The case against a 996

Over the years, 996s have gotten increasingly affordable, even surprisingly so. Yes, they are largely unloved, but still— their relatively attractive price points must surely tempt aspiring P-car owners. Well those looking to make the jump would be wise to read this takedown by Jack Baruth first. An excerpt:

The men from Stuttgart knew they had a loser on their hands, so the 996 was freshened in 2002 with a more durable, more powerful engine, interior revisions, and a facelift. The market’s opinion on these cars, however, is written in the resale values. If you had purchased two Porsches in a row — a 1998 Carrera 2S for $75,000 and a 1999 Carrera 2 for $75,000 — and put 50,000 miles on each, you would find that the 1998 car (Baruth presumably means a 993- Ed.) would command an easy $50K in PCA classifieds, but the 1999 would struggle to fetch $20K.

Now, in spite of these damning words, one can’t help but wonder if these things are nevertheless relative. In other words, though an early 996 may be crap (at least according to Baruth), at the end of the day, is a crap 911 still a pretty good (if not exactly great) sports car to drive and to own, judged on its own merits? That’s what we would like to believe, although admittedly, we’re in no particular hurry to find out.

We still wouldn’t turn down a 996 GT3, though— not a chance.

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~ by motoringconbrio on August 26, 2010.

9 Responses to “The case against a 996”

  1. The 997 was a massive step forward over the 996 but seems to get things back on track from the 993. However, I think he’s too quick to dismiss the whole 996 series. Cars like the GT3 mk II, GT2 and even the cheesy 911 40 Jahre were great cars. Early 996s? Probably not so good but the ’02 restyle seemed to really brighten up the 996s. At least more than he gives credit for.

  2. The biggest problem of the 996 is the way it looks. It’s just so damn ugly and that’s why no-one want it these days. And yes, the 997 is a far better car but lets be honest, many Porsche drivers don’t explore the full capabilities of their car so I find that argument merely strong enough.

  3. I think it is a victim of questionable looks, first foray into water-cooled 911 (which angered purists and 911 fans), and bad press. I think the 996 is probably a great car an will be command a premium, like any other in 25 years. The 928 is in a similar situation, where the early ones are dogs and they just get better throughout the life of the model. A cheap 996 is a steal and will still beat the pants off anything at that price range. I would take a 996 over a fully loaded 2010 civic or beat on STI (assuming similar pricing)

  4. I would take a used 996 over a lot of things. Is it the best looking Porsche of all time? Not by a long shot. Is it ugly? I personally don’t think so – but the later models are better looking and more refined than the first 2 to 3 years of production.

    That said, if a 997 was parked next to a 996 at the same price? I would take the 997 every time. But that doesn’t mean the 996 should just be written off as a poor car.

  5. The problem with this editorial is that Jack Baruth is an idiot. And he looks like a wookie.

  6. Baruth is right. The 996 was a pile of junk. Sure it was a major step away from previous 911s but a retrograde in almost every respect. A 968 was a better proposition. The only bright spot was the 996GT3 Mk1.

  7. The 996 GT3 used a different engine than the standard 996 (2S and $ S inc) The GT3 suffers little of the afflictions the standard car does , and of course has a lot more hp.

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