Thomas Lee’s 1986 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2
AN AIR-COOLED CLASSIC
By Al Khoury
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Surprise, surprise, we bring you another gift from Stuttgart this month. We are throwing it back to the air-cooled era with this classic 1986 Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera. This stock sports car comes from the collection of Oloi founder and Porsche aficionado Thomas Lee.The Carrera 3.2 series was introduced for the 1984 model year and available until 1989. It replaced the 911 SC and was succeeded by the 964. It marked a return to the iconic Carrera name, which was last used for the 1977 Carrera 3.0.
The 3.2 Carrera had a larger fuel tank by 1986, along with stiffened antiroll bars. 15-inch wheels from Fuchs were standard, as were electronically adjustable outside mirrors.
The 3.2-liter flat-six engine produced 207 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque on regular fuel. A five-speed manual transmission sent power to the rear wheels. The coupe could reach 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds and top out just below 150 mph.
Thomas’s 911 Carrera 3.2 is bone stock with its Grand Prix White paint and wheels. The Cashmere leather interior is distinctive with its two-tone layout. You’ll find two shades of brown inside, but the presence of some black trim technically makes it a three-tone. Thomas got the car near the end of 2018 with about 9,000 miles on the odometer. He was the second owner.
“I see this as a gentleman’s car,” Thomas said. “I can take my lady out on a weekend, go out for a nice cruise, and end up at a restaurant by the sea. And because it’s so bright, we can also take it to lunch at the beach. This car is like a cruiser from Porsche with an elegance that speaks to me.”
It was not easy to find a clean example and Thomas was initially not happy with the colors of the cars he found. But when he saw the interior of this white ’86, complete with low mileage and excellent condition, he pulled the trigger. Still, this Porsche is not exactly in line with the other Porsche vehicles in Thomas’ garage.
When it came to the G-series of the same period, there was the 911 930 Turbo. While Thomas would normally have considered this car, it only came equipped with a four-speed transmission. The final 1989 model was upgraded with a Getrag five-speed manual. So why did Thomas pass on that one?
“I wanted a 1986 car because that was the year I was born,” Thomas said.
He got what he was looking for but it came with some caveats. Porsche lists a “Turbo look” option for the 3.2 that added the chassis, wider fenders, front spoiler, whale-tail spoiler, brake system, and wheels from the 911 Turbo. But that does not make it a proper Turbo.
“It’s not an RS, so it doesn’t have that original Porsche racing development pedigree,” Thomas said. “My goal of collecting 911s always has to go after the Rennsport cars. I have the 964 RS, 993 RS, the RS 4.0, and so on. Unfortunately for the G-body, they didn’t really make an RS model.
“I didn’t keep the 3.2 very long,” Thomas said. “I sold the car because I didn’t get to drive it as much as I like, and the same goes for my other cars lately. I just don’t have the time. I have been traveling and during this pandemic everything has been more difficult. I recently sold five of my cars but I did get a new one – a 2017 Ferrari F12tdf.”
“The only 911 I was missing from my lineup was a 996 GT3. But I didn’t want to get just that. I was planning to import a 996 GT3 RS from Britain.”
The 996 GT3 RS was offered in white with red or blue accents. Thomas wanted the blue, but the only one available in the U.S. was red. The U.K. car had the color he wanted but the wait was at least six months – and that was before the pandemic. Who knows how long it would take after that?
Thomas has been on the lookout for another 1986 car. He has his heart set on a Toyota Corolla Sport, as it was badged in the U.S. This compact hatchback was called the AE86 during development and came to be known as the “Hachi-Roku," which is Japanese for eight-six.
“Unfortunately, I don’t have any good sources to get the car,” Thomas said. “Auction sites and private sellers are putting these up for ridiculous prices. Back in the day, it was a few hundred dollars and now you’re looking at a beat up one for like $20,000!”
The AE86 was produced from 1983-87. These cars have been used for drifting and racing, and many are heavily modified. Finding an unmolested example is difficult, especially in this country where they are more rare.
“People have teased me about it but I’ve wanted that car for a long time,” Thomas laughed. He does not take his purchase decisions lightly and he puts a lot of thought into each car he brings home.
“All the cars I’ve owned, I would totally get them back again,” Thomas concluded. “It doesn’t have to be the same car, but the same exact model.”