Porsche Powered Plane: 1988 Mooney M20L PFM

While most modern day private aircraft are limited to a fairly exclusive pool of buyers, this rare 1988 Mooney M20L takes it a step further by dropping an air-cooled 911 engine into the nose to create the ultimate accessory for the Porsche fanatic who has everything. The engine generates 217 horsepower and follows Mooney’s tradition of manufacturing high-performance aircraft, and with just 41 ever made, it truly is one the more limited-production Porsche products ever made. The Mooney M20L is featured here on Facebook Marketplace with a gorgeous custom interior and an asking price of $140,000. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Mitchell G. for the find. 

For collectors, it’s often a holy grail of sorts to add a vehicle to the collection that falls outside the norm of a manufacturer’s preferences. So, a Bentley yacht, for example; or a Ferrari racing bicycle. These things are the outliers for every collection, often produced in limited quantities are not easily tracked by various databases that otherwise track every VIN number of a significant car made. So, it’s easy to see how a Porsche aficionado may consider owning a plane they can’t even fly just to create that iconic image of a 911, 928, and 944 Turbo painted in colors to match their genuine Porsche-powered aircraft with Porsche-branded pillows.

Despite looking as foreign as any other aircraft cockpit (foreign if you’re not accustomed to flying, that is), the Mooney makes it even easier for pilots to acclimate themselves to the M20L’s cockpit. The throttle, mixture, and propeller controls were typically all assigned individual levers/switches for adjustments and modulation; in the M20L, a single “power control” managed the throttle while the mixture and propeller were adjusted automatically based on the input to the throttle controller. While I can’t speak from personal experience, it certainly sounds like a far easier way to fly an aircraft, especially staring down a gauge cluster like this.

Unfortunately for owners of the Porsche-powered M20L, Porsche stopped offering factory support for these oddball planes in 1991. That means parts supply has dried up, and while the engine likely shares plenty of components with the car from which it was lifted, there are undoubtedly pieces of hardware, hoses, and more that are all specific to the Mooney – and now possibly obsolete. The seller claims that mechanically-speaking, the M20L is in excellent condition and has a fresh annual inspection under its belt. The seller is open to a variety of trades as listed in the description. Do you love Porsches enough to add this to your collection?

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Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    Porsche powered,but not one picture of the engine?

    Like 8
    • bobk

      Removing the cowling on any Mooney is not a task to be taken on lightly.

      Like 5
      • wrbrower

        So we’ll just pencil whip that portion of the preflight inspection then

        Like 3
  2. DayDreamBeliever Member

    I wonder about the drive system for the prop.

    Automotive engines are not well suited to aircraft use, due to stresses placed on the driveshaft. Adding a bearing unit specifically designed to take prop-induced torque loads and vibration is not just a good idea, it is mandatory, IMO.

    Looks like a beautiful plane, that’s for sure.

    Like 4
    • alphasud Member

      That could be said for many but the 911 engine is one stout unit. There is also a company that uses the 164 ci. six. The Corvair unit has only 4 main bearings and requires a harmonic balancer and special flywheel to live long term. Never heard of crank failures. One thing that can be said is the engine is run a near maximum power for extended periods. Valve rotation and special exhaust valves are needed. 911 used sodium from factory. Corvair valve seats fall out so special work is needed there.

      Like 4
  3. unclemymy Member

    Back in the 80’s someone had to find something to try and interest snobbish Yuppies into flying, as the lawyers had driven many regular Americans out of it. Unfortunately, only about 80 folks could actually bite the bullet on the astronomical price, and beside that, there was nowhere to park it in front of an uptown brownstone. If your acquaintances couldn’t admire and envy the Porsche emblem on the side of the plane – what was the point?

    Like 3
  4. Mitchell Gildea Member

    Jordan Belfort would love this

    Like 1
  5. Stephen Miklos

    Now imagine a Turbo Porches engine today in that aircraft. I wonder if it would work. Is so.. It won’t be slow up there!!😂🚀

    Like 2
  6. Luki

    Finally an air cooled Porsche with an engine in the front where it belongs.

    I have personally blown up a few Porsche engines in my day and not on purpose. I would not want one in my airplane. Stick to Continentals they don’t pike oil, seize up or throw rods very often.

    Like 6
  7. Mike

    Seats need more logos.

    Like 10
  8. grant

    Didn’t this run a week ago?

  9. Al

    Must be really exceptional. This should be price at about $90,000.

    Like 3
  10. Phlathead Phil

    I had a friend with a Mooney. That little plane was a ‘rip-snorting’ little firecracker of a plane. Solid, well built, and plenty of power. Compared to the Corvette seats we saw offered for 90 large, this is a steal!

    Like 4
    • bobk

      Agree. I’ve flown a friend’s well kept M20C a number of times. It makes my Piper Cherokee seem like a turtle.

      Like 3
  11. Paul Allen

    It’s not simply a 911 engine, it’s a version Porsche specifically developed for aircraft use. And fyi, they no longer support the engine.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porsche_PFM_3200

    Like 3
    • JoeBob396

      Paul, thanks for the link.

  12. jaymon1962

    Prime for an LS swap.

    Like 5
  13. mIKE

    there is no .. and I mean.. NO… support for this engine…. this plane.. isnt worth near that… an airplane… is not like a car…. you just can’t put a different engine in this airplane… without thousands..upon thousands of STC and government approval… talking about opening a can of worms…that would do it… especially since this plane isnt even registered in the United States… I would bet… you would be looking at six figures.. just to swap the engine and bring it into the U S…. every piece of this plane… has to be inspected to get a US airworthiness certificate.. in other words…. R U N

    Like 7
  14. Karl

    I owned a couple pipers a Mooney and a Beech craft Baron. Each plane was purchased for my changing needs in life but looking back I put almost 1500 hrs on that Mooney it was almost as fast as the Baron and cost 1/3 the amount of money to fly and maintain. Some folks have complaints about the cabin size of the Mooney my reply is then you should buy a Piper Arrow, oh and you will be 50 mph slower! I will always be a Mooney man!

    Like 3
    • Mike

      Well.. the Arrow… which I have about 1500 hours in… is slower than a Mooney.. but certainly not 50 mph slower.. unless you were flying high in a 231… Mooney is a great airplane… I had a 1990 Mooney 201.. the biggest problem with a Mooney.. is flying in ice.. they just wont… where I have had Ice on an Arrow to the point I could barely see the gas cap.. the Mooney wing is not designed for any ice.. The Arrow gear.. is much beefier than the Mooney and its designed for a gravity fall if you have gear problems.. the Mooney is not.. if you lose your fluid in a Mooney.. you are gonna gear up.. the Mooney is more fun to fly…IMO.. I liked the Arrow 3 I had…due to the 72 gallon fuel.. I could fly from Ohio to Florida and never stop.. couldnt quite do that in the Mooney.. both planes basically use the same engine.. the Arrow had dual mags.. most of the Mooneys did not..unless they were retrofitted..

  15. Aveee8tor

    As Mike says, this plane is likely unflyable in the US. The Porsche engines were faulty and rather than fix what was wrong, Porsche chose to lawyer up and fight. They eventually discontinued production and offered to pay owners some amount to change over to a different engine, which some did. Unfortunately a hurricane destroyed the shop doing the conversions and no one else acquired the certificate to do the conversion, so once parts are gone there is no way to keep the airplane flying. This airplane has reached it’s TBO, is due an overhaul and doesn’t appear to have the avionics updates to fly in US airspace. It would, however, make a beautiful display piece once trucked to your hanger!

    Like 3
  16. Phlathead Phil

    A better purchase in comparison is an Aerostar 601-P. T/speed is 288, ceiling: 17,000. Pressurized 6 Place. It will knock your socks off IF you can find one. I knew Ted R. Smith personally and his son Ron.

    Ted also created the AeroCommander & the A-28.

    He was generations beyond the rest. A kind and humble man.

    • Mike

      the maintenance on one of those… is unbelievable.. you better have a huge pocket book… I cant even imagine what a typical annual on that plane would be these days… Pressurization will knock the socks off of most wallets.. I bet a windshield alone for that plane will be over 25 grand.. if you could ever find one.. im sure.. those motors could exceed 100,000 dollars each at overhaul.. might as well buy a used Citation… LOL when you start talking pressurization.. money had better not be a problem

      • Phlathead Phil

        But, they are still flying!

        Most of them were delivered to Argentina.

        Cocaine can buy ANYTHING!

        Like 2
      • Phlathead Phil

        The windshield and first windows aft are identical to the 601-P.

  17. Dan

    neat concept back when designed, but a lycoming is a better option. Lighter, simpler (no gearbox and complicated prop/mixture set up) and can get worked on at just about any strip around the world.

    Like 1
  18. BR

    What is the TBO?

    Like 1
    • aveee8tor

      Not definitive but I came up with either 2000 or 2400 hours TBO, meaning it’s due. With known rebuild issues and no parts availability this bird is cooked.

      Like 1

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