Well after 15 years of dreaming I finally pulled the trigger and bought a 2006 997.1 C2, silver on black, 6 speed with 19" sport design wheels and 40k miles.
This forum was so helpful in my pre-purchase journey I wanted pay it forward by sharing my lessons learned as the next crop goes from dreamer to lurker to driver.
1 Overall impression - Holy **** this car is awesome ;-)
2 Driving experience - I attack onramps with vigor. Country roads are my new therapy.
3 Purchase price - I feel like I stole it. I only need a car a couple times a week and if I account for depreciation and maintenance, a 997 has likely got a lower 3yr cost of ownership than if I bought a Honda Accord....really, truly.
4 Insurance cost - and extra $20 a month from Geico. You have to be kidding me...
5 The search process & current inventory of cars - I used Autotrader as my daily go-to and checked Cars.com weekly. I only searched for 2006-2008 997.1’s coupes 6 speeds with <45k miles, <$50k, clean carfax in silver, grey or black.
On avg I would see 1-2 new cars added to the inventory per week and about the same being sold. Dealer cars sold much faster than private sellers. With my specs there was about 50 997.1 and 997.2’s in total inventory nationwide. You will see more 2006s than any other year, likely because the most were sold that year and they have all just come off 10yr CPOs.
6 Market prices - 6 speed base model c2's with <45k mikes were listing for $35-42k. S models with the same miles were listed for $42k-50k. My feel for the market is $36k for a 997.1 base model and $42k for a 997.1 S model are likely today’s going rate with <45k miles. Subtract 10% for Cabs or Tiptronics.
Update - After not looking at the market for the last 8wks I was surprised to see new listings of the 997.1s seemed to be climbing a bit for both base and S, and 997.2 base models seemed like they were coming down a little. There are a few 997.2s with <45k that are asking $42k (so the equivalent of a .1 S). I didnt see anything less than $47k for 997.2’s 8 weeks ago. Might just be seasonality.
7 Out of state purchases - I negotiated the price before I flew in to get a PPI. A few hours later I signed the deal, mailed a check the next day and had the car delivered the following week. Quick and painless.
8 PPIs - Ask Rennlist members for a reputable shop in your area. In my case Rennlist members recommended RAC in Plano for the PPI. One member even offered to go over to check out the car for me before I arrived and vouched for the seller's reputation. The community of owners is stellar.
For $300 RAC spent 2hrs going through the car, measured the paint depth to ensure no accidents and gave it a clean bill of health. Only a few minor things which the seller took care of.
9 On site inspection - I have seen a number of people ask if it was really necessary to see the car in person if you are getting a PPI. I debated the same. From my experience I would say 100% yes you need to take a day to see the car, unless it comes from a trusted source. Pictures dont tell the whole story, particularly when it comes to cosmetic flaws and rock chips. In my case the windshield had been replaced with an aftermarket model and the seal dry rotted. Not a huge issue but one that will cost $500 to fix right. I would have never seen this in photos, nor the rock chips and minor paint blemishes. Its better to go in eyes wide open than be disappointed the day it arrives.
10. Shipping - painless. I paid $800 to ship from TX to SF on Uship and they upgraded me to an enclosed trailer at no extra charge.
11 To “S” or not to “S” - a common question and one I debated. I ultimately chose a base Carrera and have zero regrets. If the price was a couple grand different I would have pulled the trigger for the S. In my case I got such a good deal on my car it was a $10k difference to an equivalent mile S. I just couldnt justify it. Here is why:
a. Performance. An extra $10k for .3 seconds faster to 100mph just didnt add up. I was buying the total experience. The S would have given me PASM and Sport Mode. However I heard those were much better upgrades on the 997.2 than the 997.1.
b. Wheels. I will say I would have likely passed if it had the 18” stock wheels. They just look too cheap and that would have been a $3k upgrade for new tires and rims. Mine had upgraded 19” Sport Design wheels, which I love, so it made it easy.
c. Rarity. I heard from a few people that S’s were more rare, hence desirable. I would agree with the latter, not the former. There were 3x more 997.1 S models manufactured than base models. I like to think my base model is the last of the pure mechanical Porsches with no gimmicks, sport modes, etc.
d. Resale Value. I heard S’s hold their value better than base models. I think this is 100% false. If you look at the MSRP price of the base models and S models and compare to todays prices, they have almost the exact same depreciation curve. I would go so far as to say the S models have experienced slightly higher depreciation because they were typically more heavily optioned out.
12 The Indy shop experience - Based on the recommendations of Rennlist members I have found 2 that are excellent (S-Car-Go and Hi-Tech) within 10 minutes of me. I would feel comfortable with either. I talked to techs at each before I purchased my car to get their advice and things to look out for. They were all super helpful, friendly and passionate…especially to a guy who just walked in off the street.
13 The dealer experience - I normally wouldn’t be caught dead in a dealer, especially for service. However, Porsche of Marin is 5 minutes from my house and I went over there to pickup a fuel door spring. They gave me the white glove service for a $22 part and installed it no charge. I was blown away by the professionalism of Tristan, their head of service.
14 The dreaded AC ***** - probably the first thing you will notice with any 997.1 is the AC ***** look like a gerbil chewed on them. This was a major stress point for me on how I would fix them. You cant buy replacements for these. Your choice is to send your AC console to Stickynomore.com and have them refinish the buttons (1-2wks of no AC console), buy a new AC console for ~$500, pull them out and refinish them yourself, or have them refinished by a professional. I chose the latter.
DO NOT buy the replacements from Climarepair.com. Their quality is so bad its laughable.
15 Interior trim and leather refinishing - In any 10yr old car you are going to have cosmetic flaws and worn bits and pieces. The biggest offenders are chewed up AC *****, worn leather on the gear shift, and rubberized paint on the center console and ashtray that gets scuffed and looks like crap.
If you are like me you will want these to be fixed like new. I spent hours researching my options: buying new parts from Suncoast, buying used parts from Ebay, etc, etc.
Luckily the shop I had my PPI done had a guy that refinished all their interiors. Theses interior guys are geniuses!!!! For $300 he fixed a few worn areas of leather like new, resprayed the center console and steering wheel and door handle trim which had been scratched, as well as refinished the AC *****. Its not perfect buy Im the only person that would notice the imperfections.
There is likely an interior guy in your area that works for all the used car dealers. I would recommend asking your Indy shop or the used car manager at your local Porsche dealer who they recommend. Its a great resource to have long term.
16 Rock chips - I was surprised just how many there are on the front bumper after 10yrs. I will likely need to get it resprayed at some point. Im not too stressed about it as you can only see them from <2ft away.
17 Brake dust - while my 19” Sport Designs look timeliness…they take forever to clean. I did find Armor-All Brake Dust Repellant helps tremendously. They look the same after 7 days that they did after 1 day without it.
18 PCM - besides the AC ***** and rubberized paint on the center console, my only other complaint on the car is the PCM 2.1. Both the silver plastic texture and screen functions look so dated compared to the PCM 3.0 in the 997.2s.
A prior owner installed a MoBridge so I can play and charge my iPhone through a lightning cable I ran from my glove box under the center console. Its not great but I will deal with it. I dont think it bugs me enough to where I will buy an aftermarket stereo. I am looking for a good option to add bluetooth calls through the stereo. My MoBridge is old and doesnt have that function.
19 AC condensation - the second day you have the car you will invariably go out in the parking lot to see a large puddle of liquid under your car. You will **** a brick. It will take you a few google searches and smelling the liquid to realize its just water coming from the AC drain at the front of the car. Not too worry but still unknown why it pisses so much water.
20 Exhaust Bypass (Gundo Hack vs Fister) - I researched both, listened to all the Youtube comparisons and will ultimately get the Fister. No performance improvements here…it just sounds badass for not that much money. The Fister is $325 from FD Motorsports and they will install for $125. You need to give them your old muffler cores. From my conversations with Darrin, the owner of FD, I can confirm all the great things people have said about him on Rennlist.
21 Wheels spacers - I ordered 10mm for the fronts and 15mm for the rears from Suncoast and S-Car-Go will install for me. No performance upgrade here…just looks beefy and helps the wheel fill out the fender, particularly in the base model because it sits up 10mm higher.
22 Windshield replacement - my learning here is if you need to get your windshield replaced and go the cheaper route and get an aftermarket or OEM windshield, you should at least buy the factory windshield seal from Suncoast or your local Porsche dealer. It will only run you $110. Dont let the windshield shop use some crappy one. They look terrible and are much smaller than the factory seal. Unfortunately you cant just replace the seal. You need to pull the entire windshield and and replace. Spend a few extra bucks to do it right.
23 Tire age - make sure you check the tire age. Your can tell the manufacture year by the tire SN#. My PPI pointed this out. Since many of these cars are only driven a few thousand miles a year you might have tires with plenty of tread but the tires themselves are 5+ years old and starting to dry rot. This happened to mine.
24 Tire life - no first hand info here but from everyone I spoke to said they get 15k for the rears and 30k for the fronts. A full set of Michelin PS2s will run $1300 and Bridgestone Potenza’s will run $900. I hear great things about both.
25 Manual gearbox - I found its pretty stiff to get into 2nd gear when cold but warms up quickly. To get a smooth shift in lower gears you want to shift slower, in higher gears you want to shift faster.
Im still working on rev matching my downshifts but Im getting pretty good after a couple weeks practicing. The key I learned is to really blip the throttle. Dont try to feather it.
26 Oil pressure - the oil pressure gauge will read around “5” when the car is cold and go down to about “3.5” when warmed up. Thats normal.
27 Squeaks and rattles - the first thing you will notice is it’s a noisy cabin. However you will get used to it after a few minutes in the car. I had a rattle in my passenger seat latch that was driving me nuts. I read you just shoot some WD40 in the latch and that solved it immediately. My dashboard will rattle around the center speaker if im driving in downtown SF with terrible roads. On normal roads its fine.
28 City driving - In SF its pretty jarring with the 19” wheels, but SF has some of the worst roads in the country. I dont have any issues outside the city.
29 Gas mileage - I will say this is the only thing im disappointed with so far. I read it was 16 city and 25 highway. I am consistently getting <15 and ~200 miles to a tank. That might have something to do with my point #2 ;-)
30 Window trim - Im still looking for something to restore the oxidation on the window trim. Mothers Back to Black worked great on the windshield cowl trim and side mirror trim, however did little for the window trim.
31 IMS and RMS - There is much fear about these issues. After researching I can say I dont loose sleep over it. Why…
a. My car had the RMS replaced 2 years ago. It only cost $750 so I wouldnt bill that as a MAJOR repair.
b. The IMS from 1999-2005 is a real problem. I would steer clear of these cars unless you know its been upgraded. The 2006 model year has the upgraded IMS bearing (mine was confirmed to have it when the prior owner replaced the RMS). I have seen no confirmed cases of IMS issues with a 2006 or older. I have asked 4 indy mechanics and they all said they had never seen one in their careers.
c. I was initially confused on the difference between the M96 and M97 engine. I first heard the 996 had the M96 engine and the 997 had the M97 engine and upgraded IMS bearing. However I learned that was not true. The 3.6 liter M96 engine is used in the 997.1 base Carreras and has the upgraded IMS after 2006. The 3.8 liter M97 was used in the 997.1 S model.
32 Aftermarket warranty - there are plenty of posts on Fidelity. I am still debating if i will purchase one. I was able to get pricing from one of the recommended resellers. They are exponentially cheaper the lower the miles your car has. Age is less a factor.
33 91 octane gas - in CA we only have 91 octane. This caused 1-2 brief engine knocks when starting the car. It also seems to cause the engine to knock if you blip the throttle at <1500 rpm. The mechanic said it should clear up once the engine adjusts to the lower octane.
Conclusion - I think the 997 will go down as one of the classic Porsche models and "the last of the mechanical 911s". In 3-5 years if I upgrade to a 997.2 I think I will likely sell it for around the same I bought it. I cant see the value going much lower than where they are today. I would encourage any of you lurkers and dreamers to stop making excuses and go get one today. You will thank me every time you get in the car.