Welcome. We know the bug well and possible remedies.
First. I would try to get with someone and drive an example. 328 and the 348.
Clubs are a good starting point. Having driven many Boxters you'll find a Ferrari a much different experience except for the secret starting/first-gear scenario
Couple of questions: Do you plan to trade the TR6 as part of that initial $40k budget, or is it on top of that budget?
Second: If you haven't already, download the buyer's guides for all models you want to consider...regardless of price. That means the one that strikes you as 'the one' will help frame the equation.
Whether I have the means is another question altogether. A) I'm retired B) I've got a limited budget--in the $35,000 to $40,000 range tops for purchase
This doesn't seem too far off for a 348 IF > 100k miles which is not something to shy away from. They are great engines, but I'd expect a different conversation regarding what may happen in such a higher mileage 348 engine. I know form experience. They are rock, but may need 'work' depending on maintenance and how the driver handled their rocket....BIG discussion.
I'd expect lower mileage 348 [< 50k] to be closer to the top end if not more on that budget. So, once again, what is the total budget purse.
C) a modest amount of money would be available for future maintenance.
On the 348: Expensive extras. Make no doubt about it. $5-8K major engine out services and I'd truly expect the higher end from a rep mech. Lower numbers depend on area/economy and a mech that may lead you down a rosy path...just saying. Once again, I know from experience.
TS' tend to have some leakage problems or not...depends
Shocks may need consideration later. way to many variables to gloss over....
So at best I've got to be very, very picky. Here is the crazy dream: Find a pristine 348 Spyder (or TS), 1992 or newer. Sell or trade the TR6 to help fund the purchase. Insist on recent engine-out service and proof of all past service from Day 1. Worry more about condition than miles. Hope to drive the car for minimum three years with nothing but routine maintenance before contemplating next step--either fund an engine-out service or sell the car. Is this realistic given my budget limitations? Where should I look? What should I be especially wary about? How much should I realistically expect to spend on a 348 over a five-year period of ownership? Anxiously awaiting your expert advice. Thank you!
: Insist? well, negotiate. I might be willing to split a major, pass it onto you, or do it. It's truly negotiable. It might be a factored in process to the toal price. What ever the situation get a PPI from someone whom knows the 348 with leakdown and press test. He'll know what to look for and give you an 'idea' of what you up against. It is nothing more than a negotiation point IMO for you and the seller. It is NOT a guarantee, nor a frustration point to rally against the seller or mech conducting the PPI. Just an FYI.
Picking the TS/Spider once again puts you into the highest of the 348 model range: Things to consider. underline item:
YES! Condition vs miles is always the consideration
. Get the BEST EXAMPLE you can find in your budget and that means the entire plan you propose and go from there.
I will not go into realistically expense of five years. But I would budget, yup, about $3-5K. Now having said that, you may only have fluid changes and nothing more, but to be on the 'safe' side go that higher limit. Your costs, and you'll hear a lot of support to such, is that the 348 will only be about $500-1,200/year max. I don't doubt it, I also don't doubt the higher amount I state.
let the specifics begin.