What does 300,000 miles do to a 997 generation Porsche 911?


What does 300,000 miles do to a 997 generation Porsche 911?

Porsche gauges

Yes, that’s over 300,000 miles on a 2005 911.
photo: Kyle Hyatt/Jalopnik

Much like many of you, I’m sure I like to lie in bed in the morning and scroll Twitter before I get up and make coffee. Most of the time this just results in me sending @JortstheCat tweets to my wife and shitposting in general but this morning wasn’t like other mornings because I woke up to this tweet:

Yes, that’s a first generation 997 Porsche Carrera S being sold 20 minutes from me with over 300,000 miles, a single owner and a wild options list for just under $30,000. Understandably, this turned my whole life upside down, and I started making all these completely insane schemes to find a way to justify this purchase, as I’m sure many of you would, but then I got to thinking. What exactly does 300,000 miles do to a 997?

Porsche’s most iconic sports car is notoriously well-made and reliable (at least for the genre), and the 997 fixed many quality issues that were prevalent with the 996. Before you start angrily typing about it IMS warehouseI knows They were still a problem in early 997.1 models and were not fully resolved until the 997.2 generation with the introduction of the direct-injected 9A1 engine. Cool your jets. Anyway, I decided to call the dealer who sells the car, MDK Globalto make an appointment to take a look and find out for yourself.

Black 911 in a warehouse.

Check out this little guy just waiting for someone to ignore his crazy odometer and give him a home.
photo: Kyle Hyatt/Jalopnik

After a short but pleasant ride – salute to the single Polestar 2 I’m in now; Look out for a review on this – I pull up at a nondescript brick building next to Burbank Airport and head inside, where I’m brought out to see the car.

The black-on-black car with (unfortunately) blackened lobster claw wheels is showing its fair share of paint chipping, swirls and light scratches, but frankly, after 17 years of hard use, it’s not bad. Even when the car is towed into the harsh and unforgiving Southern California midday sun, things aren’t looking bad with this little guy.

Inside, things are a similar story. The interior looks and feels worn, but that was to be expected. The auto-dimming rear-view mirror made the gross leak that many early-to-mid German car owners will be all too familiar with. The climate control knobs are a bit worn and a bit gummy, but that’s part of the 997. Ditto is a shifter that feels like it needs some new bushings and probably cables, but nothing’s beaten up or beyond salvage here.

When the dealer starts it up, the engine chugs a bit before fully revving and settling into that classic, raspy, water-cooled 911 idle. The slow crank could be a bunch of things but a starter replacement isn’t that awesome on these cars if that’s it. The lights on the dash all go out one by one, as you’d hope, and it’s time to take this thing on the road.

Porsche wheel

PCCBs on a 997 are as rare as rocking horse poop.
photo: Kyle Hyatt/Jalopnik

Full disclosure, I’m a 911 fanatic. It’s my favorite car and has been for a very long time. I’ve been driving and working with Porsches in general for years, and I’m fortunate to have driven many generations of 911s, both air-cooled and water-cooled, right through to the new 992 GTS, but the 997 is always the sweet one point for me. It’s the right size, has wonderful steering, the interior is functional and well made, and everything just works. That can’t be the case after 12 orbits around the world, can it?

Actually, yes it can. The car feels like it has been well maintained for a lifetime. The steering is still tight and direct, still perfectly weighted, to. The suspension feels good in normal mode and the PASM button still works. The engine feels as strong as ever and according to the dealer it was completely rebuilt about 50,000 miles ago with IMS refurbishment (on the 997 this requires engine stripping). The first generation Porsche Carbon Ceramic Brakes (PCCB) are strong and have a somewhat wooden feel, but that’s how they’re supposed to be based on the car’s reviews of the period. Modern ones are much better, but that’s to be expected.

The only real disappointments of the experience are those sloppy shifters, which are not uncommon on the 996 and 997 generations with their plastically awesome shift towers, flimsy shift cables and a stiff clutch pedal. Finding gears isn’t a problem, other than an occasional reluctance to shift into first gear at a stop, and the whole thing would be remedied with a pair of new cables and a rebuild kit. The clutch is typical of a manual 911, even right down to the current generation 7-speed cars, and just takes some getting used to.

Interior of the Porsche 911

What dark sorcery has kept this interior in this form?
photo: Kyle Hyatt/Jalopnik

Our test drive is brief, but I think I have an answer to my initial question of what does 300,000 miles and 17 years do to a 911? How did it hold up? And the answer is way, way better than you think, and way better than many of his contemporaries I suspect.

Should you gently wipe, rinse, rush out of the bathroom (because let’s face it, that’s where you’re reading this), call your bank, and book a plane ticket to Burbank to snag that car?

If you’ve been looking for a cheap 997 with good options and aren’t afraid to do a little work yourself — or spend a few grand to have it sorted at an independent shop— then yes, actually you should. It’s never going to be a show car, but as something to drive around town and have fun on the track, you’ll have a hard time finding more car for the money.

H/t to journalist Chris Paukert (@cpautoscribe on Twitter) for finding this beast and thanks to MDK Global for letting me come and browse his collection of cycling enthusiast cars.

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