The Porsche 911 has
always had and con-
tinues to this day to
have its horizontally
located at the back.
And from 1964 until
1998, the 911 had an
air-cooled engine. In
1997, the (996 internal
code name) 911 became
water-cooled (there was
a bit of an overlap of the
last air-cooled and
water-cooled engines), and the engine gained four valves per cylinder. The
end result was more power, better fuel economy, and lower emissions from
the water-cooled engine.
It is indeed commendable that Porsche was able to carry the air-cooled
911 for such a long time (over 30 years). However, the automaker had
run up to the limit of what it was able to do with the air-cooled engine.
Competing automakers were starting to pull away from Porsche and the
top brass needed to consider having the 911 go extinct or make some
radical changes (improvements) to its sports car icon.
In addition to gaining the new water-cooled engine, Porsche was able to cut
the production cost to manufacture the car as some of the 911’s components
were shared with the Boxster. The board member Wandelin Wiedeking saw
in the new 911 a solution to a developmental headache that had been brewing
for a number of years.
Of note is the fact that Porsche was the most profitable independent
vehicle manufacturer in the world. Wiedeking was partly responsible for
masterminding a plan for Porsche to take over Volkswagen. However, at
a precise moment in time the worldwide financial crisis hit, Porsche’s sales
nose-dived, and the company was not able to service its debt (the takeover
of Volkswagen would have surely succeeded and only something as big as
the financial crisis disrupted it). Volkswagen ended up acquiring Porsche,
and Wiedeking and his chief Porsche accountant Holger Haerter were punted
from Porsche in July 2009.
The new 911 (996) was known for its flowing elegant lines (the 993 911
was known as the sexiest looking 911s ever). It was sophisticated, smooth
and clean, with flush-fitting glass and genital curves. Additionally, it had
no brutishness and no awkward little nooks and crannies. Furthermore,
the 996 had no protruding door handles, no exposed wipers or add-ons
but rather a pure organic 911 shape.
The 996 is reported to be a smoother operating 911 that is easier to drive
day-in-and-day-out than its predecessor. Additionally, it is said to be more
comfortable on long trips as the car gained an updated interior.
At first, some of the early 996s experienced engine problems, however, as
the cars are now over 10 years old, defective engines were replaced under
factory warranty or more minor problems have been fixed. At present,
a used 996 is actually less expensive to purchase that the older 993 911.
Which of these two Porsche 911s might you consider buying? Such is
indeed a unique question. The 993 was the culmination of over 30 years
of 911 development and then came the modern world 996.
My advice is drive both cars a couple of times and see which of these 911s
appeals to your senses and hopefully puts the biggest grin on your face.
After all, as with any vehicle, the grin is worth well, everything!
Have an auto question or comment? You can email it to me at
[email protected]Kyle Busch is the author of “Drive the Best
for the Price…” www.DriveTheBestBook.com.