Porsche GT cars are hotter than ever it seems. If you aren’t ordering a new GT3 RS with paint-to-sample, 18-way adaptive sport seats, carbon ceramic brakes and $72,000 in other options, are you even living? Lots of people literally obsess over these things and I guess it makes sense as these are big decisions, like whether or not to spring for the $1,300 carbon fiber door sill plates. However, back when we were still in the infancy stage of Porsche GT car madness, things were much simpler thanks to one of the cars that started it all: the 996 GT3 RS.
Just 682 were ever built and exactly zero were configured for the North American market. You had no choice of color. Carrera white and you’ll like it. However, you did have a choice of wheel and sticker color of either dark red or light blue. From the cars that are publicly seen, it seems like most of them were optioned in red. These RS cars were exactly what you’d expect. A more hardcore version of the 996 GT3 that admittedly was already a pretty raw car. The RS received a bunch of lighter body panels, a Mezger 3.8 liter that could rev to 8,200 rpm, and some other small changes that is detailed below if you really want get nerdy about it. Now that everyone is into respecting their elders, it only was a matter of a time until one of these made its way to America. This 2005 up for sale in California is a left-hand drive Japanese car that is fully EPA and DOT compliant for road legal use in America thanks to the 996 GT3 RS being on the NHTSAs list of cars that can be imported through a registered importer. The price? A brand new 2019 GT3 RS, plus a Cayenne for your significant other, is less expensive than what you’ll have to pay to take this one home.
In 1964, Porsche introduced the last iteration of its famed first model, the 356. Dubbed the “C”, Porsche continued to offer two variants of the model – the Coupe and Cabriolet. Base power came from a 1600cc pushrod air-cooled flat-4 with twin Zenith carburetors – this motor carried over from the 356B model – and was good for 75 horsepower. Optional were the 95 horsepower 1600 SC motor and the 130 horsepower 2000 Carrera motor; both with twin-throat Solex carburetors and were expensive options.
But the 356C, in Cabriolet form, was far from cheap. The base price in 1964-65 was well over $4,000 at a time when a 289 V8-equipped Ford Mustang convertible cost about $2,600. But demand was great enough that the C model actually overlapped with the Porsche 911, and these Cabriolets would be the last full drop-top top model until the 1980s.
Cabriolets were assembled by Reutters and are more rare to find than the Coupe equivalent. With a total of around 15,000 356Cs produced, only about 2,500 were Reutter Cabriolets. Today’s is a restored ’64, and currently has a 1600 SC-spec engine installed for a bit more fun:
1999 was the first year of the new 911, and it’s been a debate ever since. But Porsche had to move forward from the air-cooled design ultimately, and the new 911 Carrera was happy to pick up the pieces. The smoothed out styling made the 911 more aerodynamic yet was instantly recognizable as being from Porsche. So, too, was the exhaust note; a flat-6 still powered the best from Stuttgart, but now it was water-cooled instead of air-cooled.
The Carrera 2 and Carrera 4 shared a 3.4 liter variant of the flat-6, the M96. Out of the box, these cars had 300 horsepower – a number that a Turbo would have been happy with only a decade earlier. VarioCam assisted the motor in both being smooth in its power delivery and, unlike the Turbos of yore, that power was available in most of the tachometer. 0-60 was gone in 5 seconds and flat-out, even the drop-tops could do 165 mph. They were comfortable, fast sports cars that were capable in the tradition of the company. And today, they are without doubt the most affordable way to get into the 911 range.
Those first 1999 911s came in Carrera 2 form meaning rear-drive only as Carrera 4s rolled out a bit later, but you could opt for either a Coupe or this car, a convertible Cabriolet. The Cabriolet stickered at $74,460, but in typical Porsche fashion as you added in options the price went up quickly. But today, these cars offer a great entré into Porsche 911 ownership:
We could argue the merits of what made the “ultimate” 924/944/968 all day long. A lot depends on what you consider the most desirable, or most pure form. Take that argument to the 911 range, and it becomes even more convoluted. Is it the 901? The RS? The Turbo Carrera? For me, it’s this car.
If the Ferrari F40 was the pin-up hero for most teenage boys, the Porsche 959 was its arch-enemy, and was the car I was always interested in. The F40 was a pared down street racer, while the 959 sported experimental exotic technologies that even 30 years later most cars don’t have – 6 speed manual? Yep. Active suspension? Yep, that too. Hollow spoke wheels with tire pressure monitoring system? Sure, we can do that. Kevlar composite body? Why not? Active torque splitting all-wheel drive system? Let’s give it a go. A technological Tour de Force, the 959 wowed crowds with all of these shocking options when it was launched in a still hard to believe 1985, beating the F40 to the market.
Even at the time it was released, the 959 was a bit of an enigma – did Porsche want to win Le Mans or Paris Dakar with it? Well, it did both – Paris Dakar outright, and it won its class at Le Mans. It was also one of the fastest production cars in the world, with a sub-4 second 0-60 time – something that modern supercars still strive for. Did I mention this car is the best part of 30 years old? Like all of the dream cars that remained firmly out of U.S. buyers hands, the 959 remained a forbidden fruit for many years. But today, even if your name isn’t Gates or Seinfeld, you can own in the U.S. one of the most highly sought after cars ever made – a Carrera White 1987 Porsche 959 Komfort:
Recently I took a look at the ultra-exclusive 968 Turbo S. With only 14 produced as far as anyone can tell, they are just about as good as the 968 got:
1994 Porsche 968 Turbo S
I say “just about” because, of course, there was an even more special model – the Turbo RS. This was the ultimate front-engine 4-cylinder Porsche, and it was intended just for racing. Perhaps ironically, Porsche introduced the 968 Turbo RS first and then brought the Turbo S to market in order to homologate the RS for racing. They were intended to compete in the ADAC GT series, and Porsche developed two different models – one for sprints, and one for endurance. At least one car went on to travel to the famous races of Le Mans and Sebring, but although these Turbo RSs were the ultimate 968 they were never developed fully to win races. Four were produced; one red ’92, one yellow ’93, one blue ’93, and one black ’94. That’s it.
Almost completely forgotten by nearly everyone including Porsche, one of the four Turbo RSs is for sale today:
Although it certainly added up to more than the sum of its parts, on paper the Porsche 968 was a bit lacking compared to most of its competition. For example, for $2,000 less than the base price of a non-Sport package equipped 968, you could get a twin-turbocharged 300 horsepower Nissan 300ZX packed full of the latest technology. Or the also twin-turbocharged Dodge Stealth/Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 twins. Or the sublime turbocharged Mazda RX-7. And while the Supra Turbo came at a higher price, its performance was also on another level. One thing was clearly missing from the 968 package in order to compete.
Porsche’s Motorsport department, under the leadership of Jurgen Barth, solved this problem in 1993 by offering a turbocharged version of the 968 Clubsport. The 16V head was dropped for a development of the 944 Turbo S head and turbo, but the car retained the 3-liter bottom end. This comprised the M44.60 engine. The result was 305 horsepower and 368 lb.ft of torque. Unlike the 944 Turbos, the 968 Turbo S also got the 6-speed manual (G44.01) and 75% locking differential out of the Clubsport, too. Outside, an homage to the 924 Turbo came in the form of twin NACA ducts on the hood, and the Turbo S gained a huge spoiler in the rear with an adjustable center plane. The Turbo S also nabbed 911 goodies in the form of Turbo brakes and 3-piece Speedline wheels. The Clubsport’s 20mm lowered suspension was dropped even further. For good measure, Porsche Motorsport chopped another 45 lbs off the already lightened Clubsport, too. They featured the lightweight Clubsport interior, no rear seat, and few options. The performance figures were reportedly good enough to best 911 Carrera 3.8 RSRs of the period.
As well as anyone can figure, Porsche only constructed 14 968 Turbo Ss – 11 ’93s (VINS ending 061-071) and 3 ’94s (VINS 001, 061, and 062). Because they’re so rare and were never sold in America, in fact, even some Porsche fans on this side of the pond aren’t aware of their existence. They don’t come up for sale very frequently, but -001 is available right now:
The past few weeks I looked at a few modern Porsches with some really wild green interiors. First, a 996 up for sale in San Diego that had wild jade green interior with a boatload of burl wood. Most agreed that as crazy as it was, it wasn’t worth anywhere near the asking price of $19,500. Two weeks ago, I came across a Boxster with 9,600 miles thanks to a tip from a reader with a Nephrite Green leather interior. While all of that green is still unconventional, it seems to be far less offensive that what the 996 offered up and one of our readers snapped that particular 986 up! Keeping with that green theme, I ran across this 2009 911 Turbo Cabriolet up for sale in Ohio that is features another shade of green, Malachite, but as you might have noticed, this green is on the outside.
The 968 occupies a strange space in the Porsche world. Limited in production, good looking, well-built and with good chassis dynamics and performance, it should have all of the hallmarks of a collector car in todayâ€™s market. Many prominent automobile publications have bashed you over the head with that, too â€“ itâ€™s not just me banging on here. Petrolicious posts an article (the same one, usuallyâ€¦) seemingly every week about the Porsche 968 Club Sport, Hemmings has repeatedly said itâ€™s the best of the breed, and Hagerty told you to get on board last year and buy one. And when Bring a Trailer sold one in late 2017 at $36,250, it seemed 2018 was poised to be the year of exploding values on the 968.
But it wasnâ€™t. Bring a Trailer has, so far to date, failed to present match to that one-off. Itâ€™s not for lack of trying â€“ fifteen came up for sale on the site in 2018, yet none cleared $25,000, and most traded well below that. So here we are in 2019, wondering exactly where the values on these cars will head. But if todayâ€™s example is any indication, things could be interesting:
On to another special edition of the Porsche 911, but this is one of the few not marketed directly at U.S. customers. We recently saw the 50th Anniversary Edition 911, but it’s far from the first time Porsche has produced a model to commemorate production birthdays. In 1993, Europeans were treated the 30th Anniversary model. Dubbed the ’30 Jahre 911′ by the factory but popularly known as the ‘Jubilee’ or ‘Jubi’ model, a basic 964 Carrera 4 was fit with Turbo flares and wheels, special colors and special interiors. Sound familiar?
Code M096 was selected for a planned 911 examples, but only 896 have been accounted for – the vast majority of which were originally sold in Germany. The Jubilee was available in several different exterior colors; Polar Silver Metallic wasn’t surprising to see as an option, but most Jubilees were Viola Metallic as seen here. Titanium details such as the shift knob topper and parcel shelf numbered badges helped to further distinguish the cars. Inside over 80% received Rubicon Gray interiors, the rest had Black. Of course, if you’re looking at the same picture I am above, you’ll note this ’93 has a red interior. So what gives?
A few weeks I took a look at one of the most jarring Porsche interiors I have run across with a 1999 911 up for sale in San Diego. It wasn’t so much that the Jade Green was all that ugly, but rather the Burl Wood that was plastered everywhere clashed so much with the Jade and the rest of the interior. Add in the fact that the car is automatic, has 166,000 miles and isn’t priced all that well, you can probably guess what it is still for sale. Most of you in the comments seemed to agree with my thoughts on that 996 as well judging by the reaction that it got. Although one commenter (Thanks JonnyA) passed along another late ’90s Porsche with a green interior that still has loads of green leather, but isn’t nearly as gaudy or off-putting. This 1997 Boxster up for sale outside of Dallas features Nephrite Green leather and even better, has just 8,900 miles. Is this a better option if you still want an inexpensive Porsche with a wild interior?