It may not be air-cooled, but the Porsche 996 is one of the all-time greatest 911s, and a pure drivers car nonetheless...
A week after our 996 GT3 was funded on the CarCrowd platform we look back as to why we chose the car and why we think the 996 stands proud with the legendary Porsches produced.
The car was funded by 89 total investors a week after the pre-registered investors gained their 48 hour, early access to the asset.
'Bringing Porsche Back From The Brink'
The 996 was a controversial model when it was first released and it took die-hard fans of the marque quite some time to appreciate this turning point for Porsche. But nearly 25 years on purists are starting to realise how good the 996 911 truly is.
With Porsche using a mid-engined, air-cooled configuration for over 50 years it was no surprise that the 996 GT3 with its water-cooled flat six, was met with some flak from purists who had come to know and love Porsches' 'classic' setup. But it was vital for Porsche to switch it up in order to save them from financial ruin, as great as the air-cooled engines of old were, and still are. Greater practicality, engine efficiency and emission regulations forced the 911 into a new direction.
Why did we choose the 996 GT3?
It may not have been welcomed with opened with open arms back in the late 90's but 20 years on purists are starting to realise how good the 996 truly is. The GT3 was the first to bare that nameplate, which carried on throughout the 911 generations. It was intended for competition in the GT3 cup series and is a road-legal track car.
Only 1,800 units were produced, this number has increased with each iteration of the GT3 in contrast the 991.2 GT3 production units were around 9,500 making the original GT3 the rarest model. The US market also didn't receive the 996.1 Porsche only the facelifted 996.2 generation. This means when it reaches 25 years old in 2024 it can be exported to America, which has previously had a positive effect on values of sort-after cars in the past when they reach this point.
"Only 1,800 units were produced, this number has increased with each iteration of the GT3 in contrast the 991.2 GT3 production units were around 9,500 making the original GT3 the rarest model."
The 3.6 litre engine named the 'Metzger' after its designer, whilst no longer air-cooled is still a mechanical masterpiece. The naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine screams its way to an 8,000 rpm and is happiest when at the redline.
The spartan interior really provides a sense that your in a fully-fledged race car. Strapped in by six-point harnesses and cocooned in those leather Recaro shell seats surrounded by a red roll cage it all adds to the theatre of the GT3 name. The car is stripped of unnecessary weight such as sound deadening, rear seats and air-conditioning although this can be spec'd back in for more daily comforts which this car has.
Finding the perfect GT3
Finding an early 996 GT3 is not the work of a moment, being a track focused car many are well-used and suffer from stone chips and other battle scars from track use. We sourced a 36,000 mile original example, with 90% original paintwork including the matching Porsche factory sticker under the bonnet, proving its authenticity.
The GT3 is lighter and sharper than its predecessor and many praise its chassis for being on the best handling platforms of not just 911s but of all time.
We feel the 996 is a turning point for Porsche, it's a fond farewell to the air-cooled models of old and paved the way for a new direction for future 911s and the 996 is a fitting tribute to both...