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Here's Why The Porsche 996 Is One Of The Best Modern Classics You Can Buy

HotCars logo HotCars 7/18/2022 Benjamin Phipps
© Provided by HotCars

Few cars are as recognizable as the Porsche 911, with its iconic silhouette and timeless design. Since its launch back 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 fairly significant changes. From the altered aesthetics to a water-cooled engine, Porsche did offend some of its loyal customer base.


Despite this, the car was instrumental in bringing with it some important changes to the 911 lineup. The 996 generation expanded the range significantly, introducing a number of new variants. Most notably, the first GT3 was released as part of the 996.1 range, and another even wilder version, the GT2, as a 996.2 car.

It's now been around 24 years since the launch of the 996, and the car is considered a modern classic. Let's have a look at why it makes a great proposition for someone in the market for a sports car from that era.

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There Is An Example For Every Budget

There are potentially a number of different types of buyers seeking out a 996. From the hobby enthusiast looking for a weekend toy to the purist collector scouting out a Concours example.

With the 996 being unloved for so many years, prices haven't risen in the same way as they have for other models. It is still possible to pick up a decent example for a relatively affordable sum. With many different variants produced, from the basic Carrera to the more mid-range 4 and 4S, and then on to the high-value GT3 and GT2, there are multiple entry points to ownership.

The Controversial Styling Has Aged Well

The most obvious design change the 996 generation car received compared to the cars which had come before it, were the radically redesigned headlights. Circular front lights are one of the 911's most distinguishing features and were a constant from the first 911 model released back in 1963.

With the launch of the 996 generation car in 1998, everything changed, and the 911 featured "fried egg" headlights. The yolk-colored indicators and the irregular shape are what gave the lights this nickname. The change was associated with a lot of controversies, and many Porsche purists disapproved of the re-design, leading to them being shelved in the 997 generation models. Today, the lights immediately identify 996 generation cars and have even become a celebrated feature. Many people now in the position to buy a 996 remember the car when they were growing up, and appreciate the nostalgia.

Values Are Beginning To Climb

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, a significant benefit of the 996, is that they are looking like a great place to put your money.

According to Hagerty valuations, a 1999 911 Carrera in excellent condition has risen from $38,000 to $49,000 in the last 12 months. Similarly, a concours condition 2002 911 Turbo has risen in value from $87,000 to a whopping $125,000. Having appreciated £38,000 in just one year makes the Turbo looks like a great investment.

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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 to offer modern infotainment. Gone are the days when driving an older vehicle meant either suffering an outdated audio system or putting in an incongruous aftermarket unit.

Named Porsche Classic Communication Management, or PCCM for short, the system is available in two sizes to suit the original vehicle's setup. For older classic vehicles, a 3.5-inch screen is available, while a 7-inch screen is available for newer models. The units include modern essentials like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The beauty of PCCM is how it matches the design of the cabin, providing up-to-date features, but also looking like it has always been there.

Many Modifications Are Available

For many people, part of the appeal of owning an older sports car is the freedom to modify it. While newer models may need to be kept stock to prevent warranty invalidation, owners can go wild with cars like the 996.

Suspension is arguably the most popular and generally the easiest component to upgrade using aftermarket parts. Adding in a modern setup can drastically sharpen the handling. Other modifications include higher performance brakes helping to prevent brake fade, and custom exhaust systems, which enable much louder outputs.

It Is Generally Very Reliable

German cars have always been associated with solid reliability, while there are definitely exceptions to this, on the whole they are pretty good cars. For buyers looking to invest in an older sports car, reliability is certainly going to be on their list of requirements.

Spending out a load of money or repairs is no fun for anyone. Fortunately, the 996 fares fairly well where reliability is concerned. The most well-known issue relates to "IMS" or intermediate shaft bearing failure. Should the worst happen, the engine can destroy itself, much in the same way a cambelt failure would. A replacement bearing will prevent the risk of this, so it is important to check either if it has been done or to get it done as soon as possible. Other than that, provided the car has a good maintenance record, potential issues should be minimized.

Porsche Considers The Vehicle A Classic

Any Porsche model which has not been in standard production for at least 10 years becomes known as a classic. As a testament to Porsche's reliability, over 70% of Porsche models produced are still in working order.

Owners of Classic Porsche models can join "The Porsche Classic Register". One big benefit of this membership is the ability to get 15% off Porsche Classic Parts". Another great feature, is the offer of four complimentary "wash and vac" sessions per year.

"Related: This Is Not A Render, But A Real Life Classic Four-Door Porsche 911

Servicing Is Reasonable

While Porsche is a premium brand, it is a popular one. Many people use their 911 as a daily driver, and consequently, mileage can start to rack up. Fortunately, there are many Porsche specialists around the world and servicing is relatively affordable on the whole. This is especially the case when looking into supercar brands, as servicing costs can amount to robbery.

Like any older vehicle, it is important to see evidence of previous work carried out, so you know it has been well looked after. In fact, cars which have missed services and have a poor record, are likely to have suffered additional depreciation more than the cost of servicing the car in the first place.

It Is A Great Handling Car

A great driving experience is a prerequisite for any sports car. Thankfully, the 996 generation offered a number of improvements over its predecessor the 993. The new car was lighter, faster, and overall better to drive.

Being rear engined, the car had a unique set of handling characteristics. Unlike the cars which came before it, the 996 featured an all-new chassis and suspension setup. The oversteer issues present in previous generations under braking had been resolved, and drivers could extract more of the available power.

It Can Keep Up With The Modern Stuff

The entry-level car was known as the "Carrera," powered by a 3.6-liter engine, 0-60 mph was possible in just under 5 seconds and the car topped out at 178 mph. The more powerful "Turbo" was instead fitted with a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter flat-six. Producing 414 hp, 0-60 mph took just 4 seconds and could go on to reach a 190-mph top speed.

Despite the age of the 996, the incredible performance it offered means it can comfortably challenge many of the best-selling sports cars of today. This is a very impressive feat and demonstrates the prowess of Porsche's engineering abilities.


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