Reader Submissions: My Porsche 968 Taught Me That There's No Harm In Selling A Keeper

My Porsche 968 Taught Me That There’s No Harm In Selling A Keeper

By Petrolicious Productions
December 8, 2017
19 comments

Story and photography provided by Tarek Salah

When you find a special car—the right year, a desirable color, nicely spec’d, taken care of, you know what I mean—everyone will be quick to tell you how lucky you are. They don’t care how long it took to find nor how many dead-end phone calls were required before you could convince the owner to sell, and they don’t care what price you paid either: deals are “steals,” a fair price is a “bargain,” too much is “what the good ones are worth these days,” and however much it cost you you are most certainly “lucky.”

If enough people tell you that you simply must keep something you’re already fond of, that you’re obligated to hold onto it ’til the end because of some trait that it possesses or inspires in its drivers, you can begin to convince yourself it’s true. And really, it’s mostly true; when you find yourself the owner of a notable car (or even just something rather mundane that you happen to be especially fond of), it can be a painful experience to pass it on to someone else, and it’s common, to me at least, to maintain a type of wistfulness for a few weeks after selling a car along with some pangs of guilt that strike the hardest whilst you’re clicking away searching for a replacement.

I have no bone to pick with the kinds of people I mentioned earlier, and I clearly understand where they’re coming from (relationships, even with inanimate things like front-engined Porsches, can evolve and flourish in ways that only long periods of time can allow). I just want to make my case for moving on. It’s basically summed up with this car, a white 1995 Porsche 968.

#146 of 258 imported to the ‘States in that model year, it’s a pretty rare car all things relative, and to boot, it also came from the factory with a bunch of desirable options like a paint-matched rear spoiler, limited-slip diff, and power seats. Yeah, I hear you, good old light and simple manual seats are better (for those reasons), but it’s a four-cylinder Porsche remember, it’s not like some additional poundage in the way of a luxury really holds it back.

It also had low mileage, a rowable six-speed, the iconic turbo twist wheels, and a TechArt front lip. In short, I’m saying I was pretty taken by this car, and though it’s not a high-dollar early 911 or something like that, it was the kind of thing I’d keep if I was the person who did that kind of thing. My mindset when it comes to owning vintage cars and modern classics is that you should sell them and buy other things with the money. Cars being the things. If you’re patient and seek out the right cars you can experience all sorts of machines if you’re willing to let go of them like I recently did with this 968.

Think of it like this: you get to have own another (hopefully) fun car in the garage, and in selling your old one you give someone else the chance to enjoy it. Everyone wins. Of course, that’s just my opinion though—what do you think? Regret the one that you let get away, or are you happy to have enjoyed a long chain of fun cars?

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Jake M Mj
Jake M Mj
2 years ago

I mostly agree with you, my idea had always been to have and enjoy as many different cars as I could, the important word being “had”. 8 years ago I bought my dream car, a turbolook 1974 911s drove it as a daily for 3 years and as always moved along, but this time it was different, I just couldn’t forget about it 5 years later still missed that car, so two days ago even with inflated prices on 911s I re-bought that same car and I’m never selling it again.

Michael Fedun
Michael Fedun
3 years ago

Sold my ’71 Volvo P1800 in ’86. I still miss it.

Hans Marius Støre Mastermo
Hans Marius Støre Mastermo
4 years ago

Good topic! I bought a -72 Mercedes 250 CE, some 13 years ago. Sold it after 2-3 years, mainly because of space issues. Some years went by and I started to regret selling the car. So much that I actually contacted the buyer and asked to get it back. So 5 years after selling it, it found it’s way back in my garage. Sell it again? Nope, don’t think so. Love the car, it’s paid, and value is increasing steadly. What’s not to like 🙂

gordwheels
gordwheels
4 years ago

I agree. My moment came when I had four vehicles in the underground garage of my apartment. Two BMW motorcycles, an 01 R1100S & an 02 R1200C, a 99 Subaru Legacy wagon and an 02 BMW 530 (M Sport). The R1100S & the Subaru wagon moved on to grateful new owners which makes me happy also.

SteveLittlefield
SteveLittlefield
4 years ago

Very interesting article. Beautiful car, too. I tend to be of the type who owns cars & motorcycles for long periods of time. I’ve owned my BMW R75 for over 20 years and will probably never give it up. I once owned a car for 39 years and another for 28. By that time, I had turned every bolt more than once and had fully exhausted all of the possibilities for improving them.

Usually something has to happen for me to sell a car or bike that I love. I sold a Porsche 993 because it was too hard to work on and an ’87 G50 911 because I didn’t have the energy to pull out the engine for a rebuild. I sold an early SOHC CB 750 because it’s handling was disappointing.

I currently own an ’87 BMW 325is, an NB Miata and an ’88 Mercedes 300ce. All of these cars are beautiful to look at, fun to drive, have high quality craftsmanship and are relatively easy to work on. Because 21st Century cars rarely attract my interest, I will probably hang onto the ones that I have. No one is making anything better.

auto43
auto43
4 years ago

As long as I know that the car is going to a good home and the new owner will take good care of it, then I will be happy for both the car and new owner.

Timothy Stoops
Timothy Stoops
4 years ago

I have recently come to the same decision after 9 years with my current toy, an ’81 911 SC. The fact that it spent 3 of those years off the road for various repairs was balanced by the enjoyment of driving it occasionally. But I’ve had it long enough, the market is strong for them and another toy will follow. I have to keep the garage full!

Paul Steel
Paul Steel
4 years ago

I’m definitely on the “sell and move on” side, I have 2 garage spaces and 2 garaged classics, currently an Alfa GT junior and BMW 2002, I normally keep a car for 2 or 3 years, but I have been the custodian of these two for 5 and 3 years, nothing in my limited price range has tempted me so far, and I don’t like loans or big restoration bills (although a Saab 99 turbo had my interest recently), but if I have both of these in 12 months time, it will be a record!

My parked in the street daily has been a Saab 900 for 2 years, currently up for sale, replaced with a BMW Z4M coupe, so you can see my tastes are varied!
My motto; Car variety is the spice of life.

Kannan
Kannan
4 years ago

Good topic. My “Grail” car is a 1993 500E which I bought a few years ago with 61K miles and full history. I am the third owner. The love affair seems to reignite everytime I get in. It’s not the fastest car I’ve driven but there is a certain balance to the car and how it makes every trip feel special somehow that would make it hard for me to part with it. I cam close to buying a second “beater” with 220K miles but had no room so arranged for a buddy to buy it. Now he tells me that he plans to keep it though he has a couple of much nicer, faster cars.

Dennis White
Dennis White
4 years ago

Sell my kids? I think I’ll let my son worry about that someday (hopefully not too soon)!

Frank Anigbo
Frank Anigbo
4 years ago

One of the biggest reasons I find it really hard to get rid of a keeper is that the longer you own a particular car, the greater the number of strong memories you build with that car, making it even harder to pass on to someone else. In my case, it’s really the memories rather than any other factor that prevents me from selling my GTV. Consider this, I restored that car to near concours quality in 2008 for a lot more money than it would have cost to buy another perfect GTV. I chose to do that because I could not bear to sever the bond I had with that particular car.

Mike b
Mike b
4 years ago

I’ve been thru 6 different classic sports cars looking for that perfect mix of style, performance and engagement. Each time I change I come up with a good justification. Most of the time the love affair ends after about 3-4 years. I usually regret selling it later….like the 84 911 or the lotus super seven. Some made sense to leave…like the mazdaspeed miata ( not exciting enough). Each time it’s less than $25k and each time the net loss is only about $5k factoring in upgrades. Life is too short to only experience on car

Greg Hanson
Greg Hanson
4 years ago

I recently had a bit of personal epiphany on this very subject. While I’ve been a car enthusiast since I could walk, my “responsible” side has (almost) always taken precedence in what I’ve actually purchased. I’m a strong believer in the old adage “It’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than to drive a fast car slow.” I’m also adverse to car payments or paying big dollars to insurance, thus I’ve tended to limit myself to vehicles that are more practical than fun, particularly performance cars. Yet I couldn’t help but feel a little wistfulness that my budget and frugality hasn’t allowed me to enjoy the performance vehicles I’ve read about over the years.

The epiphany occurred when my wife sent me an ad for a 1985 C4 Corvette for sale in a consignment dealer in Bend, OR recently. While meant to be passed to a friend who is a Corvette lover, I took a look at this very clean, low-mileage (55K) early C4 for sale for under $7,000 and suddenly realized: There’s a lot of fun cars out there that have depreciated and are available for not a lot of money. So I’ve decided it’s time to start becoming a custodian – buy them, enjoy them for awhile, appreciate them for what they are and then sell them for the next person to enjoy. Because I’m a budget enthusiast (for now, anyway), I’m going to concentrate on cars that made the Car and Driver 10Best lists to start – but I won’t limit myself to them.

Which brings me to the point of the article. As it turns out, my daily driver is well-loved 1987 Honda Civic hatch. It’s the second time I’ve owned it, having reluctantly sold it in 2012 when circumstances required that I own only one car and then buying it back (worse for wear) in 2015. I love this little car, I’d love to restore it or make a track car out of it, but in the end, I want to try new things. So, like Tarek with his 968, I’ll enjoy it awhile longer, make a few improvements, take some photos, write some blog posts about it – and then sell it and use the proceeds to find another vehicle to enjoy.

Tarek Salah
Tarek Salah
4 years ago

Hey guys, thanks for your replies, it was definitely a hard decision to let go of the car- I am a P-Car dealer & only purchase certain pedigree cars, but this one was just extra special..

Being an Enthusiast first before ever turning my passion into my business sometimes makes it emotionally hard to sell some of these cars.

The day the car arrived to CA my jaw dropped at how beautiful it was, i drove it for about 1700 miles or so and enjoyed every mile with a grin on my face. I’m sure Ross the new owner will continue to enjoy it for years to come.

rggale
rggale
4 years ago
Reply to  Tarek Salah

I think it’s the “partial leather” that threw them off 😛

Frank Anigbo
Frank Anigbo
4 years ago
Reply to  Tarek Salah

Tarek, I tell my wife that what I really want to do for a living is sell vintage cars. She laughs at me and says I don’t have what it takes to succeed in that business — because I fall too deeply in love with the cars I buy and can’t bear to buy a car I never cared for. Deep down I know she’s right.

Ross Gale
Ross Gale
4 years ago

Tarek,
Interesting question, and an internal battle that a lot of us hobbyists face. Keep “forever”, or “enjoy” and move on? Move on, or move on and regret?
I love (nearly) every motor vehicle I have ever owned. As my friends can attest, they are a really diverse bunch, and each provide or provided me with unique pleasures, unique pains, and a hell of a lot of quirks. That’s what there is to love about them. The hard part is knowing when is the right time to let go, if there ever is. Some people choose to be car collectors and keep the cars they love long-term and be happy with them. Others choose to simply be “Car Custodians”, to quote the owner of the NSX featured in a recent Petrolicious film. I’d say a majority of car hobbyists find a car and keep it for years—car collectors. A minority keep their cars for a bit, enjoy it, and move onto the next one. If you are a real nut like I am, you do both. I try to cycle things in and out to keep the garage “fresh”, but I have certain vehicles that I am a “collector” of rather than a “custodian” of. Usually those are emotional personal history or family heirloom type vehicles for me, or cars that I have grown to love so deeply, even with their design and wear and tear flaws, that I can’t bear to part with them. For those that are part of the bi- or triennial refresh, more often than not become an object of regret. I wish I had enough money, enough space, and enough time to give every one of these vehicles the pampering and driving they deserve.

I am so excited to have this 968 in my collection. I can’t tell you if I will have it until 2019, or 2039 yet, but I am looking forward to continuing to preserve its excellent condition, while making it “sweat” often enough that it’s not a static piece of garage art. When I’m through with it, another collector or custodian will have a chance to do the same, and be faced with the same decisions—do I move onto something else, or do I stay happy with what I have, and do I regret my decision?

One thing’s for sure, I paid “how much a good one is worth these days”, and I am certainly “lucky”.

Frank Anigbo
Frank Anigbo
4 years ago

Great topic and one that takes up way too much inside-my-head debate. I have had a lot of cars that I let go and didn’t regret losing for long. I loved them, but I was always happy for what I got in place of them. Then there are a couple of cars I just have not been able to let myself say goodbye to, a ’69 1750 GTV in Giallo Ochre being one of them. The article from a day or two ago about the parked one made me glad I still have mine — 24 years now. I think I would have cried if I no longer have it. Maybe not, I don’t know. Yet there are cars I lust for and desperately want and the only thing keeping me from having them is my fear of forever regretting what I would have to lose in return.

Bill Meyer
Bill Meyer
4 years ago

Tarek,
Thanks for bringing up an interesting subject. Letting go of a very desirable car whether vintage or modern has always come easy (maybe too easy) for me. I recently sold a very gorgeous Mustang replacing it with a new car that was, at least to my friends, a wild departure from my previous rides. When asked why I did’t keep the ‘Stang I realized that I simply don’t have room in my head for another “commitment car.” It’s not always about finances or garage space.