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Goodbye Carrera, Hello Turbo...


Sao Paulo
6 May 2011
Right, this has taken me far longer to write up than anticipated, but here's my story:

I've had my C4 Cab for 3 years and had many miles of fantastic, trouble free motoring, but as much as I loved it I was getting the itch to try something different. As has been debated many times on this forum, the question was what next...

I knew that it would be another 911, but I wanted a different experience to mine. The tip has been great and suited my car, but I'd already decided I wanted a manual and most likely a coupe. I'd sort of discounted a turbo on the basis that I loved the linear prevving nature of normally aspirated engine, and from reading up on here the exhaust note was a little, errm, tame! So my thoughts were quite diverse:

993 to see what all the fuss is about aircooled! It does look beautiful, especially WB 4S, but prices going through the roof, also not sure I could live with it as my car is used for both pleasure and a daily runaround. Maybe I will consider one as a "third car" one day.

997. I preferred the look of the gen 2 with LEDs. Interior does feel more modern, but not necessarily better, actually found it a bit fussy. Having driven a few, (including a friends C4S with X51 power upgrade) it didn't feel different enough from a 996.

996 GT3 one of my friends had the RS a few years back, loved the sound and raw appeal of it, but practicalities of no rear seats and daily use, together with prices going through the roof, meant this was discounted too. (I just saw the one JZM have with 9k miles on the clock for £149k!)

So, I'd sort of come to an impass as the options above either were too expensive or not different enough to what I'd already had...

A mate kept banging on at how amazing a turbo is, and another mate had a 996 GT2 which was completely bonkers, so I thought I'd investigate and of course started reading up all the threads on 996 turbos. Seems timing was good as many people were in a similar position and were sharing their views, particularly on the values and availability of good cars...

Before i continue I really want to thank all the members on this forum as your contributions really give so much information and detail to make the decision making process much easier.

So, I started the process to find the right car... I'd already decided on manual and on a coupe (though if a cab came along that ticked all the boxes I'd be tempted!) but of course condition and maintenance were key, and so initially I wasn't too worried about particular specs or colours. I'd always been against cars with lots of owners (my cab had only 2 owners when I bought it and it was 11 years old!) but having read up, it seems 5 or 6 owners on a 10 year old turbo was not unusual.

I wasn't too concerned by where I would source the car, so long as the price and history was right for the car, and of course I knew I'd do a PPI. In fact before I even test drove any cars I always checked the paperwork and history. It's fair to say there is a huge variation of what people refer to as "full history" and what my definition is. I have walked away from a 30k mile car which looked great on paper and in the flesh, but had not had any work done, such as condensers, rads, clutch, discs and what paperwork there was didn't seem to tally up... Trust your gut!

So I learnt quickly that low mileage didn't always mean a better car.

Having test driven a few, I also realised how different the turbos can be, with regards to tuning. The X50 seemed a good upgrade, but then I drove one with some heavier modifications, including the exhaust, and was just blown away by the performance and sound (thanks jethro ;-)

So this changed the search again as I then started to consider a budget for modifying the car either one that already had some, or that I would do myself...

What seemed like the perfect car came up on PH, it had a lot of modifications done by the owner (who sadly died, hence why the car was being sold) however it was sold unseen after only a few hours. The good thing is it went to a forum member here and he's loving it!l

I then came across a small independent specialist called aPorscha, based just outside of Oxford. They had a 3 996 turbos in stock, and one in particular caught my eye, and as I was in the area one miserable, wet Tuesday afternoon, I thought I'd go see it.

The owner is a guy called Gordon, a really lovely chap, who has been an enthusiast and owned many different Porsche for many years, and decided a few years ago to set up a company with a real focus on customer delight.

I had turned up without prior arrangement, but Gordon was very welcoming, and we started to talk about my requirements.

The car in question was a late 2003, and it attracted me for 3 reasons:

Colour: it was cobalt blue, which looked amazing and I had only seen a couple of 997 turbos in that colour, never a 996.

Brakes: having decided that I was going to modify the car, I knew that if possible I would prefer ceramic brakes which this on has.

Remap: the car had a Manthey remap at JZM to 490hp.

So went through the paperwork, as it's a 2004 model, service intervals are ever 2 years, but the good thing is that it had been maintained pretty much every year, at both OPC and lately specialists like JZM. Last service was a major Sept13 which included plugs and coils and it had a new clutch. Ceramics showed no sign of cracks, hydrolic rams were replaced couple of years ago and the rads and condensers were in good shape.

So far so good. Took it out for a nice long test drive and was completely blown away by the acceleration! Car felt good and tight, brakes were amazing, no rattles or squeaks.

Asked Gordon if he would take the car to my local OPC, west London, for a PPI, as the guys there are great and I've used them ever since I got my C4. He agreed, so we arranged a date a week later.

I then arranged a second viewing with a mate to go over the car again, and took it out for another test, at which point my mate couldn't believe how fast it was!

PPI day came and there were a couple of points raised, one was the heat shields needed replacing and the other was a small oil leak which for those of you who have good memories I wrote a thread asking about a few weeks ago.

Gordon gives a comprehensive 12 month warranty with a claim limit of £5k, we agreed after a second opinion and your answers, that the leak isn't a problem, but that he would do the heat shields.

I was initially intending to sell my car privately on here and PH, especially as I'd made quite a few mods to it, but after speaking to Gordon, he offered me a good price for my C4 cab, and so while he sorted the heat shields out, I removed some of the mods on the car (as he wanted it as original as possible) and finally the end of June, I took delivery of my new Turbo!

Having spent 3 years slowly modifying my C4, I thought this time I'd get the things I wanted done asap so I can enjoy it more (another reason why it's taken me so long to post this!)

First things first, 997 Short Shift kit, based on recommendations here, order it from OPC WL, for a bargain price of £346 inc vat and fitting!

Next, even though the tyres were reasonable at 4-5mm all round, I wanted a brand new set and also thought I'd get the alloys refurbed, so gave Chris at Exel a call and he arranged a fresh set of tyres and a complete refurb.

And of course the big one was the exhaust...

I posted a thread a few weeks back and thanks to those of you who responded to me personally and offered for me to hear your exhausts. I found that invaluable in the decision making process.

Through a strange set of circumstances (which I met another great forum member, Andrew) I ended up at 9e the morning I was due to pick up my Turbo, great opportunity to meet Ken and have a chat about all things Turbo, and in particular his exhaust.

His knowledge is second to none and he was more than happy to talk through different options of modifying a 996 turbo. I really like his approach, and the different packages he has on offer, and his advice is invaluable, as it just gives you more knowledge and options.

Having just done a simple hack at H&S on my C4, I was a little weary spending so much money on an exhaust, however the sound of Ken's exhaust was just awesome and with the added bonus of it being switchable, thought I'd bite the bullet and go for it. So a week after I took delivery, I dropped the car off to Ken. We took it out for a reccy, he plugged in his diagnostic kit, and we drove around to check for the performance of the remap. Ken advised the remap was safe, but as I was planning a road trip to Greece, Ken advised to upgrade the intercoolers to 997 GT2RS, and a couple other upgrades. The good thing is that Ken's packages are based on a modular basis, so with all the work I've had done, it's easy for me to go to the next level of performance (which I will no doubt do in the future!)

I picked up the car a week later, and could not believe how the exhaust had transformed the car! Where as before it was like a silent assassin, now, it's like a caged animal, growling and snarling in traffic, and then goes to scream when accelerating hard! And if you want to go back to silent assassin, just flick the key fob and it goes back to standard. IMHO, it is by far the best mod for a Turbo! Thanks Ken!

Officially I'd had the car for 3 weeks, but hardly driven it, as wanted to get everything done for the road trip.

I won't go into too much detail about the trip, needless to say it was 3500 miles to Athens and back, via some amazing roads in Reims, Alps, Monza, Northen Greece, and finally the island of Serifos...

So that was my journey from Carrera to Turbo, as many of you have say, it's an awesome car, and have just come back from another trip with some mates down to the Alps again, so I'm certainly making sure I'm using it as intended!

Thanks again to Gordon, Ken, and you guys on here for helping me to get this... finally a few pics...

Great story and fantastic pics Mazza. :thumb:

Cobalt is a great colour and, as you say, unusual on a 996T.

The '911uk Turbo' club must be the fastest growing one in 2014.
Great Post.

Beautiful Car! Get a vid up if possible... Want to hear that exhaust!
Great write up and love cobalt blue, mind you I am a bit biased being a cobalt blue turbo owner myself!!
Gorgeous colour. Ok, I'm biased as have a Carrera in that colour with the same wheels.

Sounds like an epic road trip!

Agree the colour is fab and it's great to see it's getting used as God intended :thumb:
How much and what is the make of the exhaust if you don't mind Me asking?
Great little read 8)

The car looks great.
Great stuff!...definitely not enough 996 turbos to go around now! :lol:
Good write-up, great looking car! They are definitely becoming flavour of the moment and for good reason; the 996 turbo is just a fantastic driver's car (once the geo has been set from safe understeer to 'yee-ha' mode!!)

OP, keep the photos coming of your car too, as Chimp has said, it is good to see it being used as intended.
Hmmm, must go back and see Ken at 9e again... :)
The second to last picture is the best shot of any 911 I've seen! [/size] The car in that light and angle tops any 911 including the hallowed 993!

Great car, great shots.

Some years ago I took a 996 C2 from Cheshire to Sienna and back via the alps and Monaco - it was epic. Next summer the same route is planned, same destination hotel amongst the Chianti vineyards. Given the rise and rise of the 996TT there should be an annual trans-continent outing

Thanks for your kind comments guys, really appreciate them, I have to say on a clear sunny day the colour is beautiful!

Jamesyg said:
Beautiful Car! Get a vid up if possible... Want to hear that exhaust!

I'll see if I can put something on YouTube... Watch this space

chriscoates81 said:
How much and what is the make of the exhaust if you don't mind Me asking?

It's from 9excellence, speak to Ken, it's one of his own creations and being switchable makes it so much more useable! it's not cheap £3k + vat + fitting, but worth every penny! If you're near to west London happy to give a live demonstration!

infrasilver said:
And WHY won't you go into detail of the road trips. :x

Haha, well I thought the post was long enough as it is! That said I've had a couple of people pm me asking details so I will post up soon with a couple more pics!

petefm10 said:
The second to last picture is the best picture of any 911 I've seen[/size] The car in that light and angle tops any 911 including the hallowed 993!

Thanks petefm10, was quite lucky with the angle/background/weather... Prob my fave picture too!

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