Porsche 964 Buying guide

Back in 1989, Porsche brought about some major upgrades to the 911 model since it was long due. They had to keep up with the market so they phased out the G model and brought in the brand new 911 Carrera 4 type 964. Though 964 was an internal company name, the Carrera 4 was known as the 964 everywhere.

This is a special car from Porsche, a car worshipped by enthusiasts and collectors even today! We talk of some details about the Porsche 964, its importance, and what you should look out for when buying one. 

Background of the Porsche 964

 The Porsche 964 was a completely revamped car compared to the older models as 85% of the parts on it were new. The car had improved aerodynamics with polyurethane bumpers and an automatically extending rear spoiler which replaced the “whale tail” found on the 911 throughout the 1980s, despite retaining the classic shape of its predecessor- the 911 Classic. The 964 was available in the Coupé, Targa, and Cabriolet body designs.

The Porsche 964 was the first 911 ever to have an all-wheel-drive system that was electronically controlled. It sent 31% of the power to the front axle and 69% of the power to the rear axle. This could be toggled as per driving conditions. The car also featured a traction control system, ABS, power steering, coil springs, dual front airbags, dual-mass flywheel, and twin-spark ignition that were absent in the older 911s.

The 964 became an instant hit with its musical naturally aspirated straight-six engine that produced 247 HP and 310 NM of torque. That’s a great figure for a car that weighed 1.4 tons and had a manual gearbox. Porsche showed its intent by launching the manual four-wheel-drive Carrera 4 coupé first, five months ahead of the two-wheel-drive version, and a year before the Tiptronic auto option (which was only offered on the Carrera 2). 

Apart from the engine and design, another reason why this car is sought after even today is the way it drives. The steering of the 964 is intuitive, giving the driver all the feedback from the road while the lithe chassis ably copes up with sharp turns you throw at it. Everything falls into place and creates a perfect blend of aesthetic and dynamic engagement which makes this 964 one of the best Porsche 911’s ever made.

Among the other classic Porsche’s like the 993 or the standard Carrera, the 964 still holds that perfect sweet spot. It offers the perfect air-cooled analog Porsche experience than its tech-loaded successors. Though the 964 had some basic tech, it never lost the raw feeling of authenticity, durability, and thrill that old Porsche’s once offered. 

How Many Porche 964’s were produced? 

Production of the Porsche 964 began in 1989 and lasted until 1994. Porsche made 66,751 units of the 964 in these five years at Stuttgart in Germany. 

Porsche 964 versions 

 1. Porsche 964 Carrera 4

Model Years: 1989-1994 | Engine: 3.6 L Aircooled Flat 6 (M64/01) | Production units: 20,395 | Body Styles: Coupe, Cabriolet, and Targa

This was the first 964 developed by Porsche to update the chassis and tech platform on 911s. The 964 Carrera 4 was powered by the M64/01, 3.6 liter flat-six engine developing 247 HP and 310 NM of torque.

The objective of the C4’s all-wheel-drive system was to provide better handling, especially on wet and slippery surfaces. Porsche gave it a power distribution ratio of 31:69 because a 50:50 split would have made the 964 feel more like a front-wheel-drive car. However, it also gave the driver an option to lock axles at a 50:50 front/rear ratio in case the road got more slippery. 

The Coupe, Cabriolet, and the Targa styles of the 964 got the same engine and produced similar performance figures. However, the Carrera 4 Cabriolet was slightly slower than the coupe and the Targa. 

Porsche 911 Carrera 4 964 Coupe Specs

 Known as: 964 Carrera 4 Coupe

 Years: 1989-1994

 Engine: 3.6 L Flat 6 (M64/01)

 Production: 13,353 units

 Power: 250 HP @ 6100 rpm

 Torque: 310 NM @ 4800 rpm

 0-60 mph: 5.6 seconds

 1/4 Mile: 13.5 seconds

 Top Speed: 162 mph

Porsche 911 Carrera 4 964 Cabriolet Specs

 Known as: 964 Carrera 4 Cabriolet

 Years: 1990-1994

 Engine: 3.6 L Flat 6 (M64/01)

 Production: 4,802 units

 Power: 250 HP @ 6100 rpm

 Torque: 310 NM @ 4800 rpm

 0-60 mph: 5.7 seconds

 1/4 Mile: 13.5 seconds

 Top Speed: 162 mph

Porsche 911 Carrera 4 964 Targa Specs

 Known as: 964 Carrera 4 Cabriolet

 Years: 1990-1993

 Engine: 3.6 L Flat 6 (M64/01)

 Production: 1,329 units

 Power: 250 HP @ 6100 rpm

 Torque: 310 NM @ 4800 rpm

 0-60 mph: 5.6 seconds

 1/4 Mile: 13.5 seconds

 Top Speed: 162 mph

Porsche also released the 911 964 ’30 Jahre’ Anniversary edition and the 964 Carrera 4 Turbo look special in 1993 and 1994 for the US market. The performance specs remained unchanged.  

2. Porsche 964 Carrera 2 

 Model Years: 1990-1994 | Engine: 3.6 L Aircooled Flat 6 (M64/01 M64/02) | Production units: 34,398 | Body Styles: Coupe, Cabriolet, and Targa

Porsche developed the 964 Carrera 2 with the Carrera 4 but launched it a year later. The rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive Carrera 2 was 100 kgs lighter than its Carrera 4 sibling. It was more fun to drive, sportier, and was considered a true successor to the Carrera 3.2 of 1984

Several models of the C2 arrived later on that looked like the Porsche Turbo models, speedsters and roadsters with cosmetic changes but performance figures remained unchanged. 

Porsche 911 Carrera 2 964 Coupe Specs

 Known as: 964 Carrera 2 Coupe

 Years: 1990-1994

 Engine: 3.6 L Flat 6 (M64/01, M64/02)

 Production: 18,219

 Power: 250 HP @ 6100 rpm

 Torque: 310 NM @ 4800 rpm

 0-60 mph: 5.6 seconds

 1/4 Mile: 13.3 seconds

 Top Speed: 162 mph

Porsche 911 Carrera 2 964 Cabriolet Specs

 Known as: 964 Carrera 2 Cabriolet

 Years: 1990-1994

 Engine: 3.6 L Flat 6 (M64/01, M64/02)

 Production: 11,013

 Power: 250 HP @ 6100 rpm

 Torque: 310 NM @ 4800 rpm

 0-60 mph: 5.7 seconds

 1/4 Mile: 13.7 seconds

 Top Speed: 162 mph

Porsche 911 Carrera 2 964 Targa Specs

 Known as: 964 Carrera 2 Targa

 Years: 1990-1993

 Engine: 3.6 L Flat 6 (M64/01, M64/02)

 Production: 3,534

 Power: 250 HP @ 6100 rpm

 Torque: 310 NM @ 4800 rpm

 0-60 mph: 5.7 seconds

 1/4 Mile: 13.9 seconds

 Top Speed: 162 mph

3. Porsche 964 Turbo

Model Years: 1991-1994 | Engine: 3.3 L Turbo Flat 6 (M30/69) & 3.6 L Turbo Flat 6 (M64/50) | Production: 5,097 | Body Styles: Coupe, Cabriolet (limited run)

The 964 Turbo was the last single-turbo rear-wheel-drive 911 to be sold. The addition of the single turbo improved engine power up to 320 HP whereas torque was increased to 490 NM! The 964 Turbo was a pure monster considering its power to weight ratio and torque output, despite there being a significant amount of turbo lag. 

The Turbo S variant of the 911 964 was tweaked even more to improve performance and handling. The horsepower was pumped up to 381 while it lost 181 kilos with aggressive weight shedding. Only 86 of these were made to celebrate the last of the 3.3 L Turbo engines.

911 964 Turbo 3.6 was launched in 1993 with the new 3.6-liter turbo engine based on the M64 power unit in the 964 Carrera 2 and Carrera 4. Power output was a generous 360 HP at 5,500 rpm and torque being 520.6 NM at 4,200 RPM. Apart from the engine, the 964 Turbo 3.6 got better brakes, suspension, and tires to cope up with the increase in power.

The 964 Turbo 3.6 S was made by Porsche when the last 93 units of the 964 were remaining, Porsche offered them with slant nose front ends with an X88 option that bumped the power of the car to 380 HP with the addition of an auxiliary oil cooler. 

4. Porsche 964 RS 

 The 964 RS was a homage to the 1973 911 Carrera RS, Porsche got fully aggressive with the 964 and shed a lot of weight, almost 500 kilograms of them. The RS used an upgraded version (M64/03) of the M64 engine used in the 964 Carrera 2 and 4 (M64/01). Power was increased by 10 HP from the new 3.6-liter boxer engine and the engine used rubber mounts instead of hydraulic mounts. A lighter and simpler wiring harness was used while the ECU was reset for higher octane fuel. The power being produced increased from 250 HP to 260 HP. 

Handling and braking were improvised with the use of lighter parts. The mods meant the 964 RS hit 60 MPH in 5.1 seconds and was a proper fun-to-drive car on the race track. The 964 Carrera RS was offered in three road-legal versions- The base option that offered no luxury at all, the second one was a touring model that was offered with limited extras and the third option was the N-GT (near-production GT) version.

Purchasing a Porsche 964

All models of the 964 are great to drive and boast classic styling, which partly explains why demand has been increasing and consequently, the value seems to be climbing too. A 964 Carrera 2 or a Carrera 4 will cost you somewhere between £35,000 and £70,000. The exception would be a good Turbo or a RS 964- that would require you to shell out a six-figure sum.

It is challenging to find a good Porsche 964 that has been running fine without major niggles. Before zeroing in on one, get as much information about the car as possible from its recent history to the repair work it has undergone. Get an idea of what has been done to the car in terms of maintenance. That doesn’t include just regular servicing but also the parts that were replaced throughout its life. Also important to know is how much the seller knows their car. If not much, then there are points you’ll have to investigate independently before investing. 

What to look out for? 

There are some aspects you need to keep an eye out for while buying the Porsche 911 964. 

Engine

The all-alloy engine on the 964 is built to last much longer than 1,00,000 miles but that depends on the car’s service history. Look out for oil leaks near the timing chain cover, cylinder base, and rocker cover. A few drips may not be a great deal but a steady flow of oil could be pointing to a serious problem- even as serious as an expensive (as high as 10,000 pounds)and difficult engine rebuild. Or, the leak could also indicate a much need engine head resealing. 

Not many 964s were fitted with a vent pipe to reduce the chances of the belt snapping off that links the two distributors. Many got the vent pipe fitted eventually but you do need to check and see if the belt is in good shape. You could use the help of a professional to inspect as it could help you save thousands of pounds. Then there are head stud bolts that would require an inspection by a professional; a snapped bolt could cost you upwards of 8000 pounds. 

Also, check the pipes between the dry sump oil tank and the engine since this was a common source of leaks on the 964, the main culprit being corrosion. However, it isn’t a big deal and can be fixed by replacing the pipes.  

If you come across an engine rebuild in the maintenance history, don’t be put off by it because it could be good news for you. Just imagine! A proper rebuild job done is like getting an all-new engine. Even if the overhaul just includes new valves and piston rings- it is good enough to put the 964’s engine life back on track.

You could have the engine checked by a professional to know the current engine compression, whether or not it would need an engine overhaul if that hasn’t been done. In case it has gone through an engine rebuild, the quality of work could be assessed to get a clearer picture of the value of your investment, and most importantly, it would help you decide whether you should invest at all. 

Body

Originality is of utmost importance and that’s where money and value matter. You need to avoid 964s that are made to look like an RS or a Turbo. 

The 964 was not as prone to rust as the earlier 911s but a little bit is common and acceptable, especially around the bottom corners of the front and rear screens, wheel arches, under the lights, door bottoms, around the windscreen, and window seals. 

Caused by UV rays, you could find the Taillights on most 964’s to be faded and the dashboards shrunk. These are costly details to mend. The air conditioning needs to be checked for corroded condensers or compressors since rebuilding them is time-consuming and expensive.

Do check for the underseal applied by Porsche and see if it is still original. If the car you’re looking at is a cabriolet then check for signs of a damp footwell as it may indicate leakage, a possibility that could require a new roof or seals. Leaking roofs were common for Targas and Cabriolets and considering the age of these cars today (most are 25 years and above), it shouldn’t surprise anybody. A replacement won’t come cheap, these are factors to consider when negotiating the price for a Porsche 964.

Dual Mass Flywheel

Perhaps the most notorious issue to have afflicted the Porsche 964 is its dual mass flywheel (DMF) failure. The early 964s were fitted with a highly unreliable Freudenberg DMF. Porsche corrected this in 1992 by switching to a LUK-manufactured unit that turned out to be a reliable DMF.  

The typical symptom of DMF failure is heavy vibrations at low revs. You are unlikely to find a 964 with this problem these days but it is worth checking for since most of the problematic Freudenberg units in the early cars would have been replaced the LUK part by now.

Electrics

Climate control units can get quite expensive and are prone to wear over long-term usage. You must run through the temperature range while testing the car and ensure it stays where you put it. 

ABS issues are common on all-wheel-drive cars. Check if the accelerometer units in the transmission tunnel are connected and clean. If not, cleaning it could solve any irregularities. Also, check if the ABS wiring is intact.  

Speaking of the brakes, ensure to have the discs, calipers, and brake pads checked to know if they have been maintained. If they are due for replacement, you could consider that cost to be accounted for as well before buying the car.        

Suspension and steering

The suspension on the 964 was on the stiffer side. If your test drive is of the 964 is unbearable, it might be a sign the suspension requires new bushings. If not that, then it’s a sign that dampers are due for a change. There were no serious complaints with the power steering and steering column apart from a few leaks from the rubber hose between the reservoir and pump. A replacement of all the O-rings should sort this issue out. 

Though it isn’t impossible to find parts of the Porsche 964, body parts could be found with a little search around. 

How much should you spend? 

Well, this is a difficult question since we’ve not seen the 964 you’re out to buy. But, if you’re in talks with a seller and most of the points we’ve mentioned above look alright, then we could help you out. 

If the 964 in question is a Carrera 2 Cabriolet or the coupe with a Tiptronic gearbox, the price could range between £30,000 and £55,000.

For a 964 Carrera 4 model with Turbo body kits or a Targa- top, the price could hover between £55,000 and £80,000.

If you’re lucky to be looking for a low mileage Porsche 964 or an RS model with some serious performance, expect to pay a value between £75000 and £110,000. 

If the 964 is a Turbo variant or the 3.8 liter RS, or even the limited edition Turbo S Leichtbau, you could be looking at a value upwards of £1 million. 

To conclude, the Porsche 964 is surely a collector’s car and thank goodness! It is finally getting the attention that it always deserved. We suggest you consider the above points while purchasing a 964 so you don’t end up investing in a money pit.

Good maintenance is key to buying and owning a rare icon like the Porsche 964. Take care of it, caress it and witness the rewards it gives you in the form of great performance and happy miles. 

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