Philip Raby Porsche

Porsche Sales and Service

Making a Porsche 996 look like a 997

Making a Porsche 996 look like a 997

It’s a funny old world. Some Porsche owners want their cars to look older than they really are – witness the popularity of so-called recreations; 3.2 Carreras or 964s that have been backdated to look like 911s from the 1970s.

On the other hand, some owners want their Porsches to look newer. Companies like Porscheshop, for instance, do a line of updates to make the Gen1 Porsche 997 look like a GenII car (basically, new front and rear lights). And one of the very first Porsche articles I wrote (I’m showing my age here) was on a kit to turn a 944 into a 968 lookalike.

I’m always wary about such modifications, in either direction. So many times have I jumped into a 1973 RS replica only to be confronted by Carrera 3.2 seats and dashboard, or into what looks like a 997 with a 996 dashboard. In both cases, it spoils the effect.

On the whole, I’m more comfortable with backdates, though, and these tend to be more saleable too; it can be hard to sell an updated Porsche as most people are happier buying one which hasn’t been messed around.

So where am I going with this? Well, every time I post something on the Porsche 996, I can guarantee that someone somewhere will make a derogatory comment about the headlamps. I really don’t have a problem with 996 headlamps, in whatever guise, and neither do most other people.

If, however, the 996 headlamps do worry you the aforementioned Porscheshop can update a 996 with a 997 front end. It’s not a simple job, though, as the inner wings are a different shape, as is the shape of the front wings where they meet the doors. The parts alone cost around £5000, to which you have to add fitting and painting.

But does a 997 front end suit the rather slab-sided 996 body shape? Not to my mind it doesn’t. It could, though, work with the wide-bodied 996 Carrera 4S or 996 Turbo. That said, I quite like the fronts of those cars as they are, with their massive intakes.

What do you think? Add a comment below.

The Porsche 997 front end looks best on, well, a Porsche 997

The Porsche 996 Carrera 4S and Turbo front looks great just as it is


  • I am a huge fan of old 964 and 993 so I like the face of 997 very much but I would sell my 996 and get a real 997 before modifying it..

  • Gary says:

    Porsche’s design philosophy is to always play it safe, take the conservative path. One wonders whether their designs ever enter the wind tunnel. So it leaves a lot of room for tuners to get more aggressive. Even the 996 GT3 was pretty tame. As the owner of a 1999 996, yes with the fried egg headlights, I have wanted to differentiate my car from the Boxster which is intentionally identical. I often come upon a Boxster and think it is a 996 until I passed it by. So, yeah, updating or changing to a tuners’ cover is an acceptable modification. It may detract from the resale value, but with the prices in the $20,000 range it can’t hurt that much.

    As for the 996 Turbo front, again, the gaping face just left me cold when I first saw it. Ruf took a similar design but added a splitter and made it look much better. I’m sure that that change also improved the aero performance.

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