Can an everyman afford to run a Porsche 911?
We all have a bit of a thing for Porsches. And I'm not referring to those ridiculous monster-truck Cayenne things or that poxy little roadster - the Boxster. Yes, they are both nice cars in their own rights, but if you want an SUV or a roadster there are better, more interesting options. If you want a 2+2 rear engined sports coupe...
Well there's not much choice is there?
So why would you want one?
The first thing that springs to mind is, that they're interesting. We live in a world where pretty much all modern cars follow a tried and tested formula of one shape or another. If you're buying a small hatchback, your choice within the type is fairly limited. Yes, you might go for more power, or leather seats, or a nicer colour or something. Ultimately though it's probably going to be a front-engine, front-wheel-drive box of a similar size and shape. If you have a 911, you're having something different. Yes, it's a tried and tested design, Porsche have been trying and testing this design since the company began. Nobody else has really ever jumped on the bandwagon. The driving dynamics WILL be different with all the weight at the back. In some respects it should be a more balanced, poised car. Just don't be too enthusiastic as you pull off a wet round-about.
How wealthy do you have to be to get into 911 ownership?
That's the question isn't it? You can pick up a 'beater' as the yanks call them for less than £10,000. But I'm talking about a car you could buy and use with a reasonable expectation of it continuing to work with only normal maintenance. The 993, 997 and 919 variants are obviously NOT going to feature in a Poverty Petrolheads post. So that leaves us with the 996. I appreciate the fried-egg headlights aren't to everyone's taste and we're in definite pre-PDK territory. However I think a nice manual 996 would probably be a decent drive and provide a good chunk of the 911 ownership experience.
I had a look through the Autotrader to see what was on offer and I found this:-
Now it's an oldie. But it's a goody. With only 60,000 miles on the clock it's barely run in for a Porsche.
It's a nice looking car and it even has the optional rear wiper!
The interior IS looking a little tired, but this is a 17 year old car! I was still smoking and working in IT back then! I was still in the band for god's sake!
For its age, I reckon this looks a fairly tidy example and certainly drivable.
Yes, it's a Carrera 4 so you miss out on a bit of boot space, but with AWD you should be able to drive it in winter with a little more confidence.
The engine bay looks pretty clean too!
Okay, I'm sold. But can I afford it?
Well the dealer has the car on sale for £15,750. I would venture that this being the case, he's expecting a cash offer of £15,000 or to wrangle something out of part exchange that equates to the same amount.
Obviously if I sold my Focus ST3, I could probably just buy this instead. But what if I was driving something a bit more ordinary and didn't have the cash in the bank? I think it's reasonable to expect a potential Porsche owner to be driving something worth £5000, so let's assume we need a £10,000 loan to secure this car. I wouldn't want to commit to more than 3 years, so we'll take that loan over 36 months.
As you can see the figures are coming in at around £290 per month.
Okay, but what about insurance?
Again, I ran some figures. These are for a 41 year old with no claims discount and no accidents or convictions.
I looked at the access and thought the Admiral quote was the most realistic you'd want to go for. That's 549.92 a year. But if we're a chap on minimum wage, well we might want to pay monthly. Here's how that Admiral quote comes out:-
So we're up to trading our £5000 car in and paying £290+£49.50 per month. That's £339.50.
How about fuel?
Well the average is stated as 23 mpg for this car. However it's 17 years old so lets round that down to 20mpg. The average person does 10,000 miles a year or so for a round figure.
Current average price in the UK is £1.31 a litre. So let's air on the side of caution and budget £1.35 a litre. To do that 10,000 miles should take about 500 gallons. 500 Imperial gallons works out at 2273.05 litres. So that gives us a cost of £2274.40 a year for petrol. Or £189.53 per month.
Our running total per month is therefore now £339.50+£189.53 = £529.50 per month.
If you use your 911 as intended and actually have some fun in it then you should probably budget one set of tyres per 2 years. If you want an actual make you've heard of and a remotely reasonably tyre, you're looking at £100 a shoe. So £400 per set, £200 per year - that makes £16.66 a month on tyres. We're now at £546.16 a month.
Well, you can bet an old car like this will need a few tweaks every year. A wiper blade, a touch of welding, a part or too. I'd budget £120 at LEAST for MOT time. So that takes us up £10 per month to £556.16 a month.
Well a major service is going to be approx £300 if you can find the right independent specialist. That adds £25 per month taking us to £571.16 per month.
Well it's a tough one. I'd say if you do normal miles and try to keep it in good condition it'll hold its value and be worth around £10,000 in three years time. That works out at £138.88 per month, but we won't add that to the total. Just for interest, that's what you'll likely lose.
So can an everyman afford £571.16 a month?
Right, well I know for a fact, a man working a 40 hour week in the UK, on minimum wage earns £1357.20 a month gross. He loses £74.60 to PAYE, £78.69 to National Insurance and pays £25.63 into an auto-enrollment pension provided he hasn't opted out. That means, he takes home £1178.37.
Currently the UK's best mortgage rates are around 3.92% and the cheapest you can pick up a house is around £100,000 if you don't mind living in a do-er upper in a dodgy area. So on a 25 year mortgage you can expect to pay £523 per month. Add that to our total and it makes £1094.16 per month. Knock that off our income and you get £1178.37-£1094.16= £84.21 a month spare.
£84.21 is NOT a lot to live on a month. I would say a single bloke, working a 40 hour week on minimum wage, paying a normal mortgage, CANNOT afford to run a sensible Porsche 911. It leaves hardly enough for shopping or incidental costs like broken down washing machines etc, let alone enough for holidays and saving to cover costs of living while out of work.
However he's NOT that far off. If he shares a house with a partner and splits the mortgage 50/50 or inherits a house from a parent, then he's probably just about within range. If he could up his take home pay to £500 extra a month, then I think it'd be a possibility. In reality though, only a true petrolhead and someone who was a real Porsche fan would make this financial sacrifice. For most people the cost wold be just too much and these calculations don't allow for a catastrophic maintenance cost like timing belts or a gearbox. It might make sense for a petrolhead couple who were both working full time and were prepared to share a single car. The difficulty would be the constant arguing over whose turn it was to drive it!