Talk about tough acts to follow. When the last 993-series Porsche 911 rolled off the Stuttgart assembly line in 1998, those paying attention knew that it was the end of an era of sorts for the much-loved rear-engine sports car. The 993, it is often argued, was the pinnacle of decades of development. It was also the last air-cooled 911, as the marque’s first production model, the 356, had been. The car’s replacement, known internally as the 996, would break with decades of Porsche tradition—most notably by the addition of a water-cooled engine.
But that wasn’t all that changed. Gone were the 993’s wide, rounded flanks and traditional circular headlights, replaced with a minimalistic, slab-sided body that shared its fried-egg-shaped headlights with Porsche’s new entry-level sports car, the mid-engine, drop-top Boxster. So are there any 996 models worth having? We asked Marlon Goldberg, owner and mechanic at Workshop 5001, a Los Angeles-based boutique Porsche restoration shop. Here’s what he had to say.
911 (base models including Carrera 4)
Value (low/high): $15,000/$40,000
“If you look on the internet, the first thing that comes up is the failure of the intermediate shaft (IMS) bearing in the standard engines [as well as Boxster engines of that era], and there are a few companies who make retrofit kits [to address this]. That said, there’s a lot of internet nonsense out there. Partly because of that, I see the market staying pretty much where it is. For the standard car, the [optional] four-wheel drive is great.”
Value (low/high): $35,000/$75,000+
IMS bearing still have you nervous? “The Turbo, GT2, and GT3 use what everyone refers to as the Metzger crankcase, the air-cooled 911 crankcase.” Hence, no IMS bearing issues. And performance? “They were phenomenal and a real all-weather supercar. Some people say the 993 Turbo was what it was all about, but the 996 Turbo was a big step forward. The 996 Turbo is the best value in the entire Porsche world right now. If you’re budget-conscious and not attached to having an air-cooled model, that’s the best buy. I wouldn’t be surprised if they double in value in the next five years.”
Value (low/high): $65,000/$150,000
“What a lot of people like about these versus 997 GT3s is that there’s no traction control. It’s still a pure driver’s car. They’re very simple-looking, all non-sunroof cars, and they were available with different color interiors, where with the 997 GT3 they were virtually all black interiors.”
Value (low/high): $120,000/$300,000
“GT2 was very limited production, and for the last couple years they brought them into the U.S. (2004-’05), I’d have to look at the numbers, but they sold something like 20 cars—next to nothing. When they were new, they weren’t selling. What’s interesting now is that there’s this feeding frenzy for the GT cars. You have guys paying massive amounts over sticker.
That wasn’t the case then. You could have walked into the dealer and bought a GT3 or a GT2 and paid sticker or maybe even have gotten a deal on the car. It’s a little weird.”