Cheap 996 wasn’t nice

Since you can now buy an early 996 for less than a 993, one of the most common questions I get asked is, which to choose? The problem is that they are such different cars – the 993 is very much a traditional air-cooled 911 with all the quirks, whereas the 996 is a more modern machine.

My usual advice is for people to first drive an example of each, and then decide how they are going to use the car. A 996 is great as an everyday commuter car, while a 993 is more fun as a weekend toy. Once the person has done this, then the choice should be made for them.

Recently911-carrera-996-2001-2006, though, I drove a very cheap, sub-£15,000 996 (no, not the one in this picture) and, well, I didn’t like it very much. It had obviously been tarted up to sell and, although I couldn’t pinpoint any obvious faults, it just felt tired and uninspiring. I couldn’t help but think I’d much rather be in an air-cooled 911.

For the same money, you could buy an adequate 993, or a very nice 964 or Carrera 3.2. You’d have a car in better condition, one that should hold its value and, potentially, be cheaper to run.

So, I get people to think about budget, too. Like any 911, if a 996 is very cheap, the chances are it’s not going to be that good.

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