What does it really cost to own and drive a 944 or one of its variants? Does it make financial sense? Let’s take a look.
The term “cost of ownership” is a number that includes not only purchase price, but includes cost of operation, and it applies to lots of products other than cars and trucks. Theoretically, the lower cost of ownership is the better value. So let’s look at the calculation to see of your 944 is a good value.
Included in this calculation are things like purchase price, depreciation, insurance, fuel, maintenance and repairs, taxes and fee, and any financing costs. Depreciation is a big hit on a new car, so let’s look at a similar new car to see what Edmunds.com has to say about the cost of ownership for a 2019 Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ. Depreciation is a whopping 25% in the first year, and when all is said and done, you will have spent $41K for your $28K car over five years. That works out to something just under $700 a month for five years.
Of course, things like insurance, taxes, fees, and other costs are regional and may differ from this estimate. Fuel, maintenance (oil changes) and such are dependent on the number of miles that you drive in a year. And depreciation is also dependent on mileage. But our GT86/BRZ comparison is a good starting point.
Lets look at each of these items individually as they apply to our 944.
- Purchase price/depreciation. For our comparison, let’s use $8,000 as our purchase price. If you don’t screw around with it too much, expect that in five years you will be able to recover your purchase price, so there is $0 depreciation.
- Insurance. This is variable due to driver age, use, location and driving record. Classic car insurance can be really cheap, regular insurance can be higher. For our purposes, let’s call it $800 a year, $4,000 for five years.
- Maintenance and repairs. If you do your own labor, this is a category for parts only. If you pay others to work on your car, it can be significantly higher. So we will meet in the middle – regular maintenance and small repairs are done at home, big stuff by the pros. We will call it $750 a year for five years to take care of that pricey clutch replacement and other professional jobs. $3,750 for five years.
- Taxes and fees. Another variable based on location. When you bought the car, you probably paid sales tax, title transfer and tag registration fees, which for us in Florida is about $800 for the first year, $25 a year for the next four – $900 total for five years. I know that in other states it can be significantly higher.
- Financing costs. Hopefully it is “paid for” and there are no finance costs.
- Fuel. Variable as to miles driven. Let’s figure 22 mpg over 10,000 miles a year, with gas at $2.75 gallon. That equation yields $1,240 a year for gas – $6,200 in five years.
That gives us a five year total as follows:
- Purchase price/depreciation: $8,000
- Insurance: $4,000
- Maintenance and Repairs: $3,750
- Taxes and fees: $900
- Financing: $0
- Fuel: $6,200
- Total: $22,850
That works out to $380 a month for five years. However, if you remove the purchase price (sell the car after five years for the same price you paid for it) the actual cost of ownership for that five years reduces to $14,850 or $247.50 a month.
Even if the car is total junk worth nothing at the end of five years, $380 a month total cost of ownership for a Porsche 944 is not bad, especially when you compare it to the monthly costs of that new sedan, minivan or SUV that is parked next to it – and include financing costs.
One thing that we did not address, however, is the PITA factor of driving a +/-30-year-old car as a daily commuter car. They do break down, they can have fiddly problems that just pop up, and they can from time to time leave you stranded on the side of the road in a thunderstorm. They may also not be ideal for winter weather conditions like snow and ice. (At least that’s what I hear – not a problem in Central Florida.)
My 1987 924S is my daily driver with duties shared with my 2018 Nissan Titan. The Nissan gets 15 mpg, and it is not as much fun as the Porsche. But it is nice knowing that I get in, hit the button and drive without worrying about anything. It always works. It is also nice knowing that when I am driving my Porsche, I have a truck and trailer for rescue operations should things not work as expected with the Porsche.
So is a 944 a wise choice for your weekender, HPDE car, daily driver or other purpose? Let us know.
Kevin Duffy is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Daytona State College in Florida and a dedicated car guy. He divides his time between teaching criminal justice topics in the online environment and working on/driving cars, particularly Porsches. Kevin is one of the principals in InspiringLifeOver50.com.