911 CAR­RERA 996 CABRIOLET MAN­UAL 2000 ‘X’ 44,580 MILES £16,500

911 Porsche World - - Practical Porsche -

Crit­ics of Porsche’s new water cooled cars 20 years ago would have you be­lieve the 986/996 was such a ret­ro­grade step that it would never last like its air-cooled pre­de­ces­sor. But time has con­founded the naysay­ers: this col­umn has found any num­ber of pre­sentable 996s and Boxsters all ap­proach­ing their twen­ti­eth birth­day still of­fer­ing en­ter­tain­ing Porsche mo­tor­ing with­out the need of vast restora­tive ex­pen­di­ture.

This 996 Cabrio in Zenith metal­lic blue with Sa­van­nah beige leather in­te­rior (amount­ing to a £4000 op­tion with match­ing three-spoke leather steer­ing wheel) is a case in point. It is no show car: verdi­gris on the hood sug­gests a life largely out­doors, but the body ex­hibits no dam­age or signs of any re­paint­ing and would re­spond well to pol­ish­ing while a scrub would do won­ders for the hood which does though need some mi­nor re­pairs. The much re­viled cabin presents a sim­i­lar pic­ture: the slight grub­bi­ness of the con­tact sur­faces would not re­sist a clean, the car­pets still look fresh and the leather up­hol­stery has lasted par­tic­u­larly well – the rear com­part­ment is quite un­marked. The switchgear of the some­times frail fas­cia is also un­worn and the en­tire ap­pear­ance of this 996 sug­gests rel­a­tively lit­tle use over its seven­teen year ex­is­tence. In­deed, the mileage in­di­cated is a mere 44,800. The log book shows five own­ers, the last, in Rich­mond, since 2009. There is no ser­vice his­tory, but an MOT check re­veals that the mileage in 2006 was 32,000 and fol­lows the usual pat­tern of great­est use in the early years. The most re­cent MOT cer­tifi­cate at 44,581 miles had no ad­vi­sories.

Although the Cabrio of­ten has an eas­ier life than the coupé, this un­doc­u­mented ex­am­ple re­mains a clas­sic in­stance of caveat emp­tor: vis­ually the car is promis­ing from its orig­i­nal-look­ing paint­work to the slightly fussy split-rim 18 inch wheels, an­other £1500 op­tion, which ex­hibit kerb­ing, but no signs of cor­ro­sion. Tyres are Pirellis all round, newish on the front, half worn at the rear, and the brake discs ap­pear to have plenty of life. After­mar­ket tailpipes to­gether with a fruity ex­haust note sug­gest a non stan­dard pipe, but this was al­most oblig­a­tory on the early 996s which Porsche had over-si­lenced. In the cabin, the cig­a­rette lighter is miss­ing and the ig­ni­tion bar­rel is rather hit and miss (the seller will re­place this and re­ac­ti­vate the re­mote cen­tral lock­ing which does not re­spond to the key). The am­bi­ent air is­sued by the a/c sug­gests at least a re­gassing (and prob­a­bly an over­haul) will be needed.

Un­der­way, this 996 Cabrio im­me­di­ately feels taut and re­spon­sive. The en­gine pulls en­thu­si­as­ti­cally to 7000rpm yet will trickle along at 1400rpm in top. This six-speed shows why the man­ual ’box is sought af­ter on th­ese 996s: much the same G50 set-up as the 993, here it is lighter and a real a joy to use, the ra­tios well cho­sen. The clutch, bit­ing mid point, has just the right amount of heft and the brakes the usual Porsche author­ity. This is an ir­re­sistible driver’s car, cor­ner­ing as­suredly with no creaks, groans or any sug­ges­tions of wear in the sus­pen­sion. The hood works smoothly and fits cor­rectly with no ex­cess wind noise at 70mph. Post test, the 3.4, im­pres­sively clean and dry un­der its hood, emit­ted no un­to­ward coolant smells. The orig­i­nal hard­top is in­cluded: for a buyer who knows Porsches, this is a very tempt­ing en­try level 911. PW

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.