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We Bought This Porsche 911 Off Craigslist!

Craigslist is great, but there are certain vehicles that you just don’t expect to find on there. Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and air-cooled Porsche 911s for example. We are always watching for anything interesting, so imagine our surprise when this ’82 911 SC popped up on our local craigslist!

The price seemed high, but we had to look anyway. The seller met us at the outskirts of town where the car was parked in a pole barn. It was exciting to watch that door roll up and this Porsche appear. Apparently, they had owned a 911 when they were younger and had always longed for another.

Unfortunately, raising values had made the prospect very unlikely. That is until they found this partially disassembled project for $6,800 about a decade ago. The previous owner had dropped the engine to do a valve job and planned to do a light restoration but passed away before they could finish.

Everything was kept neatly organized and clean in plastic boxes. The next owner didn’t get any farther than moving it into their barn though. A work transfer then made things even harder, so they decided it was finally time to sell and figured craigslist was as good a place to list it (they hadn’t heard of Barn Finds yet).

Josh and I know that you should never buy someone else’s unfinished project, but we just couldn’t resist. The seller was asking $16k and we ended up talking him down to $14k. That may still seem high, but as we all know, air-cooled 911 prices are through the roof. Here is it safe and sound in Barn Finds HQ!

After a quick cleaning and rat removal, we could finally see what we had bought. It smelled funny and was rough around the edges, but we had a Porsche 911 in the shop! This was a first for us and very exciting. This Targa was optioned nicely too – with sport seats, cruise control, air conditioning, 16″ Fuchs, and more!

There was one big problem though. The engine was completely disassembled. If this had been a small block Chevy, it wouldn’t be a big deal, but this is an air-cooled flat-six and worth a pretty penny. We talked to a few local Porsche experts and realized that the rebuild was beyond our budget and expertise.

Luckily, we know a local guy with enough resources to do the job right so we sold the car to him for what we had into it. We were sad to see it go, but we are grateful to have had the experience and we already have something to replace it. There isn’t anything much better than finding a Porsche in a barn!

Speaking of Porsches in barns, guess what was parked next to the 911? That’s a 1960 Porsche 356 Super 90! It belonged to the owner’s father and the money from the 911 is going towards a new paint job. Let’s just hope that it sees the road soon so we don’t have to go back there to get it in another decade!


  1. NotSure

    Good find!
    May we ask what the engine rebuild was expected to cost?

    Like 7
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff


      Like 3
      • MotorWinder

        What would this car be worth properly restored?

        Like 3
  2. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    You guys aren’t very good flippers.

    Like 17
    • Josh Mortensen Staff

      We weren’t planning on flipping it. The buyer happened to stop by our shop and was interested in it. With everything esle we have going on right now, it just made more sense to get our money back, free up space and reduce our workload. Sometimes it’s better to cut them loose to free up time for more important things!

      Like 25
      • Brakeservo

        The best Cracklist buys are the ones that surprise you – I have bought a Griffith 200, the 1953 Monte Carlo Rally Bentley, a Tatra 603, the Bentley Radford Prototype and others off of Cracklist. I wonder what the future holds now that one must pay for Cracklist ads?? I think it is a good thing.

        Like 4
  3. Ralph

    I don’t think I would have paid the $6800 they paid for it back then……..

    Like 7
  4. YankeeTR5

    Given the machining has already been done, assembly of the engine isn’t that difficult. Easy really. Parts, if missing, are easy to get and while not cheap, are not in super exotic territory. That said, its all the other things outside of the engine that’ll need to be addressed that tend to blow the budget. Still, I think I would have given it a go before I let it go. Many Porsche “experts” have never rebuilt much of anything and drink the cool aid. Those in the repair business are the ones pouring it…..

    Like 7
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      We spoke with guys who restore 911s and build their own engines. It wasn’t just the engine though. The body was good but the interior needs completely restored and the paint redone. We were looking at $30k plus to do it right.

      Like 4
      • Sam61

        I would have asked for antlers. Mount half a rack on each rear view mirror…great deterrent for those pesky bikers and motorcylces that drive between cars, ignore traffic signs, lights, rules. Just sayn’

        Like 4
  5. pete

    Just get it street ready and have a blast. You can sit on old coke crates.

    Like 6
  6. Brian Snyder

    There are both hobbyists like me and industry professionals here on Barn Finds, but I think we’re all a bit harsh with the term “flipper”. I’m a renovation contractor, and I think the bad rap comes from a decade of HGTV shows that use the term flipping for buying, fixing, and reselling houses. Somehow the term has made it into our car hobby, and is used in a derogatory way.

    To me a car flipper is someone who combs the internet for deals, picks up a car, takes resale photos on their trailer, and resells for substantially more days later without doing anything to improve the product. They have a small investment of time, but nothing else. What Jesse & Josh did is what makes the car hobby great. They had a fun adventure, and connected an old car with someone who has the skill to put it back on the road again. When that person sells it for a profit, they haven’t flipped the car. They have invested money and time to add value to a product, and deserve to make a profit on that investment. That’s what we start businesses for, not to lose money.

    Good for you Josh and Jesse for being true car enthusiasts. All of you “flipping” commenters, let’s try to be a bit more fair to construction and car businesses when they legitimately put money into a project to improve it and add value before selling it. That’s called business, not flipping.

    Like 34
    • rodney

      I wholesaled cars for decades which is basically “flipping” to and from auctions and dealerships. Not I am a realtor and sell to groups that flip. The HGTV people are the worst because they always underestimate the cost and timetable for repairs, usually by a significant amount. But real flippers are OK (actually about one in ten is a stand-up guy or girl).
      But car people in dealerships, house flippers and plenty of people here complain, first about flippers and then about how much somebody is making. Except themselves.
      I have guys asking me to cut a $2000 commission on a house that is making them 35K.
      My advice is; if you don’t like the price or what the seller is making do not buy it. The anger at people making more than buyers think the seller “should” make is ridiculous.

      Like 13
      • Steve R

        Most of the people I have come across that have an opinion about how much money a “flipper” should make, will gouge buyers when they are selling something.

        Steve R

        Like 8
    • Tom

      Adding value wherever deserves
      the rewards that resale yields.
      The entrepreneur is risking their time and money against the marketplace which is fickle / risky.

      Like 0
  7. Pat L Member

    What are you boys working on that replaced this project?

    Like 1
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      We will announce our new project soon Pat. It’s a car I have wanted to own for a while and is more in our price range. Stay tuned!

      Like 2
  8. Rojo

    Here is one I have posted many times on this site. So I dug it out again and took pictures. It’s 73 Porche targa E type. Has 66K miles and I bought this car back around 1979. Been in this Shop for about 30 years and doesn’t need a rebuild but needs every seal replace for sure. That alone cost a pretty penny. Oh what the heck let my heirs worry about it. Oh it’s registered historic in a state where it’s done once and that’s it. I have 22 other vehicle and the room to keep them. All my cars are the ones people say ” I use to have one of those.” or I say ” I like having things other people don’t.”

    Like 5
    • David Sanborn

      Heirs, schmeirs – I’m prepared to worry about it *right*now*! My two desired cars have gone up in value exponentially, the 911 and the 240z. Feel free to let me be an heir stand-in!

      Like 2
    • Josh Mortensen Staff

      Rojo, we need to do a Reader Feature on you and your cars! I’ll email you about it.

      Like 1
      • MotorWinder

        Yes Josh, reader features!! or … members section, an area to display some of their past & present projects, accomplishments and current rides!
        I have a 63′ Parisienne Convertible (debating to put it up for sale), Currently working on a 97 Boxster (would have taken on your 911 in a heart beat : ), and finalizing a deal on a 58′ Morris Minor Traveler.

        Like 2
  9. Danger Dan

    If you’re happy
    I’m happy for you
    Great job guys!
    What an exciting moment

    Like 3
  10. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    I see at least 7 people got the humor in my comment.

    Like 4
  11. Steve

    Cool that you dropped the hammer on this and wont spend the rest of your life regretting it getting away.

    Like 2
  12. PDXBryan

    I’m always biting my tongue but I can’t help myself….G-DAMMIT! Why do 911s have to be so effing expensive to buy or fix?!! I’ve wanted one for 48 years and I’m sure it’ll be another 48 before little old peasant me can afford one. /:^(
    I really don’t get why they’re such an expensive proposition. They’re just glorified bugs and they made a gazzilion of em! Usually “supply and demand” says that plentiful items cost less, so what gives? Actually, I don’t even have to own a Porsche. I just want a well made, rear engined, air-cooled car with light, direct steering, good power, and timeless style that’s affordable to buy and maintain. Any suggestions?

    Like 2
    • Mountainwoodie

      Bring money…….sorry :)

      Like 1
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      If you think they are glorified Beetles, then why don’t you just get a Beetle? The 911 may share some engineering ideas, but it’s nothing like a Beetle. Instead, I’d recommend a Porsche 914. It’s not as powerful but is lightweight and has direct steering. You just gotta watch out for rust. Pull the rockers out and check around the jack points and under the battery. We actually have one that’s close to being back on the road. That knowledge eased some of the pain when we let this car go.

      Like 1
    • On and On On and On Member

      PDXBryan, ……..Buy a Boxster. It’s poo-poo’d by 911 purists but it’s a true 6 cylinder marvelous Porsche. I suspect their prices will start to reflect that. I owned one for several years. Very dependable, Well built. Fun to drive. Cheap to buy. Try one.

      Like 5
    • Tom

      An ol Boxster is where it’s at.
      I’ve had 356s, an early 911 and a few 928s. I am lovin my ‘98 Boxster, (hard too in the winter).
      It is a great Porsche experience.

      Like 1
    • MotorWinder

      I’ll align with the other comments “buy a Boxster” !!!!
      Always admiring the 911 styling, I would never have though I’d own a Porsche.
      With a total invested cost of $9000, this one did not break the bank.
      No regrets, lots of fun to drive, more of a challenge to work on as opposed to my 63 Pontiac : ) but worth every moment !!!
      Buy one while they’re still affordable…
      This one is the first year of the Boxster, some say the best, either way I suspect these cars will soon start to climb in value.

      Like 1
  13. Rock On

    PDXBryan I would have a look at a 1967-1969 Chevrolet Corvair. You could have a top notch air cooled car for like $12-15K. They even came turbocharged.

    Like 3
  14. Mountainwoodie

    The ’82 SC is the one to have of that iteration of the 911’s. So your impulse was good and the body ‘looks’ solid. But………P car stuff is soooo expensive that unless you’re in love with the car and willing to spend the money, best to bail when the bailing gets good.

    Look for an early 901, say 66-70 , there’s got to be one hiding somewhere up your way. It’s like printing money if you can buy one cheap enough,

    Like 0
  15. PDXBryan

    Rock On
    Ya know what? You’re right! I’ve always loved 2nd gen Corvairs but I momentarily forgot. I’ve heard that with a few mods to suspension and steering they really rock!

    Like 1
  16. Jack M.

    There are 179 Corvairs listed for sale here. Send us some photos if you get one.

    Like 3
  17. David Frank David F Member

    I love German cars, but it seems there’s always some pitfall, some bit that either is no longer available or some fatal flaw that is crazy expensive to repair. The much-maligned 996s, for example, are nice 911s that are very reasonably priced, but then there’s the intermediate shaft bearing that is expensive and a bit of work to replace. Even my old Mercedes W111 with one of the most common Mercedes engines ever has its own issue. They blow head gaskets and the gaskets are no longer available. Can you imagine owning a really nice 230SL, for example, and discovering that it can’t be repaired? I really do miss my Corvairs!

    Like 2
  18. Jubjub

    I’d have bought the Bentley manual a gasket set, the weird Loctite glue and thrown that b!tch back together! Having a case of deja vu!

    Liked these better when a jerk off plebe like me could find one needy and cheap!

    Like 2
    • steve evans

      Hi there;
      Would your 911E be available and if so , in which state are you hiding?

      Like 0

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