The 928 and 996 are 40- and 20-years old re­spec­tively and both were cars that Porsche had to make


There’s noth­ing like an an­niver­sary to make you feel old and we’ve got a cou­ple in this is­sue. Now, I can cope with the 928 be­ing 40-years old. 1977 does feel like an aw­fully long time ago, after all. But, can the 996 re­ally be 20-years old? That just doesn’t seem pos­si­ble – it’s a mod­ern, wa­ter-cooled 911. But there we are and I can’t be alone in notic­ing that 996s, and Boxsters for that mat­ter, are start­ing to ap­pear in clas­sic car magazines.

Both these mile­stones are im­por­tant for their own rea­sons. The 928 was Porsche’s car of the fu­ture when it was launched. It was go­ing to lead Porsche into a brave new world, which didn’t in­clude the 911. It was a brave move al­right, but very soon the 928 was side­lined, play­ing the part of the grand tourer to the 911’s sports car. It would ac­tu­ally take an­other 20-years be­fore the 911 was ef­fec­tively re­placed. That is to say that the mod­ernised, wa­ter-cooled 996 was so rad­i­cally changed from the clas­sic air-cooled old-timer, that it was a new car in all but name only.

When the 996 was launched, some more hos­tile tra­di­tion­al­ists likened it to the ‘Bas­tard child of the Boxster and the 928.’ Seems a bit harsh. The 928 con­no­ta­tion was a nod to the 996’s GT prow­ess, but com­pared to the cur­rent 991 gen­er­a­tion of 911, the 996 seems like a snake-hipped sports star. Both the 928 and 996 were cars that Porsche had to build in or­der to move for­ward, but of the two, the 996 is the car that com­pletely changed Porsche’s for­tunes, along with the Boxster that it shared so much with. In time his­tory will catch up with its im­por­tance.

It would take an­other 20years be­fore the 911 was ef­fec­tively re­placed


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