Double Take: 1997 Porsche 911 Carrera S or Carrera 4S?

The rebirth of the S provided some renewed invigoration to the 911 lineup, ironically just as the days of the 911’s air-cooled engine were coming to a close. It had been nearly 20 years since an S badged 911 had rolled out of the factory and Porsche chose during the initial re-entry into the market to offer it only as a Carrera 4. These cars were quickly dubbed the “Turbo-look” as they shared the wider rear body and braking of the Turbo, but retained the standard 993’s naturally aspirated 3.6 liter flat-6. A year later a Carrera 2S would hit showrooms, providing customers an abundance of choice when choosing their 911. At that point you could get just about whatever configuration you wanted. Here we will look at an example of each of the S models, which share some significant similarities outside of that basic model designation, though with one significant difference between them. Similar color, similar mileage and they appear to be in similar condition. We’ll start with the Carrera S:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Porsche 911 Carrera S on eBay

1996 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S – REVISIT


The Aventurine Green Metallic 1996 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S we featured in early January is still looking for a new owner and is back up for auction. Pricing remains more or less the same, though the seller has now provided some leeway by making it a No Reserve Auction with a starting bid of $72,500, while keeping the Buy It Now price at $75,000. I can’t help but think that the lack of quality pictures is holding this car back a bit, but at the moment the ad remains unchanged.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site January 2, 2015:

1996 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

I am consistently amazed by the value many examples of the 993 can command. I fully understand the reasons these beautiful 911s command such values, but that doesn’t stifle my amazement. That these cars would attract the attention of collectors was virtually guaranteed once Porsche decided to switch to a water-cooled engine in the 996 and given such an attraction the lower-production models have always garnered quite a bit of interest, especially low-mileage examples such as this one. Here we have a Guards Red 1996 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, located in North Carolina, with a scant 18,900 miles on it. The C4S is, effectively, the Turbo-look version of the 993, though in this case it doesn’t complete that look as the C4S lacked the Turbo’s rear wing. But with braking sourced from the Turbo, along with those wider rear fenders, these come pretty close to replicating the look, though not the performance, of the last of the air-cooled Turbos.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S on eBay

1996 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

Narrow body versus wide body, rear-wheel drive versus all-wheel drive. These are the choices Porsche buyers are presented with when considering a 993. While there were no power differences between the standard and S models there were still performance differences as they received revised suspension and in the case of the Carrera 4S, the 993 Turbo’s larger brakes. So whether you care only about performance or aesthetics or, as is most likely, some combination of both there are plenty of choices. While from time to time I will comes across a narrow-body coupe that looks just about perfect, my preference almost always leans towards the wide-body, especially on the 993 where the smoother curves of the car suit that wider rear really, really, well. Here we have one of those wide-body coupes, a Black 1996 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, located in Brooklyn, with Cashmere leather interior and 60,127 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S on eBay

1996 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

While wide-body 911s have always been popular the design seems to have really hit its stride with the 993 and every iteration that has followed has looked tremendous with those wider rear fenders. Don’t get me wrong, the earlier turbos and other special 911s looked quite good as well, but once the 911 took on the curvier shape of the 993 that wider rear began to look just right. I’d even hazard to say that the narrow-body cars now look slightly out of place; they’re too slim. The Carrera 4S showcases those extra curves extremely well while providing the added benefit of all-wheel drive to help keep things moving in the intended direction. As with most 993s the market has remained strong for these cars, especially in colors we come across less often like this Aventurine Green Metallic 1996 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, located in Connecticut, with 58,009 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S on eBay

Double Take: Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

It is always interesting to take a look at the first version of a particular 911 model, whether to understand how a particular variant took shape or, for those on the investment side, to consider which might be the next model to take off on the market. Here we have the 993 Carrera 4S, the first version of the model produced for the 911 line and the only model produced with an air-cooled engine. It would be difficult for these models to show significant appreciation in the short term for the simple fact that they are already fairly expensive. Long term, however, this is the sort of variant that we could see do very well for buyers that are patient. There are a lot of similarities between the two cars featured here and both share one trait that I particularly like: each is fairly low mileage, but neither is ridiculously so. Meaning, each could still be driven and enjoyed to a reasonable degree each year without concern for killing the premium that comes with any low-mileage vehicle. We will start with a C4S from the first year of their production: a 1996 Speed Yellow C4S, located in Connecticut, with 33,800 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S on eBay

2003 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupe

Let’s take a moment to spend some time with the unloved. Porsche’s 996, the first of the water-cooled 911s, remains one of the least valuable, appreciated, respected – basically just pick your adjective – variants of the 911. There are good and bad reasons for that, but we are at the point now where a buyer looking for an entry-level 911 may be best suited by finding a 996 that is in good shape and using that to see what all the fuss is about. The example here is a beautiful Cobalt Blue Metallic 2003 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupe, located in California, with 82,400 miles on it. 2002 saw a number of changes to the 996 that would benefit this car: displacement was increased from 3.4 liters to 3.6 liters, along with a corresponding bump in horsepower and torque. The model also received a minor face lift to help quiet the uproar over what many considered a particularly ugly 911, and, specific to this car, the Carrera 4S was released allowing buyers to experience the wide-body glory of the Turbo, complete with upgraded suspension and brakes, while still making use of a lower-strain naturally-aspirated engine.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupe on eBay

Future or Now? 1998 993 Carrera 4S v. 2007 997 Turbo

This past weekend I caught a bit of the Mecum Auction action, and I was pretty stunned to see a fairly new 993 Turbo in Arena Red come across the auction block. Generally, when newer metal comes across the block at these auctions, the commentators break to commercial sponsors and don’t really pay attention. But the 911 market is such that this particular 993 – which wasn’t perfect, mind you – hammered for around $170,000 not including fees. The surge in air-cooled prices is amazing, and it seems that there’s a scramble to buy what good examples are left while they’re still affordable. Two cars were sent our way by readers last week that got me thinking more about this; one was the 993 Carrera 4S that you see here from our reader John, and a 2005 996 Turbo S in Signal Green – reportedly 1 of 1 – from our reader Michael. I’ve talked before about how the 996 Turbo is a screaming performance deal right now, and this one-off Turbo S wasn’t too far from the price of the 993 Carrera 4S offered here.

Obviously, despite being very similar cars in many respects the two have very different markets. Those in the 993 market are looking for a rapidly appreciating classic; a well proportioned, ultimate development of the air-cooled days of Porsche when limited production numbers, over engineering and sublime driving experiences ruled the day. Those in the 996 market are looking for the most performance they can buy, and a twin-turbo, all-wheel drive 911 is truly a car that now can be used all year long while lighting your hair on fire every time you hit the loud pedal. Unfortunately, that Signal Green example disappeared before I could get this article up; what I found to replace it might even be more astounding – a 997 Turbo Sport Chrono with less than 40,000 miles on the clock.…

Citron Coupes: 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera & 1996 Porsche Carrera 4S

Yellow is a color more akin to some Italian exotics, but occasionally you’ll come across some of Stuttgart’s finest in this eye-popping hue. Porsche produced a number of different yellows over the years, and here are two air-cooled examples slathed in this bright shade. First up is a 1987 911 Coupe in Summer Yellow for sale in Florida.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera on eBay