911 CAR­RERA 996 CABRI­O­LET TIP­TRONIC 2001 ‘X’ 81,000 MILES £14,500 911 & Porsche World’s With rov­ing tyre kicker, Kieron Fen­nelly

911 Porsche World - - Practical Porsche -

The days of the bomb­site used car lots are gone. Even at what you might call the sub­prime end of the mar­ket, most re­tail em­po­ri­ums look like proper busi­nesses, their sites of­ten be­decked with flags as­sert­ing their al­le­giance to trusted guar­an­tors, such as here with Auto So­lu­tions which uses the RAC’S Buy­sure scheme. The cars, too, are cor­rectly turned out, as is the case with this 996 Cabri­o­let. Of course at 10K be­low what you could pay for the same car, it is not pol­ished to Porsche Cen­tre or tier-one in­de­pen­dent stan­dards, but first im­pres­sions are pos­i­tive. If the black paint is faded, it is largely un­marked, but what re­ally dis­tin­guishes this 996 is its fit­ted hard­top mak­ing it quite a rare beast. It fits cor­rectly, too, and the win­dow seals show no sign of de­te­ri­o­ra­tion. In­deed, shut­lines all round ap­pear con­sis­tent and there is no vis­i­ble ev­i­dence of rust or sig­nif­i­cant blem­ishes. At some point the 18 inch al­loys must have been re­painted be­cause they are un­marked and be­hind them the brake discs have plenty of life. Pirellis are new on the rear and lit­tle worn at the front; the boot was un­tidy, but the en­gine bay com­mend­ably clean.

The cabin is more dis­ap­point­ing if only be­cause the grey leather is all rather grubby, but there is no dam­age to ma­te­ri­als. Wa­ter stains on the rear up­hol­stery sug­gest rain ingress at some point, but floors seem dry be­neath carpets which, if not es­pe­cially worn, could do with a clean. Switch gear is all in good or­der, with noth­ing hang­ing off what is some­times a slightly frail fa­cia. Equip­ment all works, but the pres­ence of the hard­top pre­vents test­ing the hood.

The Cabrio’s six own­ers were clearly all con­sci­en­tious types: an en­cour­ag­ingly com­plete ser­vice record has sev­eral Porsche Cen­tre stamps, be­gin­ning with the sup­ply­ing dealer Guild­ford, and later from fa­mil­iar in­de­pen­dents Strasse, Maxted Page, PCT and Chris Turner. MOT ad­vi­sories in April 2017 men­tion a blow­ing ex­haust, which Auto So­lu­tions have re­placed with a Dansk sys­tem, and a nail in a rear tyre: the dealer has re­placed both rears with P Ze­ros.

On the road this au­to­matic 996 pro­vides re­laxed mo­tor­ing. The Dansk is a lit­tle boomy for some tastes, but steer­ing is pre­cise and the brakes pull up au­thor­i­ta­tively and ab­so­lutely straight. Pedal to the metal (car­pet), the Cabrio takes off im­pres­sively, revving eas­ily to 7000rpm and sound­ing smooth all through the rev range; at the na­tional speed limit there are no un­to­ward vi­bra­tions or any­thing to sug­gest ma­jor read­just­ment is re­quired. Left to its own de­vices the Tip­tronic shift is rather too laid back so has to be over­rid­den if faster re­sponse is re­quired. Changes of ra­tio though are only just per­cep­ti­ble.

The auto ’box will not be to ev­ery­one’s taste, and the hood will need to be in­ves­ti­gated, but oth­er­wise this ‘sub­prime’ 996 is in need of some ap­plied el­bow grease, but seem­ingly not much else. PW


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