Buying the Owner

Jeremy Linton’s 2002 911 Carrera

IT SEEMS I’ve always wanted a 911, but when the time came to actually consider a purchase, the ship containing cheap air-cooled SCs and Carreras had long left the harbour. That left the 996, the red-headed stepchild of the modern 911 era.

After lengthy research into all the potential issues and pitfalls, and obtaining spousal permission, the search began. I was living in Winnipeg at the time, and that’s where the first car I went to see was. Seal Grey, C2, manual, purchased new in Beverly Hills, California, with service records from new. After a quick test drive, I knew I had to have it. All the buyer’s advice I’d found was adamant that a pre-purchase inspection be done to avoid hidden issues, so I dutifully set up an appointment the following week with the Winnipeg Porsche dealership. That weekend, the selling dealer called me to say they had a very interested buyer who phoned in who wanted to make a deal immediately, but he’d give me the first shot since I came to see it first. I thought, “Ha, Car Salesman 101!” and informed him I’d be making an offer after the PPI. On Monday, the car was sold to the other “very interested buyer,” this person turned out to be real.

Devastated, I continued the search including a notable test drive where the car lost all oil pressure while idling at a stoplight. Eventually I found my car in Fergus, Ontario and it was a case of “buying the owner.” My car-guy friend Ryan and I first laid eyes on the car on a lift in the owner’s large home shop. It was suspended above an uncovered yellow Ferrari and he said, “Well, we know it doesn’t leak any oil.” A long conversation with the owner and a tour of his other cars (two Ferraris, a 993 Carrera, and a 996 Turbo) basically sealed the deal and a week or so later my friends Ryan and Chris and I were driving the car away in what can only be described as a biblical thunderstorm. So much for “hardly seen rain.”

Since then, the car has done road trips, autocross, ice-cream runs and a few track days. And apart from a faulty alternator, it has been largely trouble-free. The car continues to provide a unique and special driving experience and, no matter how hard I try, I still can’t see the headlights from behind the wheel! </>

Story and photos provided by Jeremy Linton.

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