Caught in the classifieds: 2004 Porsche 911 Carrera (997)
In today’s oversaturated world of sports cars, nothing defines what a sports car is as much as the 911 does. A timeless classic, often criticized for being too clinical and ordinary, the 911 is the perfect example of how sports cars should look and drive. If you think about it, the original formula for the 911 doesn’t make much sense. Putting an engine in the back, behind the rear axle, seems like an insane idea, and yet… everyone who’s ever driven a 911 becomes a fanatic instantly.
The 911 is a car with a cult following, and for good reason. It’s one of the most practical and reliable sports cars money can buy, hence why older air-cooled 911s are now ridiculously expensive, putting them out of reach for most people. Luckily, there’s one generation which is still relatively affordable, and it just so happens to be my favourite generation of all time (if you exclude the wonderfully gorgeous 964 that is).
I’m obviously talking about the 997-gen 911, arguably the most recognisable 911 shape to date. The 997-generation catapulted the 911 into the 21st century, dwarfing its polarising predecessor, the 996, both in terms of sales and performance. In this week’s “Caught In The Classifieds” section, I’m highlighting what might be the greatest ad I’ve seen to date. It’s a 997 Carrera 2 with less than 87,000 miles on the clock and a manual gearbox, advertised for a smidge under £20,000. If this doesn’t get your adrenaline going, nothing will.
I’ve never been a massive fan of the 996-generation 911. I don’t think they’re ugly cars, I just think they’re a little too ‘droopy’. They don’t have the same edge as their predecessors, the 993 and the 964-gen do. The 997 was clearly Porsche’s way of saying they recognised they made a mistake and were going back to their roots. As such, 997-gen cars are much sharper and cleaner than 996-gen vehicles.
For starters, the front end is noticeably more aggressive. The headlights are round instead of having a ‘scrambled egg’-like shape. They’re positioned on top of the front quarter panels, paying homage to previous generations such as the 993 and the 964. Because all variants, even base Carrera models, use projector-style headlights, visibility at night is excellent, even by today’s standards.
The front bumper is a lot more sculpted too, especially compared to its predecessor. Base Carrera variants aren’t as aggressive as the more track-focused GT3, but they’re still incredibly gorgeous. I’m not a massive fan of silver cars, but I actually think silver is one of the best colours for the 911 (the other being black). Used in conjunction with these amazing gloss-finished black wheels, this particularly 997 looks ace.
The rear is more subtle than its GT3 brethren too. No crazy wings or spoilers, just a rear engine hatch with some slots to aid cooling, and simple Carrera badging to boot. I love the wide twin exhaust outlets too. Nothing too shouty, but special enough to indicate this car has some serious grunt.
The cabin is classic 911, which is to say both minimalistic and luxurious at the same time. It’s difficult explaining what 911s feel like inside because they manage to be both bare-bones sports cars and luxury GT cars when you want them to be. The 911’s scope of abilities is simply remarkable. It feels special enough to be used as a weekend toy or a track car, but ordinary enough that you could genuinely daily drive one every single day without any hassle.
The driving position, for instance, is absolutely bang on. You sit nice and low like you do in a Porsche Cayman, but because the 911 is bigger, you get a lot more space. As a result, you have more legroom and headroom, in addition to two rear seats you can use to seat smaller adults in a pinch (although kids will be fine back there).
The tech is dated, but the materials still feel premium and build quality is solid. I challenge anyone to take a seat inside this 911 and argue that it feels 16 years old, because it just doesn’t. Apart from some design features and the dated display, there aren’t many faults with the cabin.
Engine and Performance
Power comes from a 3.6-litre flat-six developing 325 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, mounted in the rear, just behind the axle. This particular example uses a six-speed manual gearbox to send power to the rear wheels only, hence the ‘2’ in the ‘Carrera 2’ name. Performance figures are impressive even by today’s standards: 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds and a 177 mph top speed. As is the case with every 911 built to date, it’s the way the car delivers its power that makes it so enjoyable and fun.
The flat-six engine is buttery-smooth, both in vibrations and throttle response. I can’t think of a car that’s easier to heel-and-toe than a 997-gen 911 (except maybe a Cayman). Traction coming out of corners is mega. Just plant your foot and you’re off. You do need to help the front end with some trail-braking if you’re pushing it to its absolute limits, but I like that because it’s a car that rewards good driving.
Rowing gears yourself is such a joy too. I know modern PDK units are fast and smooth, but there’s something about changing your own gears that I find incredibly satisfying. Couple its sweet gearstick action with its incredible hydraulic steering, and you quickly realise why people love 911s, especially 997-generation variants.
Model: Porsche 911 (997)
Trim: Carrera 2
Why buy one
With 993 and 964-gen 911 prices reaching the stratosphere, it’s only a matter of time before 997-gen cars begin appreciating too. It’s inevitable. Perhaps they’ll never be as exclusive as old air-cooled Porsches, but I guarantee you’ll miss out on something special if you don’t take this opportunity right now. If you still have your doubts, go out and drive a 911, any 911 will do. I’ve never given a car a perfect 10/10 score so far, but because the 911 is such a jack of all trades, it surely deserves one. If I had to have only one car for the rest of my life, it’d definitely be a 911. So, head to DesperateSeller.co.uk right now where you’ll find a huge selection of used Porsche 911 cars for sale.
DesperateSeller.co.uk rating: 10 out of 10
View the car here: 2004 Porsche 911  - £19,995