Updated: Feb 15, 2020
Porsche, creator of some of the most iconic road and racing cars of all time. Known for their air-cooled engines, some of the greatest driving machines the world has ever seen, I thought I needed a piece of the action. After this thought, I went out and acquired a 996 generation Porsche 911. She is blue, so naturally her name is Sally Carrera.
For a Porsche to be the greatest driving machine it needs to have the stiffest and most precise body construction possible, which is most commonly found in cars with a solid metal roof. This is what the Porsche world views as the most desirable shape as Porsche is a sports car brand and is all about performance. Sally Carrera is none of this. She is a cabriolet. The floor is the only thing holding the car together. Porsche being as clever as they are, reduced the amount of body flex by strengthening the floor, but in doing so this adds a lot of weight. Not what you want in a sports or performance car.
The 996 generation 911 was the first Porsche ever be offered with a water-cooled engine. This caused skepticism amongst Porsche purists as this deviated away from one of the prominent features of the brand, namely, their air-cooled engines. This new water-cooled engine was a first for Porsche at the time. We as humans, all hate change. The Porsche purists felt like the Porsche brand image was being watered down, excuse the pun. They were not happy with the move to water-cooled engines, but as Porsche developed and needed more power from their motors, going the water-cooled route was the only way they felt they could realize this vision.
To date, every single model 911 ever produced has round headlights, except the 996 generation 911. All 911s before it and all 911s after it have round headlights. This is because when the 996 was released Porsche decided to change the shape of the headlights. Needless to say, Porsche got lambasted for changing the shape of the headlights on the 911, something purists say ruined the iconic shape and look of 911s. Porsche didn't want to offend their customers unnecessarily and for the next generation 911, they went straight back to round headlights. The early 996 headlights had orange indicator lenses at the bottom of the light cluster, and because of this look, they got the name 'the fried egg' headlights, as that is what some people thought they resembled. Not what Porsche was hoping for with their new headlight design.
For a Porsche to be the greatest driving machine of all time it needs to engage the driver on every possible level. A manual gearbox goes a long way in engaging the driver to the task at hand - driving. So naturally one would think, as the enthusiast I am, that the Porsche I would buy would be manual and you would be incorrect. Sally Carrera is in fact an automatic. All hope is not lost, I find the gearbox to be really good and shifts exactly when you need. Not having to shift gears it allows you to concentrate more on driving and hitting the perfect line. The automatic gearbox is also a welcome feature for cruising purposes. It offers an extremely relaxing and smooth ride when you want to be smooth and relaxed. It is, for all intents and purposes, the best all-round option for my application. Of course, many may find my feelings quite controversial, and I have no problem with that, so leave a comment below and let's have a full out keyboard warrior argument about it.
To sum it all up, Sally Carrera in the eyes of the Porsche world is the least desirable Porsche possible, she is water-cooled, has no solid roof, has the wrong headlights and is an automatic. This should make her the worst Porsche imaginable, but it doesn't. This car is absolutely fantastic, the open air, plenty power, superb handling not to mention the feeling of simply driving a Porsche and the way it makes you feel. I too am a bit of a Porsche purist and I was skeptical about purchasing this car, but now, looking back I am so glad I did. It is by far the best car I have ever owned and up there with one of the best I have ever driven. I would like to end off with this, do not underestimate the 996 generation of Porsches, they are all fantastic in their own right. Their values at the moment are relatively low, so get in now if you want to become a Porsche owner, you will not regret it.