Porsche ‘enjoyed’ a turbulent time of it in the 1990s, with a perilous financial position pushing it ever closer to takeover. By the middle of the decade, a make or break crunch had come. The famous Stuttgart firm needed to not only introduce an ‘affordable’ entry-level model, to stem its losses, but to also dramatically reduce the cost of making the – still largely hand-built – 911. The answer was to rationalise these two life-saving models, a decision not every fan of the brand took to heart. Nevertheless, component sharing between the all-new Boxster and fresh 996-generation 911 would save a colossal 30 percent over the previous 993. These decisions would not only put the firm back in the black, but would ensure a long and successful future for both of these beloved models.
The 996 did more than just introduce more efficient mass production techniques and water-cooling though, it was the first all-new 911 platform since the original 901. It shifted the styling away from that ‘classic’ era and into the 21st Century. It didn’t just look cutting edge either, the 996 utilised variable cam timing on its quad cam heads, the latter a first for a mass-produced Porsche model. As a result, even the entry-level Carrera could boast 296bhp allowing it to hit 60mph in five seconds and top 178mph. Enough to impress the motoring journos at EVO magazine, as the model won that mag’s first ‘Car of the Year’ award in 1998.