Literally the first day I had the car, I managed to lose the cover off the left headlight washer jet. This appears to be the result of a known design flaw in the 996 series. If you have the headlights on and trigger the headlight washer jets while driving, the chrome covers fly right off. And, of course, because it's a Porsche, you can't just replace the cover, you have to replace the entire washer jet assembly, which runs about $65 (part numbers Part # 996-628-144-00 and Part # 996-628-143-00, different for right and left).
Fortunately, the process for fixing these is well documented on YouTube (1, 2) and takes a couple of minutes. I'll get around to it right after I polish the headlight.
After fixing the radio in the Corvette, it was time to tackle the clock. We tried mightily to revive the patient, but in the end, a heart transplant was necessary.
The clocks in the "midyear" Corvettes (1963-67) are electro-mechanical units made by Borg Instruments. They were used in a bunch of other GM cars of the period, in addition to the Corvette. This article gives a nice description of the clock and what commonly goes wrong with it.
These are analog, spring-wound clocks with an electric winder that is supposed to reset the spring mechanism every 3 minutes or so. To see how it's supposed to work, check out this video (currently at 460 views, many of which are from me!). The design doesn't exactly inspire confidence, as it depends on a set of 12 volt contact points reliably closing every 3 minutes or so, pretty much forever. Those contact points build up corrosion over time, which will kill the rewinding mechanism.
The Porsche has been sold and sent off to the East Coast by transport. Time to tally up the total cost of ownership for this, my first "one year, interesting car, fully depreciated" experiment.
So, before we get to the raw numbers, some context. As with any Porsche, maintenance is a big expense on these cars. Even routine things cost more than they would for a typical car (e.g., oil change = $250).
And there were two big, unanticipated expenses. First, the failure of a coolant pipe necessitated an expensive "engine out" repair, which also led to a bunch of "while you're in there" maintenance and upgrades. For the 996tt, the coolant pipes are a known weakness, and thus a risk you take, until it happens and someone fixes it. Chances of it happening are slim in any particular year, and once it's fixed, it's fixed forever. So it's unfortunate that it happened on my watch, but them's the breaks. The next owner doesn't have to worry abo…
I'm actually late on this one, since I've now had the car for 16 months or so. Other than the modifications I've already detailed (here and here), the only out-of-pocket costs have been gas and the 5,000 mile service ($106). Oh, and I also applied protective film to the front of the car right after purchase to protect the paint from chipping. That was pretty pricey (~$2k), but it's a one time cost.
Overall, that sounds pretty great, especially when compared to the maintenance costs I had with my previouscars. But you expect low maintenance costs for a new car. The trade-off is depreciation. And there, the news is never good for a new car. Kelley Blue Book estimates depreciation of about ~$5k from my purchase price (that's not counting taxes, title, and registration costs, which in California are another 10% or so on top of the purchase price).
This still makes the Miata the cheapest to own of the cars I've discussed on this blog (but not as cheap as my 10 year…