There's nothing that moves your automotive street cred up a few notches like owning a Porsche. It's something about the brand's ability to take a conventional car's layout, screw it up completely, and end up with a world-beating platform that astounds enthusiasts to this day. Here are the ten best reader-chosen examples on eBay for under $30k.
With real 930 turbo prices reaching nearly $150,000 for decent used examples, here's a car that lovingly recreates the look and feel for a fraction of the price. This car has been in storage for nearly the last 2 decades, but seems to be in decent shape, with an all-steel slantnose and widebody conversion, new transmission, and other refurbished bits. This is the perfect car to start off a vintage Porsche collection, or just to fake it 'til you make it.
(Suggested by damnthisburnershitsux)
For those in the know, a 996 is your cheapest ticket to driving a modern 911. Its water-cooled engine can be made quite reliable with some off-the-shelf fixes, and its looks really do grow on you after a short while. This mint condition C2 has so few miles that it's nearly brand new. For this price, I'm not sure I would choose anything else.
(Suggested by alecmets2011)
This is a car that proves that the engineers at Porsche aren't amateur drug users – they're professionals. They took a 911's body and injected it with botox, added two doors, put a V8 in the front, then added turbochargers to make it ridiculously fast because why the hell not. This Turbo is a great example of that German lunacy, with only a few minor things wrong, but well worth it to be under budget.
The 944 is what Porsche rolled out in the '80s to potentially be the successor to the 911. Although it never caught on, what Porsche essentially made was one of the most well-balanced cars ever made. With the addition of a sizable turbocharger, the car had more grunt than an entry-level 911 of the time, with lots of room for improvement. This car is a mint example, which is priced a little higher than market value, for good reason: it's nearly immaculate with some choice upgrades. With the leftover budget, you could outperform nearly any stock base 911, ever.
(Suggested by Loping Camshaft)
This is the closest thing Porsche ever made to an American muscle car. Not only does it have an absolutely huge V8 engine, but its funky and iconic shape cemented its place in history, for sheer quirk factor alone. The chrome salad tossers that it uses for wheels are a not-so-subtle touch on an already bonkers car. Despite being almost 30 years old, this awesome example has only 43,000 original miles, and I bet many, many ahead of it in the years to come if properly maintained.
(Suggested by alecmets2011)
Here's a car from one of the fastest appreciating segments of the Porsche lineup, made affordable by its targa badge and its unorthodox styling. This example is all original, and a great candidate for further future appreciation. Get it while the gettin's good.
When Porsche made the Boxster, they inadvertently created the true successor to the 911 that was cheaper to make, more practical, and just as good looking. This Boxster S not only has near 911 Carrera power coming from its 280 horsepower naturally aspirated flat-6, but it looks good from nearly every angle, and the freaking top goes down. And this awesome car comes with a warranty for those mortified of a trip to the shop.
(Suggested by Arrivederci)
This is a low-mileage, 1-owner, no rust Porsche 911 for a great price. This is a no brainer, and I'll let themanwithsauce explain why:
It WILL appreciate in value and be a fun little car to tool around in during nice weather. Miles are low enough that it is in good condition but high enough that putting on 2-3,000 every year is expected. Might as well drive and enjoy it.
(Suggested by themanwithsauce)
Who needs a 911 when you have a balanced, rigid sports coupe, with all the amenities and safety of a brand new car? This Cayman S is a serious performance handful. It's not the fastest thing in the world, but for taking turns at speeds reserved only for Bond villains, you'd be hard pressed to find anything better suited. This one is a little over budget, so you'll have to work a little harder to get it – that just means she's worth it.
(Suggested by Thor82)
Did you know that Porsche made tractors in the 1950s? Neither did I. Thankfully, bobrayner clued us all in and it was the most well-received submission, especially over any of the more conventional cars on this list. After all, a 911 can't plow a field and it can't haul a dozen cattle to the market. This little slice of Germanicana can be had for $20,000, which leaves you $10,000 for something more, y'know, car-like.
(Suggested by bobrayner)
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Tavarish is the founder of APiDA Online and writes about buying and selling cool cars on the internet. He owns the world's cheapest Mercedes S-Class, a graffiti-bombed Lexus, and he's the only Jalopnik author that has never driven a Miata. He also has a real name that he didn't feel was journalist-y enough so he used a pen name and this was the best he could do.