Search Cars for Sale

The Original Porsche 911 GT3 Was So Wonderfully Subtle

Apparently it’s time for my monthly rant, where I go off on a topic that makes me sound like an old person. Today’s rant is the Porsche 911 GT3, and how wonderfully subtle it used to look, and how truly and tremendously ridiculous it’s gotten today. See the used Porsche 911 models for sale near you

I’ll start by describing the very first Porsche 911 GT3 model sold in the United States. This was the 996 GT3, and it’s pictured above. It was a lovely car, particularly in this color. To create it, Porsche used the narrow-body 911 at the time (rather than the wide-body design from the Carrera 4S and Turbo), and they stuck on a relatively restrained wing and some minor ground effects, and that was the whole car. Of course, things underneath were stiffer, and refined, and tightened, and improved, but basically the entire car was just this slightly different 996 from the outside with only a few changes.

Can you imagine that today?

In 2017, Porsche now feeds into the Lamborghini-Ferrari-McLaren "gotta be ridiculous so it looks cool on Instagram" mantra, and the GT3 and GT3RS cars have absolutely gone off the deep end. The cars now feature massive wings, massive wheels and ridiculous exterior changes like those huge cutouts above the front fenders. They’re also painted in crazy colors like bright orange and bright green, and the interiors are matchingly ridiculous, with tight seats and excessive color-matching to the weird exterior colors.

In other words: The subtlety is gone. Very, very, very gone.

Now, I don’t necessarily think this is all a bad thing. I say this because, for one, much of that stuff has a purpose: Yes, the wing is absurd, but it adds downforce and keeps the car on the track; yes, the cutouts are ridiculous, but they help cool the brakes (or whatever they do). Also, the cars are certainly attention-grabbing, and there are some days when it’s fun to drive around as the center of attention.

But am I the only one who misses the Porsche models of yore, and specifically the GT3, which didn’t need all this stuff to stand out? One of the things I always liked about older Porsche models was that they did the job — the job of giving you a fun, exciting car — without showing off. You just showed up, drove your Porsche, had a huge smile on your face, and you didn’t need to deal with the ridiculous gas station "WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING"-type comments delivered by people stunned to see such a ridiculous vehicle.

The original GT3 was maybe the best extension of that "old-school Porsche" philosophy — a dedicated track car that never looked like anything more than a regular Porsche. That’s gone now, and I miss it. Even if admitting it makes me sound like an old, cantankerous codger. Find a used Porsche 911 for sale

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

Autotrader Find: 1981 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am With 13,400 Miles
You Can Now Buy an Aston Martin for Under $30,000 — But Should You?
Here’s Why the New Cadillac CTS-V Is Worth Over $100,000

Find a Porsche 911 for sale


Sign up for Autotrader newsletters

The best cars and best deals delivered to your inbox

Email Address 

By subscribing, you agree to our privacy policy

Where You Can Buy

Loading dealers...

Porsche 911 News & Reviews

Most Popular Articles

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: First Look

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid jumps to the head of the hybrid class.

Best SUV Deals: October 2020

Now is a great time to buy an SUV. Those who can afford a new ride are in luck because there are some great cashback and lease incentives right now.

How Much Money Should You Put Down on a Car?

Determining the right down payment for a new- or used-car loan or a new-car lease depends on more than just the buyer's finances.

Research by Style

More Articles Like This