News center
Extensive know-how coupled with cutting-edge software

10 Classic Porsche Cars You Can Buy For Less than $20,000

Jan 15, 2024

Proof that you don't need to spend a fortune to own a Classic Porsche

Let's face it. New Porsches are expensive. For instance, a Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet will set you back at least $243,200. Even ‘cheap’ Porsches are beyond the reach of an ordinary car enthusiast: the automaker's entry-level car, the 718 Cayman, starts at $68,300. Nevertheless, the astronomical prices shouldn't dampen your dream of owning a Porsche. The most economical route to owning a Porsche is purchasing a classic example instead.

Granted, vehicles like classic 911s, with their reputation for reliability and performance, will keep rising in value. That is to be expected of Porsche's halo model, a vehicle Porsche has made since time immemorial. However, there are generously priced Porsches out there from way back when - the type ignored by moneyed classic car collectors. Given the unpredictable nature of the classic car market, the Porsches considered cheap now may gain value in the future - all the more reason for you to buy one. Here's a list of classic Porsche cars you can buy for under $20,000.

RELATED: WE ARE PORSCHE: Celebrating 75 Years Of The German Automaker With Petersen Automotive Museum

The Porsche 914 was a collaboration project between Porsche and Volkswagen: Porsche needed a replacement for the 912; Volkswagen wanted a sports coupe to replace the Type 34 Karmann Ghia Coupe. For decades, people thought that a concept car by Hans Gugelot inspired the 914's unique design.

However, Ferdinand Porsche and his team designed the vehicle, drawing inspiration from the 550 Spyder. Though considered slow and unusual-looking, the 914/4, powered by a four-cylinder boxer engine, succeeded. The inexpensive vehicle far outsold the six-cylinder variant, which, though faster, was nearly as expensive as the entry-level 911.

The 914/4 had long faced ridicule due to its looks and low power. However, as years have passed, classic car lovers have begun to appreciate its unique design and superb handling. The lightweight car's mid-engined layout makes it a delight to drive. The 914 was essentially a budget car, so it doesn't cost much to maintain either. You can get a decent 914/4 for as low as $10,000.

Porsche developed the 924 as the 914's successor. The manufacturer ditched the mid-engine construction of the 914, placing a water-cooled, 95-horsepower Volkswagen engine in the front of the 924. Porsche's new entry-level model featured a sloping hood, grille-less nose, and folding headlights.

The 924 was a success for Porsche - people couldn't resist the allure of a cheap, compact, rear-wheel-drive Porsche sports car. Thanks to the 924's distinctive design and mechanical simplicity, the vehicle has gradually increased in value over the years. However, given Porsche developed it as a cheap, entry-level vehicle, it's still relatively affordable and cheap to run even today. Expect to pay between $6,700 and $15,000 for a Porsche 924.

Introduced in 1982, the Porsche 944 shared plenty with its predecessor, the 924: the sloping hood, the front engine, the rear-wheel-drive layout, and the retractable headlights. However, unlike the 924, the 944 had many more horses under the hood: the inline-four 2.5-liter engine produces 143 horsepower.

The transaxle in the back gave the car nearly perfect front-to-rear weight distribution, facilitating handling and drivability. Most 944 owners consider it a reliable vehicle. However, a poorly-maintained one can cause you a few headaches. You can obtain a Porsche 944 for as little as $8,500; a well-maintained one can cost up to $20,000.

RELATED: 10 Best Porsche Cars Of All Time

Porsche's series of water-cooled, front-engined, rear-wheel-drive models started with the 924 and ended with the 968. The manufacturer offered the 968 in two versions: the cabriolet and the coupe. The cabriolet was heavier and slower than the coupe but arguably better looking. Porsche made the 968 with two front and two rear seats.

However, the 968 cabriolets shipped to the United States had no rear seats - Porsche opted out of installing the US-manded 3-point lap belt system for rear passengers. The cabriolets sent to the US retained seat belt nuts on the floor, allowing drivers to install rear seats. Porsche discontinued the 968 in 1995 due to poor sales. It makes the 968 rare. Nevertheless, you can snag a 1992 or a 1993 968 cabriolet for around $9,000.

Porsche might have gone out of business, without the timely intervention of the Boxster. Internally known as the 986, the Boxster was the first road-going Porsche developed as a roadster since the 550 Spyder. Porsche was staring at potential bankruptcy when it released the Boxster in the late 1990s. The company's low-cost production methods had raised concerns that Porsche would release a substandard vehicle. The Boxster 986 silenced the naysayers with its dazzling looks and impressive handling.

Like the 914 decades prior, the Porsche Boxster was mid-engined, providing it with near-perfect weight distribution and a low center of gravity. The Boxster was a major hit - the vehicle's sales helped Porsche recover from near implosion. The 986 is a gorgeous car that you can have plenty of fun in. Further, you can drive it knowing it saved one of the world's premier manufacturers from implosion. A base-model Porsche Boxster will cost you between $10,000 and $18,000.

The Porsche 996 was the first all-new 911 produced by Porsche for nearly four decades. It featured a new water-cooled flat-6 engine producing 300 horsepower. Furthermore, it was roomier and quieter than its predecessor and easier to drive. The 996 was an impressive vehicle, considering Porsche developed it alongside the Boxster 986 while experiencing financial difficulties. Porsche's financial constraints forced it to develop similar parts for both cars: the 996 and 986 share headlights, the front fenders, and the hood.

Complaints from the Carrera owners about the vehicles’ front-end similarities prompted Porsche to redesign the Carrera's headlights in 2002. The 996 is a polarizing car among Porsche enthusiasts. Nevertheless, you shouldn't waste an opportunity to get what is a relatively modern 911 on the cheap. Well-maintained 1999 or 2000 Porsche 996 Carrera cabriolets cost between $12,000 to $19,000.

RELATED: 8 Porsche Sports Cars That Deserve To Make A Comeback, 2 That Should Stay Dead

In 1984, Volkswagen discontinued the 2.0-liter engine powering the 924. Dropping the 924 would have left Porsche without an entry-level model. Therefore, it fitted the 924 with a 2.5 L Porsche inline-four from the Porsche 944. Porsche also fitted brakes and chassis components from the 944 onto the 924 but did little to the vehicle's interior.

The manufacturer named the resultant car the 924 S. In 1988, Porsche updated the S, tuning the engine to produce more power. Porsche dropped the 924 S after a couple of years to focus on other models. A Porsche 924 S will see you back between $7,000 and $20,000.

The 944 Turbo, internally christened the 951, was a more powerful version of the already quite formidable 944. It put out 217 horsepower, enough to launch the car from 0-60 mph in just under six seconds. Installing the turbo and components to deal with the extra heat and higher internal loads added weight. Therefore, Porsche installed new brakes and a slightly stiffer suspension.

The manufacturer also improved the 944's aerodynamics by enhancing the front bumper. The 944 Turbo made car-safety history by becoming the first car with driver and passenger-side airbags as standards. The 944 was well-received, prompting Porsche to up the power in subsequent 944 models. A good 1987 or 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo will cost you about $14,500 to $19,500.

In 2000, Porsche continued its tradition of releasing a souped-up S variant for its base models. The Boxster S's 3.2-liter engine produced 250 horsepower, 30 more than the improved 2000 Boxster 986. Porsche fitted larger brakes from the 911 to stop the fast Boxster S. The manufacturer also improved the interior, installing an aluminum trim and a three-spoke steering wheel.

The S's exterior featured subtle improvements, including crimson brake calipers and titanium accents around the windshield. Fundamentally, the S retained the Boxster's supreme handling and drivability. Every Porsche with the S badge costs more than the base vehicle, including the Boxster S. Nevertheless, the vehicle is very affordable today, ranging between $9,600 and $20,000.

RELATED: Here's How Porsche Plans To Keep Internal Combustion Alive

Porsche made the Cayman to fit between the entry-level Boxster and the premium 911. The Cayman S is essentially a Cayman with more power: the base Cayman's 2.7-liter engine produces 245 horsepower; the S's 3.4-liter engine, put out 295 horsepower. Though the Cayman shared many components with the second-generation Boxster.

The headlights, taillights, front fenders, and doors - its styling was inspired by classic Porsches, including the 904 Coupe, 550 Coupe, and 356/1. Porsche considers the Original Cayman a classic, as the vehicle's production ceased over a decade ago. The Cayman S is generally quite pricey. However, you can get a well-maintained high-mileage Cayman S for just under $20,000.

Moses Karomo is an enthusiastic automotive writer who can talk and write endlessly about EVs. He has extensive automotive reporting experience, writing about all manner of automotive topics. He keeps up with innovations and trends in the car industry to provide readers with up-to-date information about the ever-evolving automotive industry. When not writing, Moses is traveling or cooking.