Nobody modifies a 911 GT3. Certainly not now, anyway: too valuable, too rare, too what-a-lovely-reminder-of-old-911s perfect to drive. At least going off everything that's ever written about them, that is. As for the new ones, they're still worth far too much for much meddling. And, yeah, they're pretty exceptional too, in case you hadn't heard.
But imagine what might happen if somebody had the wherewithal and inclination to tinker with Porsche Motorsport's 911. Because nothing is beyond improvement, especially if it's a GT3 that's going to be subjected to regular track use.
Well, wonder no longer, because this is what occurs if someone puts a lot of money into modifying a 996 GT3. You've probably already noticed the BBS split rim wheels, and maybe the BG Developments discs behind; they're tucked up right in the arches on Ohlins dampers and fully rose-jointed suspension. And that's just the start...
Because lurking out the back of this 996 is a Porsche Motorsport engine. Not the original 360hp Mezger, either, but a 997 Cup race engine, built to 2009 spec but installed new last year. Now with an additional 110hp, plus a short ratio RSR gearbox, it promises another level of intensity and excitement to the GT3 experience. Putting it mildly. The advert states: "The instant you put your foot down, the tacho races around the dial and the engine screams... a stimulating and exciting machine." You don't say!
More than that, this still promises to be a raw, analogue 911 experience; there is now electric power steering, but still no traction or stability control, meaning the driver (and the driver only) is in control of all that power and the legendarily bizarre weight distribution. Which sounds like a fun, if ever so slightly intimidating, challenge.
Perhaps best of all, however, is that this is a GT3 that's had a lot of money invested in it to be driven, and driven hard, for many years to come. The shell itself was already on more than 80,000 miles before the engine transplant, so hardly some kind of pristine, low-mileage special. These modifications should only mean the 20-year-old GT3 is seen out on road and track more as it ages, not less as you suspect might happen with most. Collectors aren't going to want it as it's so far from standard, meaning the only reasonable thing to be done with this 996 is to keep on driving it. And work out what maintenance is like for a race engine in a road car. Then sell it on to another like-minded individual for more of the same - or keep it.
This experience doesn't come at a drastically higher cost than other similar GT3s, either. Sure, a regular 996.1 is available at around £60k, but this low mileage one is £79,995 - or exactly the same as the featured car. While with one there would be the ever-present concern of adding to its piddly 30,000 miles and the consequent effect on values, there'd be no such worries with the modified car. And although, of course, there will be those for whom anything that deviates from standard is off the list, this particular GT3 surely presents an amazing opportunity for those keen to get an old 911 on track and go very, very fast. Given what it would cost to build again, it should probably be seen as very good value. For the entertainment of chasing down 997s, 991s and pretty much everything else on a track day, in fact, this GT3 looks like canniest buy of 2020. Go on, you know you want to...
SPECIFICATION - PORSCHE 911 GT3 CLUBSPORT (996 GEN.1)
Engine: 3,600cc flat-six
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 360@7,200rpm
Torque (lb ft): 272@5,000rpm
Recorded mileage: 89,312 (shell)
Year registered: 2000
Price new: £76,500
Yours for: £79,995
(Spec for standard car, obviously)