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Classic vs. Modern, Part One: Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 or 2012 Kia Rio SX

Mon, 01 Oct 2012

A recent 220-volt shock administered by the $23K-plus window sticker of a loaded Ford Fiesta rental car made me think about what the same dollars would buy in a classic car, and what the relative cost of ownership would be.

My favorite matchup doesn't even require as much coin as said fully accessorized rental Fiesta.

The 2012 Kia Rio SX carries an as-tested-by-Autoweek price of $20,745. It's a far cry from the not-so-optimal Optima of just five years ago. In fact, it's a pretty nice car, with a 10-year warranty to boot. But the Rio is still an entry-level car, not likely to get props from a valet anywhere west of Uzbekistan.

Our classic counterpoint is a 1984-89 Porsche Carrera 3.2 coupe—arguably the pinnacle of the minimalist era of the 911, reasonably civilized and positively bulletproof. A well-kept example will go 300,000 miles before it's time to rebuild the engine. With a fully galvanized body shell, it's nearly impervious to rust, too. Basically, it's the Volvo 240 of sports cars. No—scratch that. With a near-limitless lifespan, it's the B-52 or DC-3 of sports cars.

About $21,000 (according to the Hagerty Price Guide) buys a sub-100K-mile sweetie in strong driver condition. Yes, you may say, but won't the 10-year warranty of the Kia look great when the 911 is racking up frequent four-figure maintenance bills from someone named Klaus or G

By Rob Sass