By on October 17, 2014

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The last time my friend Derek allowed me to write for TTAC, I narrated a brief test drive of a Porsche 911 GT3 from the 996 generation, a a car that provided an intense and immersive driving experience, but that presented a heinous proposition as a sole car / daily driver, even for a young, single owner with a short commute in a sunny clime.  Ostensibly, I had driven the car because I was considering replacing my old 911 with something more livable / less cantankerous / more rapid / etc.  While that particular edition of the GT3 proved a poor match for my needs, I still resolved to join the 21st century by upgrading to a more modern car.

Springtime of 2014 represented a good opportunity to start shopping for a new conveyance, with several enticing and new or recently updated offerings both on the horizon and within my price range.  I considered several options – even several non-Porsches! – including the Alfa Romeo 4C, the all-new F8X family of the BMW M3/4, the C7 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51, and the 981 Porsche Cayman GTS.  Those are all new cars, with full factory warranties.  I’d learned my lesson owning an old German sports car with no factory repair safety net.

As I window shopped for new cars I also perused the Autotrader website and came across an intriguing advertisement for a 997 GT3.  Since the car was introduced, I had intensely desired Porsche’s GT3 from the 997 family, and if Halicki’s Gone in 60 Seconds cult classic were improbably re-made to fit my biography, my “Eleanor” would be a 997 GT3.  Unfortunately, the GT3 that was introduced when I was in high school violated the one sacrosanct rule of this entire exercise – the car was old and out of warranty.  It also featured some frighteningly expensive components (new PCCB brake rotors would cost almost as much as I paid for the 993!).

However.  The car was local.  I knew the seller.  The price was below market.  The car was nicely optioned (blinged-out PCCB brakes, full leather, Xenon lights) and well-maintained, with a clean PPI, perfect DME over-rev report, and only 14,000 miles from new.

I called the owner and bought it over the phone for the full asking price, 100% sight unseen, in less than five minutes.  I broke all of the rules.  I did it for two reasons:  1 – I desired the GT3 moreso than any of the other options, and would have chosen a GT3 over any of them if finances were of no concern. 2 – The attractive entry price, coupled with the dynamics of the GT3 market mean that I’m unlikely to suffer any meaningful depreciation.  In fact, I’ve been using the car as my primary vehicle / daily driver now for six months and plan to continue doing so for another year or two before selling it for about what I paid, perhaps a bit more.

So what’s it like?

Driving Experience:

Engine:

The defining feature of every GT3 from the 996 and 997 generations – up to and including the 4.0 RS zenith of the series – is the race-derived engine that Porsche nerds refer to as the “Mezger” engine, so named for Porsche’s visionary engineer, Hans Mezger, who designed the very first 911 engine, and whose very last project for Porsche was the development of the turbocharged lump that powered the 911 GT1 prototype that triumphed at Le Mans in 1998.  That pedigreed block forms the basis for the production car engine, and in 997.1 GT3 guise it displaces 3.6 liters (100mm bore, 76.4mm stroke), producing 415 bhp and 300 lb-ft of torque.  Performance is produced courtesy of high revs (8,400 RPM redline) and high compression (12.0:1); peak power output comes at 7,600 RPM, with peak torque entering at a lofty 5,500 RPM.  While power delivery is, uh, peaky, the engine is sufficiently tractable and civilized at low RPMs.  I’ve enhanced the car with a bypass exhaust from NorCal Porsche tuner Sharkwerks (mine is serial number 639 – it’s rather popular among the small community of GT3 devotees) and forced the exhaust valves to remain open all the time in order to drop 20 pounds from the rear, create an exceedingly antisocial racket and, most importantly, paint a big grin on my face every time I drive the car.

I cannot overstate the engine’s central role in my enjoyment of the car; it is raw, emotive, immediately responsive, and a key driver of value:  With rare exception, all Porsches ever made with a Mezger engine are appreciating or holding value, whereas those without an engine connected to Hans are depreciating.  Furthermore, the factory still uses the admittedly outdated warhorse engine in its 911-based race cars.  I’ve gone so far as to reference the engine’s provenance with an obnoxious vanity plate:

Screen shot 2014-10-10 at 2.06.32 AM

Drivetrain:

The marvelous engine mates to a close ratio 6-speed manual that features shockingly short throws and a stiff clutch.  When cold or just trundling around town it can be balky and reluctant to engage properly, but the heavy control efforts begin to make sense when driving spiritedly, the intended use for which the entire car is optimized.  Perfectly rev-matched downshifts are a satisfying delight, although the plastic components in the stock lever and linkage feel slightly insubstantial – one of the GT3’s few letdowns as a tool for Freude am Fahren, to borrow a phrase from Porsche’s countrymen in Bavaria.  A dual mass flywheel mates to the aforementioned weighty clutch, whereas the RennSport brethren of the “base” GT3 received the single mass lightweight flywheel.  I have a factory lightweight flywheel in my 993, and I’d love to have the same part in the GT3, but I’d rather have the circa $5,000 associated cost in my pocket.

Suspension and Ride:

The 997 GT3 represented an all-over softening of the preceding generation’s rough edges, coupled with nicer styling – both inside and out – and a bit more grunt. The biggest changes occurred in the car’s suspension, as evidenced in the 997 version’s ride and handling balance. As the first generation of the GT3 to receive PASM – Porsche Adaptive Suspension Management – the contemporary marketing materials and reviews harped on the new, allegedly comfort-oriented suspension setup. The GT3’s PASM setup has two modes, one intended for street usage and the other, harder setting intended for track work. In reality, the “softer” setting is still rather stiff and has a tendency to porpoise over surface imperfections at a variety of speeds while road driving. The stiffer setting has only one legitimate use: illustrating to complaining passengers that the softer setting should be appreciated. The stiffer PASM setting doesn’t bother me in terms of ride quality per se, but it does irk me that that the front tires spend less time in touch with the road than they ought to over anything but perfect pavement. For example, let’s say you perform a panic stop on slightly undulating tarmc – the front wheels will skip over the bumps in the pavement as ABS pulsates away; it’s rather disconcerting. I’ve ridden in and driven all generations of the GT3 sold in North America, and the progressive leap in compliance over time is the most impressive enhancement in my observation. The facelifted 997.2 GT3 brought along mild, evolutionary PASM revisions, whereas the all-new 991 GT3 rides like a Cadillac in comparison to its forebears.

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Handling and Steering:

Despite my niggling complaints regarding suboptimal PASM tuning, I am an avowed fan of the car’s handling and steering feel. Although other cars doubtless offer more outright grip or fractionally higher slalom average speeds, the GT3 dutifully produces the expected objective figures while providing a fulsome stream of involving feedback to the driver. Perhaps you’re driving on a familiar two-lane road when you encounter a mild sheen of rain on the road; you’ll feel it. Perhaps you’re approaching “the limit” around a sweeper and wonder whether you have a bit more grip in reserve; you’ll feel it through the steering wheel and your posterior, and you’ll know. After driving the car for awhile – I’ve put 3,500 miles on mine in 6 months – I’ve gotten used to the chassis’s talents, but time spent driving other cars, including my older 911, brings things into sharp relief once more.

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Brakes:

As mentioned, my car came equipped with the optional PCCB – Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes – setup. Whoever specced my car way back when elected to splurge $8,840 for this option; for that rather immodest sum, they received the following: Massive brake discs (15.0″ front, 13.8″ rear) replete with eye-catching yellow calipers, a circa 40 lb. reduction in unsprung weight, fade-free braking performance, and alleged dust-free operation (untrue). Now, on the other side of the ledger, a few reasons to reconsider PCCBs: Replacing the rotors with OEM parts will run you well over $20,000 (they’re a lifetime part in terms of wear, but, say, running into the gravel trap beyond Road Atlanta’s turn 10A could result in scratching the rotors, necessitating replacement); pads aren’t cheap either (I have a replacement coming soon, it’ll be four figures), and you have to replace them at about 50% life if you’d like to protect your ceramic rotors. Other mitigating factors: PCCBs offer absolutely no advantage versus the standard “Big Red” brakes in terms of stopping distance or pedal feel, and they sometimes squeal around town.

That said, the brakes work impressively, whether you’re executing a full panic stop as an impromptu Heimlich maneuver to help your choking neighbor or wiping off a quick 50 MPH on a back road cruise. Despite the considerable expense, I wouldn’t consider buying another GT3 without ceramics.

Summary Performance Specs:

For the benefit of internet bench racers, I’ve borrowed some performance numbers from the pros in Ann Arbor.

Acceleration:  0-60 in 4.0 seconds; quarter mile in 12.4 seconds at 116 MPH

Roadholding: 0.99g

Braking: 70-0 in 149 feet

Ownership Experience:

Now for the practical considerations and downsides of GT3 ownership.

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Ground Clearance:

The front ground clearance for the car is a scant 3.8 inches.  Not only is the car rather low, but the front overhang is substantial.  Imagine you’re driving around with Jay Leno’s chin skimming along the ground in front of you, under a Damoclean multi-thousand dollar penalty if you hit a speed bump at anything above walking pace!  Exciting.  At first this was the most intimidating aspect of driving the car, as pulling into any parking lot involved an exciting game of wondering “Will I or won’t I scrape the front of my new toy?!?”  I’m already on my second front splitter (mercifully a sacrificial plastic piece that only costs a few hundred dollars), but I’ve learned to proceed with caution and take wide approach and departure angles whenever possible.  My car does not have the nose lift feature that Porsche offered on later GT3s, but I can now live without it, successfully navigating parking decks and gas stations with relative ease.

Fuel Economy and Range:

Speaking of gas stations…  The car makes numerous sacrifices at the altar of motorsports chic, but the small capacity fuel tank – just over 10 gallons – and laughable economy conspire to send me to my local Chevron (premium fuel only, of course) every 130 miles or so.  I can occasionally eke out a bit more range on highway hauls, but my average plummets when I go on pleasure drives on back roads, where I’ve burned a tank in less than 100 miles on several occasions.

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Interior:

Despite an MSRP well above $120,000, the GT3’s interior is decidedly no-frills.   The important aspects are executed with aplomb: terrific driving position and ergonomics, touch points swathed in purposeful, tactile Alcantara (ie, synthetic suede) and excellent visibility despite the surfboard / ping pong table out back.  The remainder of the interior, however, leaves a bit to be desired, at least for sybarites seeking sumptuous solace; the seats adjust manually, there is no navigation system, and the puny stereo – featuring only a single disc CD changer, people who own smartphones or MP3 players are out of luck! – is comprehensively overpowered by tire, wind, and engine noise, as the GT3  eschews essentially all sound deadening to pare back mass.  Moreover, the entire car is screwed together so tightly and rides so stiffly that any foreign object in the interior, even a single penny in the console cubby, will induce a maddening vibration / rattle.  As if that weren’t enough, the car makes its own vibrations due to harmonics at about 90 MPH, and they’re sufficiently acute that the view out the rear view mirror is distorted.

Insurance:

Although the car is seven years old now, it’s still fairly valuable and fairly high performance.  I’m 25 and possess a clean driving record (thank you Michael Valentine!), but insurance is still somewhat expensive.  I pay just under $500 per month to insure both the GT3 and 993 through a quality carrier (read: not an insurer that advertises on television).

Summary:

My GT3 is gloriously excessive, embarrassingly wasteful, astonishingly impractical, and supremely indulgent, a pur sang racer diverted from the race track to a relatively quiet, domesticated life at the eleventh hour.

Yet I endure these first world hardships with a smile, because I adore its uncompromising singularity of ideal and purpose.

David Walton grew up in the North Georgia mountains before moving to Virginia to study Economics, Classics, and Natural Light at Washington and Lee University. Post-graduation, he returned to his home state to work in the financial services industry in Atlanta.  A lifelong automotive enthusiast, particular interests include (old) Porsches and sports car racing.

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169 Comments on “Ownership Review: Porsche 911 GT3 (997 Vintage)...”


  • avatar
    sirwired

    FYI, a little note as to what “997 vintage” actually refers to, model-year wise, would be helpful for those of us not versed in Porsche model codes. I know it’s just a Googling away, but it still might be nice to mention it in the title (or in the review intro.)

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    Rich boy spends money on a $120k car, sight unseen. Finds things to complain about. Stereotypes reinforced. End of story’s story.

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      It’s wasn’t hardly $120k.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-X

        “Despite an MSRP well above $120,000, the GT3’s interior is decidedly no-frills.”

        • 0 avatar

          MSRP being the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or, the price when sold as a new car.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I think the prob here is Detroit-X said “spends [some] money,” which was interpreted as “spent $120k.”

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Even if he bought a new $120K car, I don’t know why someone has a problem with that. God forbid people use money they earned to buy things they want.

          • 0 avatar
            windnsea00

            Haters going to hate. I am in my mid 20’s and own a 997 Carrera S, worked hard for it. Some people don’t like to simply see others succeed.

        • 0 avatar
          David Walton

          I paid only $79,500 for the car – bargain.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Well now you just look like a bragging wank. Good work.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            People are still going to b!tch about you buying an $80K car, it’s what they do. I’m happy for you that you have a car that you love.

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            He could have blown that and way more on a history PhD, specialized in labor legislation, wormed his way up the levels of government and become a czar in the admin of the first rastafarian LGBT President.

            Be careful what you criticize.

          • 0 avatar
            David Walton

            The price was a “bargain” in the sense that the car was probably worth $85k or so given mileage, overall condition, ceramic brakes, full leather, xenons, no navigation (ridiculously obsolete at this point, rather do without it), etc.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I can’t imagine the terribleness of a Porsche Navigation system from 2007. It would date the care and ruin everything.

          • 0 avatar
            David Walton

            The navigation on the 997.1s really is awful.

            I think the lack of in car entertainment is rather refreshing in a car designed for, you know, driving.

            When I need navigation assistance I use my iPhone, simple.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I can’t think of any VW products that had even passable navigation systems at that time. The new Audis have a better system, but I still like MFT and UConnect much better.

            When I was in high school, my friend’s dad bought a 996 911 GT2. That thing was a monster, and it was completely stripped down. I don’t know if I ever heard the radio of that car. That was my Eleanor for awhile.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            If you were to buy a car like this for its navigation system, you’d definitely be shopping on the wrong aisle. I can see why the original owner didn’t spring for it.

          • 0 avatar
            bortlicenseplate

            Wait, what? You’re in your mid-20’s and you have the wherewithal and taste to daily-drive a 997 GT3?

            That’s nothing but awesome, and nothing but props from this not-spare-$80k-having 35-year-old enthusiast. Pity all the haters and front splitters.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      The jealousy is palpable and unbecoming

      Have some class and self respect

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Hang on now – the last batch of owner reviews, people complained that they were too sugar coated, too full of the owner’s confirmation bias. Then we get someone who, even as a P-Car fanboy, delivers a fairly honest assessment of their car’s flaws (which they accept) and he’s being a rich prick?

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        There is a long history of thinly veiled jealousy on here for anyone who can afford more than a typical Camcordima.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          I can’t speak for everyone, because some are probably jealous.

          But there’s another take on expensive car. I’m an engineer with an MBA, and I find that spending house-sized money on a car is perplexingly sub-optimal, when the cheaper options are far better by most practical measures, especially reliability and TCO.

          I don’t get why some people are so proud of using their resources iin a suboptimal way. I have a few hypotheses on the matter, but they’re not flattering. Suffice it to say, I don’t get it.

          If I did get it, I’d be driving a 3 or 5 series – and I could pay for it, if I thought it was important. Instead, I drive a clean and well maintained decade old Sienna — because it’s useful/efficient/reliable and well suited to my purpose. And guess which rolling dadmobile my colleagues hop in when we all go to lunch? A new top-spec minivan costs about the same as that 3 selies, and is far more comfortable inside and is worth owning after the warranty expires. If I get the urge to drop $40k for a car with leather seats, I’ll buy a new Sienna XLE.

          • 0 avatar
            David Walton

            I personally find MBAs a suboptimal allocation of resources for most.

          • 0 avatar
            kuman

            Luke, I find it funny too, coz if I had money burning holes in my wallet, im more inclined towards mpv with more lux than sports sedan or even coupe. Im talking about picking audi Q5 or even the likes of acura mdx if they ever sold them here over audi tt or clk

          • 0 avatar
            Master Baiter

            I’ll bet that Sienna’s a real panty dropper.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            I’m an accountant with an MBA and I consider sports cars to be the only reason I care to acquire resources in the first place.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            I’m an accountant with an MBA and I consider sports cars to be the only reason to acquire resources.

          • 0 avatar
            zamoti

            Not sure why a dedicated cheapskate minivan driver is reading and commenting on some kid’s story about a kickass Porsche.
            I think ye may be at the wrong site, try consumerreports dawt com, I hear they are reviewing a used Kia Sedona today.
            Wish I had a Porsche (hands in pockets, kicks at pebbles) but I’m not going to piss in someone’s cereal because I [refuse to spend|cannot afford] the price of admission.

          • 0 avatar
            tooloud10

            Before deciding that someone is “using their resources in a sub-optimal way”, wouldn’t you have to know exactly how many resources the person is working with? People often tell me that I’ve “wasted” my money on unreliable European cars, presumably because they’re looking at my situation through their own tinted glasses.

            Personally, I’m more than happy to use additional resources to not have to drive a minivan, but that’s just me, and I’ll continue to laugh at the $40k minivan/SUV owners that see my (less expensive) Porsche and lament to me that “Some day I’ll have one of those…” while completely ignoring that they could very easily have one of those RIGHT NOW.

            Some people like to tell stories so they can feel like they’re the kind of person that will own a Real Sports Car some day, and others…well, they just go buy the darn thing and scratch their heads as those around them refuse to pull up their pants and do what makes them happy.

            So, it’s not that I’m proud of “how I use my resources”, it’s that I’m proud that I’m able to listen to myself and do the things that make me happy, while too many other people seem to want to be thought of as a Real Risk Taker while being seated behind the wheel of their minivan with a fresh extended warranty.

            YMMV.

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            See that’s why people are different and can do what they please with their resources. I cannot imagine a more colossal waste of resources than buying a Sienna or Q5 or MDX. I’d gladly spend $80k on a Porsche just to not have to drive a minivan or blinged out VW/Honda.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            As an accountant and an MBA, the only reason I work my butt off to acquire resources is to spend them on sports cars.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            http://www.thetruthabouteconomics.com?

          • 0 avatar
            David Walton

            Without digressing further, I’ll say this about resource allocation:

            If I weren’t able to buy exciting cars with my earnings (if I lived in NYC, for example), I wouldn’t be as motivated to work like I do.

            I have an undergrad degree in Econ (no student loans) from an excellent liberal arts school and no intention to return to school for an MBA; I enjoy my job and I have no intention of becoming a career-changer.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “Without digressing further, I’ll say this about resource allocation:

            If I weren’t able to buy exciting cars with my earnings (if I lived in NYC, for example), I wouldn’t be as motivated to work like I do.”

            Indeed. I have a nice house, can afford to travel a little, etc; the only thing I really want to “improve” is to experience more cars. Unfortunately that takes money. Which I work hard for, so I can buy more cars.

          • 0 avatar
            superchan7

            You’re proud of having to drive all of your colleagues to lunch every time; you made the incorrect assumption that the rest of us would also like to do so.

            My 2-seater is the perfect excuse for not driving people to lunch. I don’t even like to drive people in my commuter car; someone had accidentally unfastened my baby seat TWICE.

            By the way, at some point over a decade ago, your Sienna was bought brand new–whether it was you or someone else.

          • 0 avatar
            997.2gt3

            I paid 105-107k for my 997.2 GT3 awhile back. On ebay cars with similar mileage are now going for 140-150k. Get a 3 series or 5 series run of the mill throw away BMW, no chance it gains value.

  • avatar
    superchan7

    I used to own a Cayman as a DD, and the front mud flaps would scrape every single time at my favourite gas station.

    I now have a 355 as a leisure car; its nose is higher than the Cayman’s but feels twice as long. I now use the gas station’s other exit exclusively. Pretty sure your GT3 requires more care!

    What are the long-term maintenance issues of Mezger blocks (and GT3s in general)? My Cayman was decent, but it did need brakes ($2500), developed a hydraulic steering leak ($4k, warranty) and one week before I closed its sale, it blew its AOS ($400). I still miss that car, but it was a Tiptronic so that made me feel better about letting it go.

    Porsches sound so mechanical…would definitely be interested in a GT3 someday.

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      I’ve been told by a high end garage / supercar rental place that the only car harder to get in / out was a 355 since the front overhang is so big.

      There are some issues with the Mezger engine: the RMS can weep if you let them sit unatteneded, the coolant pipes can fail unexpectedly, but most issues are minor and easily fixed, althoug not cheaply.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “I called the owner and bought it over the phone for the full asking price, 100% sight unseen, in less than five minutes.”

    Congrats, brilliant considering it was local.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    Well you done went and did it… first you daily drove a fairly reliable yet still classic Porsche, tempting fate with breakdowns of biblical proportions, but that wasn’t enough of a gamble. So now you go and spend the equivalent of a small house on one of the most rare and exotic modern Porsches, and then daily drive it as well. You are just begging for the Porsche Gods to rain down a flurry of broken German parts on you huh?!?! :)

    Just kidding around (sort of), I mean I love the 997 GT3 as well and you are extremely lucky to be able to afford on at such a young age. And it appears from the article that you are being smart and keeping the 993 as well, which is a good move. I would bet both of these cars will be worth keeping essentially forever. You must have one heck of a job.

    But please please buy a daily driver! I would bet that just the savings in insurance alone would cover the payment for a decent daily, and get collector car insurance for the Porsches. Not to mention the savings in wear and tear, extra maintenance, long term value and even fuel savings you would get by not putting so many hard daily miles on those gorgeous cars!

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      Both cars reside in a parallel universe “Twilight Zone” in which depreciation isn’t a major concern. I actually plan to sell the 993 fairly soon, or at least get a market read on pricing. They’ve appreciated markedly since I bought mine 2.5 years ago.

      I don’t desire a daily driver, at least at this point; cars – especially the types that I own – are made to be driven. Driven often, driven hard.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        I remember when you bought it but I don’t know if they have appreciated so much more since then…. by the time you got yours prices were already pretty high. I was looking at them back in 2009 and I really missed out, biggest mistake/regret of my life so far! But you should still do alright. I hope you write an article about the experience of selling it.

        I can appreciate and even admire the purity of your plan to drive your cars often and hard. But while I understand the Twilight Zone of Porsche values going on these days, still, lower mileage showroom perfect cars are worth a lot more than higher mileage daily driven examples. But if you start with one around 80k already then you are right, there isn’t much difference in value from there into 100-140k. How many miles did your GT3 have on it when you got it? And how many have you put on it in 6mo?

        • 0 avatar
          David Walton

          The biggest upswing in the air-cooled market has transpired since I bought, I believe.

          The experience of selling it will be to hire the same broker that sold me the GT3, not so exciting!

          My GT3 had 14k miles; now has 17.6k miles.

  • avatar
    ccd1

    Unfair to beat up the author because he can afford to buy, maintain and insure an expensive car.

    Owning a Porsche is on my bucket list, but I doubt I will ever cross it off that list. Looked to purchase a 911 Carrera S last Winter but within my price range the best I could do is a 2009 MY with around 35,000 miles. Instead I opted for a 2012 TT-RS with about the same mileage with about 1 year left on the warranty.

    No regrets so far.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      Then I’m going to beat up the author for the following:

      “PCCBs offer absolutely no advantage versus the standard “Big Red” brakes in terms of stopping distance or pedal feel, and they sometimes squeal around town…Despite the considerable expense, I wouldn’t consider buying another GT3 without ceramics.”

      If there’s no advantage, and the potential downside is rather expensive, then why go for ceramics instead of traditional steel? High-end rotor and pad replacement is going to be comparable to the cost for ceramic pads, and having ‘lifetime’ rotors that can chip from normal street gravel (I’ve seen it…) just seems silly.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      It was on mine for quite a while as well. Now I’m not too concerned about it, partly because I’m a little less impressed than I was earlier in life, and partly because the driving I do isn’t interesting.

      • 0 avatar
        ccd1

        A fun car makes ordinary driving more interesting. I’m in the Metro DC area and I get a kick out of my car just driving to Starbucks. Cars like these never let you forget what you are driving. However, unlike the GT3, the power and torque in the RS kicks in at love revs.

        My dream Porsche would have been a 997.2 Turbo circa MY2009. In that year you get the Metzger engine but the 997.2 upgraded interior. Unfortunately, that is an $80,000 car. I spent 2 nights on the couch for getting my car which was MUCH less!

        • 0 avatar
          David Walton

          If I lived in metro DC I wouldn’t have a high performance car; I went to school in Virginia and have a healthy disregard for Virginia’s roving bandits of LEOs.

          Indeed 2009 is the most desirable turbo IMO; Mezger motor with facelift amenities.

          • 0 avatar
            ccd1

            The turbo just wasn’t in my budget as this is another $80,000 car (for a MY2009). And if I lived in Virginia, I would not have purchased my car. But I live in Maryland where the cops and not quite as tough.

            Seems we think alike! lol!

          • 0 avatar

            don’t get me started on Virginia… and I’ve never even lived there. (My sister lives there, and I visit several times a year, and I spent 20 years in DC ending in ’99.)

  • avatar
    hudson

    There’s no company still producing cars that I like more than Porsche. My wife and I have the saying “in our Porsche years”. Which also reminds her that one day I’ll be buying one (hopefully) :)

    Not sure I’d want something as low as a GT3 however.

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      You get used to the car being low; I would be indifferent about having the nose lift on a later GT3 at this point. Wide angles, go slow, it’s fine.

      • 0 avatar
        hudson

        I’m not sure I’d take well to that. I’m taking delivery of my first collectible car shortly, a Rally car, and I’m still worried I’m going to fuck it up :)

        I think a more pedestrian Porsche with a couple tweaks would do me just fine. That or an Alpine A310.

  • avatar
    ant

    20k for rotors? wow.

    how much are stock rotors to replace?

  • avatar
    pb35

    Good to see you back David, I enjoy your posts here. This one was a nice change of pace for us muscle car driving plebes.

    As someone that starts planning their next purchase as I drive my new car off the lot, where do you go after a GT3? Good luck, she’s a beauty.

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      Thanks!

      After this GT3, options are:

      (1) Keep 997.1 GT3 and modify it
      (2) Keep 997.1 GT3 and modify it; add Ferrari 550 Maranello to stable
      (3) Replace with 997.2 GT3 RS
      (4) Replace with 991 GT3
      (5) Replace with 991 GT3 RS

      … not that I spend too much time thinking about this type of thing.

      • 0 avatar
        ccd1

        If you want to keep your depreciation low, I’d stick with the analogue, ie pre-991 Porsches. Added benefit is that you can get a 6 speed manual and avoid the potential disaster of a failed PDK down the road

        • 0 avatar
          David Walton

          As you might expect, I’m a keen observer of this small corner of the marketplace, and I disagree somewhat; the infamous stop sale curtailed production numbers so acutely that 991.1 GT3s are likely to be the rarest of ALL GT3 variants. Supply will be forever low, demand will be quite febrile until the next iteration comes along in 2017 or so.

          • 0 avatar
            ccd1

            Interesting. I assumed that Porsche replaced all the GT3 engines and just resumed production. Rarity, especially in a highly desireable Porsche, should keep values high.

            I’m hoping that rarity will keep values high on my TT-RS as only 1000 were imported in MY 2012 and 2013 combined. The next RS, if it is imported into the US, would not arrive until the 2016-2017 model year.

            The 991 GT3 is supposed to be a beast from all accounts. I just think I would miss a manual too much.

          • 0 avatar
            David Walton

            Indeed, they did replace all 785 engines worldwide, but the process took 6+ months. The stop sale was announced in mid February 2014 and there are still straggler 2014s that have not yet been delivered to their owners.

            The best harbinger of value for cars going forward is scarcity, but when coupled with atypical demand characteristics (ie, the old car offers something desirable that the new one does not – a manual transmission, a race car engine, an analog driving experience) prices may move up.

            I have ridden in a 991 GT3 – it is deeply impressive.

      • 0 avatar
        ccd1

        My options if I got rid of my car would be:

        1) 2009 Porsche 911 turbo with manual; or

        2) C7 Vette after mid-cycle refresh to correct problems.

        The trouble with both options is that I don’t track my car and I can get the performance levels on my car up to the point where it just doesn’t make any difference on public roads. For example, a $1,000 chip will raise horsepower and torque to around 400 each. Add an aftermarket exhaust and intercooler and those numbers good into the upper 400s (Stage II), add a supercharger and power goes up to 500-600 hp (Stage III). All of these power options would cost FAR less than the Porsche or Vette.

  • avatar
    Stovebolt

    Thanks for the peek behind the curtain. No real Porschelust myself, but this helps me see the point of it. Nicely done.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    Beautiful P-car and good for you for being able to afford/drive one. I rolled up beside a new(er) one…it was dark gray with orange mirrors, GT3 script down the rockers, looked like a younger guy behind the wheel. I loved the exhaust snarl as it rocketed away but I couldn’t help but cringe as he bounced down the bombed out/cold heaved roads up here. I shudder to think what a bent rim would cost to replace. I drove lowered cars in my youth but it was always a stressful experience dodging potholes and frost heaves in the pavement.

    Still….beautiful cars…

  • avatar
    JMII

    “The marvelous engine mates to a close ratio 6-speed manual that features shockingly short throws and a stiff clutch. When cold or just trundling around town it can be balky and reluctant to engage properly”

    So its just like the notchy CD009 tranny in my 350Z… YIKES! Not sure what this means: either the Z’s transmission is just as good as a GT3’s, or the GT3’s transmission is just as bad as a Z!

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Nice article.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    Congrats on the purchase. I drive a Carrera 4S (997.2 C4S). Granted mine is not the GT3, but it is a great daily driver and blast to drive. I do have a Honda Pilot as an alternative driver. Absolutely hate the pilot, but it’s paid for and will forever be the dog and road trip car. Here’s to the means and having a clean driving record! :)

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      I don’t have many talents, but I have some remarkable sixth sense for knowing when NOT to redline a few gears coming up an on-ramp or when NOT to stomp the gas while making a left turn in a slight drizzle or when NOT to execute an obnoxious heel-toe downshift to whizz through an orange light…

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    This was the first 911 that I actually liked.

    It was the first 911 Porsche designed that actually struck me as sleek and “pointy” enough to be considered a legitimate supercar.

    Until this one came along, all 911s, regardless of how well they performed, always looked to me to be stubby, upright and overly round – way too “Volkswagen Beetle” for my taste.

    This one I like, and would own if my finances permitted.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    A serious question – don’t you find daily driving these cars to be frustrating? You can’t use the performance for more than a squirt at a time. Unless you are tracking it every weekend, what’s the point? I don’t have the stones to track an $80K car – even if I am the most competent driver out there, some other idiot can just take you out.

    I love Porsches, but I can’t see having anything more than a base Cayman. Even that has an unusable level of performance on public roads.

    $500/mo for insurance is just unfathomable to me as a mid-40’s guy who pays less than a grand a year to insure four cars. Two of which are a fairly new BMW and an Abarth. Though amusingly the $5.5k old Range Rover costs noticeably more to insure than the $45K BMW. Insurance is whack, yo!

    I do very much congratulate you on living your dream though. So many on here would just buy a Camry and grumble.

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      No, I enjoy driving the cars every day. They occasionally become tiring on long freeway hauls (road noise, poor ride), but I rarely have to deal with that type of driving.

      I have a short commute and in general don’t have to deal with traffic at all, despite living in Atlanta, which has a fearsome reputation for poor traffic.

      The shortcomings just remind you that the car is optimized for what you’d rather be doing.

      • 0 avatar
        number9ine

        Agreed, I roll down the windows and enjoy the soundtrack. Other than the consumable front lip spoiler the car is very livable. Not a great place to take a conference call, though.

        • 0 avatar
          David Walton

          If you haven’t, put a bypass exhaust on (SW, GMG, RSS – take your pick) and unplug the connector.

          I’m finding it hard to resist the urge to add catless headers next…

          • 0 avatar
            number9ine

            I enjoy the valvetrain and intake noise more than the exhaust at lower speed, especially around town where the car gets more attention than I like to have.

          • 0 avatar
            David Walton

            The valvetrain and intake noise are much better in a 993; the GT3 still sounds like a sewing machine in comparison.

            Opening up the exhaust makes it bellow like an RSR on the Mulsanne or the banking at Daytona.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        If I had been lucky enough to afford one when I was 25, I suppose I would have gone there too! Now I have the means, but lack the ambition/motivation/am too old and boring, so I just have a garage full of slowish but very fun vehicles.

        Again, good for you!

        • 0 avatar
          tooloud10

          I bought my first Porsche when I was 27 and had an older guy (Cayman owner) tell me the same thing. He heard I was shopping for a Porsche and pulled me aside and said “Hey, go do that now when you can still enjoy it. If you wait until I did you’ll be too old to enjoy it.”

          I haven’t forgotten his words from nine years ago.

          Also, whenever someone talks to me about how I daily drive a Porsche 911–even through midwest winters–I just chalk it all up to someone not “getting” it. Lots of people seem to think that after a decade of driving a real sports car, it must be getting old.

          Nope, the thought hasn’t even crossed my mind.

      • 0 avatar

        If I had a Porsche, I’d drive it every day. I enjoy just about any sort of driving, although the Mass Pike has gotten boring for me. But into Boston, or out into the country, it’s all good.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      I don’t drive a GT3, but I do own a Carrera 4S, which pushes out 485hp. For me, it is completely the opposite. Driving my car every day is pure pleasure. You seem to have some great cars in your garage. Surely you must understand that when you move to cars like these, it is no longer about the parts or some number. It is the package, it moves beyond the sum of it’s parts. To make matters worse, I drive on the north shore of Chicago. As much as 80% of the time, I never get above 40mph, a sin to some, but this car is a pleasure at all speeds.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      1k to ensure 4 vehicles? Dude, who’s your insurance guy?

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        AIG. It’s a special policy for people who have a long-term ownership history of classic cars on classic car policies. Agreed value on all the cars, just like a classic car policy. So you know on day 1 of the policy what the payout will be in the event of a total loss. They use high blue book values for the newer cars, and you can specify the value on the older ones. No mystery involved. It really is a fantastic deal, but only pretty specific people will qualify for it. Previously, I was paying ~$1500/y for the three daily drivers, and $100/yr for the Spitfire. Still pretty cheap, helps to be middle-aged with a clean record in Maine.

        To get back to the original question – I have driven a number of high performance cars and I always find it frustrating on public roads. You can’t use the performance, so the Yankee cheapskate in my can’t see paying for it. I can beat the crap out of my Spitfire and barely exceed the speed limit. Its limits are so low that you can have a ton of fun at normal commuting speed, and it actually feels fast. And the real problem is that modern cars are so refined and relatively quiet that you can’t really have fun until you are in license shredding territory. The Abarth is a bit of an exception – it is so raucous it always feels like you are going like hell, even if you aren’t. I can definitely see the appeal of the GT3 for that reason alone.

        If I lived in Germany you bet I would have some sort of rocketship, but not here. Or if I lived near a track.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Sports cars are like boats, it seems

    I have a 350Z… obviously nowhere even close to the 997, let alone the GT3… but as a guy who cut his teeth on cheap FWD Hondas and Nissans, the crap gas mileage, lack of practicality and high cost of mod parts (a decent suspension done right is at least $2K including install- I am a bit particular though) are turning me off. If not for the fact that my daily commute features ~20 miles of sweeping 2 lane roads, I’d probably have tossed it long ago. Still gonna sell it next year most likely.

    Good to see someone able to own and properly use cars like this. With that special soundtrack, the immediacy of its responses and all I’m sure the honeymoon will never end.

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      The 350 roundly spanks my car in terms of MPG, practicality and cost of mod parts!

      A suspension “done right” on a 997.1 GT3 could be $12k-$15k: Moton / JRZ / Ohlins / Exe-tc / MCS / etc; PMNA Cup car suspension bits; new sways; corner balance and align at a competent shop (depending on where you live the car might have to travel 500 miles or more to get to one)

      All relative.

  • avatar
    number9ine

    David, nice article and beautiful car. Silver is my favorite Porsche color.

    Fellow 997.1 3 owner here, and my manual says the fuel tank is 17.7 gallons. I fill about 15.5-16 gallons when the light comes on. I wonder if you’re seeing an issue with the filler neck, which I’ve had on a few 9×6 and 9×7 P-cars I’ve owned. I imagine that your gas gauge is telling you a different story too.

    I’m averaging about 18 MPG with a heavy foot on the street, which gives me a little over 300 miles a tank. On the track that drops to about ten MPG.

    Enjoy her!

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      Silver is my LEAST favorite color. I have never been able to get the colors I’ve wanted on my cars! Guards red or PTS maritime blue, for the record.

      I’ve heard this too regarding the fuel tank; I have also heard from others who suffer the same problems that I do with the fuel gauge. On spirited drives I see well below 10 MPG.

      • 0 avatar
        number9ine

        Can’t go wrong with Guards Red. I’ve seen a Maritime blue in person, very nice color. My 3 is white, which the Internet reliably tells me is the fastest color.

        Try turning the spigot upside down on your next fill-up.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    Great article on what owning one of these things is actually like.

    Did you ever consider a 997 Turbo in lieu of the GT3?

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      I respect the Turbo variants, but I don’t desire them.

      I have at times considered them, but I’m afraid I’d always feel like a chump when I saw a GT3 on the road if I bought a Turbo over a GT3.

      • 0 avatar
        ccd1

        You wouldn’t be a chump, just a different Porsche owner. At this point, 911s can be street legal track cars, sports cars, or GTs, depending on the model and how it is spec’ed out. The Turbo is more GT than anything else. Lots of low end torque which comes in handy on public roads.

        The GT3 is more of a street legal track car than can be a DD only if you are willing to make concessions regarding the things you mentioned in your article. Personally, those compromises would be deal breakers for me. But I don’t track my cars so there is no need for me to make compromises for the track. I also don’t want a car where the power is in the upper rev range as that requires a kind of driving that I frankly do not do.

        Different cars for different drivers.

        • 0 avatar
          GiddyHitch

          Turbos scream AARP member driving 5 under in the slow lane while GT3s are almost always driven by affluent dudes in their 20s and 30s moving up from M3s and RS4s.

          • 0 avatar
            David Walton

            I wouldn’t go that far, but there is a difference in demographic despite similar expense and performance.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Phew, that was detailed. What a great case study for someone who needs an excuse to buy a Tesla S. Faster, greater range, and travel in quiet comfort.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Thank you for the great write up. I know very little about Porsches, in fact one of the few factories that I really can’t tell the difference in age etc. About the only thing I do know is my dad had a 56′ 356 spider he sold for $1800 several decades ago….kinda wish he had kept that one!

    Several thoughts come to mind: disregard the drivel about your ability to afford the car etc. Obviously it is important to you and you are enjoying the ride. God love ya, enjoy.

    I would be curious to know how tall you are. I am six two and it seems like I would have to wear a Porsche instead if drive it. Save the SUV, my neighbor has one and I fit in it fine, I just fail to see the point of a Porsche SUV. It is as useless as Land Rover deciding to get in the sports car market, but I digress.

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      I’m not particularly tall – 5’9″-5’10” barefoot – but both of my 911s have a rather large greenhouse with good visibility, the 993 in particular. It’s just a trait of the car. I have several friends who are rather tall, one is 6’6″, and they have ridden in and driven both cars.

      In the GT3 you sit rather low, which helps for “feel” and visibility.

      • 0 avatar
        tooloud10

        The large greenhouse has always been one of my favorite 911 attributes. Looking out of my Porsche feels like I’m in a station wagon after getting out of a friend’s 350Z or C6 Corvette.

    • 0 avatar
      number9ine

      I’m 6′ even. The wheel telescopes and long-legged friends have no problem fitting behind the wheel or as a passenger. It’s closer quarters than an SUV or sedan, but that’s kinda the point.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      I’m 6’3″ and fit just fine in my Carrera. That is actually one of the draws to a Porsche 911. Taller people can fit. Now, a Porsche IS a performance car and as such, has sport seats all the way up to race performance seats. Those of the wider body shape will not be as comfortable.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Great, GREAT read on a boring Friday afternoon.

    Question for you, as one who aspires to play a little lower on the totem pole; what is it about the 996 GT3 that makes it not a willing DD parterner, but the 997 GT3 does? Seems like a mere mortal would almost be able to afford to buy and feed a 996 GT3, but when we start talking PCCBs and the like, my merely upper-middle-class platinum mastercard starts to tremble.

    Would you consider doing a brief comparison of the two, and maybe some of the pitfalls of the 996 GT3?

    Also, are rear seats retrofitable in the 996 GT3 if one is willing to ignore all common sense?

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I’m not a Porsche guy, but given the physical quirks of a high-powered rear engine configuration, electronic traction control would probably be pretty important.

      All RWD cars can fishtail and oversteer, but powerful ones do it with less effort. And, from what I’ve gathered, the amount of traction on rear-engined Porches can be altered quite a bit by accelerating (which effectively changes the weight distribution). So, if you let off the gas at the wrong point in a turn an a 911-derived car, you can lose traction and spin out. Yeah, it’s probably a corner case, and a skilled driver who is on his or her toes can easily manage it – but this is the kind of thing that a) will kill commuters whose minds wander and b) can be managed by a TCS for the benefit of all.

      Also, there was an article a while back, where Porsche swore they had solved this problem. Somehow.

      Anyway, a proper TCS strikes me as the most likely engineering answer for why one 911-derived car would be usable as a daily driver while another 911-derived car would not be. There’s probably more to it than that, but the introduction of a TCS is where I’d start looking.

      P.S. Wanting a TCS on a daily driver is something that someone who is proud of their Porsche, and proud of the skills required to handle it, probably wouldn’t just bring up in a public forum.

      P.S.2. While I find the act of purchasing or owning these cars perplexing, the engineering aspects of the car are genuinely interesting.

      • 0 avatar
        David Walton

        Traction control has nothing to do with the difference between the cars’ suitability as DD candidates.

        My 993 has zero traction or stability control and I drove it for 2 years as a DD without issue.

        996 GT3 has zero traction or stability control.

        997 GT3 has traction control but not stability control. I leave it on but the light rarely flickers; probably because I learned to drive on an earlier 911 without the feature.

        The real differences between 996 and 997 are suspension ride / compliance and torque and gearing; the 997 produces materially more torque and has shorter gears, although it’s still a peaky screamer of an engine with long gears.

      • 0 avatar
        energetik9

        I think you’re holding onto Porsche performance characteristics of old. While that scenario did exist at the limits of performance and traction, surprisingly (yes sarcasm), Porsche has always been a highly capable racing machine. I will also add that any car can fishtail and oversteer when pushed. For many, this is a much more manageable scenario than understeer, but I digress. To imply that a 911 could kill distracted commuters is ridiculous.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Another post eaten….

    If the 996 GT3 was too rough to be a DD, is the 997 GT3 worse and you just “deal with it” or is it better? Seems like a mere mortal could acquire and drive a 996GT3 but the 997GT3 is starting to get more serious and the possibility of mega bill$ increases. True? False? Is the 996 GT3 an adequate substitute for those of more modest means?

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      The 996 is much rougher; its suspension is passive and very comparable to the firmer 997 GT3 setting. However, there is a very senior employee of my firm who daily drives a 996 GT3. YMMV.

      I think there is NO reason to buy a 996 vs. 997 unless you like the purer, more analog driving style:

      I’d budget a minimum of $65k to get a 996; you could probably get a 997 as low as $75k if you could accept higher miles or a little bit of history. The 997 is newer and should be cheaper to maintain, not more (PCCB notwithstanding).

      The 996 does offer The Right Stuff in terms of how it drives when fully committed; some experienced GT3 guys prefer it to all other versions, even the RS 4.0.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        So I have been hearing a few people saying the 996 Turbo is a pretty screaming deal these days. A quick check of eBay confirms there are plenty for sale in the $50k or so range. I know they are not as pure as a GT3 and I myself like the NA power vs. the Turbo, but that seems like quite a bargain compared to the GT3. For a Porsche bargain hunter, what are your thoughts on the 996TT vs a 996GT3?

        • 0 avatar
          David Walton

          I haven’t driven a 996 or 997 TT so all I can provide are my personal prejudices or hearsay.

          If you want a special, characterful, raw, emotive Porsche experience on a budget, go aircooled. If you can afford the price of entry and the maintenance, you’ll be rewarded by the driving and the financial exit.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Thanks for the enjoyable post. The 10 gallon fuel tank is the only thing that I find surprising on such a car. Having grown up in the era in which sports cars were more or less deliberately spartan, including Porsches, I still fail to grasp the concept of a “luxurious” sports car. Comfort and ergonomics, of course! But luxury do-dads and a Mark Levinson stereo? Uh-uh.

    I’m sure you can find roads northwest of Atlanta that give you a chance to enjoy your car, even at less than rocket ship speeds.

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      I am from North Georgia so I know where to go to have fun.

      It’s luxurious in that it’s indulgent, but coworkers and friends who don’t “get” it think the car was a colossal waste of money since it’s quite spartan.

  • avatar
    hf_auto

    I’ve never been sold on the PCCBs. My father-in-law has them on his Turbo, and I can’t say they impressed me on the Nurburgring enough to justify the price.

    It was interesting to see all the track-rat GT2/3s at the ‘ring with standard brakes. Several drivers confirmed that they’re just too expensive for track use.

    So, too expensive for track use and way more brake than one needs for the road. What’s the point?

    • 0 avatar
      number9ine

      Unsprung weight is much lower, and for road cars the PCCBs have exceptional life – there are some examples out there on the original rotors AND pads after 100k+ miles. For brakes the size of dinner plates on a car with 400+ horsepower, that’s a feat.

      Heat cycles don’t do much to the ceramics at the track, but since they are brittle they are more at risk of physical damage than a steel rotor. One slip of the wheel as you remove it and you could chip an edge. On the track, steel is consumed much faster and fluid temp fade/glazing is more likely but you can buy many sets for the price of the carbons.

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      One of my cherished automotive memories is having a pair of GT2s and a Turbo blow by me at full wail on a section of the Ring. The sound was like a ravenous pack of demonic banshees. Despite the civilian demographic that tends to purchase P-cars (dbags and empty nesters), one merely needs to visit the Ring or a track day (bro) to verify Porsche bonafides.

      I too agree that the PCCBs tend to be a rich guy option than an enthusiast option. Tracked cars are subject to too many opportunities for off track excursions, rigorous maintenance schedules, etc to make delicate and expensive parts like PCCBs viable. Most will replace them with stock units or aftermarket BBKs until it’s time to sell.

  • avatar
    superchan7

    Manners Fail. I forgot to extend my congratulations on an awesome car.

    I see a few people complaining about the “hate,” but I only saw one or two comments that really smelt a bit of jealousy. That’s not to say I am not jealous……just enough give you some good old teasing!

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Despite some slight jealousy (not for the money part)I admire anyone who can use a car like this as a DD. I have more than a slight automotive ADD, so I can never decide what car I want. I can seriously cross-shop a 72 Lincoln Continental against an early 90’s Civic coupe with a turbo’d VTI engine, or a Volvo XC70 (surpisingly similarly priced cars here in Norway)
    My DD is currently a CRV which is the mother of all compromises, but it’s a given as I have three kids, and right now financial stability beats enthusiasm. My yonger (single) brother on the other hand found his dreamcar and went for it. And had to go through a lot to be able to keep up the payments on his Integra Type-R while he was unemployed, and I doubt he’ll get rid of it unless it gets totalled. And despite lacking some of the Porsches numbers (both in price and numbers), it’s a pretty uncompromising car. And I love being allowed to ‘test drive’ it every other year (we live on different sides of the country)
    As for the money part, I could never spend 911 money on a 911, firstly because I love modified cars, but also because I would just be too frightened to take it out of the garage at all. And the insurance sounds horrendous :P
    (and I would totally go build a screaming v8 for that money and throw it into something ill handling, with flames on it, or get a supercharged S2K engine and some M3 suspension bits for my Ford Sierra project car :P (who am I kidding, I would totally build a ‘family truckster’ replica with a blown hemi or something))

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    If my other comment show up some day, I’d lke to clarify that my only jealousy is for the ‘actually deciding what car I really want’ -part.
    If it doesnt’t, I’ll say again that I really admire having the guts to use it as a daily driver :)

  • avatar
    tall1

    Good for you David. This was a good read for a car that has been always intriguing to me. This car is bred for the track so no surprise it has some challenges around town. Enjoy the ride!

  • avatar
    Mojo_Mike

    $20k for brake rotors and $1k for pads? No thank you. I remember from economics class a lecture on the “Law of Diminishing Returns”. Let’s hope for David’s sake that nothing happens to those rotors as this purchase will cease being a bargain and move into the realm of money pit.

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      Pads are more than a grand; think that much for each axle out the door.

      I am comfortable with the maintenance costs of the car and the probability of high dollar failures is low; I’d much rather pay for expensive pads on a high performance car than depreciation on a pedestrian ride.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    Just reading 25, the car you want to drive, and Atlanta took me back to 1988 with a smile. There was some road around Alpharetta that was so much fun. A the time, I had what I wanted in a black GLH Turbo, and insurance premiums reduced considerably for that birthday.

  • avatar
    Vipul Singh

    Signed in just to say that this was a top-class review. Very balanced and informative, and free of the flowery language that is staple for car reviews.

    Although the author does not make any overt effort to do so, the review humanizes and demytifies the car to an extent that it makes me confident to own one someday. Nicely done!

  • avatar
    raincoconuts

    Congratulations on your purchase David! Always wanted to drive a GT3.
    The console on my 1997 Cayman(base) is the same as the one in your GT3. It’s really cheap pickle bucket quality plastic but unlike pickle buckets, those ‘chicklet’ controls may peel. The then CEO of Porsche AG Wendelin Weideking did post some record profit margins though.

  • avatar
    daver277

    Perfect reply…….

    Luxury with silly options and pure sports cars are at opposite ends of the spetrum.

  • avatar
    AFX

    Personally I don’t see the pont in buying a GT3. Even though it has the ceramic brakes which would be good for getting you whoa’d up going downhill, it has that center mounted exhaust coming out of the back bumper which would make it harder to mount a trailer hitch to it. What’s the point of buying a vehicle with lotsa horsepower and big brakes if you can’t tow anything with it ?!. I doubt even Uhaul would have a trailer hitch to mount on this thing. Not only that but Porsche probably doesn’t even list the towing capacity, and with that puny 10 gallon gas tank you wouldn’t get too far pulling a bass boat. The 2nd major thing wrong with this car is the huge rear wing mounted on the back end. With that wing in the way you couldn’t even mount a bicycle rack to the rear decklid. If you can’t mount a bike rack on the rear deck, and there’s no tow hitch to mount a bike rack on, you’d be stuck mounting a bike rack on the roof, and then you have to worry about knocking the bikes off the roof of the car when you pull into your garage, and that would break the rear wing !. Sorry, I just don’t get this car at all.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Terrific description of what it’s like to own and drive the car. I thought the info on the gas tank was a nice touch. I guess that information is available if I cared to look, I just never thought of it. I figured almost every modern car sized the gas tank to get you at least 250 miles. 100 mile range reminds me of the 85 Cherokee I had.

    I think everyone expects a Porsche to have high running costs, but some of the figures were still surprising. It makes maintaining BMW/Audi/Benz look like maintaining a Prius. As you point out, at least you don’t have the depreciation.

    Glad you are enjoying it!

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    OK, now that we’ve had this article about an 80+K hockey puck of a car I expect at least three articles about <25K cute utes or similarly cheap, tall & useful vehicles.

    Failure to comply will leave me with no choice but to report TTAC to The Hague.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    I feel about this article, and David’s subsequent responses, the way I do after visiting a local Cars and Coffee. It’s great to meet people who genuinely love cars and are generous with their experiences and advice.

    I haven’t had the pleasure of owning a car so awesome (yet!) but aspire to David’s grace as much as to his ride.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Hey, awesome review, and good job replying to comments. I’d bet you anything that your actual presence in the discussion has dissuaded the haters from turning this into a 90’s camry vs. Porsche comparison test.

    Also, hell yes on daily driving it. I have also seen you on the road on a recent work trip to Georgia. I had to forward the link to a buddy of mine to confirm. You know you are a nerd when you recognize a specific 911 from a brief glimpse on the road, you are also a nerd if you own a car that can be so recognized. Good work.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    David, is that you playing ping pong with Doug DeMuro?

  • avatar
    AFX

    The problem with this GT3 is that its so boring to look at. Most of the newer 911’s look like jellybeans, and this GT3 looks like a jellybean with a boy racer wing tacked on the back. To me the last good looking 911 was the 930 Turbo with the old style headlamps, the big rear fender flares, and the whale tail. These newer 911’s just don’t cut it, they don’t look agressive enough to be supercars, and they sure aren’t sexy in the way the Italian cars are styled. The most bad assed looking 911 version was the 1974 RSR Turbo Carrera, compared to that car this GT3 just doesn’t look like anything special. I can’t see spending $120,000, or even $80,000, on a car that looks as bland as this. I don’t care what Randy Pobst says about the track driving abilities of a 911, if its not a good looking car I wouldn’t want it.

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    Way to go DW!

  • avatar

    Wow, the back end of the Porsche really does look like a pacer.

  • avatar
    JD321

    who is their director of building proper phuking cars? jerry lewis?

  • avatar
    thelastword

    Nice article.

    I’ve reviewed cars on a monthly basis for the last five years. Everything from exhilarating but impractical (on a daily basis) two-seat fire breathers to mundane but useful mommy-haulers. All have their place depending on your desires (and wallet) but I’ve always scratched my head over typical car reviewers who gush over horsepower and impractical ground clearance when 99.9% of owners won’t experience the cars’ vaunted attributes on a track–much less a public road.

    I wholeheartedly agree that any exotic ride absolutely needs an accompanied warranty–otherwise you’re playing maintenance roulette with all the chambers filled.

    That said, there’s nothing like the rush of immediate acceleration and the aural sex of an exquisite exhaust note. I’m glad you acknowledge the up and downsides of owning a superlative piece of machinery.

    Keep up the good work.

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