Classic Sports Car



Year of manufactur­e 2002 Recorded mileage 62,000 Asking price £25,995 Vendor Percival Motor Company, Ulcombe, Kent; 01622 851841; percivalmo­

WHEN IT WAS NEW Price £55,950 Max power 315bhp Max torque 273Ib ft 0-60mph 5 secs Top speed 177mph Mpg 25

The reception to the first water-cooled Porsche 911 wasn’t bad when it arrived in 1997. Some weren’t keen on the new look or the slightly lacklustre interior finish, but period road tests were positive: ‘The point is, don’t pass judgement on the new 911 until you’ve spent varied time at the wheel, alone on a twisty road and blasting down a motorway. Only then will you grasp the extent of Porsche’s achievemen­t… I stood staring at 911 old and new, and understood. All doubts were dismissed,’ concluded Autocar.

Porsche purists seem to get a lot of stick for lamenting the 996 and stirring up angry mobs of enthusiast­s deriding the fifth-generation 911. But surely Porsche’s fanbase can’t be solely to blame? True fans understood that the Stuttgart firm needed to change the 911 to secure its future. More likely, the low values were simply down to the fact that secondhand examples were plentiful and that most foibles were exaggerate­d, leaving the poor 996 as an underappre­ciated outlier in the 911’s 60-year history.

But no more. Strengthen­ing secondhand prices reflect a market that’s waking up to the 996’s sweet handling, flexible flat-six engine and everyday usability. At this year’s Le Mans Classic (C&SC, September 2023), among rows of goggle-eyed 911s parked on the Bugatti Circuit, I found the once-awkward ‘fried-egg’ headlamps of the 996 to be a refreshing change.

This Midnight Blue Porsche 911 Carrera for sale at Percival Motor Company looks to be in great condition. It might be the base model in a range that included Carrera 4S, turbo, GT3 and more, but this 911’s manual gearbox, later 3.6-litre engine and under-the-radar finish represent back-to-basics fun.

It can be foolish to compare the price of a secondhand exotic to a modern vehicle – running a 21-year-old 911 is inevitably going to cost more than a fresh-out-the-box hot hatchback – but, with the latest Honda Civic Type R knocking on £50,000, you’d certainly have enough left in the bank for maintenanc­e costs if you opted for this £25,995 Porsche instead.

Hopefully you shouldn’t need to set aside too much for nasty surprises. This car has recently had its IMS bearing replaced – peace of mind for buyers concerned about the engine component that’s been at the centre of internet forum horror stories for the past few years. It also sits on a fresh set of Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, so it’s perfectly road-trip ready.

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