Porsche’s originally ‘unloved’ water-cooled 911, the first of the water-cooled era was introduced in 1998 and sharing much similarity with the Boxster was widely criticised for many reasons. These included the front lights/indicators, its similarity to another less expensive model, the fact it was water cooled and also some engine issues. It was subtly faced-lifeted in 2001 to differentiate it to the original launch model, became known as the Gen2 model and received different lights to match the 996 turbo model.
It is widely reported that air-cooled engines had to go to meet EU emissions, so water cooled engines had to be introduced, otherwise the model would have died. Also the 996 was probably the model that helped to turn round Porsche in the late 90s.
After many years of suffering and being unloved by many, perhaps because the air-cooled models were considered to be true 911s, 996 values dropped massively. To the point where you could buy a 911 for the same price as a family hatchback. But then the 993 air-cooled 911 models started to rise in value. Soon these became out of reach of many wanting to drive a 911.
The only way into a 911 if you did not have pots of money for either new/nearly new or a classic model, was to look at a 996 model. And that is exactly what I did. I wanted to scratch the Porsche itch and decided if I didn’t get onto the Porsche 911 train soon it would disappear out of the station without me. So considering the 996 range (OK so I discounted convertible and Tiptronic why would you want an auto???)! the Carrera 4S caught my eye. Turbo-look wide body, bigger brakes, full width red rear reflector…….. what was there not to like?
It seems that recently the 996 but especially the C4S has started to received some good press, and looking at values a year or two ago compared to today they are starting to creep up little by little. It would seem that in the current market in 2017 of all the 996 models the C4S is the model of choice. 2015 would see you in a C4S from 15k, today 20k cars are much harder to come by and 25-30k plus for an exceptional car is not unheard of. Have I bought a depreciation proof car? Time will surely tell.
A good write up in Total 911 Issue 153 in a test between its faster sibling 996 turbo and Issue 155 featured a buyers guide specifically for the 996 C4S.