For those who are familiar with the various Porsche models, the 996 GT3 may hold a special place in their hearts. The company halted production of it in ‘05, but of the models that you still see on the road from that era, this one embodies so much of what makes the brand special.
Introduced in 1999, the GT3 was part of the first generation of vehicles that would collectively be known as the 996.1 model range. They were designed for entry in the FIA GT3 Cup. Like previous 911 RS models devised by the company, it was a competition vehicle meant to dominate on the racetrack. The model that made it to the starting line was devoid of add-ons that would have weighed it down. There was no air conditioning, and there was no sunroof, rear speakers, or backseat.
When this model became available on a more widespread basis, some of these amenities were added. The base design that delivered blistering speed was still much in evidence, but consumers could get a CD/radio combo and automatic air conditioning as free optional add-ons.
What Made the 996 GT3 So Popular?
There were a few aspects of this model that made it so attractive to consumers from 1999-2005 when new ones were being produced. Two of the biggest considerations were the engine and the power output. Porsche’s are meant to draw attention, with their aerodynamic design and what they’ve got under the hood. The 996 GT3 came with a 3.6 L Flat-6, which was state-of-the-art at the time. The power output was 360-380 PS, and it came with a 6-speed manual transmission. That made it a top contender on the racetrack, and the very thought of gunning the engine on city streets ensured that this model would become a bestseller.
The 996 also came equipped with a new-model front bumper with a matched rear spoiler that would increase downforce. Downforce is the downward lift force caused by a vehicle’s aerodynamic design. It came with lighter-weight wheels, a re-tuned suspension system, and enlarged brakes as well.
Shortly after the vehicle went into mass production, the company also came out with their “Clubsport” package. The main difference was that manually-adjusting racing bucket seats replaced the electrically-adjustable leather front seats. However, this option was never made available to US customers. The most likely reason was probably because of the additional DOT crash testing that would have been required before it could have been declared street-legal.
Is It Still Worth It to Get One Today?
All of this leads us to the real question of the day: is it still worth it for you to buy a 996 GT3 in 2020? There are two logical ways to think about it. You might look at it from the standpoint of a vintage car collector, or you can approach it as someone who wants a daily means of conveyance.
As a vintage Porsche collector, it makes all the sense in the world to try and locate a 996 GT3. Part of what aficionados value so much about this car is that it comes from the era when Porsche essentially ruled the luxury-racecar landscape. They had yet to focus on SUVs and other larger models, and while their sleek driving machines might not have been the most practical, they were incredibly iconic status symbols. Rarely would that be more the case than with a well-maintained vintage 996 GT3.
If you’ve found yourself one of these models and you’re not planning on restoring it or keeping it as a showpiece, then you’re probably better off looking elsewhere. For a 996 GT3 model in excellent condition, you’re probably going to be spending anywhere from $55K to $70K, depending on the trim package, how many miles it has on it, etc. The simple reality is that the car is attractive and fast, but can only seat two, and it has very little cargo space.
If you want a racing-style sports car that still feels nimble and has stellar handling and classic design elements, then this might be the way for you to go. Just keep in mind that if you pay a little bit more, you can snag yourself a modern G-T series Porsche that’s probably going to handle better on hills and backroads. The 996 GT3 is a classic, but it’s a bit unwieldy. There are modern equivalents that retain many of its design features but have smoothed out some of the rough edges.
Daniel has been a car enthusiast for as long as he can remember, he started working on cars in his teen years and learning all he came from his mentors and through reason auto mechanic books. He is now sharing his auto knowledge by writing for Euromotorsport euro car upgrades.