How buying my dream car turned into a nightmare!

EVERY kid has a dream. Mine was to own a Porsche 911 one day. Richie (my good friend in high school) and I spent countless hours in Algebra drawing 911s in our notebooks. Richie’s drawing were always much better. And that’s not all he was better at.

About thirty years later Richie was a seasoned motoring journalist who would get called up by all the big car companies. He would get invited to test drive the latest models in exotic locations. He spent his days travelling to places like Monte Carlo, California and the Australian outback to test drive Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porsches, Bentleys and other more mainstream cars. Occasionally, over a beer I would get to hear from him what was wrong with the latest Aston Martin.

Meanwhile I had spent those thirty years making a living the more traditional way. Not only were all those cars a distant fantasy, I was pretty sure that the cost of one of the wheels on a car like that was more than what I had paid for any of my cars.

Yet I quietly made a wow to one day experience being behind the wheel of my dream car. The dream came true when I visited a good friend in Germany and he knew how I loved Porsches. So he took me to Avis and we drove off in a 911, down the autobahn and around the Rhine.

This was such an experience that I decided to write about it so I could share it with Richie. I sent him a link to the blog, but didn’t even get a courtesy response saying he was happy to hear from me.

Little did I realise, the dream car itch had been far from scratched. Worse, I appeared to have aggravated it further. So I decided a couple of years later to dabble in nice cars that had been depreciated enough for me to afford them but not so much that they would be a burden. I started cautiously. First, a used Jag. Richie didn’t even let out a healthy yawn when he heard about that car. Then it was a pretty powerful Lexus. That got a small nod from Richie although I wasn’t sure if he was actually dozing off or approving of the purchase.

The thing with Richie was he could abuse those dream cars as much as he liked and then return it to the dealer who would kiss the hand that handed over the keys. I, on the other hand, had to kneel and extend my hand to even be considered for a test drive.

After a few years of owning a couple awesome vehicles I decided it was time to get more than a yawn or a nod from Richie. It was time for the dream car. The benchmark.

I got myself a Porsche 911. Of course I didn’t pay anything close to the new sticker price of $211,000. I got it in the prestige pre-owned market. The car was almost as good as new, with very low mileage. I was happy as Larry, but little did I realise what I was in for.

Here’s what happened.

After about 18 months of owning the car and loving it, I was driving home and the engine sounded rather rough. I got home, parked it and took a look under the car and noticed oil gushing out. I called my mechanic immediately. Bad news. The car’s intermediate shaft bearing (IMS) had failed and the engine was a write-off. Only 75,000 kms on it and it was blown!

After a long chat with my mechanic, I did some thorough research and found that the car I owned was made during a 5 year period where this was a known problem. Given that this was a design flaw and Porsche North America had settled a class action law suit by agreeing to cover the damage to customers that had this problem, I thought Porsche would do the right thing and help in some way. Not a chance. Cries for help to Porsche Germany also fell on deaf ears. They couldn’t care less. So I was left with a $20,000 bill to rebuild the engine or a $50,000 bill to get a new one!

That’s when I decided to put this manual together to help others avoid this type of pain. If you are a car enthusiast and would like to learn how to buy your dream car at trade-in price and minimise the odds of being left by the side of the road by the manufacturer, you might want to read this manual.

Learn in 3 simple steps how to find incredible value on a pre-owned super car while also ensuring that you minimize the chance of your dream turning into a nightmare.

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By Neshan Dias – Neshan loves his cars and in his younger days he worked as a journalist for the Bangkok Post where he test drove numerous cars with the Motoring editor Richard Leu (read his review of a Porsche 911). Today Neshan is the founder and CEO of a Sydney-based software company that is focused on developing apps for mobile devices – eAltius Pty Ltd