1985 Porsche 911 Long-Term Road Test - Audio & Technology

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1985 Porsche 911: Two Days With the Plague

November 30, 2011

The sign-out board came around to me the other day with some interesting cars still available, including the Mustang and the NSX. But I took the 911. I haven't yet driven our NSX, and this was the first time it was available to me. And I'm dying to drive it. I had a week with a Rio Yellow NSX several years ago, and it was pretty memorable. The sound and feel of that V6 pushing almost nothing but subframe was pretty addicting.

But I still took the 911.

It had been awhile. And the Porsche is not the go-to car for the Orange County commuters here at the office. Truth is, Josh Jacquot and I (just two of the OC crew here) are big sissies. We tend to look for the most comfortable, drama-free conveyance to carry us back behind the Curtain after a day at the office. That's not the 911.

A ride home in the 911 is a loud, clanging, and jarring trip. With its 8 billion spot welds by obsessive, chain-smoking German linemen, the 911 just rattles and vibrates for fifty long, often-neglected highway miles. You feel EVERY Botts dot of every lane change. The radio is useless, though no fault of its own. It just doesn't have a chance against the road, wind and engine noise.

But, still…the 911 has mojo. I can't explain why I felt compelled to take it for two consecutive nights and mornings for what basically amount to simple, boring straightline runs to home and back. There's simply something about the car. It has nothing to do with cachet. Sure, it’s a Porsche. But it's an old Porsche. It means nothing to people who trade in the superficial currency of Los Angeles and Orange County.

A 1985 Porsche is not getting you in the door of any clubs, nor getting you a number from the brunette who just stepped out of her 3 Series at Starbucks (although it may spark a conversation with your attractive Turkish neighbor just stepping out of her Rabbit. Maybe).

No, our old Porsche's real value lies in the sensations it conjures. The sound of that flat-six. The effortless upwelling of torque that you hardly notice when shaking Racer Civic Guy off your rear bumper. Or how you just laugh to yourself when the guy in the 5.0 pulls up alongside - the guy whose license plate actually reads "5OHHHHH" with Vortech logos emblazoned along both rear quarters - downshifts, and pops his blow-off valve.

Driving this old Porsche is simply a feeling that doesn't get old. It's plenty of work, and most of the time, we don't want our driving to be work. But now and then, it's good to have that taste. Excuse me, now. Time to find something in the garage with leather, Bluetooth streaming, and dual-zone climate control.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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1985 Porsche 911: It's Alive!

April 25, 2011


Okay, so it wasn't really an install as everything was there except for the wires, but we'll go with that term.

You'll remember that I dropped our 1985 Porsche 911 off at Al and Eds (which some of you thought was a mistake, but I liked the guy so I was pretty cool with it) with the mandate that I want the Eclipse CD8445 to power up and make sound with the speakers it has and the in-unit amp. That was it.

Five hours later I got the call that the car was ready. Our Porsche had new wires all around (even the power wire was gone) even to the right rear speaker which is blown (that cable has since been disconnected.)

Total cost: $217.64. $200 in labor and $17 in parts. Compared to the majority of one of my days, that's a no-brainer to pay for.

(Sorry for the late post, the NYAS stole most of my time.)

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor @ 114,149 miles

1985 Porsche 911: I Need A Stereo

April 14, 2011


Sorry purists (and Hellwig), I need a stereo. Bad. I'll turn it down when I'm carving through the canyons, but if I'm cruising up PCH or driving home, I need music.

Now, I've done my share of stereo installs in the past so when I crawled under the dash of our 911 and saw....nothing.... I gave up. The wiring harness was connected to absolutely nothing and there wasn't a speaker or power wire in sight. Too bad, too, because this thing's rocking an Eclipse CD8445 with 8V pre-outs, time phasing, q values, built-in crossover and a handful of other slick features that would have Doug Newcomb and the 2001 version of me drooling.

As much as I'd love to sit down with a spool of wire and a soldering iron, I simply don't have the time. It's time to bring in the pros.

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor @ 114,149 miles