Porsche 996.1 GT3: complete buyer’s guide
HISTORY & SPEC
The car you see here was introduced for just one reason: so Porsche could go racing in the GT3 endurance category. However, even as a road car it was a hugely tempting – not to mention rare – confection. And it’s also unusual, it being the only GT3 model not to have a more focused RS variant sitting above it, further adding to the unique appeal.
At its heart was the 3.6-litre, M96/79 Mezger engine that pumped out 360hp at a tantalising 7,200rpm. Dry sumped and featuring a raft of lightweight parts that included titanium connecting rods, it was impressively rapid, with the 62mph and 100mph benchmarks dismissed in 4.8 and 10.2 seconds. Flat out you’d have been knocking on the door of 190mph, and only the Turbo that arrived three years later offered anything of a similar pace. Power was sent to the rear wheels only via a six-speed manual gearbox that benefitted from a shorter throw linkage and ratios that could be replaced for track work.
The rest of the mechanical specification was just as tasty, the suspension a mix of MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link arrangement aft, both of which were adjustable for height, camber and toe angle. Brakes were uprated for the new application, too, with four-piston mono-block aluminium calipers and 330mm discs. Externally the hunkered-down stance was bolstered by aerodynamic addenda that included an adjustable rear wing, and the look was finished off with a gorgeous set of multi-spoke rims.
At the car’s UK launch in 1998 Porsche asked buyers to part with £76,500. Of the 1,858 built just over one hundred examples made it to these shores, with less than 30 of those in circuit-ready Clubsport trim. Opting for the latter bought a half roll cage, six-point harnesses, a fire extinguisher and battery cut-off switch and a single-mass flywheel for even quicker response. One thing that did surprise, though, was that Porsche didn’t take the lightweight route with its new model, eschewing the likes of thinner panels and glass and equipping Comfort-spec cars with leather bucket seats and
air conditioning among the luxuries. The GT3 actually weighed an additional 30kg compared to the Carrera 2. Production ended in 2000 and it would be another three years before the Gen2 model arrived.
THE VALUES STORY
Despite their rarity and the reverence afforded to them when new, the GT3 wasn’t immune from the normal effects of depreciation. Ten to fifteen years after the launch it was still possible to pick up a good example for somewhere in the region of £40-45k, and that would have represented cracking value given this was a nigh-on £80,000 car when new in 1998. By 2016, fortunes of the car began to dramatically change, however, with values making a notable upturn according to Greig Daly from RPM Technik and Paragon’s Jamie Tyler. Those same examples were now attracting prices closer to £60,000, perhaps a little more. It’s a pattern that’s continued, with a good example with sensible mileage worth upwards of £70,000 today. We shouldn’t be surprised, given the rarity and deliciously analogue appeal and, as both of our experts point out, these were never difficult cars to sell.