The 8 best used Porsches to buy that you can afford right now

Although used car prices are inflated due to demand, don’t expect it to last. The prices you might see in classifieds and auctions most likely don’t reflect long term projections. When Covid is over, expect a gluttony of used cars to hit the market as other lifestyle demands like travel start to take precedence. Should you wait? That’s a very personal consideration and depends on where you are in life, your approach to life, and of course financial position. 

Many people it seems are taking the plunge on buying the car they always wanted or simply a second or third car to use as a weekend toy, and what better car to use as a weekend toy than a Porsche. 

You won’t be finding any air-cooled 911s on this list, they’ve already skyrocketed beyond reach for most. Rather this list is about the Porsches that remain low for whatever reason, and are still attainable. 

What is defined as “affordable”? That’s highly dependent on your personal financial situation. Something near the $50,000 AUD (£27,650 GBP; $36,000 USD) mark and below, and depending on your market a lot of these cars fall well below that figure. $50,000 AUD is new VW Golf GTI money with some specs asking $60,000, so it’s not a crazy figure to go by.

Prices vary of course across each of these models according to variant, history, condition, location, kilometres and whether or not you’re buying privately or at auction. And right now with such low inventory and high demand, prices seem to be inflated somewhat. Expect these to come back to a degree when people start traveling again and spending money elsewhere. 

So, in no particular order, here are the 8 best used Porsches you actually want to buy (sorry now Cayennes on this list).

1. Porsche 914

Porsche 914

You don’t see many of these on the road, and you’d be forgiven it was some kind of old Fiat or Lotus given its mid-engine layout and quirky styling. If you’re looking for brand recognition, this is probably not the Porsche for you.

With a removable glass fibre-reinforced plastic roof it was the perfect summer sports car. Small, light, and nimble it was the perfect “first Porsche”. Built in collaboration with Volkswagen, it was the entry level model for Porsche between 1970 and 1976. 

Engines started with a Volkswagen sourced 1.7-litre flat-four engine with 80 hp, and topped out with a 110 hp 2.0-litre flat-six engine from the Porsche 911 T. Subsequent models stuck with four-cylinders but with larger 1.8 and 2.0-litre capacities. 

Don’t let the VW thing get in the way. These were highly popular back in the day and only overshadowed by everything 911 like most others in the Porsche range that don’t possess those magic numbers. 

Not enough for you? How about the low numbers GT model finding racing success. In 914/6 GT guise it won its class at the 1971 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race and finished seventh overall as well as fourth in its class at the 12 Hours of Sebring as well as winning the 1971 6 Hours of Saint Croix.

It may not be the first choice for those wanting to join the Porsche community, but it still has a place in Porsche history and one that’s becoming increasingly popular. 

Porsche 914 prices

Prices are all over the place. Currently in Australia they start at around $30,000 AUD privately which for once is favourable to overseas markets but again, it’s highly dependent on the model and condition. 

In the US, private and auction sales are anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 USD, the top end dominated by race-prepped cars. 

In the UK, private sales are currently £28,000 GBP for a 2.0L 4-cylinder with one at a recent auction going for £22,000 GBP. 

2. Porsche Boxster

Porsche Boxster

Launched in 1996, the Boxster was a saviour for Porsche at the time sharing much of its development and componentry with the brand’s halo car, the 911. Its design harks back to the 550 Spyder but in all honesty it probably has more in common with the 914, the entry level, mid-engined roadster (see above). 

It’s now coming into its own as a simple, sweet handling used sports car. Personally I think the interior has dated quite well although the materials Porsche were using were not quite up to scratch at the time, but that’s like saying Lewis Hamilton had a bad day—but still finishes second. 

The Boxster won’t set the world on fire in terms of straight line performance but what these cars will do is involve you, more than any new car for similar money. 

Starting off with a 2.5-litre engine it didn’t take long before that turned into a 2.7-litre engine in 2000, while an S variant was introduced in 2003 with a much larger 3.2-litre engine along with other upgrades across both models. 

In 2005 the Boxster came in for an overhaul with the headlights losing their ‘egginess’ much like the 911 at the time. Engines on offer were a 2.7-litre for the standard Boxster and 3.2-litres for the S variant which was later increased to 3.4-litres. 

Performance was not stellar but definitely quick enough for mountain passes especially given the nanny-state we live in. 0-100 kph takes around 6.9 seconds for the 2.7-litre and 0-100 kph in around 5.5 seconds for the 3.4-litre Boxster S and continued to drop for subsequent generations. 

Early cars enjoy smoother styled bumpers while later models start to introduce more open and aggressive air intakes. Both styles look fantastic and look best standard without any aftermarket body kits. 

We can’t not talk about the Boxster without mentioning a few issues. IMS, RMS, and cylinder bore scoring being the main culprits. Plenty has been written on the matter with debates raged across the internet as to how prolific the issues are. Depending on the model and year, the chances of failure increase.

The good news is, it’s kept these cars quite low in value. It can be done, but if you want peace of mind you’re going to have to find a good Porsche mechanic and make sure you check regularly for any signs of failure so you can catch it, make repairs and put measures in place to make everything more robust. 

Porsche Boxster prices

Right now in Australia, early 986 models are going for $18,000 AUD and up, a year ago that figure was closer to $10,000 AUD. Prices increase per model year and variant.

Prices, like every other car on this list are rather inflated. I’ve watched a 2013 981 Boxster fluctuate from an advertise low of $61,000 AUD to now a high of $88,000 AUD. It’s just simply supply and demand. 

Prices at UK auctions start around £3,500 GBP for an early 986 2.7L and double for later 2.7L cars, while 987 models start at around £7,000 GBP and go up from there with private sales adding a couple of grand or more on top of those auction prices. 

In the US, private sales start at around $5,000 USD for early models and go up from there. Prices seem to fluctuate depending on many factors such as condition, miles, and spec. There seemed to be a large amount of stock nationwide, so take your time in choosing the best car. Auction sites had the Boxster starting at around $8,000 USD and up from there.

3. Porsche 924

Porsche 924

Alongside the 928, the 924 was meant to usher in a new era for Porsche. A step on from the small and cheerful 914, the 924 was an Audi produced 2+2 coupe that had huge success between 1976-1988. A joint development between VW and Porsche with both manufacturers aiming to release a sports car of their own, it was only Porsche who saw it through. 

The 924 started out using VW’s EA831 2.0 L I4 engine and an Audi-sourced four-speed manual transmission, with multiple iterative improvements over the years to both the engine and transmission saw horsepower figures climb to 170 hp (127 kW) with the 924 Turbo.

Still not taking the 924 seriously? How about finishing sixth overall at 1980 Le Mans behind a Porsche 935 K3 on the same lap. That 924 was based off the 924 Carrera GT, just 406 examples built to qualify for Group 4 racing. Of course these demand a lot more money than the we are considering in this article, but by association, the standard 924 deserves a bit more credit. 

It might not get the pulses racing but it will do GT duties with sporting intent rather well. If you’re looking for an entry level Porsche with a roof, this is it. 

Some may turn their noses up at the parts bin approach but it actually predates modern vehicle manufacturing—think Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ; BMW Z4/Toyota Supra and every other VW and Audi built on the same platform. 

Porsche 924 prices

Australian prices start at around $13,000 AUD for private cars (although only two cars were advertised at the time of writing).

In the UK, private sales were hard to get a read on with unique cars throwing prices all over the place but for what it’s worth, prices started at £14,000 GBP. At auction, prices started at £2,900 GBP and went up from there.

Prices in the US at auction seem to start at around $5,000 USD reaching as high as $65,000 for that coveted 924 Carrera GT. Privately, you’re looking at around $6,000 USD and more for the rarer and higher spec models.

4. Porsche 944

Porsche 944

The Porsche 944 has had a bit of a resurgence the past few years as prices of other Porsche models went well beyond the means of most. Porsche describe the 944 as part of their transaxle series with a front engine, rear wheel drive layout. Evolved from the 924, the 944 brought a more modern, more serious tone with increased capabilities. There are a few variants to choose from starting with naturally aspirated versions, and a range topping Turbo. 

The standard 944 used a 2.5-litre engine producing 121 kW, with 184 kW in the 944 Turbo. Engine sizes fluctuated over the years from 2.5-litres, to 2.7-litres, to 3.0-litres for the naturally aspirated cars. 

The standard 944 has been quoted at under 9 seconds for the 0-100 kph run with the Turbo S doing that in well under 6 seconds.

Standard 944s give you a real taste of Porsche life with a body that feels small and unique without feeling antiquated. If your budget can manage a Turbo, it’s probably worth splashing the extra.

The 944 strikes a wonderful balance of genuine Porsche engineering, handling, and GT capability with genuine 80s appeal.

Porsche 944 prices

Privately in Australia prices start at $23,000 AUD shooting up to $45,000 AUD and beyond for Turbo models. 

In the UK, private sales start at £8,500 GBP for a 1989 S2 and onto £18,000 GBP and beyond for a Turbo. Auction sites have seen the Turbo go for £13,700 GBP. 

In the US, private sales start at around $4,000 USD, and onto $16,000 USD and beyond for a Turbo. Auction sites have very low mile Turbos going for just under $50,000 USD with regular 944s starting at around $5,000 USD.

5. Porsche 968

Porsche 968

The 968 was a heavily revised version of the 944 and the pinnacle of a model series that started way back with the 924 in 1976. With a host of mechanical improvements including a new engine, the 968 nevertheless had a short model cycle with just under 13,000 produced worldwide. 

Models started with the standard 968, cabriolet, and more track focused and now coveted 968 Clubsport (available in the UK, Europe, Japan and Australia) with the US market missing out. The UK market was also the only one to have the 968 Sport, essentially a Clubsport with most of the creature comforts retained.

This time there was no range topping Turbo, yet there were a few Turbo S and Turbo RS models created for Motorsport purposes and are of course very rare. 

Compared to today’s cars, even hot hatches, the performance is lacking however the involvement is miles ahead. Only the Clubsport offers comparable performance doing the 0-100 kph sprint in under 6 seconds. The standard 968 was again the entry level car for those wanting a bit of Porsche in their lives. In Australia the 968 CS was entered into endurance racing with limited success before being swapped out for the more powerful 911 (993) RS CS.

The variants that we are mostly looking at here are the standard and perhaps the Sport models if your budget stretches to that. Both make great GT cars while the cabriolet would certainly make for a great summer cruiser. Available in manual and auto, it’s the manual you’ll want to go for if you plan on extracting any kind of performance from the car. 

These are some of the most robust cars Porsche ever built, are not overly complex, yet as with any used classic requires a thorough inspection before buying and plenty of regular servicing to ensure longevity.

Porsche 968 prices

Australian private sales start at $35,900 for automatic 968s with manual cars fetching more and the Clubsport versions getting close to the $100,000 AUD mark or over depending on kilometres. 

UK private sales seem to be a little more sensible particularly for the Clubsport models, the cheapest at £21,000 GBP. Prices started at around £16,000 GBP for regular models. At auction, the prices start at £7,500 GBP before reaching the Clubsport level of £22,000 GBP.

In the US, private sales start at around $11,500 USD and go up from there while at auction prices start at $9,000 USD, with grey import Clubsport models and low mile cars fetching upwards of $59,000 USD.

6. Porsche Cayman

Porsche Cayman in yellow driving

Now we are getting a bit more into the realm of bang for your buck. The Cayman was born off the back of the Boxster, offering a fixed roof version of the convertible. Such was its development, Porsche couldn’t completely reengineer the body resulting in a slightly odd roofline with some angles looking a little unresolved, yet from other angles completely unique and interesting. 

The Cayman really brought back the spirit of the 968 giving buyers access to a Porsche sports car that wasn’t a 911. And so capable was the Cayman some suggested it was held back from performing better than the 911. Mid-engined with wonderful balance the original Cayman is still coveted today and is just on the cusp of the digital era when everything started to move from mechanical feel to electronic…everything. 

Performance was good but not great, however it’s in the handling that the Cayman shines brightest and makes up for any straight line speed deficiencies. That said, sub-6 seconds to 100 kph is plenty fast enough! Powering the Cayman was an entry level 2.7-litre flat six or in the higher spec ’S’ version, a 3.4-litre. Later models saw the base model capacity increase to 2.9-litres.

But it doesn’t come without controversy. Like the Boxster, do your research on IMS, RMS, and cylinder bore scoring and then make up your own mind. Cars are prone to failure and your approach to such issues will determine whether it’s a problem or not. Some may not appreciate the interior build quality and of course there are other things which can go wrong, so as always do your mechanical research with a local Porsche mechanic or online.

Only when the 2010 model was introduced did the Cayman S take on a new engine with direct injection and doing away with IMS altogether. These naturally command a premium although how much depends on the local market.

Oh and don’t even think about the rare Cayman R as they’ll be well over “our budget”.

Porsche Cayman prices

In Australia Cayman prices start at $40,000 for the less desirable automatics while a little bit more will see you in a manual car and a bit more again ($58,000) into a manual Cayman S. But there isn’t much to choose from. Let’s see what happens in a year from now.

UK Porsche owners seem to love the Cayman, a Pistonheads search resulting in 179 cars across all variants. The cheapest being a 3.4-litre manual Cayman S for £10,000 GBP. In fact there are a huge amount of Caymans including “S” models to choose from in various colours under the £20,000 GBP mark. In fact I even found a 2013 981 Cayman model for just under £23,000 GBP. Luck sods. Auction prices seem to mirror private sales right now.

In the US, auction prices seem to start around $18,000 USD for base models and go up from there with the Cayman S around the mid-$20k mark and the Cayman R at $50,000 USD. Privately, you’re looking at around $18,000 USD for a base model Cayman with the Cayman S commanding a few thousand more.

7. Porsche 928 / 928 S4

Porsche 928

The Porsche 928 was lauded when released for its design. The only sports car to date to receive the European Car of the Year award, it truly is a brilliant piece of design and engineering and introduced the “Weissach axle” which allows the rear suspension to adjust itself during cornering to eliminate lift-throttle oversteer. There are a lot of other sophisticated engineering solutions in the 928, with technology running throughout the car as this was a GT car aimed at heralding Porsche’s new thinking.

This does mean it’s packed with all sorts of bits and pieces which can, and eventually will go wrong. Like any old car, expect there to be a certain degree of upkeep required. But look after your 928 and you’ve got a loveable GT with an amazing soundtrack that can quite comfortably gobble up great distances. 

Most cars purchased were automatics so the classifieds will be dominated by them, but seek out the manual cars for a more engaging experience. The big V8 will see to it that you won’t need to change gears every few seconds.

That V8 started out as a 4.5-litre engine with 240 PS (177 kW) and slightly less in US markets which claimed the 0-100 kph time in around 6 seconds. Improvements began to roll in over the years with a 4.7-litre “S” model eventually raising the power to 228 kW (306 hp) resulting in better performance. 

The 928 was dragged updated in 1987 with the release of the 928 S4, with smoother and more integrated body panels, particularly at the rear. A new 5-litre engine producing 235 kW (316 hp) and a host of other mechanical changes now meant the 928 was a real player on the GT market. There were some other variants over the years such as the CS, SE, and GT culminating in the 928 GTS which obviously commands quite a bit these days.

Maintenance costs are reported to be high, no doubt due to the complexity of the model from inception to the final edition. But considering the bevy of Porsche models we are used to seeing today that aren’t 911s such as Macan’s, Cayenne’s, and Panamera’s, the 928 should start to be appreciated for its brilliance.

Porsche 928 prices

Australian prices of 928s have jumped somewhat. $24,000 AUD gets you a 1983 model with prices increasing from there with the cheapest manual car coming in at $35,000 and the cheapest 928 S4, an auto, asking $37,500.

In the UK privately an automatic 928S can be had for as little as £14,000 GBP with the first S4 model starting at £24,500 GBP, also automatic. At auction, prices start at £8,000 GBP with the S4 anywhere from £14,000 GBP.

US auction prices start at around $8,000 USD for an early 928 and a little more for a 928S and $12,000 USD and up will get you into a 928 S4. Privately, sales start at $13,000 USD for an older 928 or 928S, while just over $21,000 USD will land you a 928 S4.

8. Porsche 911 (996)

Porsche 996

Well hello, what do we have here! Yes, it’s an actual 911 on an article talking about Porsche cars you can afford. I’d put an asterisk next to that

The 996 generation was the new era 911, the makeover it had to have in order to compete against more modern machinery. Gone was the air-cooled engine replaced by a water-cooled one, an increase in size, and new styling. It still looked like a 911, a more serious and grown up version, but there were some styling details which bothered many. The “fried egg” headlights are the most contentious point but when you understand it was influenced by the GT1 Le Mans racer at the time, it softens the argument. 

Traditionalists will never accept it however, and that combined with the fact it simply isn’t an air-cooled 911, combined with the mechanical woes mean it’s a perfect storm for depreciated value. 

Yep, like the Boxster with which the 996 gen 911 shares components, and by extension the Cayman, the car carries the same IMS, RMS, and cylinder bore scoring troubles. Again, this depends on the engine capacity, build year and of course the way the car has been treated over the years. 

The positive is, the percentage of failure rates is quite small, the negative is they still do happen—just ask journalist Jethro Bovington how his 996 is getting on after rolling the dice.

But find a good one, check it regularly and always look out for telltale signs and you’ve got a genuine 911 that is a sweet handling car that today would make for a wonderful GT car.

Performance was superior to the air-cooled model it replaced with a 0-100 kph time of around 5 seconds.

If you want to go on a buying and ownership journey, follow Mat Watson from CarWow on YouTube.

Porsche 996 prices

In Australia, prices have risen due to to lack of stock and high demand. The cheapest 996 series 911 is a $45,000 AUD automatic car however it is a mid-cycle 2002 model so does get some improvements. The next cheapest is a $46,000 AUD cabriolet but this one is manual. The lower end of the pricing spectrum is dominated by less fancied cabriolets and most of them automatic. You’ll now need to pay significantly more for manual coupes.

In the UK, the story is very different. The cheapest 996, a manual coupe, is £10,500 GBP with plenty of manuals, cabriolets, and automatics to choose from under £20,000 GBP. Auction prices start at under £10,000 GBP with manual coupes going for a little more than that, so not a huge difference between private and auction prices.

The US has a lot of 996 stock however prices are not as low as you might expect, the 996 gen showing resistance to further depreciation. At the low end of the auctioned cars sees a mix of base Carreras with manual transmissions and cabriolets starting around $15,000 USD but rapidly rising to well over $20,000 USD which really opens up choices. Privately the prices start around the $13,000 USD mark with a range of different variants, mostly automatic and once again, dominated by cabriolets. There are a number of manual cars under the $20,000 USD mark but you’ll need to pay over that to get the pick of the bunch.

If you’re in the market for a used classic Porsche, do your research, speak to people on forums and local Porsche community to gauge what you should be paying.

Prices were gathered using Pistonheads, Carsales, Collecting Cars, Car Gurus, and Bring a Trailer.

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