The Porsche 964: A Classic Reborn
The Porsche 964: A Classic Reborn
So you’ve decided to fulfill a lifelong dream and finally acquire that iconic Porsche 964 you’ve always wanted. Excellent choice. There’s a reason the 964 is considered a rebirth of the classic Porsche 911 – it’s a driver’s car through and through. Introduced in 1989, the 964 brought the 911 into the modern age while still retaining that raw, engaging experience that made the original 911 a legend.
With its iconic silhouette, rear-engine layout, and distinctive flat-six engine wail, the 964 delivers a thrill like no other. After a decade of evolution, Porsche had refined and perfected their formula. The 964 offers a purity of experience that later generations lost in the quest for more power and technology. It’s the perfect blend of old-school cool and modern performance.
Owning and driving a 964 connects you to that rich history while still being usable as a daily driver. Parts may be a bit pricey these days, but for a true enthusiast, the 964 is worth every penny. This is a sports car icon reborn and ready to be enjoyed for years to come. The 964 represents the best of the 911 in one unforgettable package.
Overview of the Legendary Porsche 964
The Porsche 964 is a reimagined legend. Released in 1989, it modernized the iconic 911 with a smoother, more aerodynamic body and improved performance.
Under the hood, the 964 came with a 3.6-liter flat-six engine producing 250 horsepower, a bump up from the previous model. The 964 could hit 60 mph in under 6 seconds and top out at over 150 mph. For those seeking more power, the 964 Turbo and RS variants boosted output to over 360 horsepower.
The 964’s sleeker bodywork improved handling and reduced drag. Pop-up headlights gave way to fixed units, and the rear spoiler became integrated. Inside, the 964 gained a more luxurious and technologically advanced cabin with features like dual airbags, anti-lock brakes, power seats, and an on-board computer.
In 1992, the 964 received styling and performance tweaks. The rear spoiler was made larger, the front fascia gained round fog lights, and engine output increased. These refreshed models are highly coveted today.
Whether in coupe, cabriolet or targa form, the 964 is a driver’s delight. Its rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout provides perfect balance, while the precise steering and handling inspire confidence behind the wheel. For Porschephiles, the 964 represents a pivotal point, blending modern amenities with raw 911 character. If you get the chance to own this automotive icon, don’t pass it up. The 964 is a legend reborn that shaped the 911 for decades to come.
Exterior Design and Styling of the 964
The 964 generation of the Porsche 911 is considered by many to be one of the most stylish and timeless designs. Introduced in 1989, its sleek yet aggressive body lines still look modern today.
aerodynamic and sloping
The 964 has a slippery 0.32 drag coefficient thanks to its aerodynamic and sloping silhouette. Its arched roofline, prominent rear spoiler and sloping hood give it a fast, windswept appearance even when standing still. The 964’s wider stance and flared rear fenders highlight its rear-engine rear-wheel-drive layout and hint at the increased power under the hood.
One of the most distinctive features of the 964 is its pop-up headlights. At the flip of a switch, the headlights emerge from their hiding spots and give the front end an open, gaping look. The pop-up headlights were not just for style, they also improved the 964’s already impressive aerodynamics. Sadly, pop-up headlights went the way of the dodo due to changing safety regulations, making the 964 one of the last Porsches to sport them.
timeless yet modern
Thirty years on, the 964’s timeless yet modern design still turns heads and garners attention wherever it goes. Its sleek fastback styling has inspired countless other sports cars over the years but none have quite captured the magic of the original. The 964 proves that Porsche’s design philosophy of evolution over revolution results in cars that stand the test of time.
Overall, the 964’s bold yet elegant styling, iconic pop-up headlights and focus on aerodynamics come together to create one of the most visually stunning sports cars of the modern era.
Interior Comfort and Technology in the 964
The Porsche 964 offers a blend of classic luxury and modern comfort inside its iconic exterior. Slide into the leather bucket seats and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time.
Compared to earlier 911 models, the 964 provides noticeably more interior space and elbow room. The front seats can accommodate drivers and passengers up to 6 feet 2 inches tall comfortably. For a sports car, the rear seats are surprisingly roomy as well. While not ideal for long distances, the rear seats work great for short trips and kids. Overall, the cabin delivers an open, airy feel that belies its compact dimensions.
From the leather seats to the wood trim accents, the 964 exudes quality. Soft leather covers the seating surfaces, door panels, steering wheel, and shift knob. High-gloss wood or carbon fiber trims the dashboard and center console, highlighting the 964’s handcrafted nature. All materials are carefully selected to provide both luxury and performance. Even after 30 years, everything still looks and feels premium.
Though lacking some of today’s advanced infotainment systems, the 964 provides amenities that were ahead of its time. Power windows, locks, and mirrors were standard features, as was air conditioning, a premium stereo system with CD player, and a driver information system. Cruise control made long drives easy, while heated seats kept occupants cozy on cold days. For an 80s sports car, the 964 was remarkably well-equipped.
While not as technologically advanced as modern vehicles, the 964 provides a balance of classic Porsche DNA and modern convenience that still holds up today. Slide into the cockpit and you’ll feel connected to the road through the sporty layout and controls. Yet you also get just enough creature comforts to keep the drive enjoyable. It’s a perfect blend of retro style and contemporary amenities. The 964 proves an old Porsche can feel new again.
Engine Performance and Handling of the 964
The 964 generation Porsche 911 is powered by a 3.6-liter flat-six engine producing 247 to 285 horsepower, depending on the model. This provides plenty of power to push you back into the seat and accelerate to 60 mph in around 5 to 6 seconds. The engine is mated to a 5- or 6-speed manual transmission that gives you full control over the powerband. For those wanting an automatic, the 4-speed Tiptronic option provides smooth shifts.
With rear-wheel drive, the 964 handles like a true sports car should. The chassis and suspension provide a rigid yet balanced platform for carving up twisty roads. The steering is precise and direct, allowing you to place the car exactly where you want. Braking is handled by 4-wheel disk brakes that scrub off speed efficiently. For even more track-focused performance, the 964 RS and 964 Turbo models take the handling and acceleration to the next level.
Whether cruising around town or attacking your favorite mountain road, the 964 delivers an exhilarating driving experience. The raspy wail of the flat-six, the feel of the manual shifter moving between gears, the feedback through the steering wheel – it engages all your senses. Driving a 964 is about as close as you can get to a vintage Porsche experience without sacrificing modern performance and reliability.
Owning and maintaining a 964 does require a dedication to proper care and feeding. As with any classic vehicle, it will need more frequent service to keep everything in working order. However, the benefit is having a iconic piece of Porsche history in your garage that puts a smile on your face every time you get behind the wheel. For Porschephiles and driving enthusiasts, the 964 is a stunning example of what a sports car should be.
Common Mechanical Issues to Look Out For
Owning a classic Porsche 964 is a dream for many, but like any vehicle that’s over 25 years old, it will require some extra care and maintenance. Several common issues can arise with the 964 that you’ll want to keep an eye out for.
If you notice the engine billowing smoke, especially white or blue smoke, this could indicate a problem with the valve stem seals or piston rings, which seal the combustion chamber and allow oil to seep in. Replacing the worn seals and rings will be needed to fix the issue and prevent long-term engine damage.
As with any aging vehicle, the 964’s electrical system can start to act up over time. Check that features like power windows, sunroofs, gages, and switches are all functioning properly during your test drive. Look for any warning lights on the instrument panel as well. Electrical issues can often be difficult to track down, so inspecting the 964 thoroughly first is key.
The 964 came with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission, and both are prone to problems as the miles rack up. Grinding or popping noises when shifting, sluggish acceleration, and fluid leaks are signs the transmission may need repair or replacement. Rebuilding or replacing the transmission is an expensive job, so be on high alert for any indications the transmission is acting up.
Aging brakes and suspension
After 25+ years, the brakes and suspension on a 964 will start to show their age. Look for brake pads that are excessively worn down, or calipers that are sticking or leaking brake fluid. For the suspension, listen for any knocking or squeaking noises over bumps, or if the car seems lower on one side. Replacing brake pads, calipers, shocks, and other chassis parts on the 964 can help restore confidence in its handling and safety.
Keeping a close watch on these common trouble spots on the 964 can help ensure many more years of enjoyment from your classic Porsche. With regular maintenance and care, this reborn legend can provide mile after mile of driving bliss.
Owning and Maintaining a Porsche 964
Owning a classic Porsche 964 is a dream for many, but it does come with certain responsibilities to keep this iconic vehicle running well and maintaining its value.
Finding a Quality Mechanic
The 964 requires specialized care and maintenance. Look for a certified Porsche mechanic or dealership service center with experience working on 964s and other air-cooled Porsches. They have the proper training, tools, and parts to service these vehicles. An inexperienced mechanic could cause costly damage.
To keep your 964 running strong, follow the recommended service intervals for oil changes, tune-ups, and other routine maintenance. These older vehicles need more frequent servicing, about every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. It’s also a good idea to change other fluids like coolant, brake fluid, and power steering fluid every couple of years to prevent corrosion.
Address Issues Promptly
Because the 964 is a complex, performance vehicle, any problems should be checked out immediately to avoid bigger issues down the line. Warning lights, strange noises, leaks, or changes in handling are signs that something may need attention. It’s best to have a certified Porsche mechanic inspect the vehicle as soon as possible.
Keep it Clean
While regular washes and waxes are important for any vehicle, take extra care to properly clean and detail your 964. Wash and dry it by hand using a quality car wash solution and chamois to prevent swirl marks in the paint. Apply a coat of wax 3-4 times a year to protect the paint from environmental damage. Vacuum the carpets, clean the leather seats, and wipe down the interior panels and trim to prevent buildup of dirt and grime. Keeping your 964 spotless will help maintain its appearance and value.
Owning this iconic sports car is a privilege that requires dedication to proper care and maintenance. Follow these best practices to keep your Porsche 964 running well and looking as stunning as the day it rolled off the production line. With the right care and service, you’ll be enjoying this classic ride for years to come.
Modification Options for the 964
The 964 model has become a popular platform for modifications and customization. Its timeless styling and robust engineering provide the perfect canvas for upgrades and personalization. Here are some of the most common mods 964 owners make:
One of the most dramatic changes you can make to a 964 is replacing the stock 3.6L flat-6 engine with a more powerful alternative. Popular options include:
- The 4.0L from the 993 model. This adds about 50hp while maintaining reliability.
- The 3.8L twin-turbo from the 965 model. This boosts power to over 400hp for serious performance.
- A completely custom engine like an LS V8 swap. This is a major project but can achieve well over 500hp.
To improve handling and cornering, many owners upgrade the stock suspension components. This includes:
- Lowering springs to drop the ride height for a more aggressive stance.
- Stiffer anti-roll bars to reduce body roll in turns.
- Adjustable coilover suspension which provides fully customizable ride height and dampening.
- Upgraded bushings, mounts, and bearings for a tighter, more responsive feel.
Wheels and Tires
Installing larger aftermarket wheels and high-performance tires is one of the easiest ways to enhance both the look and handling of your 964. Popular sizes are 18 and 19 inches in width with low profile tires.
For those seeking more power from an engine swap or turbo conversion, upgrading the braking system is essential for safety. Options include:
- Larger drilled and slotted rotors to improve heat dissipation and braking bite.
- Multi-piston calipers, typically 4 or even 6 pistons, for increased clamping force.
- High performance brake pads with a higher heat tolerance.
- Stainless steel brake lines to provide a firmer, more responsive pedal feel.
With so many options for customizing the 964, you can build a unique example tailored to your tastes and needs. The possibilities are endless!
Is the Porsche 964 a Good Investment?
The Porsche 964 is already considered a modern classic by many automotive enthusiasts and collectors. But is it a good investment? Like any vehicle, there are pros and cons to consider before you hand over your hard-earned cash.
As with any limited-production sports car, the 964’s value has steadily climbed over time. Well-maintained, low-mileage examples are selling for two to three times their original MSRP. The 964 is still relatively affordable compared to other coveted classics like the 1973 Carrera RS, so there’s room for values to continue increasing, especially for the rarest variants.
Cost of Ownership
While 964 prices have risen significantly, the cost to maintain and repair them has also increased. Parts and service for a 30-year-old sports car don’t come cheap. Expect to budget at least a few thousand dollars per year to properly care for your 964, even if nothing major needs repair. The 964 also requires 91 octane premium fuel and oil specifically for high-performance engines, adding to ongoing costs.
The 964 was designed primarily as a performance vehicle, not for practicality or efficiency. It has only two seats, limited cargo space, and a firm, noisy ride. Driving it frequently as a daily vehicle may not be realistic for most owners. If you want a classic Porsche that can also serve as a daily driver, a later 993 or 996 generation may be a better choice.
Passion Over Profits
While the 964 has the potential for solid investment returns over time, the biggest rewards come from sheer enjoyment of ownership. If you buy a 964 primarily for speculative profit, you may end up disappointed. The 964 is a driver’s car meant to be experienced and shared with other motoring fans. If you approach owning one with that spirit of passion in mind, the 964 can be an extremely rewarding vehicle—whether or not it ends up appreciating substantially in the future.
So if you go into 964 ownership with realistic expectations about costs and practicality, and a genuine passion for the driving experience, the 964 can make both an enjoyable vehicle and a smart investment. But profits alone should not be the primary motivation for buying this Porsche classic.
Porsche 964 FAQs: Answering All Your Questions
The Porsche 964 is a true classic, but owning one does come with some questions. Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the Porsche 964.
How much does a Porsche 964 cost?
Prices for Porsche 964 models vary greatly depending on the year, trim level, mileage, condition, and current market trends. You can expect to pay between $30,000 to $200,000 or more for a 964, with higher prices for rare models like the 964 Turbo 3.6 or 964 Carrera RS.
What kind of gas does a 964 take?
The Porsche 964 requires premium unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of at least 91. Porsche recommends using high-quality unleaded gasoline that does not contain MTBE or methanol to maintain performance and prevent engine knocking.
How often does a 964 need an oil change?
For normal driving in temperate conditions, the Porsche 964 needs an oil change every 3,000 to 7,500 miles depending on how it’s driven. More frequent oil changes, every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, are recommended if you drive in extreme heat or cold, tow heavy loads or drive off-road frequently. Always check your 964’s manual for the official recommendation.
What kind of tires does a 964 need?
The Porsche 964 originally came with 215/60R16 front tires and 245/50R16 rear tires. For performance driving, consider wider, lower-profile tires, but be aware this can affect handling and ride quality. Tire choice depends on how you drive your 964, but high-performance summer tires or ultra-high performance all-season tires are typically good options.
Does a 964 need special tools?
Some repairs on the Porsche 964 do require specialized tools and diagnostic equipment to ensure components are serviced properly without causing damage. It’s best to have work done by a certified Porsche mechanic with experience working on 964 models. They will have the proper tools, training and knowledge to service your vehicle correctly.
Owning an iconic sports car like the Porsche 964 is extremely rewarding. By understanding what it needs to perform at its best, you’ll be able to keep this classic beauty running well for years to come.
So if you’re looking for a classic sports car that provides a visceral driving experience, the Porsche 964 should be at the top of your list. While the price tag isn’t for the faint of heart, you’re getting an iconic piece of automotive history that’s built to last. The 964 represents the pinnacle of the air-cooled 911 era, and for many Porsche purists, it doesn’t get any better than this. Once you get behind the wheel, fire up that distinctive flat-six engine, and hit the open road, you’ll understand why the 964 has stood the test of time. This is a thrill ride and investment opportunity all wrapped up in one stunning package. If you’re ready to experience Porsche performance and style at its finest, the search for your dream car ends here. The 964 is calling your name – will you answer?