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Good Year: 1986 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2

The Carrera 3.2 was the last iteration of the classic 911 and many consider it to be the best of the series. Featuring a host of upgrades over previous generations, the ’84-’89 models featured a rust-resistant galvanized body, comfortable interior, and daily-driver reliability. This 1986 Porsche 911 Carrera found here on craigslist is an original example with a host of recently done maintenance.

It’s clear to see why the 911 is the longest-running production sports car in existence.  As one of the world’s most celebrated sports cars, each subsequent version seems to push the envelope of innovation while retaining its trademark shape and driving experience. However, some of the latest versions of the 911 have been met with criticism from automotive reviewers for muting driver feedback with electronic doodads, particularly the steering. This car represents a different era, from a time when the 911 was free from driver-assistance software and required your full attention.

Clad in its original Iris Blue paint, the seller acknowledges that this example’s cosmetic condition isn’t perfect but is story-free, with a known ownership history and records back to 1992. The car was owned locally in the Virginia and Baltimore areas with no winter use. It is rust-free and ready for summertime cruising, although the lack of  functioning A/C may preclude driving the 911 on the hottest days. The system’s components are still present if the next owner wishes to repair it though. The car also includes desirable Fuchs alloy wheels.

This 911’s maintenance history includes several recent improvements, including a new clutch, clutch cable, shifter bushings and Wevo coupler, new motor and transmission mounts, and an assortment of new sender and seals. The calipers have been rebuilt, along with new stainless steel hoses, pads and brake master cylinder. The seller also replaced the cap, rotor, plug wires and alternator. Last, the valves were recently adjusted. The blue leather interior is in good condition, and all interior electronics (aside from the A/C) are said to be functioning.

$18,500 could bring home a variety of cars, but how many are as iconic as the 911? The 3.2L engine churns out 207 B.H.P. and will hit 60 M.P.H. in about six seconds, numbers that are still impressive by today’s standards. Plus, the whir of that air-cooled flat-six behind your head is an experience that’s hard to duplicate.


  1. Kraig

    Someday, I’ll own a 911. A lot like this one.

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  2. Paul Wegweiser

    This would look perfect parked next to the “F Bomb” tii. …If only I had the scratch. I know the car fairly well and have even driven it. Owned by a thoughtful adult and close personal friend. I’m actually a bit sad he’s parting with it. Not a basket case…a solid well-cared for funmobile.

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  3. tyler

    it needs a whale tail

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  4. scot

    ~ despite having owned a couple in the past, i don’t really know Porsches well enough to have a qualified opinion. if i were shopping this one appears to be an excellent candidate, well priced.

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  5. John Vogl

    I had the pleasure of babysitting one of these for six months last year (also with non-functioning a/c!). Actually didn’t like it at first; i didnt get what the Porsche mystique was; it seemed a bit heavy and almost crude by modern standards. I must admit that it took me a while to understand how it was to be driven. But once I got it, I absolutely loved it. A true driver’s car, always rewarding the right input. No frills, no cupholders, just a fantastic driving experience, especially through the twisties, and such a great engine sound that I never considered turning on the radio. Someone is in for a treat with this gem.

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  6. Jeff

    Nice! Back in the 80’s I was a service mng at a Tire store in WPB, Fl. We did work on the “Palm Beach” crowd cars. Dude dropped of his mid-80’s 911 Turbo in the morn, threw me the keys and said take it to lunch if ya want (in front of my boss :) Ah memories!

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  7. Dolphin Member

    These early Carreras are nice cars—much nicer to drive and cheaper to buy than early 911s, which have escalated in price so much lately. But they can be an acquired taste if you are used to front engine cars with water cooled engines.

    My experience with Carreras has been that even well cared for cars can have quirks, things like not going into first gear at all unless the car was completely stopped, and kickback through the steering wheel when going over certain types of small bumps. The last thing you want to do is buy a 911 at a distance without driving it first. The fact that this car is on Craigslist will pretty much guarantee that any buyer will be close by and will drive the car before buying it.

    I think this car is a bit overpriced for what it is, even though the seller says it has been taken care of. The mileage is getting high, it has the early Carrera gearbox, the paint is faded, and the A/C is not working. If the engine ends up lasting for a long time before needing a rebuild, as these 3.2s often will, then it could end up as a good purchase for someone at this asking price. But if it breaks or starts smoking or leaking oil soon it will generate to a big bill.

    I have seen a number of good looking early Carreras with under 100K miles sell for less than this one, and I have seen some good late Carreras with the G50 gearbox and moderate mileage sell for about this asking price. Both Carreras and SCs can often bring significantly higher prices than later 911s if they are in excellent condition, I guess because people value their vintage looks and simplicity. I would pay a premium for a late Carrera with the G50 gearbox, though, which shifts much better than any earlier 911.

    Fortunately the 911 has been around for quite a few decades and there are a lot of them for sale, so there is a lot of choice out there.

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  8. Jeff

    Quality car here, the later 3.6L engine would be desirable, 930 trim and less miles and ya got a pure classic but prob 30K+…

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