Porsche 911 (996) a Bargain 911
When the Porsche 911 (996) made its debut it was a major change for the rear engined sports car. It was the first 911 generation that was water cooled.
This along with the shape of the headlights (which in 996.1 looked the same as those on the 986 Boxster) did not find favor with many 911 purists. Incidentally, those headlights are also how you can easily tell a 996.1 and 996.2 apart as the 996.1 has headlights with an egg look and the 996.2 look like the above picture.
That these are not the most popular generation is good news for those looking to purchase an affordable modern 911. With the lowest amount of power available being 296 horsepower, these cars are a performance bargain.
The 996 provides good performance and handling in a reliable package. The build quality is very good, although the interior is a bit plasticky compared to newer 911s.
996s are reliable, but they do have a few potential issues. The biggest of which is the Intermediate Shaft Bearing (IMS) Failure. This problem usually presents itself before 50,000 miles and it normally results in catastrophic engine failure. Fortunately, the bearings can be replaces with improved parts that are much less likely to fail. Such failures are estimated to affect between 5%-10% of cars.
Because of this it is smarter to buy a car with the improved IMS Bearing already installed. Such cars are worth a bit more for the added peace of mind.
Another issue can be the Rear Main Seal (RMS). In some cars they can leak oil and repairing the seal can be costly. To help avoid the issue in a potential car make sure to check for signs of oil leaks both before and after you test drive it.
As with any Porsche purchase a pre-purchase inspection is a must. It can save you plenty of money in future repairs. We also recommend buying the best Porsche 996 that you can afford and documentation of maintenance is always a plus.
The 996 generation 911 may be a very affordable car to buy on the used market, but make sure you can afford to maintain the car properly. If you start with a good car and keep it maintained it can last you for many years of enjoyment.
In our research of the 996 we found the below to be the current market value range. Earlier cars tend to cost less and newer cars command a bit of a premium. These prices do not include the higher performance variants (Turbo, GT2 and GT3) as they will be covered in separate posts.
Remember that this is just a guide and that cars could be worth more or less depending on if it is a top show quality machine or it needs a compete restoration.
1999-2001 Porsche 911 (996.1) $15,000-$32,000
2002-2004 Porsche 911 (996.2) $18,000-$35,000