Peak 996 or new 992?
Here's a wonderful dilemma to be faced with: you have around $100,000 to spend on a Porsche 911 but can't decide whether to buy a box-fresh base 911 Carrera or a lovingly restored 911 Turbo with far more power but older tech.
The 911 Turbo in question is a 2002 pre-owned 996 example finished in Speed Yellow. Although it didn't emerge as the overall victor in this year's Porsche Classic Restoration Challenge, it was good enough to finish as a regional winner, meaning it's in impeccable condition.
Porsche North Olmsted in Ohio has now listed this special 996 for sale at $99,821, just $6,279 less than the 2023 911 Carrera - a car that's newer by 21 years. Is this 996 worth as much as a new Porsche?
Although the 996 has never been the most loved 911, the Turbo was still an astonishing sports car. The 3.6-liter water-cooled and turbocharged flat-six engine makes 414 horsepower and 414 lb-ft of torque, a good deal more than the 379 hp/331 lb-ft of a new Carrera that costs almost the same. The one on sale here comes with a six-speed manual gearbox; you can't get a stick-shift with a new base Carrera at all.
Thanks to standard all-wheel drive, the 996 Turbo manual accelerated from 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds and reached a top speed of 190 mph. Such is the rate of progression that a new 911 Carrera is quicker to 60 mph, although it can't quite compare to the massive surge forward when the 996's turbos are spooled up.
According to the dealer listing this 2002 example, its technicians scoured the entire car to ensure that it is mechanically sound. The flawless exterior features front fog lights, headlight cleaners for the high-intensity discharge headlights, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The cabin is finished in full black leather with the Porsche crest on the headrests. To match the exteior, there are yellow seat belts and a yellow center section housing the old-school mechanical hand brake and the shift lever. Instrumentation is classic Porsche with the tachometer positioned in the center and a digital readout indicating the mileage of just under 72,000 miles.
The dealer lists premium options such as remote keyless entry, a power sunroof, rain-sensing wipers (hardly a common feature in 2002), and a power driver's seat with a memory function. By comparison, the new 911 Carrera has a much more high-tech cabin with a color touchscreen, dual seven-inch displays in the instrument cluster, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto for effortlessly hooking up your new iPhone 14 or Samsung Galaxy S22. These features were irrelevant in 2002, years before the first iPhone even arrived.
The current 992 is technically superior, its design smoother, and can do more with less power, but in base form, it can't match the magic of the 996 Turbo - the senior car is the one we'd most want to park in the garage. As it ages further beyond the 20-year mark, restored 996s like this one will inevitably rise in value, and they may finally see the talented 996 get the love it deserves.