1977 Porsche 911: Good Buy Or Not?

1977 Porsche 911

One of my earliest and fondest car hunting memories is of making the 30 minute drive to a small neighboring town with Jesse and our father to look at a Porsche 911. Our dad had spotted the car a few weeks earlier in a garage, but it had disappeared before he could go back for a closer look. He just happened to be doing work in that small town earlier that day and spotted it once more, but this time it was at a bank with a for sale sign in the window. They were asking just $5k for what appeared to be a pristine car. I wish we had bought it, but neither of us were old enough to have that kind of money. I regret it even more as I look at this ’77 example that was just pulled from a barn in Nobleboro, Maine and has been listed here on craigslist. It looks solid and original, but needs a good cleaning, polishing, and a complete tune up. The seller is asking $14k for it, which strangely enough seems like a good deal in the current inflated Porsche market. If only we could go back in time to buy that 911! Thanks to Ethan L for this tip!

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Comments

  1. Mark E

    I don’t know hardly anything about 911 Porches but if it were $10k or below I’d be all over it. Above it and (shrug) I’d have to do research.

    Don’t know how long ago your story took place. I had a ‘1969 911S with a sunroof for a very brief time in 1978. It was completely rust free and the original owner had been a Porsche mechanic. I bought it for $6k and sold it for $7500. As an owner I discovered the one thing nobody mentions about the 6-cylinder 911S…its appetite for premium fuel! The fuel gauge would go down visibly during just a short drive around town…

    EDIT: Clicked on the link to see that it’s a supposedly clean 911S which, at that price seems like a good deal. Guess it is too ’cause the lister has mentioned ‘overwhelming interest’ and a pending sale.

  2. Dolphin Dolphin Member

    The ask is $14K and there is a sale pending.

    That price is pretty low compared to both earlier and later 911s, but the biggest issue is likely to be the engine. This one is described as starting then dying, which might be a FI problem. But a bigger worry with 91K miles is the fact that the ’74 – ’77 engines are notorious for trouble, requiring early rebuilds. The SC engines from ’78-on got enough of a redesign to fix that.

    If this car is basically OK I would source a later engine and swop it in. You would then have a more reliable car for under the going prices for early and late ’70s 911s. But it would never get to the price range of the earlier and later models, so best to just drive it.

  3. BILL GRAHAM

    I bought a 911s at a yard sale back in the 90s. It hadn’t run in years but had good paint and upholstery. It was from here in Az. so no rust. For 5k how could I loose? Well, after doing everything it needed to get it up and running I had a total of11k in it and finally got it sold for 10k.

    I’ll never buy another one.

  4. Dan

    Noticed that the wheels on the right side of car are different from the left side. I bet this car has a lot of expensive hidden problems.

  5. celline

    Had one of these…agree with Dolphin re the engines ! Very problematic !!! Probably best to move on to the late 70’s and pay the difference.

  6. jim s

    i too wonder about the different wheels side to side, i see some extra wheels in the background of some of the photos. was it driven until something costly needed fixed and parked because of that? i hope that ” pending sale ” is to wait on a PI by someone who knows these cars. great find, maybe..

    • Justin

      Guys!!!!! READ THE WHOLE POST BEFORE COMMENTING!
      The owner states that he has multiple wheels that go with the car!

      “Car is shown with both types of wheels mounted but comes with all 4 original Fuchs. The BBS wheels are also available”.

  7. Dan

    Oops Me bad. Missed that about the wheels

  8. Kirk

    I am well immersed in the air cooled Porsche community and have had a dozen 911s and restored many of them. That car was a steal. It’s obvious by how quickly it sold. Look at recent values of these cars. 911s have been undervalued for years. Any more, almost any reasonably priced project 911 can be sorted and still not loose money on it.

    As for the engine. Yes, there are potential head stud issues but the fixes are well known. A well sorted 2.7 motor can last 200k no problem.

    A good mid year car is as close as you can get to the early 911 experience without spending early 911 money. A true bargain in the 911 world. Well bought!

    • Dolphin Dolphin Member

      Agreed this car is a bargain compared to typical prices for 911s these days, and that the 1974-77 2.7 liter from 1974-77 can be made to work as Bruce Anderson’s book shows, but would that be the best route? You would need to get the right shop to do the rebuild, the cost will be high, and you will still have the same unwanted 2.7 engine.

      I think if someone wanted a good driver for the long haul it would be better to source an SC or 3.2 engine.

      • Kirk

        I have to disagree. It’s also hard to separate the car from the engine without talking mods. Having personally driven every 911 generation from a 2.0 to a 3.2 911, I really enjoy the 2.7s performance. Yes the 3.0 and the 3.2 have more power but at a cost of responsiveness and feel. The mid year cars are really fun to drive. I would say very similar in power to an SC but more nimble. A little character from early cars and a little more power and torque like the later cars.

        As 911s evolved, they got more power but also heavier and less responsive. Don’t get me wrong they all have the character of a 911 but for me, the earlier, the better. For driving pleasure as well as investment (Including the middies).

        Take all of this with a grain of salt. I am an early car guy and as so ,greatly biased.

      • Dolphin Dolphin Member

        Well Kirk, I think we all have developed some preferences, which can turn into solid biases. I studied up on the 911 and still have a large library of the books as well as every 911 brochure printed between 1963/4 and the end of the 3.2 cars, but my bias ended up going in a different direction despite test driving quite a few. I understand that there are subtle distinctions and preferences between the 911 series, and I am definitely all for maintaining originality, so let’s hope the happy buyer of this car keeps the original engine.

  9. The Walrus

    As of 5:30P EST on 10 Jun the seller states “Lots of interest / Currently entertaining offers”. Makes me wonder if the offers are above or below the $14K listed. I’ve been watching pre-’98 911 prices over the last 6 months. It’s almost impossible to see one on craigslist, even using http://www.searchtempest.com .

    I’m reminded of a story a friend of my fathers told me about a garage in Brooklyn years ago. The wife advertised ‘All original 1953 Chevrolet 2 door, One owner. 15,000 miles $10,000 obo’ and she gave an address and time. He said he showed up at 10AM to find what was the only 2 door Chevrolet worth that at the time… a Corvette. He said 2 others prospective buyers were also there had the cash on them. She said… OBO means ‘or best over’ and an impromptu auction broke out.

    Back to this 911… the owner states 3/4 condition. Well, it’s definitely more 4 than 3. Even so, $14K in this market is cheap money. It leaves about $20K to restore it. If the pan and underside are as rust free as stated, I could see someone going to $16 on this particular example. The dash looks good. The interior repairs are minor. Rebuild the engine (assuming its not entirely unfixable). Have a good quality paint job applied. Add some sweat equity cleaning and ‘fixing up’ the various bits. Then sit back and watch the investment crush the stock market. The days of the sub-$20K 911 driver are over.

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