Few cars are as recognizable as the Porsche 911, with its iconic silhouette and timeless design. Since its launch in 1963, the design and mechanical configuration had remained relatively unchanged. However, the launch of the 996 generation car in 1998 brought with it some quite significant changes. From the altered aesthetics to a water-cooled engine, Porsche has offended some of its loyal customer base.
Despite this, the car played an important role in making some significant changes to the 911 range. The 996 generation significantly expanded the range and introduced a number of new variants. Most notably, the first GT3 was released as part of the 996.1 series, and another even wilder version, the GT2, was released as a 996.2 car.
It’s now been about 24 years since the 996’s launch, and the car is considered a modern classic. Let’s see why it’s a great proposition for someone looking for a sports car from that era.
10 There is a sample for every budget
There are potentially a number of different types of buyers looking for a 996. From the hobbyist looking for a weekend toy to the purist collector looking for a Concours copy.
Because the 996 has been unloved for so many years, prices have not risen in the same way as for other models. It is still possible to pick up a decent one for a relatively affordable amount. With many different variants produced, from the base Carrera to the more mid-range 4 and 4S, then up to the high-end GT3 and GT2, there are multiple entry points to ownership.
9 The controversial styling has aged well
The most obvious design change that the 996-generation car underwent compared to the cars that preceded it was the radically redesigned headlamps. Round headlights are one of the most distinguishing features of the 911 and were a constant from the first 911 model released in 1963.
With the launch of the 996 generation car in 1998, everything changed and the 911 got “fried egg” headlights. The yolk-colored indicators and irregular shape have given the lamps this nickname. The change was met with a lot of controversy, and many Porsche purists disapproved of the redesign, which led to them being shelved in the 997-generation models. Today, the lights immediately identify the cars of the 996 generation and have even become a celebrated feature. Many people who are now in a position to buy a 996 remember the car growing up, and appreciate the nostalgia.
8 Values start to rise
Most buyers in the market for a 996 are probably looking for a car to enjoy for personal use, and aren’t too concerned about future values. However, an important advantage of the 996 is that they look like a great place to put your money.
According to Hagerty appraisals, a 1999 911 Carrera in excellent condition has increased from $38,000 to $49,000 in the past 12 months. Likewise, a 2002 911 Turbo concourse condition has increased in value from $87,000 to a whopping $125,000. Worth £38,000 in just a year, the Turbo looks like a great investment.
7 The infotainment system can be easily upgraded
One of the best things about buying a classic Porsche is the ease with which it can be converted into modern infotainment. Gone are the days when driving an older vehicle meant either having an outdated audio system or installing an incongruous aftermarket unit.
called Porsche Classic Communication Management, or PCCM in short, the system is available in two sizes to match the original vehicle configuration. A 3.5-inch screen is available for older classic vehicles, while a 7-inch screen is available for newer models. The units contain modern necessities such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The great thing about PCCM is how it fits with the cabin design, offers up-to-date features, but also looks like it’s been there forever.
6 Many customizations are available
For many people, part of the appeal of owning an older sports car is the freedom to customize it. While newer models may need to be kept in stock to avoid voiding the warranty, owners can go wild with cars like the 996.
Suspension is arguably the most popular and generally the easiest part to upgrade with aftermarket parts. Adding a modern setup can sharpen the handling drastically. Other tweaks include more powerful brakes that help prevent brake fade, and modified exhaust systems, which allow for much louder output.
5 It is generally very reliable
German cars have always been associated with solid reliability, although there are certainly exceptions to this, overall they are pretty good cars. For buyers looking to invest in an older sports car, reliability is definitely on their list of requirements.
Spending a lot of money or doing repairs is no fun for anyone. Fortunately, the 996 does quite well when it comes to reliability. The most well-known problem relates to “IMS” or faulty intermediate shaft bearings. Should the worst happen, the engine can self-destruct, much in the same way a faulty timing belt would. A replacement bearing will prevent this risk, so it’s important to make sure it’s done or have it done as soon as possible. Aside from that, provided the car has a good maintenance record, potential problems should be kept to a minimum.
4 Porsche considers the vehicle a classic
Any Porsche model that has not been in standard production for at least 10 years becomes known as a classic. As proof of Porsche’s reliability, more than 70% of Porsche models produced are still in good condition.
Owners of classic Porsche models can: join “The Porsche Classic Register”. A big advantage of this membership is the possibility to get a 15% discount on Porsche Classic Parts”. Another great feature is the offer of four free “wash and vac” sessions per year.
3 Maintenance is reasonable
Although Porsche is a premium brand, it is a popular brand. Many people use their 911 as a daily driver, which can increase mileage. Fortunately, there are many Porsche specialists worldwide and maintenance is generally relatively affordable. This is especially true when looking at supercar brands, as maintenance costs can amount to theft.
As with any older vehicle it is important to see evidence of previous work done so you know it has been well looked after. Cars that have not been serviced and have a poor track record are likely to have suffered more depreciation than the cost of maintaining the car in the first place.
2 It’s a great car!
A great driving experience is a prerequisite for any sports car. Fortunately, the 996 generation offered a number of improvements over its predecessor, the 993. The new car was lighter, faster and generally better to drive.
With the rear engine, the car had unique driving characteristics. Unlike the cars that came before it, the 996 had an all-new chassis and suspension. Oversteer problems with braking that had been present in previous generations were resolved and drivers were able to utilize more of the available power.
1 It can keep up with the modern stuff
The entry-level car was known as the “Carrera”, powered by a 3.6-litre engine, 0-60 mph was possible in just under 5 seconds and the car reached a top speed of 178 mph. The more powerful “Turbo” was instead fitted with a 3.6-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder engine. Producing 414 horsepower, 0-60 mph took just 4 seconds and could reach a top speed of 190 mph.
Despite the 996’s age, the incredible performance it offered means it can comfortably challenge many of today’s best-selling sports cars. This is a very impressive achievement and demonstrates the prowess of Porsche’s engineering capabilities.