If our histories with Ferrari & McLaren are defined by the cars we have owned, our history with Porsche is almost better defined by the cars we missed out on. This would be Porsche’s Trinity: the 959, Carrera GT, and 918. Despite this we have owned five Porsche’s to date a 911 (993) C4, 911 (993) Turbo, 911 (997.2) GT3 RS, Cayenne Turbo, & a Cayenne S. The last two have served as the family “trucks” for the last 10 years with the Cayenne Turbo proving itself near bullet proof & the Cayenne S being anything but. Of the two 993s, I have fond memories of the 993 C4 but did not bond with the 993 Turbo at all.
My first real sports car, at least by my definition, was a LHD 1995 Porsche 911 (993) C4. Bright red with black interior, it’s a car that I still have a soft spot for today. It’s also the car that taught me how to really drive in the mountains on the Iberian coast. We owned the 993 C4 for about two years and put well over 10k miles on it. Other than a high speed tire blow out, after which I discovered that the Porsche dealer had given me the wrong key for the locking lug nuts, ownership was completely drama free. The 993 C4 served as a sometime daily driver before making way for what turned out to be a rather loopy Ferrari 456GT. The 993 C4 is one car I wish I had kept much longer.
Porsche #2 was a LHD 1996 911 (993) Turbo. This one was generic Porsche silver with a black and red interior. It was a car that I thought I would love but never bonded with. The original intent was to use the 993 Turbo as my daily driver for a few years. After a few weekend drives in the Turbo, I quickly realized this was not a good idea. Traffic was definitely not its friend and the ride was very hard. Shortly after acquiring the 993 Turbo, we took it on a road trip down though western Germany. When the front end went quite light at 150 mph on the autobahn, I lost confidence in the car. Shortly after the autobahn experience, we took the 993 Turbo on a second road trip through Southern Spain. The Turbo’s air-conditioning decided to die shortly after leaving Madrid on what was a very toasty Friday evening, leaving us with a rather unpleasant sweaty weekend. This was basically its death knell in my mind. I sold it back to the person I bought it from at a slight loss.
Porsche #3 was a 2005 Cayenne Turbo. We purchased it used from the 1stowner for 1/3 of what he had paid for it 4 years before. Before completing the purchase, I suggested that he just keep the Cayenne and just run it into the ground. My rationale was he had already taken a massive hit on depreciation and it would cost him little to run moving forward. After an additional 24 hours to think it over he said he just wanted something new and therefore the Cayenne Turbo had to go. The Cayenne Turbo served admirably as the family workhorse for 5 years and 50,000 miles. Two things about the Cayenne Turbo still standout out in my mind, something that large and heavy should not be able to go around corners the way it did or accelerate with the violence that it did. The only major issue we ever had with the Cayenne Turbo was the dreaded jerky transmission issue which cost about $2,000 to fix. We parted with the family truck when we moved across the Atlantic.
Porsche #4 was our second Cayenne, this time a LHD 2008 Cayenne S. As rock solid as the 1stCayenne Turbo was, the Cayenne S was been more of a river of tears. We have now had the Cayenne S for 4 ½ years and the list of items that have been replaced on this SUV is extensive. Just about every one of the “common issues” for the 2008-2010 models has manifested itself in ours. This Cayenne S is fitted with a standard spring suspension which does not ride nearly as comfortably as the air suspension in the Turbo. Despite all the drama, we still have the Cayenne S. It now lives up in the mountains of Montana where it will serve out the remainder of its useful life.
Porsche #5 is a LHD 2011 911 (997.2) GT3 RS. This GT3 RS has been given further “focus” by GMG and now wears the WC-GT3RS script on its tushy. We have now had the GT3 RS for just a bit over two years. It is a car that the more I drive it, the better it gets. It very different from everything else currently in the garage but in a good way. You need to work to get the best out of the GT3 RS which is probably why we continue to bond. Moving its home from the uninspiring concrete jungle of Texas highways to the challenging mountain roads of Montana has been brilliant. It is a joy to drive in the mountains and gets plenty of workouts during the summer months. We are even considering putting winter tires on it next year to see if we can extend the driving season by a few months. Certainly, in the near term, I can’t see parting with it.
As I mentioned in the introduction, we have tried to acquire a few other limited edition Porsche’s over the years but each time it has not ended well. When the 918 was first announced, I contacted Porsche directly twice to let them know I was interested and never heard back. Given the challenges Porsche had selling out the production run, I guess this is a good indication of where I stood on their priority list. I also had an agreed deal on a Carrera GT. This was back in June 2014. I had located a 2005 Black/Grey Carrera GT with 8,200 miles at Porsche of Newport Beach in California. We had agreed a price, I had offered to wire over a deposit (which I was told was not necessary) and I was just waiting for them to send over the pre-purchase inspection report before wiring payment. After three days and no signs of the PPI nor any response to my emails, I finally called the salesman back and was told they had sold the Carrera GT to another buyer. What made it even worse was the dealership manager wasn’t even apologetic about the situation and basically told me to go pound sand. Since that time average Carrera GT prices have jumped by $300k and I am having trouble getting my head around one at these values. I do believe Carrera GT prices will come back down to earth in the next couple of years as they are not particularly rare and can be quite a handful to drive. We also came close to buying a 959 back in 2008. Prices then were a fraction of what they are now. Going through the history file of the 959 we were considering was eye opening. The service costs over the preceding several years nearly totaled the purchase price of the car. That was the end of that idea as I had no interest in ending up in debtor prison.
In summary, we have had a bit of a mixed relationship with Porsches over the years. Both the first 911 C4 and the latest 911 GT3 RS have been great cars. The Carrera GT continues to rank very high on the Garage Goals list and I am sure one will be acquired at some point. Even Mrs. SSO talks about perhaps having a 911 as her next daily driver so our relationship with Porsche will be continuing to grow.
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Great blog. Love hearing about your ownership experiences. As an owner of a 95C4 Guards Red over Black I share your fondness for this great car. Also, love our 12 Cayenne S and our 13 Cayenne Turbo.
I am considering a 97 C2S, but will need to reluctantly sell my 95 C4. I haven’t advertised it, but let me know if you are interested.
Keep us up to date on your Porsche journey!