Would you pay $1.2 million for a pair of fried eggs? As revealed by automotive consultant Ray Shaffer on Instagram, comedian and Porsche collector Jerry Seinfeld just spent that sum on a 996 Porsche 911. Yes, the Boxster-headlamped 911 known for intermediate shaft bearing failure and depressed resale values. However, the Classic Club Coupe isn’t just any 996, it’s Porsche’s own reimagination of the crunch time 911. Still, what a mad figure.
View this post on Instagram
In the 1990s, Porsche had the choice to either adapt or die, and it chose to adapt as radically as necessary to save the company. First came the Boxster, an entry-level mid-engined sports car that maximized component sharing with the then-incoming 996. As a result, Porsche’s rear-engined watercooled flagship shared an engine family, a set of switchgear, a pair of headlights, and a vast majority of body panels from the doors forward. While the common styling elements remain controversial to this day, Porsche’s Hail Mary worked. Nearly 26 years since the first 996 rolled off the production line in Stuttgart, Porsche is still cranking out new 911s.
Part of what makes the 911 Classic Club Coupe special is what’s under the hood. In place of the failure-prone standard engine sits the 3.8-liter Mezger engine from the 996 GT3, pushing output to 381 horsepower. That doesn’t sound huge by today’s standards, but the 996 also doesn’t weigh a lot by today’s standards. A base-model 1999 Porsche 911 tips the scales at just 2,901 pounds, so expect this one-off to be rapid.
All the styling tweaks on the Classic Club Coupe were penned by Grant Larson, the designer behind the original Boxster, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that not a single one feels out of place. The double-bubble roof recalls the Carrera GT, the ducktail throws things back to the 911 2.7 RS, and black Fuchs alloy wheels in modern sizing whisper Super Carrera. Add in the side skirts and front bumper from the 996 GT3 and you have a seriously appealing set of hardware tweaks. Unfortunately, the choice of Sport Grey Metallic paint is about as exciting as unbuttered toast, but the white-and-blue stripes are lovely touches.
Moving to the interior, it’s been heavily-reworked in the best way. To save money, Porsche had to build the 996 cheaply, which means that some of the plastics are cheap by 2023 standards. To rectify this, Porsche has slathered everything from the console to the gauge cluster hood in smooth leather. Well, almost everything — the seats and door cards get fantastic houndstooth woven-leather inserts that look so right. Speaking of leather, that cowhide-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel is out of a later 996, and the chunky sports shift knob is a welcome upgrade from the high-tech sex aid fitted to base cars. Capping it all off is Porsche Classic Communication Management, a brand new infotainment system with Apple CarPlay that’s designed to match the fonts and buttons throughout the rest of the cabin.
That’s all well and good, but $1.2 million is an enormous sum of money. High-mileage Carrera GT money, gated Murcielago money, house money. Jerry Seinfeld might be the only person on earth who’d spend that sum on a factory one-off 996, especially considering how much fun a sub-$100,000 996 GT3 or even a sub-$20,000 base 996 has to offer. However, I get it. If I had unfathomable wealth and could buy a cool youngtimer one-off with all the mod-cons, I absolutely would. There’s just something magical about a car old enough to be tactile yet new enough to not worry about.
(Photo credits: Porsche)
Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.