Sales debate: Are 3.4-litre 996 Carrera values going to drop any lower?

We say it so much that it is becoming clichéd but the 996 Carrera is far from the most popular 911 to ever leave Zuffenhausen, especially in Gen1 specification.

With its ‘fried egg’ headlights and 3.4-litre water-cooled engine infamous for chewing through IMS bearings, prices have dipped as low as £7,000-8,000. But, can 996 3.4 values go any lower?

“I think there is a lot of potential with the 996 as prices can’t get much lower,” says Mikey Wastie, projects division manager at Autofarm. “They are so much car for the money and they are around in good numbers.”

Despite these rock-bottom values though, Wastie points out that potential buyers are still “seemingly put off by the scare stories” but he explains that 996 Carrera 3.4s are not all “bad news”.

“Recently a customer bought a 996 and was worried about the risk of engine failure.” Autofarm inspected the car only to find that it already had one of their rebuilt engines with a more robust IMS bearing. “It’s definitely worth checking the historyas you may end up with a good, strong car,” Wastie continues.

M96 engine

The 3.4-litre’s reputation for unreliability is also disputed by proprietor of Finley Goram, Joff Ward. In the business for over 40 years, Ward has seen more than 10,000 Porsches pass through his doors, and the 996 Gen1 is far from the most unreliable in his experience.

“The comment that I have made for years is that the 964 is probably the worst 911 ever built. How can you ever have one of those worth more than a 996, which was never the worst 911 built?” he says. “Every 964, if you wanted to get the money for it, you had to rebuild the engine on it.”

While 964 values continue to rise past the £40,000-mark, Ward doesn’t believe the 996 3.4 will appreciate so rapidly. However, prices are already going up in his opinion:

“They’ve gone up a lot. I sold a Gen1 996 at the end of 2013 for £10,500. Irecently resold the same car for £13,500 despite it having a higher mileage.

With Ward stockpiling early 996s, Wastie’s tongue-in-cheek remark that they “could become rare” may not be so wide of the mark. In Wastie’s own words, “don’t say we didn’t tell you,” if the rise in value is sharper than expected.

For market advice on any generation or style of Porsche 911, check out our full selection of sales debates, where we ask the 911 experts the pertinent market questions so you don’t have to.

996 headlight

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