Back in the early 1990s, Coe had a 944 Turbo. When he drove by his local Porsche dealer, he would see 968s on the lot. “I fell in love with them,” says Coe. “But they were high-priced and way out of my league at the time. But as we all know, the recession was going on at the time and the 968 suffered from that. They didn’t sell well at all, even though they were pretty well recognized as a great final evolution of the front-engine cars.”
When the 968 went out of production, with the Boxster waiting in the wings, the basic rules of economics took over. Says Coe: “The 968s nose-dived pretty quickly from a depreciation perspective.” With the prices dropping to a more reasonable level, Coe set about acquiring one.
“I bought my first 968 Cabriolet in December of 1996 for $23,000, which was unbelievable,” he says. “The car sold originally for $51,000 — and it only had 30,000 miles at the time. So they depreciated pretty quickly!” As if to further justify his love for the 968, Coe easily enumerates the faults he found with his 944 that Porsche addressed in the 968.
“The nice thing about the 968 is that it’s so well sorted,” he opines. “Not that the 944s aren’t great cars, but there were definitely things about them that Porsche had finally gotten right by the time the 968 came out. When I owned my 944 Turbo, I did a clutch. I did a water pump. I did oil seals, a steering rack — all the known issues with the 944. With the 968, Porsche had really worked it through by that time. So really, they are amazingly dependable cars.”
Coe says he knows of several 968s that have logged over 200,000 miles and are still going strong. He says there’s always chatter on the web about a pinion bearing problem, but he says it’s actually quite rare. He feels the problem gets mentioned so much because it’s the only negative thing you can stick on a basically sound design. He’s quick to point out the need for conscientious maintenance, however.
“You gotta do the timing belt; if you lose it, you’re gonna get yourself a nice $7,000 repair bill,” he says, before ticking off other 944 concerns and where they stand on the 968. “The 968s are rock-solid cars. The water-pump issues have been worked out. All the oil seal issues have been worked out. They are real dependable.”
FORTUNATELY, COE CAN’T STAY FOCUSED ON THE CONSUMER REPORTS aspects of the 968 for too long. “They’re a real joy to drive, and the other thing that impresses me is that they hold up to current technology. They were right on the forefront of a lot of this stuff.” Coe quickly ticks off what he means: “It’s got the front airbags and anti-lock brakes. It’s got variable valve timing. It’s got great performance, and it’s got excellent gas mileage at the same time — something we’re all concerned about now. And it’s a six-speed.”