930 Cabriolet: a good stop gap before the 991 Turbo?

You currently can’t buy a brand new 911 Turbo Cabriolet. Okay, that’s not quite true. You can, of course; the 997 Turbo remains on sale in both standard and Turbo S guise. But it isn’t the latest 991 911, and is thus, despite being factory fresh and still flowing out of Zuffenhausen, an ‘old model’ Porsche. With prices starting at £118,125, that’s a big price to swallow for some.

How about, then, a ‘new old’ Porsche for more than half the price? One with more heritage, greater links with the past and an unenviable provenance? One that will guarantee you own one of the most admiration-worthy and head-turning 911s in the country? Thanks to Monks Heath Motor Company of Macclesfield, you can, as in its showroom sits one of the most remarkable Porsche 911 Turbos in the country.

It is a 1989-registered 930 Cabriolet which, as original 911 fans will know only too well, makes it very rare indeed. This was the run-out year for the 930 in anticipation of the mighty 964 Turbo. 911 Turbos have always lagged behind the derivative they’re based upon, and the situation today is no different to 23 years ago.

A 1989 model year car, it has covered just over 43,000 miles, which means that with a sticker price of £49,995 you’ll be paying around £1.15 per mile. That’s one way of looking at it (do the sums for other collectable cars, and you’ll see, in one sense, that it’s decent value), but another is that it costs, what, £10,000 more than the average price? £20,000? No doubt, this is serious money. But then, this is a serious car.


The best 930 Cabriolet in
the UK?

Monks Heath describes it as “probably the best example on the market,” which is quite a claim until you look at it. This car’s condition is as close to faultless as you can imagine, which you’d expect for a £50,000 price tag. This is why you’ll want it, and why it can quite convincingly claim to be a ‘new old’ 911 Turbo comparable to buying a brand new 997. It’s almost as factory fresh, feels as tight, and is to all intents a car that looks just like it did when it really was new.

The gorgeous colour is metallic Baltic blue, with a nicely matched dark blue hood. The carpets are matched, too, in Marine blue, offsetting the linen leather. No wonder it’s been so well cherished. It is also completely standard; nothing has been added, altered, taken away or changed. It is a piece of history, fully preserved.

The 16-inch Fuchs wheels, wearing 205-section tyres at the front and the famously beefy 245/45-section rubber at the rear, are immaculate. These liquorice-section rear tyres were made standard for the 1986 930 model year, and thus are worn by all 930 Cabriolets. Not many wear them as well as this, though. Overall, it is an amazing sight. Viewing it in the Monks Heath showroom takes you back to how the original buyer must have felt all those years ago.

Porsche main dealer Follett Porsche of London delivered the car on 4 January 1989. That’s quite a way of starting the new working year; we can only imagine the owner’s excitement over the Christmas break at what was awaiting him in the New Year – and, perhaps, frustration that he couldn’t take delivery before? The fact it was built late in 1988 maybe suggests the reason why: there simply wasn’t the time to get the car ready.


Rare now, rare then

The 930 itself is a rare car, of course. From 1978-1989, 14,476 were built – less than 15,000 cars over an 11-year period. By modern Porsche standards, that’s not a lot of cars at all. And the Cabriolet is, of course, even more rare. It was introduced in February 1987, remaining on sale (and, with the Targa, outliving the original Coupe) until July 1989. Less than 3,000 were built over the three-year period, with the vast majority of them going to the US and Canada. It’s suggested that less than 650 cars were actually sent to Europe.

In 1988, 242 Cabriolets were produced for Europe, compared to 677 Coupes and a meagre 136 Targas. That shows what a find this model is: one of 242 1988-build cars across the whole of Europe. Research would show how many still remain, but you can bet it isn’t 242.

Monks Heath backs this up. It’s one of 50 UK cars, it says, further research indicating that there are fewer than this still on UK roads. 930s are becoming cherished cars now, used less and less as age and historical relevance start to factor heavily on owners’ minds. 930 Cabriolets are even thinner on the ground, both worldwide and particularly in England.

This, then, is a rare opportunity indeed: the chance to buy an immaculate and fully verified 930 Cabriolet from an independent dealer, with the full support of a mechanical warranty and a multitude of reassuring checks. It does indeed provide something of the peace of mind you get with a new 911, only with a whole extra slice of historical relevance thrown in, too. Interesting opportunity, no?


Well stocked as standard

It even has a decent standard of equipment to ease the shock of the transition from a more modern 911. Porsche model year changes ensured the 930 had a reasonably bountiful kit level by contemporary standards in 1989. Fitted to this car was leather trim, air con, 16-inch Fuchs alloys, electric windows, central locking and a CD player. Oh, and 1989 cars also come with side impact protection.

Over the years, the car’s original alarm and immobiliser, which were fitted as standard equipment in the 1989 model year, have long since been replaced by a Clifford immobiliser system. Its original Blaupunkt stereo has also been replaced by a better, more modern Pioneer system.

The Blaupunkt stereo was actually accompanied by an optional amplifier, which presumably gave it the extra oomph necessary to be heard during topless driving. The seats were also upgraded, with electric height adjustment and hip-hugging sports design. Another benefit for roof-down motoring was the fact that the original owner also chose to have them heated.

Was the original owner a little vain, choosing to have the top screen tinted to reduce the need to squint in the sun? We can only surmise.

A key feature of the 1989 model year, which this model benefits from, is a five-speed gearbox. This was long a bone of contention with the 930 Turbo, whose ample torque was too much for the sweet-shifting G50 gearbox – until, it seems, 1989. Thanks to a reinforced clutch and differential casing, plus a bigger crown wheel and pinion, it was fitted to the 930 Turbo in readiness for application in the 964. Driveability improved considerably as a result, which is why these are the choice 930s to buy. Instead of third and fourth gear being overdrives, fourth and fifth were overdrive, with all gears more tightly packed. Sure, the torque of a turbo means wringing it out for high revs isn’t as necessary as for normally aspirated cars, but the extra vibrancy of the five-speed car is still welcome.

Using the G50 gearbox meant a hydraulic clutch is fitted to this car, too, another welcome driving aid and one particularly valued by the easygoing nature many convertible owners demand from their cars. Posing is less cool if your left leg is shaking through the effort of crawling at low speed.

High speed was what the 930 was built for, though, and the reason the original owner bought it. 300bhp isn’t a patch on the 997’s 500bhp, of course. There is a weight advantage, but it’s not as great as you’d think; this car weighs 1,335kg, compared to the 997’s 1,645kg. We’re used to
half-ton differences between classic cars and new machinery – this looks positively slim by comparison.

Performance figures tell the full story, with a base 997 six-speed manual taking 3.8 seconds for the 62mph dash, spearing on to 194mph all-out. The 930? It reached 62mph in 5.4 seconds, and blasted on to a 161mph top speed. Not quite 997-level, but impressive for a soft-top Porsche – and remember, this was so much more compact than the 997, so the effect was surely magnified.


But what about the
running costs?

Of course, you may worry that in buying an older car, you’re buying a model that is in need of ongoing expense. At least with a brand new car you have the security of knowing everything that’s consumable won’t have been consumed, and thus will leave you bill-free for at least a year. Well, fret not. A good slice of ownership security is provided by this 930, too, as the previous owners have spent so much on it over the years.

Bills show that this year alone, £11,500 has been spent on it. More than 20 per cent of the price of the car has been lavished in cosmetically and mechanically maintaining it, bringing it up to the gleaming, near-factory-fresh condition you see here. If that isn’t reassurance, I don’t know what is.

Or maybe I do: it was serviced by AFN in 1992 (after just 2,780 miles!), Hendon Way in 1995, AFN in 1997, AFN in 2001, Tognola in 2003 and 2007 and Charles Ivey in 2011. Stacked within these stamps is a load of receipts showing other work that has been carried out. The pit stops are perhaps not as clockwork-like as modern computer-scheduled servicing demands, but the reassurance provided by the service history certainly gives ample reassurance as to its provenance.

Tot up the value of all the receipts and adjust that figure for inflation, and you have a total that far outweighs even the cost of a new 997. Buy this car, and you’re buying something with a lot of history that’s had a lot of money spent on it, and whose value is fully justified if you factor in the amount that has been paid out to keep it in this condition. For the original owners it marks a poor return, but they’ve clearly loved this 930 Cabrio enough to justify it. For the used buyer, it represents a bit of a steal: they’ve forked out to freeze it in history so you don’t have to.

You also get finance options from the dealer, plus a choice of warranty schemes, and they’ll even deliver it if you can’t get up there to collect it yourself – all the sort of facilities you expect of a dealer when buying a new car. See, switching to a used car needn’t be that hard after all!


New old or used but as new old?

The more you look at it, the more intriguing it is. The situation is one that has occurred thanks to Porsche model cycles, and means that potential
911 enthusiasts hankering after some blown-wind-in-the-hair entertainment may have to pause before committing to a brand new purchase.
Some may even be holding off entirely until the 991 Turbo arrives, but still yearn to get into something different.

Here’s a potential solution: an as-new 911 Turbo for more than half the price that will provide them with a rare, unique and hassle-free ‘new car’ experience. Certainly enough, until the 991 Turbo arrives – and who knows what the value of a quarter-Century 930 Cabriolet that has been frozen in time could be.

The question is – if you’re lucky enough to be in the position to make this decision – which will be more special: a brand-new 997 Cabrio or this 930 Cabrio plus £70,000 in the bank? Or, to throw in another curveball, and if you could find an extra £10,000 or haggle hard, this 930 Cabriolet plus a 991 Carrera Cabrio? It is certainly immaculate enough to warrant consideration…

*This article was published in Total 911 issue 93. To purchase a copy, visit the ImagineShop online bookstore, or visit GreatDigitalMags.com to download a digital copy.

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