Dai Davies re­alised a child­hood dream when he bought a 143,000-mile C4… and he doesn’t re­gret it one bit

Evo - - AFFORDABLE 911s - Words by Adam Towler Pho­tog­ra­phy by James Chea­dle

MY MATE DAI DAVIES AND I sing from very much the same hymn sheet when it comes to 911s. The want from child­hood: the poster of the red SC with tea-tray rear wing, squeez­ing onto the Porsche stand at late-1980s mo­tor shows, model 911s, the won­der of 911s in the movies with brick phones in the cen­tre con­sole, and that lu­di­crous black 935-alike in the hope­lessly cheesy flick Con­dor­man, with his 911-driv­ing hench­men. In a way, the Porsche 911 has been an in­te­gral part of our lives, and as Dai says: ‘I al­ways said, one day I will have one.’

‘Over time the 996 just grew on me,’ he re­flects, ‘and I came to love its beau­ti­ful curves and com­pact pro­por­tions. It was unloved for a long time, but I think it now looks fan­tas­tic, and cru­cially, I could just about af­ford one.’

So early last year the pur­suit be­gan for real. ‘The es­sen­tials for me were a coupe and a man­ual gear­box. Ide­ally I wanted

a “2” [rear drive], but would com­pro­mise with a Car­rera 4 if I had to. Wor­ry­ingly, I no­ticed there were fewer and fewer such 996s com­ing on for around £10,000.’

Even­tu­ally Dai spot­ted this sil­ver C4 on ebay. The mileage was high at 143,000 but it seemed like it had lived a good life, and he was down there be­fore any of us could say ‘what about the IMS bear­ing?’

‘At that point all the ad­vice went out of the win­dow!’ says Dai. ‘I looked it over in a train sta­tion car park; next thing I knew I’d bought it. For £9500. Driv­ing it home all I could think was, “Oh my god, I’m driv­ing my 911.” Fol­lowed by dis­cov­er­ing the air con didn’t work, and think­ing, “Oh no, what have I done?” It was ex­cite­ment mixed with a bit of fear. Then I found a great stretch of road and thought “Yes!” Know­ing it was prob­a­bly worth £8k in parts was my getout, but I fig­ured if it had lasted this long it must have some­thing right about it.

‘I put 2000 miles on it in the first week on a driv­ing hol­i­day in Scot­land. It was bril­liant, warts and all. And now I use it for ev­ery­thing – work, tak­ing the kids to school. It’s done 155,000 now.

‘No, run­ning it hasn’t been cheap. The first ser­vice cost £1200, and it failed its MOT on blow­ing ex­hausts and a shot damper. I had to find a cost-ef­fec­tive re­pair but we got there in the end, and I’ve never had a mo­ment where I’ve wanted rid of it. It’s been a bit scary at times: it’s a cheap car to buy but still a Porsche to run.’

Any ad­vice then, Dai, for the fel­low enthusiast? ‘I’d say lis­ten to your head. Do your checks. But over­all it’s about how com­fort­able you are with risk – if you’re not, then the hor­ror sto­ries, the won­der­ing about that noise it made yes­ter­day, well, I don’t think you could live with it. But for me, ev­ery day I drive it, just walk­ing up to it, know­ing I have a 911 – that re­moves all of the worry in­stantly. What­ever the jour­ney, I al­ways take the 911: with my car ev­ery oc­ca­sion is a 911 oc­ca­sion. It’ll be in­ter­est­ing to see what it’s like at 200,000 miles.’

There you have it: 12,000 miles of 911-bred smiles in 12 months, for a third less than the price of the cheap­est, most ba­sic new Ford Fi­esta. I’ve driven the car and it’s a beaut. The ten-grand 911 is alive and well. Get in while you still can.

A F F O R DA B L E 9 1 1 s

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