DIY-Friendly? 1978 Porsche 930

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As you have have read on these pages, my daily driver 1995 M3 bit the dust a few weeks ago. In a perfect world, I would have stored it and gotten to refreshing the headgasket in a few years when values started to rise; unfortunately, that ain’t my world. This 1978 Porsche 930 here on eBay has been out of commission for a while, but with prices on the rise, the seller likely saw the stars align with all signs pointing to “sell.” 

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Of course, it helps if you clearly own a dismantling business specializing in Porsches. Ironically, the buyer of my blown-headgasket M3 is the son of my mechanic, with endless space and tools to get the job done at his leisure. The seller contends this is a very simple project, which it may well be – but no details are offered as to how this 930 ended up at a dismantlers and why the engine was removed in the first place.

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My guess is this Porsche represents the remains of a stalled project. The body doesn’t appear to be damaged, or perhaps this salvage yard in Sun Valley, CA already had the bodywork done years ago and is now certain they don’t want to invest any further in it. The engine does look complete and it is numbers matching, but this isn’t exactly a Corolla. Maintenance history and other details are essential, even if it is a total project.

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That said, the interior looks to be in great shape. That’s half the battle on any restoration, so the fact that all signs point to this 930 being a genuine 31,179 mile example is encouraging. With the prices these cars have been fetching, the asking price of $56,995 doesn’t seem unreasonable – if you can do the work yourself. If not, I’d say to just plan on buying it as car that you can enjoy now and that will likely still be worth more than you invested in another 10 years.

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Comments

  1. Van

    A 930 is an experience every car nut should have. Below 4000 rpm you think, what’s the big deal, a good beatle is this fast. When you hit 4000 rpm you can’t stop yourself from checking the rear view mirror to see who hit you.

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  2. CelestialGryphon

    Huh. This car actually belongs on a trailer. Or in one. I’m not sure about that asking price, I’m sure that although the paint will need some clean up there’s gotta be more to this. Considering if that engine is frozen… That’s gonna be pricy.

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  3. Claus Graf

    56 k?

    I could buy a few 914’s with that money.

    Or pay for college.

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  4. RayT Member

    If only I had the money (even though it’s too high)….

    A slightly newer (’86, I think) Turbo taught me unforgettable lessons about oversteer. No damage to it — or me — but you never really understand turbo lag or rearward weight bias until you face it in Real Life!

    These are great, great cars, and while it’s not exactly a daily-driver (especially in an East Coast winter), the 930 is a delightful toy. The driver has to really pay attention — no electronic driver aids — but for me that’s a big part of the charm.

    I’d expect the new owner to have to shell out major money for repair and refurbishment when they get it home, but if that fits the budget, they’ll end up with a unique and desirable car. IF, that is, they have some behind-the-wheel skills….

    My second-favorite 911!

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  5. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Don’t 930’s regularly pull 6 figures in good, running condition? I don’t think the price is off…I think I’m left wondering why the seller isn’t putting it back together himself

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  6. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    Not enough information to go on. I assume that the dismantler, being a dismantler, bought the car with the engine out and little knowledge of its condition…..or at least with little interest in revealing any bad news about the engine that he might have.

    “This is a very simple project” —- maybe, maybe not, but I would not bank on that.

    Instead I would be very careful with this car, especially since the SCM Guide has the recent median auction price paid for these at $95K, and with a price of $60K for this car, and with Porsche parts / service costs being what they are, plus Porsche buyers’ concerns about the mechanical and ownership history of Turbos (rightfully) being pretty strict—–caveat emptor.

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    • RayT Member

      There you go being practical again, Dolphin!

      I’ve known people who could — and would — rip into a 930 engine and, no matter what its initial condition, get it running like a charm. I, alas, am not one of them. I’d have to shell out the moolah for an expert. And, of course, pay Porsche parts prices.

      If I had that kind of cash, I wouldn’t pay any attention to your warnings. There are a few cars that can affect me that way, and the 930 is one.

      Being poor (and thus realistic), I have to agree with you, as usual.

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    • angliagt

      Sometimes you’re better just selling something,
      rather than putting a lot of time & money into it.
      I don’t think this Porsche bubble will last forever.

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  7. Kevin Harper

    In 1980 at the grand age of 16, I got arrested and lost my license while driving one of these. Same color as this car. Fond memories now, not so much fun then.

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  8. Mark

    I was high bidder at $25k for a pristine 50,000 mile 930 12 years ago at an auction. I didn’t meet reserve, and it remained unsold. I bet that guy is happy he didn’t sell it to me that day!

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  9. Jeffro

    How about a bucket, some soap, and a sponge? Couldn’t hurt. Certainly might help. My $.02 worth.

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  10. Jack Quantrill

    There’s one of this vintage for sale in Scottsdale,AZ for 185,000!

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  11. Dale Leier

    I find the thing with restoring older cars that have sat around too long is they tend to lose structural integrity unless you take them completely apart. Even then they never seem to fit back together perfectly. I don’t know why that is…

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  12. Tre Deuce

    Dale, it is not the sitting around that distorts frames and bodies, though, it contributes, it’s just age and driving forces that eventually distort the frames/bodies.

    Unibodies resist the twisting and distortion better then body on frame structures. Even a cast iron head and crankshafts will distort over time if laid horizontally, that is why crankshafts are stored on end, vertically.

    Putting body parts back together is always a challenge, that is why back in the day, we would find and put a whole front clip on rather then replace bent parts.

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  13. Tre Deuce

    Jeff, if you lived near me, we could of had the M3 fixed over a weekend and fixed a lot of other potential issues(VANOS,.Valve stem seals, etc) while under repair. Cost would be your provided parts(usually under $250.00), a half case of Stone Brewing _ Arrogant Bastard Ale and a fifth of Jeremiah Weed bourbon liqueur.

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  14. Doug Towsley

    i have always loved this body style,,, Especially with a big air dam and that Whale tail. I used to love these in SCCA and Transam racing and several local racers still have theirs and bring them out on vintage events.
    Im not a Porsche guy, But my neighbor up the road has several in his collection. He has one of the modern versions with all the bells and whistles,. Got it from a guy underwater during the last downturn for a song. But the one I like is one of these. His has a old Factory race engine that was a backup for the factory race team. It was detuned down to 600 hp and has all kinds of expensive internals. $30,000 to rebuild it.
    He doesnt try to do maintenance himself,. He has a guy who maintains many of the local racers cars and to do a proper service because of the turbos you drop the entire drivetrain out of the car. Even changing plugs is a exercise in engineering unless you drop the whole thing out. They use a lift and have a special setup.
    Rear steer and driving? Tony took multiple classes at performance driving school and still brushes up from time to time. You do NOT drive this like a regular car or you will end up in a 360 spin real quick.
    My bucket list has me & Sabine lapping Nurburgring over and over.
    Watch some of this with a 911 and just tell me doesnt this get your motor running?
    See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGUv7nBB5CE

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  15. Fiete T

    College friend’s family was old money, so they had money for quite a collection. One day he thought it would be funny to get me to drive the 930 out by ‘the farm.’ I knew the car’s reputation, but still jumped at the chance to drive it…learned about ‘lift-throttle, over steer’ as the car attempted to eat a fence on the outside of a turn. He was laughing- barely missed creaming the driver’s side when the ass-end decided it wanted to meet the front end.
    Nice!

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