Car Video:  Oversteer

Video | Please Buy a 996 Porsche 911 Turbo While You Still Can

RELATED READING
See all Porsche 911 articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Tyler Hoover October 2018

I'm so thankful there's still a 911 that many enthusiasts hate. Often knocked for its looks, unreliability and pragmatic engineering, the 996 chassis 911 -- produced from 1998 to 2005 -- is the lone 911 that most can still afford. Even though my first round with the 996 didn't have a happy ending, it was still good enough to earn a sequel -- and I'm hoping this 2002 911 Turbo I just purchased will be my own version of "The Empire Strikes Back."

For those who haven't followed one of my greatest automotive failures, here's the gist: Almost two years ago, I purchased the cheapest 911 available in the U.S. with a manual transmission and a clean title. This scruffy 1999 with a whopping 243,000 miles set me back $9,500, and it still ran great -- at least, until I took it to the track. The car was nearly flawless for the six months leading up to the first catastrophic engine failure -- and I stupidly decided to swap the "expensive to rebuild" Porsche engine for a "cheap" LS V8 from a Chevrolet Corvette. It turned out it that it would have been way cheaper to rebuild the original 911 engine, as the total cost of making this Frankenstein possible was over $17,000.

The car ran very well after that, but the exhaust setup was so loud that I didn't want to drive it nearly as much. I had planned to dial back the exhaust, but before that, I grenaded the engine again at the exact same track that I did almost a year earlier. I was so disgusted with the car at this point that I ended up spending another $36,000 to permanently fix the problem. The permanent fix: Buy a really nice 911 Turbo.

I would like to say this was a planned purchase, but it was actually an accident. I was browsing an auction, and I impulsively bid on a 911 Turbo, fully expecting someone to outbid what I perceived to be a very low number. That didn't happen, and it was actually marginally above the seller's reserve price, so I ended up buying a Porsche that day. All I wanted to do was procrastinate on the internet for an hour or so -- and I ended up buying a car. Thankfully, any regrets I had went away immediately after the car arrived.

In my opinion, the 996 is the only 911 Turbo left that's a good value, as the average asking price of an older air-cooled turbo is more than a decent house in Kansas. One could argue older Porsche models good investments, but these aging cars will require a lot of upkeep. It's not likely you'll find someone that understands Bosch mechanical fuel injection at Pep Boys, so the only people really getting a decent ROI on an air-cooled Porsche investment are the Wizards of the mechanical world.

Unfortunately, even the newer Turbo cars that have followed this 996 are also very expensive -- and while they're faster, I suspect the real reason for the vast disparity in price is the shape of the headlights. Thankfully, I can't see the oddly shaped headlights while I'm driving -- and they don't bother me enough to turn my nose up at a 415-horsepower, all-wheel-drive, 6-speed rocketship that I can use to comfortably haul around my 5-year-old in the back seat.

The 911 Turbo also benefits from surprising reliability, and it lacks the infamous IMS bearing issue. The Mezger racing-inspired engine actually sounds broken at idle, like a box of rocks is rattling around inside the engine -- but that's totally normal. My car only has 76,000 miles, and it has benefited from some improvements, like a GT2-style clutch upgrade for a more precise pedal feel, as well as improved Bilstein shocks for sharper handling. It's a little too low for my tastes, but not enough to make it impractical.

Since I bought it for less than a fully loaded Honda Accord, and since these models tend to hold up well enough mechanically, I'm not scared to actually use it. For most of the past month since I purchased this 911 Turbo, it has sat outside in my driveway covered in dirt with dead bugs splattered all over the nose -- and I couldn't care less. Since it's a modern car, I know it can handle the elements well -- and it will easily look great again with a quick wash. The car also looks unassuming enough that I don't have worry about getting unwanted attention in a parking lot.

So, really, this 911 is the closest I've come to making a rational, grown-up purchase. It will probably make for boring videos -- but considering all the drama the rest of my fleet creates, it will be nice to have one fun vehicle that I can actually depend on. Just don't expect to see me doing any track days with it anytime soon.

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
Here's Why the Original Tesla Roadster Was a Total Failure
Here's Why the Pagani Huayra Is Worth $3 Million
Which Cars Do Doug DeMuro and Tyler Hoover Want to Own Most?

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Video | Please Buy a 996 Porsche 911 Turbo While You Still Can - Autotrader