Coupe, Targa and Cabriolet
While the automotive world suffered through the 1973-1977 era of dramatically tightened emission-control laws, Porsche was busy building, piece by piece, the better mousetrap that would become the 911SC. Starting with the dramatically simplified CIS fuel injection of the '73½ 911T, the SC included the flared body of the 1974 Carrera, the engine block from the 3.0-liter Turbo in 1975, the galvanized sheet metal developed in the 1976 cars, and the improved interior ventilation system introduced in 1977. By its introduction in 1978, the 911SC with its 3.0-liter six-cylinder boxer powerplant was arguably the best serial production sports car on the market. Even today, many Porsche enthusiasts feel it offers the perfect combination of creature comforts (just enough, without the car becoming a luxo-barge) and sterling performance. Further, they have an extraordinarily robust drivetrain, even by Porsche standards. Engines, if properly maintained and serviced, regularly go 200,000 miles before overhauls. Our 1981 Targa had original paint and 155,000 miles when we sold it. We now have a 38,000-mile dead-original '83 SC and a 98,000-mile cosmetically challenged '78 model. If you were blindfolded, all three would feel exactly the same from behind the wheel. Now that these cars are reaching twenty years of age, we are seeing some head stud breakage, which is not trivial and costs about $3,000 to repair. The original, old-style chain tensioners need to be replaced every ten or so years. A better option is to convert to the later pressure-fed style (approximately $900). Cruise-control modules fail, turn-signal levers wear out, fresh-air blower motors in the ventilation system pack up and the air conditioning systems, unless upgraded, are marginal. This was a highly successful car built in large numbers, so chances are prices will stay stable for the forseeable future. However, we are seeing more collectors willing to pay a premium for documented, unmodified, low-mileage (under 75,000) cars. Avoid $10,000 SCs with fiberglass body add-ons, or cars that look like they've been run hard and put away wet. The difference in price between a pig ($10K) and a jewel ($20K) is just too small to justify buying a car with significant needs. For pure appreciation, the 1983 Cabriolet is the best bet, as this was the first 911 Cabriolet, and had limited production in its first year. Serious drivers prefer the coupes due to their greater chassis rigidity; the sunroof cars are a good compromise for those who want an open-air feel without worrying about weather-sealing or cowl shake. I never hesitate to recommend an SC for a first-time Porsche buyer. They still have some of the edgy enthusiast-oriented feel of the earlier 2.0-2.4L cars, while adding a host of improvements and durability enhancements. The SC is a car with big performance, limited depreciation (a well-kept car simply won't go down in value) and tremendous reliability that you can enjoy driving every day.

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