Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet (996)

James Bellis ‘I must be a rare fan of the fried-egg lights and water-cooled engine’


Year: 1998

Mileage: 153,000

Acquired: 2018

Dream car: 1980s 911 Carrera

Dream road trip: Driving from LA to Vegas (scenic route). Done three times!

Why go for a 996?

Since the 1980s I have always wanted a 911. I was a child of the yuppie era – the time when whale tails, braces and huge Motorola phones were the in things. The 930s are now out of my price range, as is pretty much every other 911. But 996s are still plentiful and the values have pretty much bottomed out. I’ve always liked the 996 and must be a rare fan of the fried-egg lights and water-cooled engine.

This car cropped up at a Lotus and Morgan dealer near my work as a part exchange and I was attracted by the spec of PCM, sports heated seats, cruise control, three-spoke wheel and LSD/traction control, etc. It seemed to be for sale for ages – and then they suddenly dropped the price by £2k. At that point, I had to view it.

The car came with the original hardtop and the soft top was in good condition. It drove well and came with stacks of history, including bills for a recent clutch and IMS bearing. The deal was duly done, so I quickly sold my E430 V8 and Rover 800 Coupe to thin the fleet/help convince my wife that this was a good idea!

What’s the best bit?

The engine noise. I recently took it to Cars and Coffee in Liverpool and it sounded amazing through the Mersey Tunnel – so good that I took it through a further couple of times!

What’s it like to run?

In the first week of ownership, I took it to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It will do 33mpg with the cruise control set at 70mph, but open the taps and you’re down to the late teens/early 20s. It’s more comfortable than my daily BMW and I can’t keep my wife out of the driver’s seat!

Any advice for potential owners?

Buy the best that you can afford and join the Porsche Club GB. Since joining the club, I have met many local members and been to some fantastic events. Make sure that potential purchases have had the IMS and RMS done, as they are weak spots.

What’s the worst bit?

People will confuse it with the 986 Boxster from the front and refer to your car as a Beetle!

Lewis PlumbPorsche, 911, Carrera