The Porsche 911 is, for many people, their dream car since childhood – you know the cliche about the poster on the bedroom wall. And the great thing about 911s is that they are an achievable dream for most of us; some of us grow up to be wealthy enough to afford a brand-new Porsche, while others scrimp and save for a used one.
But what if money is really tight and you want a Porsche 911? Well, a few years ago I’d have directed you to a 911SC or a 964 – both great but underrated (and therefore undervalued) 911s that you could pick up a decent example of for around £12,000. Sadly, though, those days are now long gone. Prices of SCs and 964s are rocketing and you’re looking at nearer to £20,000 for a good one. You’ll see them for less but they’ll be potential moneypits.
So where does that leave our wannabe 911 owner on a budget? Certainly not with an aircooled 911, that’s for sure. However, the good news is that there is a new generation of affordable Porsche 911s out there and they’re better than ever. Yes, it’s the Porsche 996 – the first of the watercooled 911s, introduced back in 1999.
Porsche built a lot of 996s, which means that they are not as rare as earlier 911s and, as a result, prices have dropped to the extent that you can buy a nice one for as little as £12,000 or less. A 996 is the perfect first 911 as it’s modern, easy to live with and, crucially, drives as only a true 911 can – it’s a lot of fun in other words. It has a modern and well designed interior (I prefer it to the fussy 997 cockpit which followed), plenty of power and confident handling.
The key, though, is to ensure that you find a good example. As Porsche 996s have dropped in value, so they’ve often been bought by people without the means or understanding to maintain them properly. Now, a 996 isn’t an expensive car to run but it will cost more than a Vauxhall Corsa to keep in fine fettle. Drive a neglected 996 and you’ll be disappointed. Drive a good one and you’ll love it.
That’s why I’m always fussy about what 996s we stock. At the moment, we have two very well maintained early ones and each is a joy to drive. Click the links for more details: 996 Carrera and 996 Carrera 4. Either will be a pleasure to own and give you the full Porsche 911 ownership experience for surprisingly little outlay. We can even help arrange finance for you!