997 GEN 1 3.8 S * 2005 ‘05’ * 97,400 MILES * £19,995
So the first 997Ss are finally crossing the £20,000 watershed: a modern 180mph 911, or a daily-use Porsche for half the going rate of a (dry) weekend-only air cooled model. First registered in May 2005, this Atlas grey coupé began life in Keighley and initial service work was carried out by PC Leeds at two years and 17,500 miles. Thence it moved north east with the second of its eight owners, then resided in the west Midlands receiving scheduled attention at PC Wilmslow and Ramus Porsche. Finally in 2016 it headed south, its most recent oil service carried out by Brookspeed Porsche in Southampton at 89,800 miles in August 2017 and the same dealer changed the brake fluid at 94,900 in February 2018. The brake discs are new suggesting these may have been replaced at the same time, but no invoices accompany the service record book.
The paintwork is mildly faded – it would no doubt respond to a good polishing and is undamaged apart from the odd stone chip. The paint inside the front arches has lifted at their vulnerable bottom edges which catch all the road debris. The attractive ‘lobster claw’ wheels which helped to define the first 997 and becoming rare today have some very minor kerb scrapes; Bridgestone Potenzas at the front are new, the rears, amply grooved on their insides, are worn down almost to the wear bars on their outer treads. Inside, the leather upholstery has lasted well and still has that agreeable leathery odour. Door cappings and dash in the same material are also pleasingly unspoiled and, as ever, the dark carpets might benefit from a clean. The only item needing attention is the broken rocker switch which activates the boot, meaning it can be opened only with the key. The engine compartment is dirty, but no weeps are apparent to a cursory examination of the underside.
A switchable sports exhaust is fitted and in the ‘on’ position means firing up this 997 will usually turn heads in the vicinity. Idling smoothly after a cold start, the 911 pulls away without any undue noises; the clutch, on the heavy side, bites at midtravel and the six-shift moves easily across its gate. Steering is precise and responsive and the 3.8 both flexible and ready to pull hard when asked, though perhaps lacking a little zest at the very top-end. The new brakes provide the expected massive retardation with correct pedal pressure and travel. The well preserved cabin has no rattles and though the ride is smooth, there are some rumbles underneath and the PASM does not appear to be working. Combined with the uneven rear tyre wear, a four-wheel geometry check is surely called for. The oil pressure gauge sticks, and the battery which only just manages to turn the engine is probably on its last legs.
This is a 911 for an owner who knows Porsches: it appears fundamentally sound, but will require some expenditure on suspension and possibly engine diagnostics; the vendor is happy to arrange a borescope examination. Given these caveats, here potentially is a bargain 997. PW