors you will have to come to terms with if you want to buy this car – and once overcome you can then start to look at what you will receive for your money.
Judging from the photos, the seats and panels show minimal signs of wear; the cabin is full of premium materials; and the gear lever and steering wheel, two of the biggest giveaways when looking at the condition of a car, still look in good condition.
There is a climate control system with two small screens telling you what the temperature inside the cabin is, and a radio system that does not offer any fancy connectivity features.
You also get nice additions such as a cigarette lighter, a handful of storage pockets, and window switches on the transmission tunnel – a feature that looks very cool.
The ignition is on the right side of the steering wheel, too, which is a design principle that was derived from track expertise and followed by Porsche designers for years.
The idea behind it is that when drivers need to swop seats during a long race, or if they have to quickly get into the car and turn it on, they can turn the key with their right hand while putting the car in gear with their left.
This remains true for left-hand-drive specs, as these vehicles will have the ignition on the left side of the steering wheel to free up the right hand.
Firmly tucked between the rear wheels of this Porsche then lies a 3.4-litre, six-cylinder, boxer engine that produces 221kW and 350Nm of torque.
This model sports the six-speed manual transmission, too, making it that much more fun to drive.
This sent the 996 Carrera 4 from 0-100km/h in 5.2 seconds – and allowed a top speed of 280km/h – when it was still new.
Four-wheel-drive will assure that you stick to the roads, and a four-wheel-independent suspension system guarantees a comfortable ride.
If everything is still in order upon closer inspection, this Porsche is not the worst thing you can spend your money on.
This is an editorial opinion article and is not an endorsement of the abovementioned used car deal.