Ask Jack: Pick a Perfect Porsche, Part One

Guten Tag, err’body! This week, I have forsaken the bucolic paradise of Powell, Ohio, for the pretty much identical town of Nurburg, Germany. I’m in possession of a very fast and very green British car (you can see more details on my Instagram, if you care) and I’m already breaking the hearts of many a Porsche owner through the long curves and blind hills of The Favorite Race Track Of Everybody Who Has Never Actually Raced Anything.

Although I’m far from the only heretic in attendance — Corvettes are more popular than you would expect, in particular — this place is absolutely rotten with late-model Porsches, most of which have been repulsively festooned with a variety of wings and stickers and doodads. So this seems like a good week for an Ask Jack Double Feature, in which we will consider a pair of Porsche-purchase dilemmata. We will get all of this Weissach-centric silliness out of the way this week, and that way when I’m back in the States a week from today I won’t have to think about Porsches for a nice long time.

Let’s start with Jay, who is wondering: To GTS or not to GTS?

He writes:

I’ve had many cars over the years: ’84 Volkswagen GTI, Mazda GLC, ’88 Ford Mustang GT, and a ’94 Chevrolet Corvette. I kept the Vette for eight years, driving it to the factory three times for big meets at the museum, before selling it in ’02.

Starting in 2012: ’13 Ford Mustang GT (loved this car, but its ergonomics injured my hip), ’13 BMW 335is, then went to a ’15 BMW M4, which I mistakenly switched for a ’13 BMW 650xi to get better highway comfort. I dated a smoking hot blonde girl with Borderline Personality Disorder, which resulted in me switching to a ’16 BMW X5 with the big motor. The X5 suffered from terrible tram-line tracking, so I get rid of it when the relationship cratered.

Now I’m ready to get another sports car, but I don’t want to get rid of it in six months to a year. Basically, I want another version of my Corvette, a car that I can fall in love with for 8-10 years.

I’ve looked at Z06 Corvettes, but I can’t stand the Chevrolet dealers here in Albuquerque. The new Mustangs have the same ergonomics issue for me that my ’13 GT had. I don’t want another M3/M4, and I’m not fond of the BMW dealer in town.

I’ve always wanted a 911, so I went to the Porsche configurator and determined a rear-wheel-drive 911 GTS is what I want, but they are way out in nosebleed world in terms of cost.

I know you’re very knowledgeable about 911s. Do you think it’s worth changing my lifestyle to pay for a 2018 Porsche 911 GTS? I know I want at least a 2017 model to get the turbo motor. I feel confident I’ve learned my lesson and won’t throw away my life on another smoking hot chick with BPD (well, sort of confident) and genuinely believe it would be a long-term car for me. The dealer has let me drive a ’17 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S and I loved it.

I’m obviously conflicted, and any guidance you could offer would be appreciated. At some point, I’d love to discuss why I dig crazy girls, but that can wait.

Like it or not, Jay, we need to handle this in the true order of importance. There is nothing technically wrong with dating women who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder, just like there is nothing technically wrong with owning a Long Beach Staffordshire Terrier or whatever P.C. name we have to use for pitbulls nowadays. But in both cases, you need to set strong boundaries and enforce those boundaries with strict discipline. That means not moving them in with you, not buying cars to suit their whims, and not never! — as they say in Baltimore — putting too much emotional investment into them. It can be difficult to maintain that discipline when you are in what the ancient poets called “the season of hot blood.” But if you can, then you are on the road to some delightful and thoroughly satisfying part-time relationships.

Now that we’re done with that, we can discuss this idea of a 911 GTS. I’m going to suggest first off that you don’t need the turbo GTS. A pre-facelift, pre-turbo 911 GTS is a very good car and I was reasonably charmed by the last one I drove. The turbo car will have more power, of course, but I think the normally aspirated car will command a higher resale value in the long run. That’s particularly true if you start with a used 2016 GTS instead of a new 2018 GTS.

There are other ways to save money on a new-ish 911, of course. A rear-wheel-drive seven-speed Carrera S is cheaper, simpler, and offers a less pugnacious silhouette. Even the plain-Jane Carrera has enough speed to do the “911 thing” just fine. None of these cars will be as fast as a new Z06. Once you accept that, it might be easier to get something besides a loaded-for-bear turbo 2018 GTS.

With all that said, I will tell you how I would spend my money: I’d go find a pristine example of a 997-generation Carrera GTS six-speed. That car will eventually possess the kind of cachet associated with the air-cooled 911 of days past. They are relatively narrow, tasteful, and attractive when compared to the current model. It would be much cheaper over a decade or more to buy a 997 GTS, even at the already-swelling current prices, than it would be to take the resale whack on a turbo 2018 GTS.

Last but not least, consider stepping up to a 997 GT3. That’s going to be the resale-value champion and it’s also the most satisfying car to drive. And here’s an unexpected benefit: any woman who is willing to put up with the tooth-rattling ride of a 997 GT3 might just be the right girl for you!

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