© 2020 kertong © 2020 kertong

2005 Porsche 911 GT3

Car #20. The legendary “GT3” of the Porsche family – a 2005 Porsche 911 GT3 with 24k miles.

To be honest, I bought this based purely on its legendary reputation – and upon first drive, I was a little bit underwhelmed. But I bought it anyway, because you know.. GT3. But this is a car you don’t simply figure out on a 10 minute test drive; over the months I had it, it would continue to reveal more and more about itself.

For the uninitiated – the GT3 of this generation was known for its “Mezger” engine – a bulletproof flat-6 motor that spun to 8000rpms effortlessly. It made around 380 horsepower, but had a light weight of 3000lbs – giving it around 8 pounds per horse to carry. This was one of the first production cars to break the 8 minute barrier on the Nurburgring racetrack.

The best way I can describe this car is that it is a car a marriage between the Acura NSX, and the Lotus Elise would produce. The manual steering was lost – but everything else, you got so much more of. And even then, this power steering rack was one of the best I’ve ever felt.

You have the linear and progressive power delivery of the honda NSX, starting at moderate powerlevels but slowly building as the RPMs increased all the way up to 8000rpms; but the GT3 was louder, more exotic sounding, and just had more power all around. The sound was incredible, and sounded like nothing else on the road today (see: https://youtu.be/x1f6m1gG-V8)(link)

You got the crazy communicative chassis feel of the Elise, but with a little bit of shock damping (which the Elise had 0 of). All the texture and messages of the road came through, but the harsh burrs were smoothed out.

It was daily’able like the NSX. Comfortable to sit in, easy to drive around if you weren’t flogging it. Outside of the stiff suspension and the crazy mezger motor, the car is “just” a 911, a car already known for its daily practicality. And coming from the Elise, this car was incredibly comfortable. During the test drive, I kept noting the comfort, and the salesman was balking at me.

On top of all that, you had a splash of exotica – rear engined handling. WIth the engine and transmission hanging out behind the rear wheels, the front end was incredibly light. As a result, the car changed direction instantly. Imagine yourself running down an aisle of your supermarket pushing an empty shopping cart. When you hit the end of an aisle, you can simply turn the shopping cart while maintaining speed. Imagine repeating this exercise with a couple 3-gallon jugs of water at the front of the shopping cart.

So, why did I sell it?

First off, the car and I got off to a rocky start (through no fault of ours). On day 2, I had parked it in a parking lot in downtown redwood city for a dinner; and came back to a dime-sized chip in the bumper. Instantly, the worrying started – there are less than 1000 996-GT3’s in the United States, and mine was one of ~200 2005 GT3s (the last year of production for this generation).

This car also had low miles (24k), and putting stop and go traffic miles on it seemed to be a waste – it clearly wanted to stretch its legs out on a proper track..

That was all further cemented when I took it out to Thunderhill Raceway; this car came ALIVE on the track (see: https://youtu.be/jc0TDPdUudQ)(link). Going back to regular stop and go driving, it felt like the car was restrained, and wasted.

Driving the car quickly became a chore and a worry. I ended up selling it on bringatrailer.com – if I had more garage space I would have kept it, but only as a weekend / track only car.  It is easy to forget how special it is when it becomes your daily/everyday car and you forget about the heavy and grabby clutch jerking you around.