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Where does the 997.1 fit in the Porsche 911 market?

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Above: MY 2005 911 Carrera (left) and 911 Carrera S.

Article by Rob Sass
Photos courtesy Porsche

For all the controversy that surrounded the 996, the 997 was and remains stunningly devoid of differences of opinion. Although the car shares a fair number of body panels with the 996, all of the issues that the earlier car’s detractors latched onto were remedied. Headlights became a comforting and familiar shape again, turn signals were relocated to the bumper, etc., and the interior was given a more contemporary refresh.

Above: 2005 911 Carrera S.

Yet, for all of the perceived improvements to the car, the buzz around the 997.1 remains quiet at the moment. We can probably attribute this to a couple of things:  The amount of attention that the 996 is getting at the moment, and the interest in, and the comparative rarity, of the 997.2. The 997.1’s relative anonymity isn’t likely to last forever, but for the moment, the car is looking like an attractive sleeper.

Above: 2005 911 Carrera Cabriolet.

Like the 996, the IMS bearing issue has dogged the 997.1 where it presents a uniquely nuanced situation. Only a portion of the run from model year 2005 is susceptible to easy remediation, and it’s highly recommended by most sources that this be done since the OEM bearing was one of the more failure-prone versions. At some point in MY 2005, the last version (and one of the least failure-prone bearings) was introduced. The catch: It’s not serviceable without disassembling the engine. So, owners of these late 2005 to 2008 cars have only the option of removing the IMS bearing grease seal as some recommend, and slicing open their filters with each oil change. The odds of these cars failing with regular maintenance and spirited use is low, but the psychological affect is there for some owners. Bore scoring has also been a problem with 997.1 models.

Above: 2006 911 Carrera 4.

The result of the above has sent many would-be 997 owners to either early 2005 cars, or to 2009 and later 997.2s (which don’t have an IMS bearing). While it seems unlikely at this point that any 997.1 will depreciate into the mid to high teens as did the 996, there is a curious overlap in prices now between some 996s and 997.1s. Really good 996s are now bringing almost 997.1 money. The logical question to ask is whether this will be the new normal for a while, or if it portends a jump in 997.1 prices. Time will tell, but at the moment, a well-maintained 997.1 with a clean PPI and miles in the 90,000 to 120,000 range for $25,000 or so seems like a really good deal. Expert Porsche Panorama contributor Nathan Merz thinks $27,000 might be closer to the mark, but he’s pickier than I am. He points to the car’s status as a “tweener”: not old enough to be a classic, nor new enough to reach the audience who loves the latest and the greatest. The next five years will be the time to buy a 997 in his opinion. They won’t be cheaper in the future.

Above: 997.1 interior with six-speed manual.

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