Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Porsche comes with a litany of maintenance and upgraded parts—including a shiny new IMS—all wrapped up in a bright blue vinyl topcoat. We’ll have to see if the work and the price makes this a 911 you should get to know.
The 2003 Infiniti M45 we looked at yesterday represented a model that, to be honest, few people ever really look at. Nissan even admitted this, offering the model as a panacea to dealers to temporarily fill a hole in their upscale brand’s lineup for a mere two years.
We weren’t having any of that hole-filling here, and at $9,000 that M45, nice as it was, wasn’t going to fill any driveway space other than that of its current owner anytime soon. A 65 percent Crack Pipe loss saw to that.
Here’s a question for you—how much should popularity cost? Now I don’t just mean in dollars and cents. I mean in the context of your time and perhaps even reputation. Do you really want to fight for a table at the hottest restaurant in town? More importantly, do you pine after the most desirable model of your favorite marque, or would you rather make do with a lesser one because it’s easier or cheaper?
Here we have a 1999 Porsche 911 Cabriolet with hardtop, and with low miles, a litany of updates and maintenance work in its recent past, and a six-speed stick between its khaki leather seats, it has a lot going for it. It’s also a 996, which is considered by many Porsche patrons and others to be that model line’s least desirable edition. But when we get to the price we might consider that to be a factor in its favor.
First off, why don’t people like the 996? There are two important points that affect opinion on what is the first fully clean sheet 911 model since the 901. The first involves the engine. Part of the 911's redesign involved a switch from air to water-cooling for the ass-mounted pancake six. That new engine, designated internally as the M96 and by some owners as the time bomb, suffered a number of early model teething issues.
Those included cylinder liner cracks, block castings that allowed coolant where it wasn’t supposed to go, and the fairly rare but ultimately catastrophic Intermediate Shaft Bearing failure for which these engines have been most commonly associated.
The engine issues were not all that common, but the number and severity of them still did paint a poor picture of the M96’s reliability, especially in light of how rock solid its air-cooled predecessors had been.
The other major issue afflicting the 996 is its design. Well, the front half (doors-forward) at least. Back before Porsche introduced the Cayenne—meaning a license to print money— they were financially strapped. That meant they couldn’t afford to develop two separate new models and hence both the 996 and its lesser sister of another mister the Boxster were designed, they shared as much as possible in front of where the engine goes.
You might not think that a bad thing however, instead of the Boxster being imbued with 911-style quality and componentry, it was the 911 that took a couple steps down the ladder to align with the cheaper car’s aesthetics. That means the dash in the 996 is kind of chintzy and there’s little to tell people whether you’re in a Boxster or the 996 from the nose. Important when you’re trying to impress people via their rearview mirror.
Okay, those are the major reasons why the 996 is the least desirable 911. That also however, makes the model one of the most affordable, actually dipping down into Boxstertown on occasion.
This one seems to be a pretty decent example, and has a list of fixes that may mean it’ll serve another 20 years without much hassle. First off however, we must discuss the wrap.
The car came from the factory in Dark Blue with a biscuit interior. It still rocks both of those visual elements but the first is masked by a bright blue vinyl wrap for some reason. The seller provides pics of the car in its natural state, and doesn’t say it’s in bad shape beneath the bolder color. Personally, I think I would enjoy getting to know the car by peeling it out of its extra loud second skin. It would be as rewarding as picking the protective plastic off of a new appliance.
The dark wheels in the pics also don’t come with the car, the seller instead saying that the Turbo look silver wheels will be fitted for delivery. I’m okay with that too.
The interior looks to be in decent shape with just some discoloration on the driver’s seat leather about which to complain. The convertible top seems to be in great condition as well, with a plastic back window you can actually see out of.
Mechanically, the car appears well sorted. well, at least according to the ad. The seller notes a ton of work having been done to the car, and lists it all along with the date it was accomplished and the cost. The most recent work involved replacement of that critical IMS bearing along with a new rear main, flywheel and clutch. That was a chunk of change and appropriate at the car’s 100K of mileage. The title is clear and the headlights aren’t as milky as you might expect. All in all this is a cabriolet—with a hardtop—well positioned for sale.
All however, hangs in the balance over the price. As I noted, these are the least desirable 911s on the market and this one does seem to be priced accordingly. In fact, at $16,999 it’s priced like a few year old Accord.
The question for you is, could this car as described in its ad and wrapped in its coat of electric blue vinyl really bring that much?
H/T to Fauxshizzle for the hookup!
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