It shouldn’t be that hard to choose the “right” Carrera 3.2 because it is by some margin the most mature vehicle in the G model series. It neither suffers from the problem of pulled-out cylinder head bolts like the 911 2.7 from model years 1974 to 1977, nor is it prey to weaknesses in the chain tensioner like the 911 SC models of model years 1978 to 1983, which can result in major engine damage. The introduction of digital engine electronics and the upgrade of the engine to 3.2 litres made the 911 Carrera significantly more powerful, while at the same time even reducing its fuel consumption.
This is a classic which is quite suitable for everyday use without losing its value, which is lots of fun to drive while still being very economical. More detailed information including price development and buying advice for the Porsche 911 G-Model of the years 1974 – 1989 can be found in our book.
Learn more about the Porsche 911 Turbo 3.0 and Turbo 3.3 models in our magazine article.
The Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2
As the Carrera 3.2 was built in model years 1984 to 1989 without major changes, the only question you really need to ask yourself is which body version you prefer. After all, the 3.2 manifested as a Coupé, a Targa, a Cabriolet and a Speedster. The most major change came in the model maintenance phase over the summer of 1986 (model year 1987), when the 911 Carrera was given the significantly improved G-50 transmission. If your budget allows, you should try to get a Carrera from model years 1987 to 1989. Also important is the choice of the right engine. Engines with catalytic converter and 207 and 217 hp respectively were developed for the export markets. In Germany, a version with catalytic converter and 217 hp, which was designed to run on unleaded regular petrol, was available from model year 1986. But the biggest fun is to be had from the engine without catalytic converter technology that produces 231 hp.
This engine has fabulous torque and awe-inspiring power. It shrieks, screams and yells in a completely unfiltered manner. An engine that can easily get you addicted.
All versions with the standard catalytic converter are a little straight-laced in comparison, especially at higher engine speeds. If your car is specified as producing 207 hp, it might still have one of the highly coveted 930/20 engines, as many 231-hp versions were retrofitted with a catalytic converter from the 1990s onward. The original 231 hp output was reduced by the original retrofitted Porsche cat to the familiar 207 hp.
Engine of the Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2
The engine of the 911 Carrera 3.2 is considered extremely durable and robust. It is still fundamentally based on the original construction from the very first Porsche 911. This was further developed through systematic improvements and the Swabian pursuit of perfection to an enormously high degree of maturity. Regularly maintained engines can run for 300,000 km and more without an overhaul. With higher mileage, however, oil consumption can also increase, frequently due to worn valve guides. A comprehensive service history is really important, because the valve clearances should be checked at least every 20,000 km.
Incorrectly adjusted valves can in the worst case cause expensive damage to the engine. All 3.2-litre units have hydraulic chain tensioners for the camshaft drive, thereby remediating one of the biggest problem areas in the six-cylinder Boxer. Should the engine run unevenly, especially in wet weather, the cause may be brittle ignition cables. If you hold the ignition cables in your hand, the condition of the sleeve should be able to tell you a great deal. The ignition cables should definitely be replaced, because otherwise the cat runs the risk of overheating and can break down.
To this day, the G-Model is one of the most popular series of the classic nine-eleven. "Porsche 911 G-Model THE BOOK 1974-1989" is published in a limited edition of 1989 copies.
Special features in this book
- Detailed purchase advice and price developments.
- Extensive information on all eight special models.
- Unpublished documents and photographs from the Porsche archive
Gearbox & Power Transmission
In model years 1984 to 1986, a type-915 five-speed manual transmission was installed in the 911 Carrera. This transmission had a cable-actuated clutch, long shift travel and, unfortunately, also relatively high shifting forces. Which is why the ‘Eleven was decried until the end of the eighties as a car for men, as some less developed “ladies’ calves” were incapable of coping with these high pedal forces. As the car ages, the force needed to operate the clutch can even increase further in inverse proportion to the precision of the gear changes.
By greasing the transmission elements, replacing the switch rod bushes and making accurate adjustments, a significant improvement can be achieved in older 915 transmissions with high mileage.
In the 915 transmission, incidentally, the reverse gear is to be found at the top right, where, in the modern G50 gearbox, it is at the bottom left. In addition to the benefits offered by the more robust G50 gearbox in combination with the enhanced ease of operation brought about by the hydraulic clutch actuation, there is also a small disadvantage. The revving capacity of the engine suffered somewhat as of model year 1987, because the new flywheel clutch weighed a total of 16.4 kg, making it all of 4.4 kg heavier than its predecessor. This cannot be seen from the performance characteristics; what matters here is the subjective impression.
Oil leaks on the 911 Carrera 3.2
As in all ‘Eleven engines, a light patina of oil over the entire unit is quite normal. Larger leaks often result in the wholesale replacement of the engine seals. This can easily go as far as a complete overhaul. What can also happen, however, is that oil is spilt during topping up, which then accumulates on the right-hand side in the cladding of the cylinder head. Leaky valve covers and oil return pipes to the crankcase are relatively cheap to repair. Split pipes are available for this which can be fitted to the engine without the need for major dismantling. To completely seal a 3.2-litre engine could easily cost € 8000; to overhaul the engine and replace the engine bearings might cost twice that.
Price developments – The Porsche 911 3.2 on the upswing
Many air-cooled Porsche rarities reached their highest price level in 2017 and have since fallen in price. A Porsche 993 Turbo in condition grade 1 traded around €200,000 in 2017 and can currently be purchased for just under 20% less. The situation is similar for the Porsche 993 RS or 964 Speedster.
This is not the case with the 911 Carrera 3.2. Regardless of whether it’s the Coupé, Targa or Cabriolet, prices are on the rise across the board, as the price table shows.
If you can spend over € 50,000 on an air-cooled Porsche 911, you’re in good hands in the model years between 1984 and 1989. The Carrera 3.2 models offer a high level of technical maturity and a finish of excellent quality. No other ‘Eleven is capable of delivering a comparable firework display. The Carrera 3.2, whether as a Coupé, Targa, Cabriolet or Speedster, offers an immense amount of driving pleasure and that typical Porsche feeling from the nineteen-eighties. There are not many cars that can be driven over decades without loss of value and are still so economical in the process.
The value loss issue can also be looked at in relative terms, as for well-looked-after and accident-free specimens, medium-term appreciation in value would also be inevitable. Particularly exciting would of course be a 911 Carrera from the very last model year of all, 1989. Every Porsche 911 from this model year is a collector’s piece, as the bodies of these vehicles were the last ones to be made by hand in the former plant 2. It was in this former “Reutter-Werk” that the bodies of the Porsche 356 were made. After the G model was finally phased out, the old plant 2 was mothballed. It is now a listed building.
In our book about the G-series of the Porsche 911 you can read further detailed buying advice about the models 911 2.7, 911 SC 3.0, 911 Turbo 3.0 and 911 Turbo 3.3. Furthermore you can find the price developments for all 911 G-models.