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996 C4S

Lee’s 996 Carrera 4S diary: the first big spend

It’s been a busy period for my C4S as after five months of ownership, I’ve finally needed to spend out on something other than fuel for it. I’ve previously mentioned the car needed new brakes and tyres all round, and they’ve now been replenished after a trip to Porsche Centre Bournemouth. For the brakes I was happy to stick with an OEM-spec setup as in my view if those Big Reds are good enough for a 996 Turbo they’re good enough for a 996 C4S. I bought the brake discs and pads separately from Heritage Parts Centre last month, which arrived promptly and had been sitting at my house waiting for a gap in my diary to take the car to Porsche.

That day arrived in early September and I whisked the car over to OPC Bournemouth where it’d be under the stewardship of one Scott Gardner, whom you’ll recognize in the pictures as our very own ‘ask the expert’ from the front of the magazine. Scott had the discs, pads, wear sensors and anti squeal shims (I had to buy the latter separately) swapped over in three hours without a hitch – you do always assume with a 996 that there is going to be a hitch, be it something as simple as a sheared bolt or ripped thread, which can delay even the most simplest of tasks.

Heritage Parts Centre are new to the Porsche industry but I was very pleased with the quality of the brakes, which all married up absolutely fine into my calipers and onto my hubs. Again it sounds obvious but I’ve had wrong parts turn up from other suppliers in the past and this only leads to a frustrating scenario when work has to be stopped because the part doesn’t quite match up. This wasn’t the case here though, and Heritage Parts Centre come highly recommended from me. The brakes will take a bit of time to bed in but already I’m noticing much sharper response to brake pedal applications, which has already inspired me to push the car a little harder.

I also addressed the worn rear Continental tyres by replacing them with a set of Michelin Pilot Sport tyres all round. N4 rated (a higher ‘N’ rating means more recent tyre technology has been used), I was recommended them by a Michelin representative when I told him the car is used for shopping runs, plenty of fast road driving and the occasional track day. I’ve never actually ran Michelin tyres on any of my own cars before but have always enjoyed them on other 911s (Pilot Sport Cup 2s are surely the best road tyre ever to grace a 911) and am really looking forward to exploring their limits in the coming weeks. More on their performance will be found in a coming update.

It’s standard procedure for Porsche to health check your car while it’s on the ramps, so Scott and I had a good look around underneath the C4S once all the work was done. I was very happy with Scott’s exemplary comments as regards to its overall health and condition – he was shocked when he found out I’m the 11th owner – and his remarks has only further endorsed my decision to purchase this cracking 911 in the first place. Thanks to the guys at Porsche Centre Bournemouth for stellar service as always – now, I can’t wait to wrack up some miles with my new toys courtesy of Heritage Parts and Michelin!

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Total 911 issue 153 on sale now

The new Porsche 911 GT3 is welcome news for car enthusiasts: though Zuffenhausen has edged towards PDK-only transmission for its GT and Turbo cars in the last five years, the 2018 GT3 marks a famous return for the good, old-fashioned stick shift, which is now a no-cost option. So how do the manual and PDK GT3’s compare? You can find out in Total 911 issue 153, out now, featuring the most comprehensive review of both cars you’ll find absolutely anywhere on the newsstand.

Lest we forget, it was the 991 R that reintroduced manual transmission to a Porsche GT car. Deliveries of the 991 examples were made last summer, though as had been well documented, most aren’t driven often due to their meteoric rise and in value. However, Total 911 seeks to change that as in this issue we accompany a subscriber intent on using the R for its primary purpose – driving! Step forward a 1,000-mile tour of the best driving roads in Wales with some breathtaking pictures to boot.

Elsewhere in issue 154, we’ve a look at the history of the 911 Carrera, looking at its evolution from a lightweight, rear-driven track machine to a turbocharged, all-wheel-drive grand tourer. We also test drive a Porsche 912 and look at why enthusiasts of the early, pre-impact bumper 911s are now turning to this four-cylinder classic for their purist driving pleasures, and we go classic road rallying and discover why it’s the perfect entry-level form of motorsport.

To read all of this and much, much more, pick up Total 911 issue 153 in stores today. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or subscribe to ensure you never miss an issue.

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Total 911 issue 152 on sale now

As we all know, there are many great models of 911 making up the fabric of the Neunelfer’s rich tapestry. However, some get more exposure than others, and when it comes to eras of 911 Turbo in particular, enthusiasts are quick to mention the recent good fortunes – in terms of values – of both the inexorable 993 and value-for-money 996. Meanwhile, the 997 Turbo, including both Gen1 and Gen2 cars, is largely forgotten about. Until now.

That’s because in the new issue 152 of Total 911, out now, we’ve taken a close-up look at why the 997 Turbo’s stock is set to rise, with ownership secrets and a Gen2 buyer’s guide to help you get into a good example of arguably the best-ever era of 911 Turbo. We also sample the modifying potential of the Gen1 997, pitting a 550hp car against Porsche’s current 991.2 Turbo S.

Elsewhere in issue 152, we’ve a double dose of Martini magic for you, first testing an incredible, road-legal version of the Le Mans Turbo RSR 2.1, before embarking on a road trip in a gorgeous SC complete with optional factory Martini decals as we sample the generation that saved the 911 from extinction.

We also delve behind the restricted gates at Weissach to bring you a definitive history of Porsche’s secretive research and development centre, plus there’s a mouth-watering twin test as the Turbo takes on the C4S in the battle of the 996 wide bodies.

To read all of this and much, much more, pick up Total 911 issue 152 in stores today. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device now.

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Lee’s 996 Carrera diary: OPC v independent specialists

It’s the age-old debate for Porsche owners the world over: do I take my 911 to my local Porsche Centre or an independent specialist for servicing? In years gone by Porsche Centres have seen a phenomenal customer base drop out of the network once their cars are out of warranty (which is two years, unless an optional third year is purchased as an extra at the point of sale). This clientele has willingly been picked up by a healthy array of independent businesses renowned for their Porsche specialism. However, Porsche Centres have fought back, lowering labour costs and introducing specially-appointed ‘Classic Centres’ to fashion a very competitive servicing and maintenance marketplace. This is great news for owners of non-new 911s.

So which is best? Well, the answer will often come down to personal preference – and as a newcomer to Porsche ownership, I’m excited to decide for myself. As you may recall, last month I purchased a second-generation Carrera 4 as my own ‘project 996’ from independent specialists RPM Technik, who had taken one in as part exchange and gave me a trade deal in light of the fact the car needed some attention in order to be considered ‘ready to retail’. Before collecting the 996, I was given a printout of RPM’s pre-purchase inspection, which resembles the 110-point check undertaken at an OPC (a common practise among reputable specialists).

The 996 gets a CSR lightweight flywheel before its PPI and collection.

The 996 gets a CSR lightweight flywheel before its PPI and collection.

In RPM’s report I found nothing of immediate mechanical concern, with just the following points of contention: the power steering pipe crimping is starting to split (a common problem, 996 owners), front and rear lower arm bushes are delaminating, and my A/C condensers are in need of replacement. The report showed I’d bought a good car, however the inevitable question soon surfaced at the forefront of my mind: would Porsche themselves view my 996 in the same way? I was eager to find out.

At the start of the month I visited my local OPC, Porsche Centre Bournemouth, where Senior Service Advisor, Richard Pearce, booked my car in for a complimentary health check. I returned to the Centre just days later, dropping off my C4 and collecting a 981 Cayman loan car in return. The inevitable ‘sweetener’ before a financial hammer blow when said health check was complete, perhaps? I was fearful.

However, I need not have worried. Around four hours into temporary Cayman possession, I received a concise email from Richard containing a first-person video assessment of the 996. You can see the video for yourself here: Senior Technician, Nick Perry (who incidentally has more than 25 years of experience at Porsche Centre Bournemouth) provided a comprehensive breakdown of the car in just three minutes, picking up on the same points made in the PPI from RPM Technik. Three notes to consider from the video: I do indeed have a CSR lightweight flywheel fitted to the car, I covered 1,700 miles between the PPI and health check, which is when the tyre gash likely occurred, and Porsche Bournemouth were not aware of my 996’s PPI at the time of the health check being conducted.

Porsche Centre Bournemouth carried out a complimentary health check on the 996 one month into Lee's ownership of the car.

Porsche Centre Bournemouth carried out a complimentary health check on the 996 one month into Lee’s ownership of the car.

After collecting my 996 from the Porsche Centre, I was happy, relieved and suitably impressed, the latter thanks to two key points of the health check. First was the video link which, though commonplace today at many manufacturer service centres, elucidates transparency. Unedited video evidence is unequivocal: I can see for myself what niggles Nick had found, giving me confidence that I’m not being fleeced. Second was Nick’s mechanical sympathy. Rather than just proffer that I replace anything remotely worn – a stigma often associated with a Porsche Centre in general – I was told, for example, that my exhaust nuts have one year left and that the lower arm bushes are perishing but useable. I appreciated that greatly.

What have I learned? For starters, RPM Technik are excellent. Their PPI was meticulous, easy to understand and, above all, accurate. My Porsche Centre experience was also exceedingly pleasant: I felt as welcome in my 996 as the rather more fortunate chap next to me collecting his 991.2 C4S, and was bouyed by the knowledge of the technicians and Senior Service Advisor, Richard Pearce, who knew his way around my 996 far better than even I did. Both businesses have therefore given me complete confidence in them caring for and maintaining my 996 going forward. Of course, the real battle will commence when parts need to be ordered – more on that soon…

Got any thoughts on the OPC vs independent specialist debate? Share your comments with us below.

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Top ten photos from Total 911 issue 124

Total 911 issue 124 has landed and, as ever, it is full to the brim with gorgeous photos of the very best Porsche 911s, from our 991 Turbo v GT3 head-to-head, to an in-depth look at the lightweight Porsche 964 Turbo S.

In order to whet your appetite (if you haven’t already grabbed your copy), here are the ten best photos that didn’t make the final cut to feature inside issue 124.

To get your copy and enjoy more stunning Porsche 911 imagery like this, head to your local newsagent now. Alternatively, order your copy for home delivery or download it straight to your digital device.

We sit down to chat neunelfers and racing with Chad McQueen, son of Steve.

Two unlikely rivals go head-to-head in issue 124. Would you choose the 991 Turbo...

...or the 991 GT3? We take them on track and road to test their technological similarities.

At £20,000, has the Porsche 996 C4S become the ultimate performance bargain?

The unmistakable windscreen of the 3.2 Carrera Speedster. We give this drop top icon the ultimate guide treatment.

Behind the genteel facade, this 912 puts the 'hot' in hot rod with the the help of a 3.0-litre flat six.

We look at the pros and cons of taking your classic 911 to an independent specialist...

...and the newly-expanded Porsche Classic services available at your local Porsche Centre.

Everything you need to know about the technology behind PCM, from 1998 to the present day.

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