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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