Budget 911 might seem like an oxymoron. Fortunately, it isn’t. For those who have fifteen large and have hungered for a modern 911, the time to buy is now. The 996 era (’99-’05) isn’t liked by most Porsche aficionados because it represented a low point in styling and, in some’s eyes, a break from tradition. However, some of those critics are just plain stuffy.
Water-cooling wasn’t fondly regarded when it was introduced to the 911 range with the 996 generation. Additionally, the cars were accused of sounding bad and looking worse. However, if one can get over the broken-egg headlights, there are plenty of dynamic thrills that—thanks to the car’s unpopularity—are available for relative peanuts.
Fifteen thousand dollars will fetch a decent 996 Carrera 2 these days, and that buys as much as 320 horsepower, as little as 2,900 pounds, incredible steering feel, and the ability to do terrifying slides—provided the driver has the hands to handle a rear-engined car beyond the limit. As you might imagine, the business of drifting a 996 is pretty busy and that lump sitting over the rear axle has a tendency to over-rotate the car in the middle of a heart-palpitating drift. Yet, Guillaume Artufel’s able to transition between drifts like he’s driving a Nissan 240SX.
Artufel’s clearly spent his money wisely with regards to his 911’s modifications. Subtle aero pieces, rock-hard suspension, formfitting GT3 seats, a 997 shift knob, and a few other tweaks to help it keep pointed the right way on the racetrack. It has some of the character of a GT3 for a third of the price. Considering the sort of high-speed acrobatics this car is capable of, the sound it makes, and the bronze badge on the hood, it’s one of today’s best luxury-performance bargains—even if it’s the ugliest sibling in the 911’s regal family.