They say life begins at 40; given we’re all taking care of ourselves a bit better now and living longer, maybe that's true. It’s just hard to believe it with a horrible hangover and a party to tidy up. Or when wondering where the past four decades have done. Once upon a time, too, the 40th was not a Porsche 911 birthday to remember, either.
Back at the time it was, of course (because the 996 era was a brilliant sports car) but nearly everyone loved the 997 a little bit more, and as the 90s baby aged so it fell further out of favour. Despite the favourable reception when new, a few well-publicised problems hit the 996 hard as a used prospect. Not that long ago, the £10k 996 Carrera was a realistic ambition - it was a lucky few folk who got in on those…
Because now look. The first water-cooled cars may not be 993 money, but values are starting to strengthen as its array of talents is properly recognised and people get a proper grip on what to look for. Where once a huge gulf existed between the last 996s and early 997s in terms of price, they’re now much closer to parity. In both, you’re getting a compact, engaging, tuneful rear-engined Porsche experience, so why wouldn’t they cost similar money?
It also means that a 40 Jahre car like this one is more desirable than it has been for a while. 2023 marks 60 years of the 911, which will undoubtedly be marked by a special edition car; it’s not clear exactly what just yet, but the anniversary cars tend to be a little more special than just upholstery and paint. See the lovely old 50th 991 from 2013, for instance, or a 40 Jahre from ten years before…
Based on a narrow-bodied Carrera 2 (good start), the 40 got the X51 Powerkit as standard, raising power for the 3.6-litre flat-six from 320hp to 345hp thanks to stuff like new cams and new manifolds - it was no mere remap. Every car also got a limited-slip diff, sports suspension with a lower ride height, a Turbo front bumper and bespoke badges. Only available in GT Silver (like the Carrera GT), Porsche made 1,963 cars, and it’s believed only about 200 came to the UK.
So the 40 was always a rare 911 with an intriguing spec (the X51 Powerpack was something like £6k back in the day), and time has only increased that appeal. It surely won’t be long until there’s a 911 60th; if recent Heritage Design Edition Porsches are anything to go by, it’s going to be a beautiful object that’s lovely to drive - and very, very expensive. For those wanting a big birthday 911 for more modest money, the 996 might be it, even if at £50k it’s a lot for a non-GT car of the era. Told you they were being appreciated again.
Furthermore, there’s unlikely to be a better 996 of any stripe out there than this one. Somehow still just 11,000 miles old despite being registered in 2004, it’s absolutely jaw-dropping; number 1,258 really has lived a pampered life. It’s only ever had two owners, and was never serviced anywhere but Porsche Centre Swindon until 2018. When it was serviced at Porsche Centre Leeds. It really seems almost museum quality, the dash buttons looking like they’ve never been pressed and the steering wheel seemingly barely touched. Of course, it’s not quite that low mileage, but this Porsche has been beautifully preserved. Even if whoever signed off on those wheels needs a long, hard look at themselves.
Despite the low mileage, there are two key bits of kit that might encourage a new owner to put this 996 to regular use. The first is the luggage set, specified with the car new but never used and surely begging for a long weekend away. The second is the recent fitment of Porsche Classic Communication Management, meaning all the joys of a 20-year-old 911 can be enjoyed with DAB, sat nav and smartphone mirroring - handy. This is undoubtedly top whack for a 996 Carrera, but the anniversary cars of any generation are highly prized nowadays. And that’s before the 60th birthday model…
SPECIFICATION | PORSCHE 911 CARRERA 2 40 JAHRE ANNIVERSARY
Engine: 3,596cc, flat six
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 345@6,800rpm
Torque (lb ft): 272@4,800rpm
Year registered: 2004
Recorded mileage: 11,000
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £51,995
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