TRIED&TESTED 911 996 CAR­RERA 4 MAN­UAL * 2003 ‘03’ * 84,441 MILES £17,995

911 Porsche World - - Practical Porsche - With 911 & Porscheworld’s rov­ing tyre kicker, Kieron Fen­nelly

This 996 stands out in any crowd be­cause or its colour: Ori­ent Red metal­lic was a new shade and stan­dard for the facelift (3.6) 996, but few buy­ers spec­i­fied it for it has not sub­se­quently reap­peared. The colour alone par­tic­u­larly when com­bined with a dark leather in­te­rior makes this mid-priced 996 worth a se­cond glance. A four owner car, the last since 2012, it lived in York­shire un­til 2011, where it re­ceived largely Porsche Cen­tre at­ten­tion; sub­se­quently based in south west Lon­don it has con­tin­ued to re­ceive sched­uled ser­vic­ing from in­de­pen­dent garages where the only recog­nis­able stamp is from Parr. The most re­cent owner, An­drew Cham­pion, care­fully filed all the in­voices for his six years, al­ways a good sign. Ven­dor Eporsch has nev­er­the­less car­ried out ex­ten­sive prepa­ra­tion: as well as a ma­jor ser­vice, it has re­placed the front top mounts and the left ‘tun­ing fork’ – the up­per sus­pen­sion arm as well as re­new­ing an ex­haust gas­ket. “Not the sort of things that ap­pear as MOT ad­vi­sories,” says Roly Bald­win of Eporsch, “but we know how the sus­pen­sion can creak on older 996s so we like to re­new these parts be­fore we sell.”

In fact Eporsch prepa­ra­tion went fur­ther than that ex­tend­ing to a very care­ful re­spray of the front wings and bon­net. Paint match­ing has been well done, the fried egg lights pol­ished up and the over­all ef­fect is im­pres­sive. The in­te­rior too is en­tirely in keep­ing: af­ter fif­teen years the stock ‘plas­tic’996 cabin can look its age, but here the orig­i­nal in­vest­ment in full leather has fully jus­ti­fied it­self, the sur­faces, even the steer­ing wheel un­marked and only the driver’s seat re­veal­ing any signs of wear. Out­side, Bridge­stone Poten­zas look half worn, on closer in­spec­tion the el­e­gant 18 inch al­loys are cor­roded, but the wheel nuts are, like the front discs, new. The rear discs show some wear. The en­gine is clean and dry if ex­hibit­ing some sur­face corrosion un­der­neath; the boot, re­assem­bled af­ter the front end re­spray, is spot­less.

Un­der­way this 996 feels smooth and be­lies its 84,000 miles. Of all the 911s, the 996 must have gen­er­ated the most crit­i­cal col­umn inches when it was new: af­ter 20 years it is not so ob­vi­ous what the fuss was about. Your cor­re­spon­dent was re­minded very much of his 993: without the en­gine fan the 996 is ob­vi­ously qui­eter in­side, but the con­trols, the heavy clutch, the steer­ing and the re­sponse and even torque curve of the en­gine, not to men­tion the 996’s di­men­sions, all felt very fa­mil­iar. Not so dif­fer­ent from the 993 as im­proved – the gearchange at low speeds less heavy, the car eas­ier in traf­fic, the en­gine both slightly more flex­i­ble yet ready to rev fur­ther. This Ori­ent Red ex­am­ple is well set up and only the oc­ca­sional clonk from the rear when ne­go­ti­at­ing Sur­rey’s pot­holed roads be­trays its age. This is the C4 and the sen­si­tive driver will im­me­di­ately no­tice this in the steer­ing: it does not seem to lose any ac­cu­racy, but you feel the ad­di­tional me­chan­i­cal forces of the four wheel drive even though most of the torque is di­rected to the rear wheels. Given a (rare) stretch of clear road, this 996 revs read­ily to 7000 rpm and the 3.6 for all its rep­u­ta­tion has lost none of its zest. In­deed apro­pos that rep­u­ta­tion, Eporsch says it has barely seen an IMS prob­lem in fif­teen years – “now bore scor­ing, es­pe­cially 3.8s, we do see those,” says Roly Bald­win.

The ask­ing price buys a much younger Cayster, but it wouldn’t be a 911 and the rare shade makes this 996 quite ex­clu­sive and all the more de­serv­ing of ac­tive re­tire­ment: a fine se­cond car per­haps. PW

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.