Ready To Drive: 1978 Porsche 911 SC

The Porsche 911 is an interesting machine that has become wildly popular. I’ve always appreciated the unique engineering and looks of these cars, but when prices first sky-rocketed, I didn’t quite understand the sudden surge in interest. That was until I finally drove a well-sorted example and got to experience the full charm of a 911. If you’ve been looking for a 911 that’s ready to drive, this great example has just been listed in the Barn Finds Classifieds and is located in Panama City Beach, Florida with a $47,500 asking price.

We found and purchased a barn find 911 last year and I’ve already spent quite a bit of time going through it. They are surprisingly easy cars to work on, although the air-cooled boxer engine isn’t something you’ll want to tear apart without doing some serious research on first. Thankfully, that isn’t something you’ll likely need to worry about with this one. For one, it’s an SC which means it’s packing the very durable 3.0-liter engine. It’s also been serviced throughout the years and recently. Unlike the earlier 2.7 liter that’s in our 911, the 3.0 features an aluminum engine case that is less prone to head stud issues and came with hydraulic chain tensioners. The seller has already had a pop-off valve installed, so this engine should easily be good for another 100k miles or more.

As these have gained in interest, parts supply has really taken off. You can get everything from Porsche branded parts to track-tuned aftermarket parts. Heck, you can even build one into a safari ready off-roader. This one has already had all the expensive work done to make it exceptional inside and out. It’s such a nice example, it would be hard to justify lifting it and slapping big tires on it, but you know there’s a part of you that wants to do it just for the looks it will get going down the road!

If you want a 911 to drive and enjoy, the SC generation is the one you want. Early cars are great but terribly expensive to buy and repair. The 2.7-liter cars can be good but need some expensive upgrades to keep them running their best. The last of the air-cooled 911s provide great performance but cost quite a bit more to buy. This car has a lot going for it, so let’s hope it find a new owner that will drive it the way it was built to be driven!

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  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Nice cars. Spent 22 years with Porsches and loved all of it. Only thing I’d do to this car is move the 7″ wheels to the front and put 8s on the rear. Plenty of room and they look good on the car. Where this car shines and will really thrill you is when you’ve gone through the first 4 gears and then into 5th with your foot on the floor on an open road. The sound alone is worth it.

    Like 6
    • Timothy Phaff

      Great idea with the tires.

  2. alphasud Member

    I agree with Bob. I have had 3 911’s in the past when you could still afford to have one. Of all of them I liked the 76 the best. The engine was built using euro pistons, cams, backdated exhaust with Weber carburation. It was kind of a chore to drive in town but get it on the open road and grab it by the scruff and you would have therapy that lasted for days. Now I drive a Corvair Corsa and say I kinda reminds me of my 911:) I would have to add to the article that any Porsche purchase needs a thorough PPI. Although the 3.0 is a robust engine it’s also old and they do suffer from valve guide issues and broken head studs so I pays to really go over these to avoid surprises. Also syncro’s are somewhat weaker than most especially if someone didn’t know how to drive.

    Like 3
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    Alphasud..Did my order backwards. ’65 Corvair first, then the Porsches.

    Like 1
  4. DonC

    Still driving my ’02 911 and love it. Daily driver too. 108,000 miles and going strong. Track pipes make it roar when I want to. Has to be one of the most reliable cars I’ve owned in my 43 years of driving. Not sure I’d go backwards to one of the air-cooled – nothing against them – just sayin

    • alphasud Member

      Your 996 represents the new 911 entry vehicle. They received a lot of criticism but Porsche had no choice going to liquid cooling. Emissions and noise regulations couldn’t be met. The 3.4 is the least robust of the engines but even they don’t have a high rate of failure. Like all Porsches they love it best to be driven regularly.

      • DonC

        not the first time I read a comment about the engine – yet I’ve had no issues at all (yes, took care of the IMS). Maybe cuz I keep up with maintenance, maybe because I run on the track and daily drive it, so it gets “used and loved alot”? LOL

    • Johnny Turbo

      Of course I like the air-cooled cars, but the lighter, more powerful, better handling and more comfortable 996 represents, at 1/2 to 1/3 the cost, much greater value.

      I had a black ’99, 6mt with the Sport chassis, LSD, Aero package (minus taco spoiler) and Sport seats. It was such a blast to drive! Wish I still had it.

  5. Daniel Gavin

    Prices for “air cooled” Porsches are completely nuts…..I may just be saying that because I sold my pristine showroom condition ’90 C2 Targa about 10 years ago for $25K. I’m certain I could have gotten 3 times that amount today based on today’s market. Oh well… least I have great memories with that car!!

    Like 2
    • DonC

      I hear ya. I would sell my soul to have my 1970 Dodge Challenger back. 383 Magnum, R/T, convertible, gorgeous candy apple red with white interior and top…would easily pull $100K today. Then there’s the ’69 442….then the……we had no idea back then. Hells Bells, I just sold my ’82 Fiat Spider a couple years ago for $9000. So what’s the golden goose of today’s cars?

      Like 1
  6. George Mattar

    I detail cars professionally and had a client in the early 90s who had a black 85 911 Targa. The first time I cleaned the car it was a mess. Happy with my work after the second or third time I detailed it, he offered me a chance to drive it on open road. Wow. I agree with the first comment here. Go through the gears and mash the gas. The sound coming out of that car is better than any Bose system. Wish I could this car.

  7. Jasper

    ‘78-‘79 are good ones. Had a stronger engine case.

    Yeah, they’re lots of fun and reliable too. Miss mine. Sold it on the eve of the bubble. Out of my price range now. Had to move downmarket to a 944!

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