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Porsche 911 996 generation 1998 - 2004 More
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  •   Daniel 1982 reacted to this post about 11 months ago
    David finally buys a 911… #2001-Porsche-911-Carrera-2 / #2001-Porsche-911-Carrera-2-996 / #2001 / #Porsche-911-Carrera-2 / #Porsche-911-Carrera-2-996 / #Porsche-911-996 / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche-996

    DAVID LILLYWHITE

    You know when there’s car money burning a hole in your bank account? How easily it slips away into kitchens, holidays, mortgages and other such non-essentials, when really it should be spent on another highly impractical vehicle. So, with the Citroën SM sold, it seemed I should get on with making use of the cash – but what to buy? My plans veered wildly, but kept returning to the car that has escaped me for 20 years: #Porsche 911.

    It wasn’t so long ago that I could almost afford a pre-73 but those days are long-gone, thanks to everescalating prices (Porsche values started to increase as soon as I sold my 914, it seems). Then I could almost afford an SC but I never found one I really liked. A 964? Well, maybe, but by the time I’d overcome my distrust of that model, they’d shot up in price. Too late for a 993 too, though that would have made a great blend of classic 911 feel and more modern usability.

    What about a 996? I’m sure I remember being as appalled as everyone else when they were launched in 1997 with watercooling and the same front end as the Boxster, but they’ve grown on me and are refreshingly petite compared with the current 911. And they’re still cheap, as 911s go. There are horror stories about leaking rear main seals (not such a big deal) and the self-destructing intermediate shaft bearing (a very big deal. though not as common as is made out, and avoidable). It’s also fair to say that interiors don’t wear as well as in previous 911s. But they’re great to drive, if not quite as characterful as older 911s.

    And they’re going up in value! I was hit with The Fear. Surely I wouldn’t miss out again? It seemed that prices started at £10,000 but, once I started looking more closely, that was for Tiptronic convertibles, maybe with accident repair history, certainly with 100,000 miles or more. I wanted a manual coupé Carrera 2 with full service history and absolutely no previous bodywork repairs. A high mileage I could put up with. Seemed that £15,000 would be needed. I viewed hundreds online, and a handful in the metal. None quite did it for me, the deciding factor often a dubiously coloured interior, or the rather too-common silver paintwork. And then I found a metallic black (with black leather) 2001 Generation 2 Carrera 2 with full history, three previous owners and 52,000 miles. It was just over my £15,000 budget but Gen 2 gives a better-quality interior, torquier 3.6-litre engine (Gen 1s are 3.4) and cleaner styling.

    So as you can see, I bought it. I’m not sure what to do with the registration plate at the moment but other than that I’m delighted! More next month.

    Meanwhile, there was still a chunk of SM money hanging around. I wondered aloud on Twitter about a VW camper (but did I really want another timehungry vehicle?) and was rescued by Toyota PR manager James Clark, who suggested the press garage’s Proace van, converted to a highspec camper for a trip to Le Mans, and about to be offered for sale. You’ll see it above in Toyota’s Le Mans vinyl wrap, since removed. Not quite the classic camper I’d romantically imagined but actually rather useful for long-distance trips to Spa, Nürburgring and the like (when I don’t take the 911). And so another vehicle joins the fleet…
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