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May 2011 www.911porscheworld.com

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO YOUR FIRST 911

£20K 911 SPECIAL CARRERA 3.0  911SC  CARRERA 3.2  964  993  996

No.206

THE 997’S FINAL HURRAH CARRERA GTS SIGNS OFF IN STYLE

944 STEERING RACK REBUILD HOW TO FIX YOUR POWER STEERING RACK

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SUB £15,000 PORSCHES TESTED

£4.50 US$9.99 CANADA $12.95

BUDGET BOXSTER V 996

FROM £1500 TO £20,000 FEATURING: 911, 924, 928, 944, 968, BOXSTER, CAYMAN AND CAYENNE

RECESSION BEATING PORSCHES


A PERFECT

START With a theoretical budget of £20,000, we go looking for the perfect first Porsche. And boy, there really are some amazing bargains around right now!

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e can blame it on the economy, I guess (writes Keith Seume), but there are some incredible bargains around right now. In fact, if ever there was a time to treat yourself to your dream Porsche, this is it. Forget investing in stocks and shares – get out there and live the dream! But what to choose? When we first started to look around, we had a rough idea of what our theoretical £20,000 maximum might buy: there are the obvious bargains in the form of older 924s, 944s and 911s, of course, but we were surprised to see how many relatively modern Porsches have now slipped rather unceremoniously into the sub-£20K bracket. In fact, even if you went shopping with just half that amount, you’d still be overwhelmed by choice. Boxsters are now available for as little as £5000 – OK, so we’re talking early 2.5-litre models here, but there’s no denying that’s a bargain – while we even found the odd 996-series 911 for around £10,000. Start waving cold cash under the nose of a desperate vendor and who knows, you may get one for even less. What we did find interesting, though, is how the market is changing in other areas. For the longest time, it’s been difficult to find any 993 for much less than £20,ooo, with good ones in the mid£20K region. Now all that is starting to change, with some excellent examples on offer at £15–18,000. To us, that is a bargain whichever way you look at it. Lower down the scale, values of the well respected 1984–89 Carrera 3.2 are really starting to firm up. While there are still a few ‘cheapies’ around, you’ll need to pay £13–15,000 now for a good one. Is it that they’re finally being recognised for how good they really are? Or is it simply that they’re being snapped up by everyone for back-dating projects? A little of both, we suspect! One of the biggest surprises of all is the number of Caymans that are now appearing in the sub-£20K market. This is a car we love, as it’s practical, handles like a dream and still looks as good today as when it was launched in 2006. You won’t be disappointed… But the biggest losers – which could mean you’ll turn out to be the winner – are the V8-engined Cayennes. These luxurious 4x4s may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but with prices as low as – get this – £10,000, you’d be crazy to buy any other soft-roader right now. And we suspect as fuel prices continue to rise, it won’t be long before we see V8 Cayennes selling for four-figure sums. So, turn the page and let’s take a look at what your money can buy right now – we’ve got Porsches for every budget, from £2000 to £20,000. You know what? You’ll be amazed at what bargains are out there… PW

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SUB-£20K BUYERS’ GUIDE

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Six of the best Summer’s coming; time to buy that Porsche 911 you’ve always promised yourself. But which one? And where to find it? Maybe we can help! Story by Chris Horton; photography by Antony Fraser and Brett Fraser

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t was the 18th century American politician and polymath, Benjamin Franklin, who coined that famous phrase about certainty – or to be more accurate, perhaps, uncertainty. ‘In this world,’ he suggested in one of the many pithy homilies for which he is most often remembered, ‘nothing is certain but death and taxes.’ And, he might have added, were he alive today, the Porsche 911. Franklin – who also invented the lightning conductor, and perhaps most fittingly for us an odometer – was almost right. In truth, even individual taxes come and go, too, if not the concept of taxation. And at some point in the unimaginably distant future the entire universe will decay to literally nothing, and even time itself will cease to exist. The fact is, though, that the 911 has already been with us for now the best part of 50 years, and with yet another new iteration due to be announced very soon it is difficult, if not impossible, to believe that in some shape or form it won’t see out another half-century – and maybe even witness the demise of the petrol-powered private motor car itself. If a week is a long time in politics, then in the tough world of the motor industry the 911’s lifespan amounts to an eternity. So, you must be thinking, in the unlikely event that you have never owned, driven, sat in or perhaps even seen a 911, it must be a pretty good car, then? It is, indeed. Its detractors – and there remain a few such misguided souls – usually dismiss it as an overgrown VW Beetle. And there is undoubtedly a kind of perverse quirkiness about it. Still – and now uniquely among road cars – the engine is at the back, behind the wheels, and only within the last 15 years has Porsche begun to use liquid as an

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intermediary in the vital cooling of said power unit. Some models are better than others. Some – but significantly not necessarily the same cars – are far more sought-after than others, with a perhaps surprising effect on relative values. The later vehicles, no less inevitably, are by and large more powerful, faster and more agile, more sophisticated, better equipped and certainly – that word again – safer than their predecessors. You would expect nothing less. But every single one of them offers an always utterly distinctive driving experience, and a real sense of occasion – perhaps even adventure – each and every time you slide in behind the steering wheel. We, as you might expect, are to a man Porsche enthusiasts through and through, and as such can hardly be considered impartial judges in the matter. But we defy almost anyone, with the obvious exception of the hair-shirt ecomentalists, who in their strange and delusional world would have us all living in unlit caves and eating twigs, not to have a secret yearning not just for a Porsche – and there are many remarkably good other Porsches, of course – but for a 911. Even if it was just one vehicle among a much wider wish-list. And that is by no means an impossible dream, even in these economically challenging times. Or perhaps we should say especially in these economically challenging times. There is in absolute terms no genuinely ‘cheap’ 911, of course, in the same way that there is now, say, a perfectly serviceable 944 for £1000 or less. You might as well look for a Rembrandt in a jumble sale. And even if you do have what might be termed a realistic budget, finding a genuinely good, worthwhile example is not without its pitfalls; such is the nature of the high-performance sports

A brand-new 997 – or its forthcoming successor – might be one of the world’s best sports cars, if not the best, but the fact is that you could buy all six of the 911s shown below (or ones much like them) for the same money, or perhaps even less. And even the oldest among this lot – the Carrera 3.0, far left – quite possibly has another 30-plus years of life in it. Case proved, we suggest


YOUR FIRST 911 car. What’s more, as in any other high-performance sports car, there is always going to be a pretty obvious and direct correlation between how fast you drive and how much increasingly expensive fuel your car consumes. Speed, as a latter-day Benjamin Franklin might well have observed, costs money. And then some. Those caveats aside, however, there is within reason a Porsche 911 out there for just about every pocket and purpose, a veritable army of specialist parts suppliers and independent technical experts to help you keep it running for far less than you might imagine – most of the good ones advertise regularly within these pages – and broadly speaking an inherent durability in the thing that you will see in few, if any, other marques or models. If the 911 as a brand is likely to be with us for the next 50 years or more, then so too will be many of the cars already built, as well as those models yet to be created or even designed. And, barring some truly global catastrophe, the 911 that you buy now or in the near future, and look after in the manner befitting its pedigree, might well not only maintain its value, but even actually appreciate. Call it a head-in-the-sand approach if you like, but even with fuel now heading inexorably for £10 a gallon that sounds pretty much like a win-win situation to us. 911 & PORSCHE WORLD, NOW IN its 22nd year of publication, and routinely packed with both editorial about the cars, and classified and trade adverts for them, is eloquent testimony to the huge and lasting appeal of, well, the Porsche 911 – among the company’s many other products. There can be few of us, though, who haven’t taken a bit of a financial battering during the recent past, so what better way to celebrate the coming summer here in the northern hemisphere – and to showcase what we think are some particularly worthwhile 911s – than to gather half a dozen typical examples on our Surrey test-track, and demonstrate exactly what they’re made of? Perhaps even to remind the older hands how good they are? Simply to have some much-needed fun, maybe? Our choice was based upon a number of factors, but primarily availability (to you, as well as to us on the day), practicality, and not least affordability. We all have our

own definitions of that last highly emotive term, but the plain fact is that, as we’ve suggested above, a viable and worthwhile 911 of any type and age is going to cost – even these days probably at least £10,000. Double that figure, however, and while you still won’t have access to certain particularly desirable classics, such as the 1970s’ 911S or the 993-model Turbo from the 1990s (or not usually, anyway), or unsurprisingly to the still current 997 range (give it time, though), you will still be within a shout of many real gems. Up to 20 grand it was, then. (By the same token, going to even £30,000 will put you in touch with many 997-model cars that even four or five years ago would have cost more than double that figure.) We wanted to offer as broad a range of models as possible within that limit, and such is the rather strange ‘compression’ that has gone on within the market of late that that was actually pretty easy. Paradoxically, perhaps even illogically, our earliest car, a 1976 Carrera 3.0, was up for £19,995, just about the same as our very latest, a 2001 996-model Cabriolet (£20,995, which in practical terms could mean £19,995). Between those we had, in chronological order, a 1978 SC (nominally around £15,000, perhaps, even if this one wasn’t for sale), a 1989 Carrera 3.2 (as a Targa arguably the Cinderella of the group, and as a result on offer for £14,995), a 1989 964 (precisely £20,000), and not least a 993 (once again not for sale, but bought just a few weeks ago for £19,950). Within that basic framework, which covers the period from the mid-1970s through to the mid-‘noughties’, we have provided a short but succinct history of each model range, an easy-to-assimilate specification panel, and not least some brief impressions of each of our specific attendees. And an overall conclusion. You may – or may not – agree with that, or anything else we have to say here, but it’s all from the heart, and beyond doubt intended to draw you in to this absorbing, rewarding and truly fascinating world of Porsche in general, and the 911 in particular. We live in grim times, that right now seem to be getting grimmer by the day, but trust us: seen through the windscreen of a Porsche on an open road they don’t seem anywhere near as bad. Enjoy that feeling while you can, though. It could be later than you think. PW

SO JUST WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT HERE? The world of Porsche – and that of the 911 in particular – has its own jargon and nomenclature. Chief among those are the mysterious three-digit ‘9xx’ numbers you’ll see throughout this feature and the rest of the magazine. Their purpose is not to bamboozle, however, but to clarify. By definition the term ‘911’ alone can refer to any one model from now nearly 50 years’ worth of production, and neither ‘Carrera’ (where appropriate; not every 911 is also a Carrera...) nor even the model year is necessarily helpful in identifying a given variant. Starting with the substantially revised coilsprung model launched in 1989, then, we enthusiasts and the wider industry have tended to use the type numbers by which the cars were first known within Porsche itself. So that 1989–1993 model is the 964, the 1994–1997 model is the 993, and the 1997–2004 car (the first water-cooled 911) the 996. The 996 was followed by the current 997, and that will be followed later this year – or so we believe at this stage – by the 991. For a full explanation of Porsche’s ‘9xx’ type numbers see The case of the missing nines, a two-part feature in the January and February 2001 editions of this magazine. To buy copies go to our website at www.911porscheworld.com, and follow the links to the back-issues page.

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Cheap thrills?

Porsche 996s at sub £15k? Boxsters as low as £5k. Buyers have never had it so good, so where’s the catch? We hit the road with a £20k Porsche duo Words: Adam Towler Photography: Antony Fraser

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hen you stop to really think about it, it’s not actually surprising that early 986 Boxsters and 996 Carreras have had mixed fortunes of late. Virtually every car ever made – even including luminaries such as the McLaren F1 – suffer a similar glide path of sorts, where residual values and perceived worth plummet with advancing years. It’s just that some fall further than others, and some don’t always recover at all. The 2.5-litre Boxster is the perfect case in point. When new, the clamour for them was at fever pitch, with fanatical would-be owners paying over list price to get into a car, and even left-hand drive examples making it to the UK (always a sign of untameable demand). The car was a complete sensation, lauded in the motoring press. Here, at last, was a mid-engined Porsche, with a semiaffordable price tag, that promised spectacular driving thrills and open-air motoring. But years pass and attitudes change, and these days they’re very much at the entry point of the Porsche market, and often

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dismissed as an initial attempt that was soon improved upon. Their relatively low standing is reflected in their crumbling values. For the purposes of this test we have a 1997 Boxster 2.5 and a 1998 996 Carrera 3.4, both provided by Porsche specialist dealer Finlay Gorham out in the Suffolk countryside. Our Boxster has just under 80,000 miles on the clock and is up for the stunning price of £5,995. I’m desperate to drive it, not least because out of all the myriad different 986 and 987 models over the 14 years since the car was launched, the 2.5-litre model is the only version that I haven’t had a steer in. Other than to satisfy my own curiosity, I’m hoping this might be vaguely instructive on the basis of someone coming fresh to the car with only the accumulated baggage garnered from 14 years of prejudice. In fact, perhaps that’s one point we should deal with straight away: the Boxster’s image. Any Boxster, but particularly the 2.5, labours under the weight of the ‘it’s not a 911’ tag touted around by various celebrity journalists and regurgitated en masse by


BARGAIN 996 V BOXSTER sections of the public. ‘Hairdressers’ car’ is another one. Personally, I have no time for such misinformed nonsense, but such jibes don’t help the 2.5’s cause, and they also have a reputation these days for being, well, not exactly ‘fast’. Climbing aboard our Boxster today is a pleasant surprise. The aftermarket radio/CD in the dashboard lowers the tone a bit, but the tan leather wears better than the pale grey alternative often found during this era, and the slim wheel and low driving position immediately feels ‘just so’. In many ways, the 2.5 feels like 70% of the car the current Boxster is, whether you’re equating it to performance, sound, grip, solidity or quality – and that’s meant as a compliment considering the monetary values involved. The engine fires in a familiar pattern, and moving around at low revs brings with it that same old whine and whirr from the engine just over your shoulder. They’re right: it isn’t that fast, but neither is this a problem or a dampener to enjoyment in my view. With five fairly broadly spread ratios and a small capacity ‘six’, it’s no surprise that the meat of the Boxster’s performance arrives with revs and that their extended use is vital to keep within the power band. The

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION PORSCHE 996 C2 ENGINE: POWER: TORQUE: TRANSMISSION: TOP SPEED: 0–62MPH:

3.4-litre flat-six 300bhp @ 6800rpm 258lbs/ft @ 4600rpm 6-speed manual gearbox 174mph 5.2s

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION PORSCHE BOXSTER ENGINE: POWER: TORQUE: TRANSMISSION: TOP SPEED: 0–62MPH:

2.5-litre flat-six 204bhp @ 6000rpm 181lbs/ft @ 4500rpm 5-speed manual 149mph 6.9s

engine comes alive over 5,000rpm, whereupon it finally finds its voice, delivering a nice surge of power up to the fairly humble 6,500rpm redline and accompanied by a tight howl. It’s fun to work the engine thus, because even with 80K on the clock it’s as smooth as the OPC salesman’s patter that originally sold it, and as we’ve written a lot recently, there’s an awful lot to be said for a

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911 & Porsche World issue 206