Mileage: 218,200 Miles (TMU)
Engine: 3.0-Liter Engine
Transmission: 915 5-Speed Gearbox
Exterior color: Pewter Metallic Exterior (655)
Interior: Brown Leatherette Interior (VC)
3.2L Timing Chain Tensioner Upgrade
Air Conditioning System Present (but INOP)
Pioneer SuperTuner CD Player
Carpet Floor Mats
16” Fuchs Wheels
BF-Goodrich g-Force Sport Comp 2 Tires
The 911SC (1978 to 1983 911), “S/C” stands for “Super Carrera,” which was the second to last in the evolution of the traditional 911 lineage—an arc that spanned some thirty-five years. The SC played an important role in the 911’s history, because shortly after its release, Porsche had planned on discontinuing the 911 in favor of the 928, but the SC’s popularity changed that. The story goes that it was so well received that the 911’s future was drawn off the whiteboard onto the wall! The SC not only saved the 911, but also cemented its future. That’s because the SC was utterly fantastic! Incremental evolutions from the previous Carrera 2.7 and Carrera 3.0 resulted in a wider-body design powered by an aluminum block 3.0-liter engine good for 180 horsepower in early US models. Like all traditional 911s, weight—or lack thereof—was a key design component, meaning those horses only had to move roughly 2700 pounds, making it fast and composed in the corners. Collectors overlooked the 911SC for years until recently, but even with its recent appreciation, it is still one of the best buys in the classic 911 market.
This 1982 Porsche 911SC Targa has been our “shop Porsche” for the last two years. Finished in Pewter Metallic over a brown leatherette interior, it is a nice departure from the common SC colors of silver, black or white, and is complimented nicely by 16-inch Fuchs wheels. It is a rare example of a 911SC that is presentable and mechanically sound, but imperfect enough to use and priced below the realm of most air-cooled 911s. It came to us from Seattle, where it had sat for quite some time. There are limited records from the 1990s showing the mileage in the high 100Ks to low 200Ks and some major services. An invoice from 2013 shows an engine rebuild from John Walker, but there is no mileage on the receipt. When we got it, we did an extensive round of initial maintenance to get it running properly. That included a leak down test (results: #1: 15%, #2: 5%, #3: 7%, #4: 4%, #5: 3%, #6: 3%). We suspect that cylinder #1 has tightened up some after the engine has been run. We also flushed the fuel and oil, replaced the fuel injectors, fuel pump check valve, battery, brake master cylinder with a brake fluid flush, and replaced most of the exhaust. After we got it running correctly, we replaced the steering column bushing, AT idler gear bearings, and front wheel bearings along with mounting fresh BFGoodrich g-Force Sport Comp-2 tires. Then we made it safe by replacing the brake light switch and turn signal stalk and had the speedometer repaired so the odometer functions correctly. We also replaced the front oil cooler thermostat and gave it a fresh oil change.
As it sits, after putting over 1,000 miles on it over the last two years, it runs and drives well, but it still has a list of squawks to bring to the next level. The engine has moderate oil leaks, but nothing terrible on the air-cooled 911 scale. It would require an engine-out reseal to get them all. While you’re at it, although the clutch functions well, it is also likely nearing the end of its service life. It would benefit from fresh motor mounts in the process. Cosmetically, it is also presentable, but it certainly could use some housekeeping. It’s been repainted in the original color, and the paint job is decent, but certainly not perfect. The interior is worse off with the carpet being fair, as well as the seats and an aftermarket dashboard cover that was adhered with a little too much silicone (all detailed below). We have been tempted to build it into a Safari, which it would be a perfect candidate for, but its condition is too nice for us (not you) to modify that heavily. Instead, it would make a great entry-level air-cooled Targa that you can actually use without guilt. We have priced it accordingly and can’t what to see what the new owner does with it.
The Pewter Metallic paint is presentable and fitting for the overall condition of this 911SC Targa; it’s a mid-market paint job. Close inspection reveals masking lines, fisheyes, and other flaws. They did paint-match the zip ties holding the screen under the rear spoiler, though! The black Targa roll bar has some paint chips ranging from dime to quarter-sized. There aren’t any glaring dents or dings and there is little to no rust. The front bumper and leading edge of the hood both have minor rock chips, but fewer than you would see on a typical Colorado car. The Targa top is in good condition, but does have UV fade on the upper surface. The rubber where it seals on the body is in fair condition, with the rear seal being the worst. There is moderate UV fade on the bumper trim, black-work and rear spoiler rubber. The rear bumperettes have been removed with plugs and LED license plate lights in place of the bolt holes; the bumperettes are included in the sale. The windshield glass is in good shape with no cracks, as is the side and rear glass. The sealed beam headlights are surrounded by “sugar scopes” and are in good shape. The fog lights are crack-free, but the driver’s side is INOP. Both front turn signal lenses have small cracks. The brake lights, markers, and turn signal lenses are crack-free. The Fuchs wheels have no curb rash, but they do have lots of small blemishes and moderate paint chips on the black centers. They are wrapped in BFGoodrich G-Force tires that were mounted in 2018, with 90% tread remaining.
Open the door and you are greeted with that lovely air-cooled 911 smell—part leather, part engine. There is faint mildew smell from its time sitting in the Northwest, but it isn’t offensive. We removed and cleaned the carpets and floor mats, along with the Targa top. The next step would be a fresh carpet set, or metal floor boards if you elect to do a Safari build. The existing carpet has some tearing near the left front fender. Brown Porsche floor mats are present and in good shape. Both door cards have some separation where the map pockets meet the handles, with the passenger side being worse. The stock steering wheel is present, but the stitching is failing. There is a dashboard cover that was adhered with silicone, we do not know what the original dashboard looks like underneath and would not recommend trying to find out. All instruments are functional (we had the odometer repaired) with the exception of the clock; all needles have some UV fade. The wiper and turn-signal stocks function correctly (we replaced the latter). The power windows work, but the driver’s switch can be finicky. The heater fan is INOP and the temperature levers are stiff; the floor-mounted defrost levers work, but they do have some UV fade on the handles. The A/C system is present, but INOP. An aftermarket Pioneer SuperTuner stereo works, but the speakers are old. The leatherette front seats are faded and have some separated stitching. The rear seats are in slightly better shape. The frunk carpet is in poor shape, but the spare tire is present. The ignition key is old, and can require some finesse to unlock, but it still functions. The owner’s manual and maintenance booklets are present.
There are few driving experiences that can match an air-cooled 911! The 3.0 engine fires on command, idles smoothly, and pulls strongly to redline. There are moderate oil leaks from all of the typical 3.0 suspects; the cylinder head bases, cylinder heads, timing chain covers, and oil return tubes. The oil pressure is healthy, but can be on the lower side if the oil temp is high. We replaced the oil thermostat to keep the temp within the normal operating range. The clutch does not slip, but it is nearing the end of its life. The 915 takes finesse to shift smoothly, but mastering that is one of the most rewarding aspects of the classic 911 driving experience. There are no driveline, transaxle, or wheel bearing vibrations, but all of the CV axle boots will warrant replacement in the near future. The suspension compliant, but it could also use some refreshing; the tie rod ends should be replaced first. The brakes are strong and have some life left in them. As it sits, this is a great entry-level air-cooled 911. It could continue to be used as it sits with some minimal sorting while monitoring its oil leaks, or it could be restored or built into something like a Safari. It has been enjoyable to bring it back to life and it has served us well. We look forward to seeing what happens with it for the next chapter of its story.