Have you ever been on the hunt for a specific car and keep finding good ones with the exact options you will never buy? That has been my luck for over a year now of searching for a manual Porsche 996TT. Not only are most of the good cars I’m finding for reasonable prices coming with the Tiptronic automatic transmission, but they’re also coming with the hideous grey leather interior.
When buying fun cars it’s all about preferences, so know that these are just my personal opinions as I search for my own sports car. I want a fun car that is a bit quirky, has 3-pedals, and can make me pucker a bit on track. I also don’t have a big bankroll, so need to find a quality used example of something fun, and hopefully something that will also have good resale value, as variety is the spice of life. Hence, Porsche 996 Turbo.
I Value A Quality Interior
As an automotive journalist, I’ve driven MANY different cars at nearly every price point over the past decade. Through this experience, I’ve learned to care about the interior more and more. Most people focus on the exterior styling, but the reality is that if you own the car and don’t care about vanity all that much the interior is where you spend most of your time interacting with it.
A sports car in particular is something that should feel special when you slide in behind the wheel. Sure you want the car to look cool as you stroll up to it to go for a drive, but a tidy well-designed interior honestly has more importance to me.
I know, I know, the Porsche 996 interior isn’t for everyone and isn’t great by any standard. I personally appreciate its ’90s charm, however. In the right color, trim, and gauge combo I can almost appreciate the 996’s interior. At worst it doesn’t distract me from the amazing driving experience.
There is one Porsche 996 interior that I will never settle for, however.
Porsche 996 Graphite Grey Interior
That interior color is called “Graphite Grey,” with Porsche paint codes C50 and C51. My stomach literally turns every time my eyes lay upon this vile abomination. How Porsche sold so many 996 cars with this interior I will never understand!
To me, it looks like a rubbery Play-doh. Graphite Grey interiors also really don’t age well, with UV and oily finger stains being the norm. Any rip or wear spot is highlighted by this horrendous dyed leather interior color.
Graphite Grey is just a non-starter for me. First thing I do when I see a 996 Turbo listing is skim the photos for an interior shot. The photo usually lets me know quickly if I need to read further, as both an automatic gearbox and the Graphite Grey quickly present themselves, sadly more often than not.
No Cinnamon Brown Either
I will also admit that it is unlikely I’d buy a Cinnamon Brown (P11) colored interior car either. This color has a similar putty look. And, it gives me a similar raised eyebrow scrunched-face look of disgust every time I see it.
I will admit that Cinnamon Brown does present slightly better in person than it does in pictures though.
996 Interior: Leather Style Matters
While not an immediate red flag like the Graphite Grey is for me, I greatly prefer the standard perforated leather option in the 996 Porsches. On offer were basically two types of leather; tight leather with perforations or a draped supple leather, which was only available in the “full leather” option.
The draped supple leather looks more luxurious and old-world right off the showroom floor, versus the tight-fitting standard perforated leather, which looks much sportier. The supple leather is said to be more comfortable, but I haven’t spent enough time in one of these cars, yet, to give an opinion on this.
As the draped supple leather ages it tends to get more creases in it, especially when not taken care of or in sunny states, which makes it look even older and more worn than it started out. I guess I like my sports cars more sporty than luxurious. I also like things tight and crisp, which the draped supple leather is not.
Porsche 996 Prices On The Rise
I’ve personally witnessed the 996 Porsche market appreciate considerably since the start of the pandemic in March of 2020. For over a year now, I’ve been seriously searching for a nice driver example of a Porsche 996 Turbo for around $40,000. That price range was the relative norm in early 2020, with some high mileage cars available in the low $30,000 range.
Sadly, here in early 2021, the market has gotten out of hand as people have been at home staring at car auctions way too much and buying up all the fun, possibly collectible cars. I fear that far too many of these fun cars are destined to rot away in storage without being properly exercised on the regular, as people hope they appreciate over time.
I also don’t know where the 996, and specifically 996TT, market is headed. I’d wager to guess that we’ll see prices level out later this year, probably with well-loved cars in the $50,000-$60,000 range and nicely optioned low mileage cars getting very near $80,000. I also have little doubt for at least the next decade prices on these cars will be on the rise, at least a bit.
I do believe I missed the boat, and the depreciation curve on the Porsche 996 hit bottom in 2018. I’m not giving up though, as markets always change and I still look forward to the day I can hit a race track in my own 996TT, after I fix the coolant pipe issue of course.