By on July 27, 2017

2016 Chevrolet SS - Image: GM

Last week, we discussed the fact that the gap between automotive perception and automotive reality can lead to some remarkable cognitive dissonance on the part of “car people.” That’s why the breadvan Civic Si was sold as a budget-priced Bimmer-beater and the breadvan Scion xB was sold as a Portland-friendly mobile Millennial drum circle. They knew very few Civic “intenders” would look at a Scion and vice versa.

This sort of stuff runs rampant in the business and, if you want any further confirmation of it, just take a look at the staggeringly different demographic profiles for the mechanically similar Cadillac Escalade, GMC Yukon Denali, and Chevrolet Tahoe Premier.

But wait, there’s more. Thanks to a wide variety of advances in materials, design methods, and computing power, the capability envelope of modern vehicles is expanding in all directions. My 2017 Silverado 6.2-liter just got an average of 22.1 mpg on a 680-mile drive from Ohio to South Carolina; my 2006 Phaeton got 17 mpg flat on the same trip despite being a thousand pounds lighter, 100 horsepower weaker, and considerably more aero-friendly. Next week, you’re going to hear a lot about how the Audi TT-RS is faster than (insert name of supercar here) from 0-60. Much of that will be regurgitated pablum from a staggeringly expensive press trip that includes a private helicopter ride from Manhattan to Lime Rock, and some of it is due to advances in tire tech, but there’s some real truth to the fact that the mighty Ferrari Enzo can be humbled in a short sprint by a car that is basically a VW Jetta in a party dress.

As cars become more capable, they are also going to engage in hitherto-unseen marketplace conflicts. Should you buy a 7 Series Bimmer or a Denali XL? A Corvette or a Macan Turbo S? Which brings us to today’s unusual matchup… but before we click that jump, here’s a reminder to send your most burning questions to askjack@calamarco.com.

Westin writes:

I’m looking at purchasing either a 2005 997 911 (non-S) with 85k miles and no history of a clutch replacement or IMS bearing fix, or a 2015 Chevrolet SS. I know that these vehicles two couldn’t be further from each other.

2005 911: I used to have a 1995 NSX and I like the idea of having a coupe with the engine behind me again. I test drove a non-S 997 and wasn’t blown away or anything, but could definitely see myself growing to love the car. I’m leasing a cheap daily so practicality isn’t a concern. I worry about the mileage, maintenance horror stories, and the depreciation. I am legitimately afraid of taking it to the track and having the engine decide it’s time for a $10k visit to the Porsche dealership. I would definitely join PCA as soon as I got the car and am excited at the prospect of all the track days the club puts on, but not at the risk of staring down a costly repair bill.

2015 SS: So… I may have convinced my former girlfriend to buy an SS with a stick. Of all the things I miss about that relationship, that car is up there. This is to say that I drove her car as often as I could get away with and thoroughly enjoyed it every single time. I truly think it’s the last of the big, V8, manual, American sedans. It’s not as fast as the 911 and doesn’t have that Porsche appeal, but I could see it holding its value and it would replace my lease as my only car. My worries about maintenance are much lower as A) the example I’m looking at has 17k miles, and B) it has a damn LS3. I would also track this car and have far less worries about it breaking.

Am I crazy for choosing between these two?

Short answer: of course not. You’re being smart. The automotive landscape has changed. There was no overlap in 1972 between, say, a 911E and the Impala that didn’t quite make it. The same would be true for, say, an ’84 Carrera 3.2 and a Celebrity Eurosport. That was then and this is now.

There’s not much overlap in packaging between the 997-era Porsche Carrera and the current Chevrolet SS, but there is an overlap in performance. I’d be willing to bet that the two cars would be remarkably close in everything from an impromptu street quarter-mile to a couple of laps around Mid-Ohio. The former being much more important than the latter, of course, because in the real world most of us measure performance by how well we can get around some freeway traffic, across a couple of lanes, and through a tight 25-mph exit. An SS and a 911 will perform that particular task with approximately the same aplomb.

Here are some short thoughts of mine regarding the pros and cons:

* The 911 will be much cheaper to track… right up to the moment the engine blows. You’d be surprised just how easy a watercooled modern Porsche is on tires and brakes. No reason you couldn’t get five weekends out of a set of Hoosier R7s, although they’ll be relatively slow near the end. A set of Pagid Orange brake pads can last you the whole trackday season. An SS, on the other hand, will chew through consumables like Pookie hittin’ that rock. With that said, the LS3 isn’t gonna go pop and, if it does, it’s a $3k fix.

* On the other hand, maintenance costs are in no way equal. You should expect to spend two or three grand a year on your 911 just keeping it serviced and repaired. This is a real cost that many Porsche owners forget when they are enthusiastically calculating their maximum monthly payments. Not that the SS will be cheap. Those cars have expensive and bespoke components in them that have to be overnighted from Australia, yo. Ask my little brother about G8 repair costs and that will give you an idea.

* The 911 will depreciate more slowly. Or will it? A 20-year-old base 911 is a $15,000 car. So is a decade-old GTO. But something tells me the SS will be worth real money to the right people down the line.

* The Porsche is a better everyday car than people believe. The SS is a worse everyday car than people believe. After my divorce, I used my Boxster as a daily driver for about half a year. Never had any issue. The SS, on the other hand, is a big, hard-to-park car with fragile wheels.

I really think you could make the case either way… however, when I read your email I detect a lot more enthusiasm for the SS than for the Panzerwagen from Porsche. That makes this a no-brainer. Buy the Chevy and don’t look back. It’s one thing to buy a truck or a van with the idea that you could “come to love it” — but a fussy Super Beetle chock-full of solid-gold parts with an appetite for seals? Hell no. It’s SS time.

[Image: General Motors]

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79 Comments on “Ask Jack: Not That Kind of SS...”


  • avatar
    noorct

    The right car is always the car for which you will pay the repair bill while saying “totally worth it”. Doesn’t sound like the 911 is the one for you.

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      I think you could use this to quantify a person’s sanity using a bell curve or similar statistical distribution (Poisson, maybe?).

      A $10k repair on a 12 year old, non-classic Porsche? That’s a little nutty.
      A $2k repair on something rare (even if not particularly classical)? Maybe more reasonable.

      Disclaimer: I bought the same RX-8 twice and I can see my second rebuild coming down the tracks in the next 12-18 months. Totally worth it.

      I’m more than a little nutty.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      I like this statement.

      Some people gripe about the repair cost of exotics, but I have a car with a massive annual maintenance and repair bill. I pay those bills with a smile and think, “Its totally worth it”.

      I also own a jeep. I keep getting 60 dollar repair bills and I think, “This is bull feces”. I’m so sick of stupid repair bills on that car. they may be “cheap” but they anger me every time.

      Using your wonderful advice- Keep the exotic and sell the stupid jeep.

      • 0 avatar
        volvo

        $60 repair bill???

        Where I live they want $75 to hook the car up to the computer and shop labor starts at $90/hr independant shop and $130/hr dealer shop. I know, I know maybe I should move.

        I am not kidding when I say that $60 would get you a new set of wiper blades and maybe $40 for a new gas cap.

        If you buy your parts online and twist your own wrench then maybe you can do a simple repair for $60. And that doesn’t count the investment in decent tools a scanner and a place out of the weather to do the work

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          No you are not going to get a repair to a computer system done for $60 but that would cover a burnt out bulb or fuse, or a broken window crank, glove box latch ect. If it is new enough to be after Chrysler took them over there will be lots of opportunities for those little nickle and dime you to death repairs.

        • 0 avatar
          arach

          Jeeps are pretty cheap. I don’t think you ever have to hook them up to a computer… haha.

          You just look at whats broken and replace it… but I’m referring to doing my own work for the most part

          I replaced my radiator myself for about $65, the new battery was about 80, oil changes are about 30, new water pump was about $60, the new hoses were about 50, the steering box was about $60, and all of them made me want to roll the car into a river despite being quick and not too difficult repairs.

          The one positive of the jeep is its a breeze to work on. the negative is I can’t go a weekend without it breaking, and the allure of driving one does not exceed the cost and hassle of repairing it.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @arach – how old is the Jeep?

            I know several Jeep dudes and they all have new’er’ and old Jeeps at the same time. they love tinkering on their old ones and use the newer stuff for the hardcore off-road work.

      • 0 avatar
        noorct

        I feel that way about “commuter cars”. If I’m buying something I don’t really like, I just want it to be reliable and maintenance free in between services.

        If I own an amazing and exotic piece of machinery, it’s part of the enjoyment. Surely they could make a trouble free porsche…. if they chopped 30% of the performance, added weight for more durable parts etc…

        But then you don’t really have the same car anymore.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Hey Jack,
    I’m back, passing my astute judgement on your scribes.

    The Porsche is nice and so is the SS. But, what you failed to discuss what is the fit and purpose of each of those vehicles.

    I mean, many could have just as much fun karting and that’s a lot cheaper than running the Porsche or the SS.

    There are many weekend activities that can be realised with all forms of vehicles. I would suggest the best and cheapest, most rewarding and great family building activity is off roading.

    So, how many sets of TAs will you chew up in a year? Fuel use, even using a gas guzzling LS3 Silverado off road will use less fuel than the Porsche or SS around a race track.

    That brings me to your incredible claim of 22mpg. So, what speeds where you driving at? The best I returned with a diesel on a highway run is 39mpg. That is complete open road driving at the 100kph speed limit. No overtaking or driving hard.

    Oh, I still await the arrival of my Texas Edition Badge. You can send it around Christmas, that’s when I’ll be home again.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      So your challenging what the person said they wanted to do and instead want to insist they should pick up a different hobby?

      How about instead of driving a diesel you drive a prius? That will get like 52 MPG, which is even better than your 39 MPG claim.

      LOL.

      I tried offroading, its way too much of a hassle. You need an offroad vehicle + a trailer + a haul vehicle. Instead of owning like a $2000 trackable miata, you need a $10k+ truck, a 5k+ offroader, and a 2kk+ trailer. Then the offroader is bound to break down 9/10 times you go, and take considerable amount of cash to maintain.

      My Jeep costs more than an exotic does. I have to maintain my diesel truck for hauling it + repair it when I break it offroading it + maintain insurance on 3 vehicles. I’d feel safe saying offroading costs me about $4000 a year in maintenance and insurance.

      Some people “DD” offroaders, but you really can’t trust a DD offroader. Too much risk involves. People who tend to “do that” don’t really offroad.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        arach,
        Just buy a Tacoma or Colorado, fit a decent and reputable lift kit. Load the assend with your camping gear, fishing gear and take the family for a great weekend away drinking beer and cooking on a fire.

        That’s what human’s do.

        • 0 avatar
          bikegoesbaa

          That’s certainly not what all humans do.

          The only parts of that description that sounds at all fun to me are “weekend” “beer” and “fire”.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          Indeed, but no need to lift unless you get bigger tires. Or, just go stock everything. They are very capable.

        • 0 avatar
          hubcap

          @arach & @BigAl

          You’re both doing it wrong. A KTM, Husky, Yamaha etc. is the way to go off-road.

          More funner, more better, much cheaper, easier to transport (if it’s not a dual sport).

          Did I mention more funner?

        • 0 avatar
          arach

          I wouldn’t consider that offroading, but I guess thats semantics.

          Offroading to me is rock crawling, mudding, and pushing a vehicle to its limits. An old Taco can do that pretty well, but I wouldn’t trust it to get me home. I’ve broken way too many axles, wheels, tires, even radiators and tie rods etc. to do that.

          But if your talking about camping, fishing, etc. to me thats just doing outdoorsman stuff. I can certainly appreciate that, but that wouldn’t “do it” for me. I can enjoy intense offroading, and the culture around it (heavily modified jeeps, wrangler outtings, tuning, etc.) in a similar way that I can appreciate racing (Autocross, track racing, etc.) but I found the “Most affordable” way to handle the automotive vehicle passion is to go the autocross and occasional Performance Driving Experience Route. You can be competitive with minimal costs, get out your “need for speed”, and have fun with a great support group, plenty of car talk, and a good culture.

          Right now though I DO own an offroading wrangler, a Diesel Pickup to haul it, and used to compete competitively in autocross and did some track racing (Chump Car + PDX). I thought the offroading route would be cheaper, but when its come down to it it eats up more money.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Something is definitely lost in translation, and of course BAFO exaggerates. If he had a Prius he’d claim 100 MPG.

        Figure a Prius gets 62+ MPG, Imperial gallons. Or MPIG

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Al, which MPG do you use? I find there’s sometimes confusion between MPGs calculated with the US gallon versus the Imperial gallon. That said, I’ve driven several 5.3 Silverados on the highway, up to about 120km/h, and with a bit of traffic mixed in, and pretty consistently averaged about 11L/100kmh (which works out to right around 22 US MPG). I think the modern pickup is unpleasantly heavy and large, considering where I need to drive, but they’re not exceptionally thirsty in typical highway driving.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “I’m back, passing my astute judgement on your scribes.”

      Thanks.

      I enjoy passing acidic semi-digested ham sandwiches through my sinus passages!

      Maybe he talked about track day driving because that is *his thing*.

  • avatar
    3XC

    Talk about burying the lede.

    A Phaeton went 680 miles without breaking down? Wow!

  • avatar
    raph

    If Westin decides to go in on the SS and doesn’t plan to extensively modify the suspension get an SS with mag-ride.

    The system in “sport” mode will soak up bumps well and help protect those expensive wheels and suspension components.

    Cost come replacement time for the dampers aren’t too bad either and if they last much longer than your typical OE performance shock it gets better.

  • avatar
    shane_the_ee

    Let me get this straight. So this dude’s girlfriend runs out and buys an SS with a manual… And he doesn’t marry her?? Did she came up pregnant with his best friend’s child or got addicted to heroin? ‘Cause if not he needs advice on more than just what weekend car to buy…

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      I’m pretty sure you’re joking but…

      This strikes me as “single-issue voter” mentality. Not carefully evaluating as many of the details as possible is a good way to screw yourself.

    • 0 avatar
      bienville

      Life pro tip: You don’t have to wife up every woman who makes a decision that’s moderately in your favor. Other examples may include:

      – “letting you” have a project car/play video games/shoot guns or other assorted hobbies

      – “letting you” go out alone to a bar or happy hour where there’s a nonzero chance of other women being there

      – dressing yourself without intervention

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      I met a girl with a G8.

      We were married shortly thereafter.

      If cars are 95% of my life, and 99% of girls have no interest in cars, and I found the 1% who shares in that 95%, my gosh does anything else even matter?

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        “…my gosh does anything else even matter?”

        I can think of a few. Granted, we all have our likes, dislikes, and grievances but one thing that I can’t stand is cigarette* smoke. So, she can be a car goddess, with a body that just won’t quit, and a mind as sharp as a tack, but if she puffs the cancer sticks, she’s not the lady for me.

        * you can go ahead and include crack and meth smoke (and smokers) to that list

        • 0 avatar
          shane_the_ee

          But he said “girlfriend”, which, ostensibly, means she already gotten past the screening for patently-obvious-no’s. (If she did make it to “girlfriend” with obvious no’s, then we’re back to “needs more advice than just which car to buy…)

          • 0 avatar
            arach

            ^^^ yes w/shane.

            The obvious things (meth head for example) should have kept her from getting to girlfriend status.

      • 0 avatar
        notapreppie

        If, say, she were interested in polyamory and you weren’t… That might be a deal breaker.

    • 0 avatar
      thatoneguy247

      Trust me, I tried. Life can be cruel.

  • avatar
    arach

    the SS is a no brainer.

    Its clear that this guy isn’t doing COMPETITIVE racing. If he was a die-hard racer, he would not have even asked the question.

    The SS can easily hang on track days and car gatherings. Consumables aren’t that big of a deal, as odds are he’ll track it once, twice a year? Maybe 3-4 times his FIRST year?

    And I can take a 1st Gen CTS-V and overtake C4s and C5s, These are more potent cars than people give them credit for.

    You’ll have a blast tracking this car.

    If your REALLY worried about tracking the car and keeping costs down, then you’d be looking at miatas or C5s. When I read this it was clear the buyer was interested in “Occaisonally having fun at the track”, in which case the SS is a no-brainer. The consumables won’t be a big deal at all. He won’t even go through a set of tires or a set of brakes in a season, and he can run normal summer performance tires. He does not need high end track tires for what he’s talking about doing.

    When it comes to depreciation, both will probably depreciate by a similar dollar amount. Those will be different percentages, but they’ll be a similar dollar amount.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      I agree with the SS recommendation. I agonized long and hard when buying about how the car would perform for the track days I just don’t attend.

      Instead, I put the consumable money towards actually racing a prepped car in a few wheel-to-wheel series and am much happier.

      From a safety viewpoint, I’d much rather be in a fully caged containment seat wearing a HANS device if something bad happens than in a t-shirt. Also, if something goes boom, its a lot easier and less stressful to know it will not impact my livelihood.

      If you really want to do track days, take a page from Bark’s brother and do a track day in a rental and enjoy the SS the other 364.5 days you’re not on a road course.

      Horses for courses.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    You are going to buy the 911.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    The SS is a great daily driver and legitimately fast in a real world way. It makes great sounds and is a legit sleeper. As you said, it’s the last of its kind. The backseat is big, the trunk is big, but the car drives small. If the choice is between a meh daily driver plus a weekend toy, or a single car that can serve both purposes, why not enjoy your commute as well as weekends?

  • avatar
    phila_DLJ

    What would it take to swap those fragile wheels out for black steelies?

    • 0 avatar
      jrhmobile

      A junkyard with an ex-cop Caprice and maybe $200.

      If you live up north, where snow and ice are issues, this is the cheap way to run snow tires in the winter and track tires (whenever you want) in the summer. Good call.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      A brake swap. Not many wheels will fit over the Brembos, as G8 GT owners found out when they tried to install GXP brakes. Don’t expect the cop steelies to fit either.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Tire Rack shows that they offer 95 wheels to fit the SS. So there are quite a few wheels that will fit over the Brembos. Despite the fact that the stock size is 19″ they actually list a full dozen 18″ wheels that they claim will fit. Now when I look up a 2015 Caprice PPV they list 170 18″ wheels that will fit and that includes at least one that overlaps between the two vehicles. Since steel is stronger and thus can be made thinner that aluminum for the same or greater strength it is possible that the cop steelies would fit. It doesn’t appear that the ID of the wheel is the issue, rather the contour of the rear of the face of the wheel and/or how it transitions into the rim section. Of course you’d have to find a set of those police wheels in the first place which might be hard since they never did sell well, many of them are still in service and I doubt they are any “New Take Offs” available.

        Many years ago there was a distinction between the stock steel wheels that would fit on the drum brakes vs the disc brakes.

        So I had a customer who was looking for cheap transportation after a divorce. One of the suggestions was a Dart/Valiant/Duster but with the disc brakes and slant 6 as requirements for safety and economy. She came up with a Duster and then brought it to me for an oil change and general inspection. I noted the cracked and crusty snow tires that were on the back had to go and the standard ones in the trunk and on the front were also done. I also checked the brakes and noted that the fronts would need to be done in the not to distant future but to worry about the tires first.

        Fast forward a few months and she is ready for the front brakes. Finish it up and go to put the wheels back on. First one goes on fine and the lug nuts snug right up as they should. Go to put the second one on and the wheel just won’t fit flat against the rotor mounting surface and once I went to snug up a lug nut the wheel stopped spinning. With the thick new brake pad the sliding caliper stuck out enough more that it now contacted the face of the wheel. Further investigation showed that the rear also had a disc brake wheel on one side and a drum wheel on the other. So a quick swap and she was rolling again.

        So I’m guessing the previous owner either kept the snow tires and wheels from his earlier Mopar or he went to the wrecking yard and they told him these older wheels we have will work, but only on the rear, so perfect for snow tires.

        • 0 avatar
          FuzzyPlushroom

          Definitely a good point. There’s probably a comparison like this with every older car that eventually offered a brake upgrade – with RWD Volvos, for example, 14″ wheels will bolt up to 240s and pre-’91 700-series without ABS, but only up to the rear wheels on later 7s and 9s. The 15″ ‘Virgo’ five-spokes found on 240 GTs and Turbos had the same problem, being designed before the 740/760 were introduced, but other 15″ RWD-offset wheels are fine.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      The ’15s still had the forged wheels as I recall. I think they moved to the weaker wheels in 16.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    What costs $2-3k per year to run a 911? Is that assuming you track it heavily? Otherwise, looks like a set of rear tires (fronts should last a few years) will run you about $700 mounted, and then a couple of oil changes, filters, etc. Yeah, every few years there will be a brake or clutch replacement, but what am I missing?

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      I think the 2-3k is very accurate.

      You have to average out repair costs. One year might cost you $1000, the next $2000, and the next $4000. The average is then $2333/yr.

      If you budget about 3k/yr (and save it in the years you don’t spend that much), you should be good to cover it.

      I’ve heard the same thing about my exotic, that it costs $5k/yr. One year was $350 (just needed an oil change), but the next year was $11k (Failed Cats, Timing belt change, and convertible top sensor), and then the next year was about 3k (Water pump, brake Pads, other fluids).

      When you talk about a 911, you may have one year that runs you a grand, but then you are going to lose a water pump, a fuel pump, need a clutch, etc. So your 2nd year may be $5000+. The 2-3k is a good estimate. 911s are not overly expensive to work on compared to other cars that match their performance, but to the person not budgeting for them, 2500-3000 for a clutch is realistic (We are porsche owners too), when its only a few hundred bucks on a chevy.

      Water pumps, belts, clutches, fuel pumps (I think those were an issue in the 997s which is why I keep bringing that up) can add up quick. Oil changes, filters, and tires are going to run you over a grand.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      The OP stated they are looking at a 2005 Porsche, a 12 year old car knocking on the door of 13.

      Clearly, not a Camry. If one is going use a 13 year old Porsche on a regular basis i think 2k a year in average repair/ maintenance expense is conservative assuming the owner is not a Porsche tech for their day job.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        Changing a water pump and head unit(used) on an 80k mile 2006 911 costs $3k.

        No one can keep one nice at y’all’s figures.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Per this link, the parts are not so expensive. How did you arrive at your figure?

          http://www.design911.com/Porsche/997-MKI–911–2005–08/Water—Coolant-Pumps/pt878_882_-cma81-cmo117/

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    The IMS bearing won’t fail should you get a 997 model Porsche. They don’t have an IMS. 911 996s and CayBoxster 987s and 986s do, but not the 997. You’ll have to find something else to fix in the 997 and I’m certain you will.

    I look at SS’es on the car sites every now and then – they are tempting and probably the last of their kind. But then, dinosaurs were too.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Everyone likes dinosaurs.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “The IMS bearing won’t fail should you get a 997 model Porsche. They don’t have an IMS.”

      IMS was present in 2005 997s.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        But it was the revised dual row IMS that isn’t prone to failure…

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff Snavely

          2005 is the old problematic bearing that will fail. The more robust bearing is in the 2006-2008 997/987.

          http://imsretrofit.com/ims-101/

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            the whole thing just smacks of typical German car company thinking. We can save money by using the same cylinder head assembly for both sides of the engine, but we’ll implement it in a failure-prone way.

            no coincidence that the Köln-designed 4.0 Ford OHC V6 is designed the same way. Same cylinder head left and right, with the left timing chain up front and the right timing chain in the back.

            at least the 4.0 started as a cam-in-block pushrod engine, so its IMS rides on pressure-lubricated plain bearings.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          it just strikes me as odd that the IMS is sitting inside the crankcase with oil being pumped and flung everywhere, yet they couldn’t come up with some way to get oil supply to that bearing.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      oops, my bad. By 2009-2010, Cayboxsters had a different engine. I assume the 997s at that point did also. I have an 07 Cayman S and so far so good. That engine, M97.1, was the third go-around at the bearing; maybe third time is the charm. I have 51k miles on it and only do two things – frequent oil changes based on the lesser of miles or time, and, don’t treat it like a muscle car or diesel. The low end torque, she is lacking. Get the revs up and it will overcome some of the oiling issues in the bearings everywhere. Its interesting that the owners manual for my old air-cooled Carrera 4, with a more robust engine, had a page devoted to not lugging the engine, defined, if my creaky memory serves, as below 2000rpm. There is at least one replacement IMS bearing fix that includes some sort of oil line to the IMS bearing. “Lubed for life sealed bearing”, please define life.

  • avatar
    thatoneguy247

    Westin here – I bought the SS and couldn’t be happier. Jack’s last statement was spot-on; I was more enthusiastic about the SS.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      Congrats from a fellow owner! I haven’t regretted mine for a second. Have you had it on track yet?

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      Good for you. Even though its only Austin, this is a better choice for Texas. The pick’em up drivers have a better chance of seeing you.

      I’ve been encouraging my son to move there for job opportunities. Is that what brought you?

      • 0 avatar
        thatoneguy247

        Sort of. I actually accepted a position for the same company I was working for in Arizona. Austin is a great place to be for job opportunities, though. Just in the three years since I left Texas after college, numerous companies have opened offices here – everything from tech jobs to marketing, business, etc.

        • 0 avatar
          pb35

          Cool, congrats! I’ve been in Austin for 12 years now and I’m on my second SS. First one was a black auto ’15 and I traded it for a green manual ’17 during the 20% off sale back in March.

          What color? See you on the road!

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I’m sure if he buys the SS he will enjoy it , but personally I can’t over how too stealthy it looks.He will have longing looks across the intersection at the retired dentist in his 911.
    BTW I bet not that many readers caught the New Jack City reference, I did, I dig it.

    • 0 avatar
      thatoneguy247

      That’s exactly the thought I had before I pulled the trigger on the SS: When I see a 911 on the street, will I regret my decision?

      Nope. I crossed paths with a clean 997 911 Turbo last night. At my age (mid 20s) I would get into too much trouble and look like a tool in that car. Plus the SS makes beautiful sounds. Beautiful, American, V8 sounds. Maybe I’m crazy, but I have never heard a 911 that made a sound that I would describe as pleasant. Maybe the 997 GT3 RS 4.0?

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Buy the SS. Honestly, almost anything with a manual transmission and a V8 is going to be a hoot to drive. The SS is certainly no exception. My daily driver is a manual V8 S5 and I’ll keep this thing as long as I can. There’s nothing more intoxicating than hearing it and rowing through the gears. It’s a great experience and makes up for the cars few shortfalls.

    Buy the SS. You won’t regret it. If I could find one in my area, I would have bought one myself to replace my S5 and Taurus SHO just to kill two birds with one stone.

  • avatar
    22_RE_Speedwagon

    Can’t say I’ve driven the 911 to compare, but I do daily an 6MT SS and I do recommend it. Such a joyful ride with an intoxicating sound. Awesome road trip car. Huge trunk, massive back seat, 4G LTE hotspot for the kiddos. Total sleeper but when people notice it they tend to chase you on foot to inquire.

  • avatar
    Arminius

    Go with the SS. Bought mine 4 weeks ago (new ’17, manual) so obviously I’m biased. To your point, this isn’t one of the last big, V8, manual, American (yes, technically Australian. Whatever – it has a Chevy badge) sedans, it is literally THE last one. It is the only such car you can currently buy new and there are not many left. The only other sedan you can buy new in the US with a manual V8 is the BMW M6 Gran Coupe.

    Great daily driver assuming you don’t have to deal with hard core stop and go traffic on a daily basis. I got stuck on the freeway the other day due to an earlier accident and it wasn’t much fun. But overall very roomy car (I’m 6’4” and there is room behind me), smooth ride, plentiful trunk, and the sounds the car make never get old. Be sure to get a 2016 or later as that is when they changed the exhaust. That said, if you are worried about consumables, this car gets terrible gas mileage. It comes with a gas guzzler tax for a reason.

    • 0 avatar
      nvinen

      I love that “the last of the big, V8, manual, American sedans” is Australian. It’s OK, we’re practically cousins anyway.

      When you say it gets “terrible gas mileage”, do you mean around town? I would imagine it isn’t so bad on the freeway. My Ford Falcon (direct competitor, pity it wasn’t sold in the USA) gets around 6l/100km on the freeway (which I think is almost 40MPG?). That’s no worse and possibly even slightly better than my last car, a Honda Accord. And it’s a bigger, heavier vehicle with more than twice the power.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        On the freeway my 16 SS with manual does no better than 10L/100 km (23 mpg).

      • 0 avatar
        Arminius

        I’ve got about 1.1K miles on the odometer and according to the car computer I’m averaging about 30MPH and 15 MPG. My driving has been a mix of city and freeway with much of that Freeway being rush hour. Overall I’ve been pretty easy on the car during the “break in” period.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    The choices are not good.

    In one corner we have a 13 year old not fast time bomb waiting to bankrupt you, but it is Porscheeeee so good to impress impressionable mid-westerners like Jack.

    Or

    Here is a unicorn chevy cobalt looking thing with a V8 from several generations ago Corvette that no Chevy dealer sees often enough to know how to fix and parts are hard to come by. Again midwestern impressionable men like Jack think ahhh a car with corvette engine, but trust me it’s no Corvette.

    A wise man would recommend a 2015-2016 Ford Mustang GT to the young man. Obviously perception and price matter
    to him as some measure of performance. You get more street cred with a Mustang GT and with perf package GTs (choose gear ratios and wheels/tires carefully) a manual Mustang GT all day every day.

    • 0 avatar
      thatoneguy247

      Perception matters only so far as I don’t want to look like an asshat, which is part of the reason I didn’t go with the 911.

      I’m not sure what you think the cobalt has in common with an SS, but the “several generations ago” LS3 is from the last-gen Corvette, C6. Classic Chevrolet in Grapevine did my recall work right after I got the SS and they’ve seen hundreds of these, so I think I’ll be okay.

      I’ve driven a C7 and the Corvette is a great car, but I’d gladly take the practicality and insurance payments of the SS (or even a 911 if it was my second car).

      I’ve also driven the current-gen Mustang, from an Ecoboost rental to the track tour Ford had for the GT350. The Mustang is good, but not what I was looking for at all.

      • 0 avatar
        pmirp1

        The Chevy SS is an uninspiring design that looks like a cavalier/cobalt. Or worse a used cop car. You already have means of transportation in another vehicle so Mustang choice was given with that context in mind. In Atlanta these things are unicorns. There is a reason they are discontinued (general lack of interest – GM could continue to make them in Camaro plant). I wish you luck since you have your heart set on a yesterday Corvette engine.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      What sort of ding dong buys a car for “street cred”?

      • 0 avatar
        pmirp1

        It’s a car thing, you wouldn’t understand riding your bikes.

        • 0 avatar
          pb35

          I’m on a trip visiting family right now and am driving a ’17 Mustang GT courtesy of Hertz. It’s cool and all but I can’t wait to fire up the SS that’s waiting in my garage for me when I get home tomorrow.

          Nobody has noticed the GT except for the old man in the Lincoln pointing out the sequential tail lights to his wife. I saw him pointing them out in my rear view mirror. I’m in FL and have seen about 120 Mustang’s but not one SS.

  • avatar
    swilliams41

    This is Westins dad and I am a car guy too. I just tend to be (at 57) more of the space, grace and pace temperament. I want fast, roomy, quiet, good handling car, those are my priorities. That said, the SS is the perfect car for Westin. A sleeper that is fun. His face lights up every time he is behind the wheel of that thing. He may need to get a Prius as a daily for Austin though but the SS rocks!

    I love the 911 but that can wait for his career to advance a little more, the SS is perfect for this time, this place.


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