Porsche Buying Advice. Inspections. Pre Purchase Inspection. Money well spent or not? Dream turns to disaster

Porsche pre purchase inspection.  Its rather like buying insurance, you hope that it will be a waste of money. You are investing a lot of money buying a Porsche and if things turn sour you can have a major headache which contaminates your ownership Porsche. Its best avoided......


Therefore you should ideally do your own checks ( my Porsche buyers guide will help you) and if you feel you need more reassurance use a Porsche specialist Pre Purchase Inspection.


The buyer of this Porsche 996 Convertible could have avoided the trauma with just an easy check....

A £52000 mistake?  A  gentleman called me for buying advice on a Porsche 996. Evidently his brother had gone and bought a very low mileage 996, with just a few thousand miles on it.

A beauty.

Or was it?

He bought it from a main dealer, but not a Porsche dealer, there was a small fault on the screenwash so he took it to the local Porsche dealer.

The Porsche dealer looked at the label under the bonnet (front lid), you know the white label that should be in place on Porsche since the eighties and the dealer noticed the ink was 'bleeding'. The first clue.

Upon inspection of the chassis plate on the bulkhead they noticed the last four digits were not as neat as the rest. Certainly not the way Porsche manufacture them.

Police were called.

It gets worse.

The police checked the number, said they knew about the car, it had been stolen and recovered just three months earlier.  The thieves had  altered the chassis plate. In the UK this is called 'ringing' or cloning.  This is when the thieves use the paperwork of a legitimate car and alter the identity of the stolen car. Usually they will sell the car on really quickly, pocket the cash and disappear.


In this instance the 'fraud' was detected, although the perpetrators were not and the car returned to its original owner. (Leaving the person who bought it out of pocket).


The original owner didn't want it back as the chassis (v.i.n.) number had been doctored. Therefore the Iiinsurance company took the car and paid off the original owner. What happens next?


Next the insurance company sold it as salvage to a salvage yard.


Someone buys it from the salvage yard and quite correctly contacts the Police who inspect the car , re stamp the chassis number with the original.


In this instance the car passed through another dealer who sold it to the gentleman aforementioned. (The dealer we presume hadn't noticed...and why would you check on a nearly new car?)

Although the Porsche has the correct chassis number and the Police are happy where does this leave the current owner? 

This new owner has a problem, a 'story' car and a 'meddled' chassis plate.  Even though the Police fix a sticker on the car to say its been checked and provide a phone number to enquire, its still a car with a story to tell which depresses its value.

The 'big' dealer wont take it back.

And its probably not worth pursuing in the courts.

So the moral of the story...........check the three chassis numbers against the documents on any Porsche irrespective of its value. Its quick, easy and not 'impolite'.

The numbers are;

1. On the white label stuck to the underside of the front lid (these sometimes do go missing after panel replacements).

2. Check the chassis 'tag' plate on older models (this is the alloy plate riveted to the inner wing, or on later cars its the plate visible through the windscreen.

3. Check the 'stamped' number, depending on model, its behind the spare wheel or up by the bulkhead.  The vehicle handbook will tell you the exact location of the numbers.  Before you go to buy, familiarise yourself with the look of the 'tags' on a friend car.

It really doesn't matter from whom your buying, the seller may not be aware of the problem. So be careful.

Morrally, the selling dealer should sort it out, look after the chap. But its more tricky than that.

1. The car is not stolen (it simply had been once).

2. the car has the right chassis number (but it doesn't look right where the number has been re-stamped).

3. HPI. It doesn't show up now on HPI...the reason, because its not stolen, or damaged, so no recourse there.

But would you want me to be flogging you a £52k 996 and saying "don't worry sir, the chassis numbers been restamped and the Police say its fine"...I think not.

The poor chaps in a pickle.

The lesson is:

1. spend five minutes before you buy and look at the numbers.

2. don't rely totally on HPI or other online checks.

3. Take a look at the person you think they would do the right thing if there is trouble?

Fortunately it happens seldom, but certainly is worth remembering.

Adrian Crawford.