I have once again failed in my quest to keep this site even remotely up to date. There has been quite a bit going on in the last few months, which is partially why nothing new has appeared here lately…. or at least that’s the excuse that I am going to use for now.
Anyway, last fall I decided that I had had enough of the BMW 850i that had been my daily driver for the last 7+ years. It had been good to me as I racked up over 55,000 miles, mostly driving to and from work every day. It still ran beautifully for a 20+ year old car with over 175,000 on the clock. The 5.0L M70 V12 is an absolute tank and will probably run for another 100k miles with only basic maintenance being necessary. It was a fantastic car to drive every day and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of ownership.
My replacement would have to be something that’s reliable yet fun to drive. I decided that I wanted a manual transmission this time … just to make that evening commute on 202 a little more painful! One of the first cars that I considered was the Porsche 911, more specifically the first of the water-cooled models known as the 996. These cars were produced from 1999 through 2005 and featured 7 different trim packages: Carrera Coupe, Carrera Convertible, Carrera 4 Coupe, Carrera 4 Convertible, Turbo, Turbo Convertible, and Targa. The 996 featured a few updates between the 2000, 2001 and 2002 models which included an updated front end and a larger displacement engine (3.4L to 3.6L Six Cylinder Engine).
My research showed that all off the 996 models would be good candidates, but I began looking for Carrera 4 models because they were cheaper then the Turbo’s and still featured all wheel drive. I read up on Rear Main Seal (RMS) leaks and catastrophic engine failures due to Intermediate Shaft Bearings (IMS) failing or cracked cylinder heads. With an average repair costing north of $10k this was a bit disconcerting. It seemed like many of these failures happened to vehicles that were infrequently used and sat for long periods of time. I would be interested in a higher mileage vehicle that has been well used and well maintained.
After a couple of months of searching, I came across a ’99 Carrera 4 Coupe on ebay located in South Jersey. The owner was looking to get $19.5k but was willing to take $17k. It took almost a month of phone calls and watching his numerous auction listings before we made a deal at $15,250.
The car is silver with a blue interior and has a few options that I was really looking for including heated seats and rear wiper. Decoding the VIN shows the car to be equiped with:
Model year: 1999
Model ID: 996
|M96.02||220||299||3,40||911 CARRERA +M620 C4|
Options found on your vehicle.
|IXSC||Porsche Crest embossed in headrest|
|IX70||Door entry guards in stainless steel with logo|
|IX71||Instrument dial painted/Aluminium Look finish|
|M058||Impact absorbers, front and rear|
|M130||Control and indications in English lettering|
|M139||Seat heating system, left seat|
|M270||Door mirror -flat- driver’s side, electrically adjustable and heatable|
|M273||Door mirrors, electrically adjustable and heatable|
|M274||Vanity mirror illuminated|
|M322||Radio “Porsche CR 220”|
|M335||Automatic seat belt, 3-point, rear|
|M340||Seat heating system, right seat|
|M369||Standard seat, left|
|M370||Standard seat, right|
|M399||17-inch Carrera-4 wheel|
|M421||Front cassette compartment|
|M425||Rear window wiper|
|M446||Concave wheel centers with full-colour Porsche Crest|
|M454||Automatic speed control|
|M465||Rear foglamp, left|
|M476||Porsche Stability Management (PSM)|
|M480||6-speed manual transmission|
|M484||Version for USA|
|M490||-MY 01 sound system MY 02 sound system Harmann analog|
|M535||Anti-theft lock 315 MHz|
|M539||Mechanical seat-height adjustment, left|
|M540||Mechanical seat-height adjustment, right|
|M553||Version for USA, Canada|
|M562||Airbag, driver’s side and front passenger’s side|
|M566||Front fog lights, white|
|M567||Windscreen tinted, upper part darker coloured|
|M581||Center console, front|
|M590||Power lid locking|
|M602||Raised stop lamp|
|M650||Electrical sliding roof|
|M651||Electrical window opener|
|M657||Power assisted steering|
|M661||Stricter emission-control concept|
|M685||Rear seats, split|
|M692||CD autochanger “Porsche”|
|M937||Seat covers, rear, leatherette|
|M946||Seat covers, front, leather/leather/leatherette|
Overall, the car appeared to be in decent shape but showed exterior wear including a couple of small dents, paint scrapes and rock chips which is to be expected of a car with almost 100k on the clock (94,900 to be exact).
A few things that needed attention right away:
- The car came with bright red floor mats that didn’t match and were filthy
- The engine lid wouldn’t stay open on its own
- One wheel was missing a center cap and all were badly faded
- The car didn’t come with cup holders