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