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

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1997 Porsche 911 Carrera S

I tend to pay a lot of attention to exterior color. In some ways this is natural since we write about cars we come across online rather than in person and the exterior color typically is our first and most immediate impression. But the issue becomes most compelling particularly when trying to understand why certain models always stand out more in some colors rather than others. Much of this comes down to the accents created by trim pieces, headlight design, wheels, etc., but it does seem to be the case that certain models show better in some colors rather than others. And it tends to be the less exciting colors that this holds true for the most. For instance, I find this Glacier White 1997 Porsche 911 Carrera S to be incredibly striking, even if most white cars rarely succeed in grabbing my attention. This is a case, I think, of the 993 showing really well in white in ways that I cannot really put my finger on and ways that earlier generations did not seem to replicate. Regardless, it’s quite eye-catching.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Porsche 911 Carrera S on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday Super Trio: Three Generations of Supercharged 911s

Oh, how I do love the comparos! Today I’ve worked up a third tuner comparison, because frankly this interesting trio was just a bit too good to pass up – as were the other BMWs! But unlike the factory sourced Dinan and Alpina modded cars from earlier, this comparison focuses on some unusual Porsches. Supercharging isn’t the typical choice for the flat-6, but the bolt-on horsepower results are undeniable, bringing the normal flat-6 quickly up to Turbo levels of power. I have three generations compiled here, all popular in their own right but for different reasons. Which is the winner?

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Tuner Tuesday: 2005 Porsche Boxster Ruf 3800S

It seems like I’m often talking about what the best performance deal going in German cars is. That’s partially because I’m not partial to paying the “what’s new” tax on the biggest and baddest new car. Personally, I’d prefer to let someone else take the substantial depreciation hit and when it’s no longer new, swoop in for what’s still (to me) a pretty new car in good shape. The other part, though, is that I’m not flush with cash; perhaps if I had limitless resources I’d be at the Porsche or Audi dealership every other year signing on a new car. Regardless, there’s a huge contingent of our readership that I believe is in a similar situation to me – hence why we tend to look at older, more affordable (most of the time) models that represent good value, performance or collectability for a more modest investment. That brings us to the car at hand; in this post’s case, a 2005 Porsche Boxster. 2005 was early into the 987 production, having replaced the 986 in 2004. By most peoples’ measure, the 987 was a better looking car, mimicking many of the styling cues of the 997 as the 986 had mimicked the 996. Performance was also improved from some new motors, including an upgraded 3.4 liter engine in the S producing nearly 300 horsepower. That motor, however, did not appear until 2007 – meaning the top-tier S model in 2005 still had the 3.2 from the 986 sitting in the middle of the car. That motor was good for 276 horsepower, which by no means was a small amount. For some people it simply wasn’t enough though, and as expected German super-tuner Ruf offered the solution. The modified Boxsters went by the names of their engine displacement; in the 986, there was the 3400S, which was replaced by the 3600S. When Porsche introduced the 987, Ruf responded with the limited run RK Spyder and Coupe with a supercharged 3.8 liter flat six good for an astonishing 440 horsepower. That was in turn replaced by the 3800S, which it still available. With the newest edition of the 3.8 flat six producing over 400 horsepower (more than double what the Boxster had at launch), Ruf turned the entry level Porsche into a supercar killer:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Porsche Boxster Ruf 3800S on eBay

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2006 Porsche 911 Carrera S w/ X51 package

I can’t remember the last time I wrote up a 997, and like with the 996TT, which I have written about frequently, the 997 provides us with a nice value comparison for those interested in a 911, but for whom performance might trump long term value. As we will see with the car here, since these cars already have passed through their significant depreciation from new they can be had for reasonable cost while retaining some of that cost for any future sale. For those who can’t get past the 996’s styling a car like this one, a Black 2006 Porsche 911 Carrera S with the X51 performance package and just 28,500 miles might be just the sort of thing to look for. Added to the power increase of the Carrera S over the standard Carrera, the X51 package raises horsepower to 381 and torque to 306 lb-ft appearing to push the limits of just how much Porsche can extract from the car’s 3.8 liter flat-six while remaining fairly comfortable and without reverting to forced induction.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Porsche 911 Carrera S on eBay

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1997 Porsche 911 Carrera S Coupe

Most any wide-bodied Carrera is going to be immensely popular among Porsche enthusiasts and it only takes a few brief looks to see exactly why. Whether it is the full-blown RSR or simply an aesthetic difference like the car we see here, the enhanced shape of the stretched wider rear gets the heart racing. And of course it is the racing utility of that wider rear that makes these so desirable. For the last of the air-cooled 911s there were two naturally-aspirated Carreras, along with the 993 Turbo, to choose from for those who sought that wider rear body: the Carrera S and the Carrera 4S. The basic difference between the two models obviously lies in the number of drive wheels doing the work for each. For my money, the Carrera S is the one to have. Lighter and more faithful to the rear-drive design that lay at the heart of the 911 experience they are the ultimate expression of the air-cooled design. The example here is an Ocean Blue Metallic, 1997 Porsche 911 Carrera S Coupe, located in Chicago, with 39,790 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Porsche 911 Carrera S Coupe on eBay

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1998 Porsche 911 Carrera S

I’ve made clear throughout these pages my general love for the classic 911 and there are a variety of reasons for that love. But from a perspective of pure understated aesthetic beauty the 993 Carrera S quickly moves to the top of the list. With all of the corners of the classic design smoothed over the 993 in general has less of a wild look to it. Add to that the wider rear of the Carrera S and cover the whole thing in a deeply lustrous black paint and you have what many might consider the apex of 911 design. These cars were no slouch when it came to performance either with nearly 300 hp delivered to the rear wheels via a standard 6-speed manual transmission. They never possessed the sheer terror-inducing capabilities of the 930, but as a more refined 911 the 993 checks all of the boxes. The example featured here is a Black on Black 1998 Porsche 911 Carrera S, located in New York state, with 73,088 miles on it.

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1997 Porsche 911 Carrera S

I’ve made it clear that I love Speed Yellow on a 911. When that particular 911 is the fantastic 993 C2S, then my love for this particular color grows even more. The 993 Carrera began with nearly perfect contours and in the guise of the Carrera S, with its widened rear fenders, the elegance of those contours comes across even more forcefully. The C2S possesses just the right balance of sporty aggressiveness and refined beauty. It’s no wonder the 993 has been so highly prized by Porsche enthusiasts and that’s before we even get to the engine, the last of the air-cooled 911s to be produced. As a complete package these cars are simply fantastic and are sure to have a firm hold on the hearts, and wallets, of collectors for years to come. The particular example seen here is a 1997 Speed Yellow 911 Carrera S located in California, which appears to share a garage with quite an array of vehicles!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Porsche 911 Carrera S on eBay

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2008 Porsche 911 Carrera S

Sometimes an otherwise run of the mill car can be exceptional, just by the way it looks. Take for instance this 2008 Porsche Carrera S for sale in Falmouth, Maine.

While the Carrera S itself is no slouch when it comes to performance. The naturally aspirated boxer-6 engine in the S gets a bump in displacement from 3.6L to 3.8L over the regular Carrera increase in power from 325 to 355 hp, while torque goes from 273 to 295 lb-ft. Sure the numbers re impressive, but what makes this car great is the color combination.

2008 Porsche 911 Carrera S on autotrader.com

Truly exceptional. White over red natural leather. X51 Carrera Power Kit. Bought here new and just traded. Really one of a kind. Clean car fax, no accidents. Front and rear supple leather seats, new car trade, one owner, self dimming mirrors and service records available. We encourage you to experience this for yourself when you come to look at this fantastic looking and fun 2008 Porsche 911, that is simply in wonderful condition. The freshness of this great, low mileage 911 will make you fall in love with driving all over again. J.D. Power has named the 2008 911 as the highest ranked in Overall Performance and Design in its class.

As a child of the ’80s, one thing I miss with cars these days is the complete and utter lack of color. I remember the days when you could almost any color of the rainbow, in everything from VWs to Pontiacs. Now you get your choice of black, tan or even grey. As the years have passed, the colors on cars are getting as boring as the cars themselves.

In some marques color has always been a staple, and Porsche is one that has kept their color palettes as interesting as their cars. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t get much better than this, there’s just something about a red interior that says “this car is fast” (whether it is or not). Priced just under retail, this Porsche it definitely worth it, for the cool factor alone.

-Brian.