Porsche 911 (996) CSR: Spotted

In case you didn't get the memo, the days of the truly cheap 996-generation 911 are certainly over. While £10k cars are available, in 2018 you're looking at nearer £15k for a decent Carrera 2 manual, if not more. Not a huge leap as far as classic cars go, but that's nearly a 50 per cent jump in a few years. The market has begun to appreciate what the 996 represents, with its compact dimensions and hydraulic steering providing a link back to the classics, and values now reflect that. So with the 996 largely out of the doldrums, it's more justifiable than ever to spend a decent chunk of cash on one. You're probably seeing were this is going...

As the money in Porsches has grown recently, so the investment in modifying them has too. Makes sense, really: if a 964 had remained cheap and unloved, would there be such excitement around the tuned scene for them? RPM Technik also spotted a gap in the market with 21st century 911s, where 996 and 997 GT3s held their value fiercely well and the contemporary Carrera absolutely plummeted. The CSR package for both cars introduced upgrades to make them not only more capable on track, but also eliminate the IMS issues that plagued each of them.

The 996 and 997 CSR have proved very popular on PH; on driving the former in 2014 the dynamics were described as "utterly joyful to behold" and the performance "rapid enough to make enjoyable, invigorating progress without the need to flirt with a prison sentence." In other words, RPM's aim to create a 911 as happy on the road as it is on track was emphatically achieved.

The only apparent issue would be convincing customers to spend as much as they've paid for their car on a range of modifications. On a 996. Which most people don't like. Of course the more favourable way to look on the situation is that the 996 has been cheap and undesirable enough to justify spending extra cash to make it spot on - kind of how 964s were once upon a time...

Whatever the case, there is a CSR'd 996 available to buy right now, meaning there's no need to source a suitable donor car, choose the modifications you want and then wait for the transformation to take place. This grey 996 is a 2001 car and has been treated to the full overhaul: Aerokit, coilovers, LSD, lightweight flywheel and clutch, the IMS upgrade, a top end refresh, uprated discs and pads and plenty more. Given three years ago a CSR build was quoted at anywhere between £16k and £19k, it's easy to imagine this car - CSR build #17, completed last year - was right at the top of that budget, if not beyond.

But all modifications lose their value immediately after fitment, right? Not exactly. This CSR 996 is for sale at £36,995, which puts it up there with the very last, low mileage 996s and even the odd Turbo or two. You probably don't need us to tell you that 997s are available for this money as well.

However, there's another way to think of the CSR. Beyond the time saving, you wouldn't be able to recreate this spec for less than £40k, what with facelift 996 manuals on similar miles starting at £20k. Having only covered two thousand miles since the build, it's hardly like someone else has had the best of the modifications either. And as a less hardcore alternative to a GT3, the CSR's case is even more favourable - a Motorsport car of similar vintage is anything up to £65k.

While it won't thrill like a GT3, we know this CSR provides a really cleverly devised compromise between road and track. And if it still looks expensive for a 996, at least they currently remain at the point where it could be bought and enjoyed on the road rather than fretted about in the garage. And when people finally decide they want a 996, you'll have what looks like one of the best sorted ones out there - thank us then!

Engine: 3,387cc, flat-six
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 300@6,800rpm
Torque (lb ft): 258@4,600rpm
MPG: 23.9
CO2: N/A
First registered: 2001
Recorded mileage: 84,000
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £36,995

(Spec for standard 996 Carrera)

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Comments (20) Join the discussion on the forum

  • g7jhp 16 May 2018

    At £37k it's hard not to get tempted by a Gen 2 997 with a more reliable engine.

    The 997.2 C2S would be my pick. More reliable, standard car and more power.

    That said the 996 CSR is a nice package for those that want a more focused 911 on a budget.

    Just can't help feeling picking up a £17k manual 996 C2 Coupe would still leave £20k and a blank canvas to create your own car. Building it is half the fun.

  • Paddy78 16 May 2018

    I really fancied one of these when I was looking for my 996. I managed to get a pretty decent one with low miles for £15.5k (C2 / coupe / manual / no sun roof / black leather) which to me seemed like a bit of a bargain. It is a wonderful thing to drive too as it is fairly light and has enough power that I really struggle to see why anyone would need much more.

    My only complaint so far is that it probably needs a full suspension refresh. Given that it is 18 years old, this is hardly a real surprise. These cars do get a lot of stick about the lights and the engine. I love the lights as they are the same as the ones from the Le Mans winning GT1. The issues with the engine are enough to make anyone paranoid. I went to have my IMS changed whilst I did the clutch, but there was absolutely no signs of it failing. This seems to be the case with most cars now that have the IMS changed. There are other issues of course (Bore scoring) etc. but if mine ever goes it will be a good excuse to get Hartech to rebuild as a 3.7. It is an expense, but when the initial outlay was so little, for what is and will be a usable classic (IMHO), then it doesn't seem too bad.

    As for the CSR, they really know what they are doing with 996's. I think they look fantastic and whilst £37k seems a lot, you have to remember that these cars are properly sorted (Including full interior) and can be thrashed round a track all day. You wouldn't want to do that with a GT3 whilst the prices are increasing daily and if you want a 996 and don't want a turbo, then this would be a decent buy.

  • Fast Bug 16 May 2018

    Hopefully they'll throw in the missing wheel bolts for that price

  • PGNSagaris 16 May 2018

    I am biased but having driven the Retro CSR back in 2015 I was totally blown away. It made total sense.

    I used to think they were expensive but not any more. They way they make you feel, on road and track, far surpasses any other 911 at this price (and dare I say quite a bit more) and I can say this because I tried many other variants and opted to spunk £40k on a CSR.

    My brother has a 996.2 GT3 so I am fortunate enough to have a car to compare against as well.

    I love mine

  • JMF894 16 May 2018

    Fast Bug said:
    Hopefully they'll throw in the missing wheel bolts for that price
    Good spot sir

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