Sales debate - can you get a good Porsche 911 example for less than £25,000?
Talk of the 911 market is often ruled by the heady top-end, but this month we consider if exceptional cars are still available at the affordable end of the 911 spectrum? Philip Raby, of Philip Raby Specialist Cars, thinks there definitely are, but adds a few caveats: “A manual, early 3.4-litre 996 is becoming quite desirable. The problem is, finding a good one.” Philip advises spending £20,000 at a minimum. If you’re looking to spend anything less then you could be asking for trouble. Furthermore, never take ownership of a cheap-as-chips 911, he says, although there will always be plenty of those about. “It’s cheap for a reason,” Philip states. “It’s far better to start with a good one. Then it’ll be the 911 that you want, and won’t put you off them for life.
“People do seem to want the early cars, and I do get that. You can buy one for less than other models, but still get a great 911: small, nimble, and arguably more fun than a 991,” Philip continues. “In particular, the smaller 3.4-litre engine can be more fun, because you have to work it fully when pushing on, which is great for involvement.” Proof, perhaps, that there’s an argument a good, basic Carrera is sometimes all the 911 you really need.
From a buyer’s perspective, we spoke to Terry Hayward from Norfolk, who recently bought a 911 for £22,000. It’s proof that there are some great cars about, because Terry ended up with a 996 Carrera 4S manual, which he admits to being in love with. “I liked the 996, but also fancied a 997,” he says, who purchased the 86,000-mile, 2003 car after patient searching last year. Being new to Porsche, Terry did everything that he should have done, and asked the right people whom he could trust for advice before looking at anything.
Terry explains that he went in knowing it was an older car, and so was more interested in verifying a car was honest and right, rather than being mechanically perfect. “I think the 996 is the right car,” he says. “I can enjoy it, but also maintain it properly over an older model.” Six months in, he’s very happy, demonstrating you can own and enjoy a 911 without having lots of money tied up in it. Great cars are indeed around at lower price points, but as with any 911, condition is key. Do your homework, take your time, and you can enjoy the 911 you’ve always dreamt about, without spending a king’s ransom.