The Porsche 911 996 variant was an impressive step forward in the right direction from the existing model the Porsche 911 993. The engineers at Porsche have built the 996 keeping everything that had always been great with previous 911's.
This was the first water cooled Porsche 911 and using the flat-six in a 3387cc unit with four valves per cylinder the power was pushed up to 300bhp.
The 996 version of the Porsche 911 was produced in a C2, C4, C4S, Turbo and as well as the Twin Turbo package.
So you have decided to venture forward from your childhood dream to actually owning your first Porsche 911.
This Porsche TV commercial shows a Boy asking a Porsche salesman to show him the new 911, he then asks for a business card, and says the words "see you in 20 years".
"It's a funny thing a Porsche, there is the moment you know you want one, there is the moment you first own one and for the truly afflicted there's the decade or two that passes in between"
"From its first days on the road over 40 years ago, the 911 has ignited the kind of passion in drivers that only a Porsche can."
Searching for a buyer's guide to buying a Porsche 911 996 means that you are doing the right thing. There are various websites with information relating to purchasing a 911 996 and what to look for.
There are books available with all you need to know about the technical specifications of the Porsche 911 including colours, models, options, and year by year changes.
The Prestige Super Car Sales Company Limited Porsche 996 Buyers Guide
The first most important thing when looking to buy a used 911 is having a good service history. Why is this important?, well a Porsche is an engineering master piece and like any highly precision instrument it needs to be looked after.
Unfortunately a 911 can attract people who want to own a Porsche but have no understanding of cars what so ever and do not understand that servicing a 911 is important and it is for this very reason that there are so many horror stories out there. Also these types of owners do not keep receipts or vehicle information and this lost history is very important to a potential buyer in the future.
Most Porsche's are brought using a Finance agreement and this is something you need to be very aware of. Carry out a HPi on a vehicle before travelling any distance over 30 miles as the cost of a HPi vehicle check is less than the fuel you will use driving to view a vehicle and then finding out its history later.
If a Porsche 996 is serviced correctly by the owners at the right times then it will be a good solid car and can even cope with a few track days, after all this is a car designed after a racing car with brakes that are 4 times more powerful than the engine output and suspension that has been tested in all conditions including the Nurburgring.
If a Porsche has been serviced at Porsche to the correct schedules then you can pay Porsche to inspect your new potential purchase and take out a Porsche warranty. This costs around £200 for the inspection and a full report will be provided that gives you added piece of mind. Note that if the car has not been serviced Porsche will not offer a warranty on the vehicle and this should tell you what Porsche think about service intervals and the importance of carrying out a service on time.
Take a good at the paintwork and interior trim condition looking for signs of accident damage. A Porsche is refined and a dodgy repair will stand out. Look for new paint and poor workmanship and signs of corrosion.
A general all over body shell check will tell you a lot about the vehicles previous owners and where it has been kept and parked.
You can check inside the petrol cap area for signs of paint work as this is something that is often missed on poor repairs.
Take a look around the windows and if the vehicle has a sun roof look around the opening for signs of paint edge's. This will indicate a vehicle has had paintwork, now if a vehicle has this is not a bad things as a 996 will have some war wounds in some way due to the age of the vehicles.
Open the doors, bonnet and boot and look all around the edges for signs of paint. No matter how good a car sprayer is there will be over spray somewhere.
Look at the bolts holding the hinges on the bonnet and boot and see if they look like they have been removed.
With the doors open look at the door catches as this is a popular rust spot for 911's. Rust will appear in a bubble around this area and it is hard to find a 996 that is perfect.
An important thing to note is the sticker on the bonnet. This is something that can often show if the vehicle has been involved in any accident and the bonnet has needed to be replaced or painted.
If the owner of the vehicle allows you, jack the car up or get it on a ramp and look at the under body and suspension condition for signs of corrosion. Generally speaking vehicles from up north have more corrosion than vehicles in the midlands due to the salts on the road.
Now look at the Interior for signs of wear and tear as this will give a good indication of the type of care the previous owners have given to the 911. The interior is solid and does not generally break easily.
Check everything works electronically in the interior. Move the electric seats to all position, open the sun roof, put the convertible hood down, with the car started turn everything on including the air-con. Ensure the windows go up and down freely and check that the operation is smooth.
Take a look at the condition of the wheels to see if the wheels have been curbed. Porsche wheels are expensive to replace and there are a lot of replica wheels out there.
Take a look at the tyre tread as replacing 4 tyres will cost nearly a £1000.
Look at the rear bumper left and right side and take a look for corroded exhaust systems.
Take a look at the front radiators in the front bumper for leaves and general condition. These often get blocked by leaves and can cause a vehicle to overheat.
Check the documents and ensure the registration document, service book and MOT is present and look for old MOT's and receipts.
Ask the current owner to take you on a test drive with the radio off and listen to everything. Get the owner to take you on a dual carriage way or motorways and safely explore the performance to prove that the owner is not worried about giving the 911 a thrashing. This is a quick check that the vehicle is not going to blow up and a seller with a problem will not want to over rev the engine in fear of an expensive bill.
Now you have been on a test drive and the car is hot look for any oil leaks as this is something a Porsche can suffer from. A perfect example will not have any oil leaks and the engine and gearbox casing will look old. This is actually a good sign as leaking oil spray lightly over the underside of the vehicle and will actually keep the engine casing look better preventing corrosion, so a tatty looking underneath is not a bad sign, remember it is what's inside that matters and the oil should be lubricating the engine components not the casings.
A recap of the 911 buyers guide:-
1. Porsche Full Service History
2. Porsche Warranty
3. Body shell condition and Accident repairs
4. Windows and Sunroof Paint Edges
5. Doors, bonnet and boot Paint Edges
6. Door catches rust bubbles.
8. Interior wear and tear
9. Electrical equipment
10. Wheels condition and genuine
12. Tyres tread
13. Corroded exhaust systems
14. Front Radiators
17. Test Drive
18. Oil Leaks
Now for the technical part.
The well known RMS (rear main seal) which Porsche AG call the "Crankshaft Seal - Flywheel side" is an issue that is reported to affect about 5% of cars. If you are looking at buying an early 996 with a 3.4 engine then this is something you need to be aware of due to the fact the RMS can fail in your 996 C2 or C4 at any time.
A 996 with an issue is not always a huge problem if this is detected early. It is important to make a distinction between RMS oil leak issues which on later models had been cured due to the latest generation of seals and the improved casting and crankshaft. Nearly all the known issues are problems with the early 3.4 engines and yet there are many people with these running perfectly well with over 100,000 miles.
The RMS may cause oil contamination of your clutch and/or flywheel which can make the problem worse in terms of cost. When an RMS problem arises a Porsche engineer will use a special mandrel tool to check the crankshaft concentricity. If out of tolerance specification then it means there is a problem with the crankshaft wobbling in the bearing. Wobbling by a few microns can cause a leak and this can cause the seal to loosen and also has an effect on the main bearing shells.
The overall result will be that oil can leak through the seal and then clutch dust can enter the engine main bearing and will cause catastrophic engine failure at some point. This sounds very scary and is something you should be aware of.
The 3.4 engines use semi-dry sumps and the early engines are most effected with issue relating to the RMS. The 3.6 engines are dry sumped and these do not seem to suffer with the same problems.
This Porsche 911 Inspection was carried out on a wet day and this makes it more difficult to find body problems. However this was the cleanest example of a 996 we have ever come across with not one issue at all.
With buying a Porsche 911 996 you should consider that a cheap car is not a cheap car. A Porsche when it goes wrong will cost a lot to put right and in the wrong hands a previous owner can destroy a beautiful 911 and leave it need of more than TLC.
This Porsche 911 996 Carrera 4S with 3.6 Litre Engine is now for sale here.