Are you the type of person who thinks an automatic transmission-equipped sports car like today’s Nice Price or No Dice 911 is a contradiction in terms? If not (and you shouldn’t be) then let’s take a look beyond this Porsche’s paltry pedal count.
There’s a song in The Sound of Music. Come to think of it, there are a lot of songs in that flick. Anyway, there’s this one called How Do you Solve a Problem Like Maria, and it’s about a novitiate whose actions make the other sisters of the abbey question her fitness for nun-hood.
I was reminded of that song while reading the comments on yesterday’s 2000 Mercedes-Benz E 320 Limousine. Lots of you felt that the car, interesting as it was (six doors!), offered little practical utility for the private sector and would likely prove far too old to go into livery service with any success. A $55,000 price tag didn’t do it any favors either, and the combination of lack of purpose and high price ended up garnering the car an 83 percent No Dice loss.
So, I attended my monthly Porsche Club meet-up last Saturday and as is usually the case at such events, that got me jonesing on 911s. Not that I can afford ANY of them, mind you. Still, imagine then my delight to later find this 1999 Porsche 911 Carrera ad in my virtual in-basket.
Now, before you pearl-clutchers all go on about IMS bearing failures and engine cylinder cracking in these early 996 models, let’s get two things out of the way right up front. The first is that neither of those problems was particularly endemic, and the second is that this Carrera’s engine was rebuilt with an LN Engineering IMS at 106,000 miles. The car now has 132,000 miles on the clock, so likely the work has had time to be field-tested and should be good for plenty of miles more.
The car presents in what I believe to be Cobalt Blue over a Graphite Grey interior fitted with sport bucket seats. Along with the refreshed engine, the car has received new aftermarket lights on both ends. Those may be subject to personal taste, but at least look better than what might have been some janky factory units.
The five-spoke alloys do not appear to be original either, seemingly being off of a later car. Those do carry the Porsche crest and look reasonably appropriate for the era. One thing to note is that, while the car wears a Carrera 4 badge on its engine cover, it is in fact living a lie. In reality, it’s a Carrera 2, a fact the seller makes clear in the ad.
The interior of this generation of 911 gets a lot of hate for its seeming chintziness and close relationship to that of the lower-echelon Boxster. The light gray color spruces this car’s cabin up a bit, and nothing seems broken or egregiously worn here.
The pics of the cabin the seller provides do raise two questions, however. The first is whether or not the car comes with its factory-provided owner’s manual. It goes, not in the glovebox (there isn’t one) but instead slips in the little shelf underneath the steering column. This being a two-owner car means it hasn’t gone through enough hands for the manual to have gone missing. The other issue in the cabin is the shift lever. That’s for the ZF-sourced five-speed automatic transmission. For some, of course, finding an automatic in a sports car like this is like encountering half a turd in your taco — an unpleasant discovery to say the least.
If that’s not a big deal, or if an automatic is your preferred transmission then the 911's slusher is at least a fairly good one. Plus, you can manually upshift and downshift, albeit in clutch-free auto-manual mode, via the rockers on the steering wheel.
Honestly, in most situations, it’s probably going to be best just to let the gearbox do its thing without any driver interference while enjoying the car as a cruiser that’s able to also do the twisty bits. At some point in time, manufacturers simply won’t even offer manuals anymore since modern automatics are just plain better in almost every instance.
Until that inevitable future arrives, however, we’ll just have to make do with ranting over how expensive cars have gotten over the course of the last five or six years. That’s especially true of Porsches. This clean-title 911 asks $20,000 which in this crazy present-day market may seem like a bargain for a 911, even a 996 edition. Six years ago, though, this would probably only have been a $10K to $12K car.
That’s just how things have gone, and now it’s up to you to say how things will go with this Porsche and that $20,000 price. What do you say, does that feel like a good deal in spite of (or perhaps because of) the auto? Or, is that too much for a 911 that doesn’t offer DIY shifting?
H/T to RevUnlimiter for the hookup!
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