Despite the numerous good points about the 997 generation of Porsche 911 - indeed many will tell you it's the best ever, more attractive than the 996, yet more involving than a 991 - its widely publicised engine issues do tend to dominate the secondhand debate. While the intermediate shaft bearing failure and bore scoring are rare issues, they are not non-existent; they have happened to 997-era 911s, and being told how seldom these engine woes occur will be scant consolation when faced with a huge repair bill.
So what to do? Take a chance on one of the 21st century's greatest sports cars, and hope yours isn't one of the few with problems? You could, and of course many have, with much success and enjoyment. The other alternative is a car like this 997 Carrera S, which has had its engine rebuilt.
Yep, this 911 suffered from bore scoring; indeed it was most common in early 997s with the larger Carrera S unit. Interestingly though, as part of the engine rebuild last year (see the advert pics for more detail) the IMS was replaced as well. There was a fair bit done, all told, with an invoice total for £9,696(!).
Now that has to have been a bitter pill to swallow for whoever paid the bill at the time, but it sounds like very encouraging news for any future owners. Because here is a 997 with the biggest (i.e. most expensive when they go wrong) issues sorted; there will of course be niggles here and there - see the PH Buying Guide for more info - but the main dark cloud of reliability hanging over a 997 has been tended to.
Which, in theory, leaves the next owner free to enjoy one of the great modern 911s. All that's whinged about in contemporary 911s - the bloated size, the electric steering, the switch to turbocharging, the merciless march of PDK - is nowhere to be seen in this Carrera S. By the standards of modern sports cars it's small and compact, with that lovely 3.8-litre flat six now back to its best and a great manual gearbox with which to control it. The car is well specced, has had three owners in 13 years and looks to come with plenty of receipts besides the engine work. While there will always be a glut of 997s to choose from, this looks especially nice even at the cheaper end of the market.
Don't forget, either, that the 997 was the era when the 911 dominated all in the sports car segment, and to some extent that appeal extends into its secondhand prospects. Because the R8, F-Type and Aston Vantage weren't around at this point (only just in two cases, granted), they're not as affordable used; you'd need at least £30k for a Vantage, for example. A BMW M6 might be an interesting alternative, but it's a much physically larger car. And good luck with the SMG...
There's always been a lot in the 997's favour, either new or used, with this expensively rebuilt car more appealing than most. It's hard to imagine the car ever being worth a huge amount less than £20k, with the security for whoever the next owner might be of those upgraded engine parts. Tempted? Good, glad it's not just us...
SPECIFICATION - PORSCHE 911 (997) CARRERA S
Engine: 3,824cc, flat-six
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 355@6,600rpm
Torque (lb ft): 295@4,600rpm
First registered: 2005
Recorded mileage: 80,000
Price new: £70,360 (2008)
Yours for: £20,995
See the original advert here.