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996 GT3 Mash Note


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Hello. I am a brand new 2004 GT3 owner. I posted a while ago with some questions regarding a specific car. That car needed the second gear synchro replaced. Well, it was replaced and it took a while. Well, i finally got to drive this particular car and i purchased it. So...i suppose that this purchase makes me a new GT3 owner. Yeah me.

I am posting this message on two forums—i hope that this does not violate some forum protocol as i like both forums for different reasons.

I would first like to thank the folks that posted their comments to my original questions as the replies were quite helpful.

Secondly, i would like to just say how much i am in love with my “new” car. She is a 2004 GT3, midnight blue exterior (absolutely amazing color). Low milage. Never tracked. And...she is mine. I just cannot get over that i finally have this vehicle in my possession. I hope people do not mind a slightly verbose post, but I feel a need to relate how and why i came to get a GT3. I strongly suspect that most people are perplexed by my talking about this car: they only see a “Porsh” and do not have the foggiest notion of what this car really is about. Additionally, i would like to post my impression of this car after my (limited) ownership. I have, i think, gone through all the post about the GT3 and numerous folks have said all sorts of things about this car w/r to other vehicles and other Porsche offerings and i would simply like to chip in my 2 cents.

I have been infatuated with the GT3 ever since i first saw a tv program on it. This was almost 10 years ago. It was about the 996 Mk1. And the bottom line was that it sounded like a car completely out of my league, financially, at the time (i was in grad school) and it was european only. Then the 996 Mk2 was released and...i still could not afford one and i just recently bought a new car (2003 infiniti g35 coupe) so, again, i had to pour cold water on my automotive desires. Well, finally i am in a position that i can afford (though it is still a stretch) a used GT3. Well, here we are.

I have wanted a 911 for a long time. I had the pleasure to drive a GT3 several years ago and i was done. I so wanted this car. It had to wait a few years and there were several issues that i had to resolve. There was the issue of the back seats. i have 2 young children and i kept focusing on the back seats as in the past my wife insisted that the kids had to be able to go in my car. This was one of the reason that i got the g35 coupe—back seats, also my wife felt save in it unlike some other vehicles that i considered at the time. The need for the back seats evaporated after i got my wife to finally go for a test-drive in a C2 with me. She decided that she will not allow the kids to sit “back there.” In typical male fashion, that meant to me that i now could forget about a car with back seats. In reality, she had finally come to understand that i wanted a real sports car and she completely approved the purchase. I am very fortunate to have a very understanding wife.

The other issue that i had to resolve was the r35 GT-R. One of the reasons that i bought my g35 was the GT-R. It was a way to get close to the GT-R magic. I have been following development of the GT-R for years and had every intention in the world to get it when it was finally released in the US. I even put a deposit down to get on the list long before all the details were know. Well, clearly at this point i am not getting it. It is not a pretty car, but i do think that it is a...very masculine, aggressive, “butch” car. The looks really grew on me, but it is far from pretty. People have questioned 'ring times, performance stats, etc. At this point, it should be pretty clear that a car this HEAVY can do ALL that. It seems like an amazing machine. Brutally fast and easy to drive. The transmission and ATTESA are clearly brilliant. But that is precisely my issue with it i decided that i do not car how fast the **** car can accelerate, how fast the transmission can shift, how quickly it can go around this or that track, or how easy it is to drive. A lack of a manual transmission really takes so much of the pleasure out of driving. A car that has computers “just sort it out” for you is not that type of car that i want. And...the weight. It just seems wrong, no matter how well the weight seems to be disguised based on all the reviews that i read. I just cannot get over this trend in modern cars: more weight for more stuff, so you need more power to make it go fast, so you need more electronic acronyms to control all that weight and power. I just have to think that all these new “sports” cars (IS-F, GT-R, even M3 and certainly the M5/6) are going to be dinosaurs in a few years as the trend will have to be to produce lighter vehicles. Better dynamics, easier to control all other things being equal, better fuel efficiency, less wear on components, etc. Maybe it is old fashioned and completely contrary to our culture and climate of instant gratification, but I do not want a car that anyone can get into and drive fast. Such vehicles simply encourage people with more money than sense to drive over-powered cars in dangerous ways expecting the electronics to save their ***. Is it not better to learn proper technique and smoothness? Ultimately is it not better to drive within the limits of the tires/vehicle? All such electronic systems are reactive: you have to be in trouble before they can intervene. There have been numerous posts even by Turbo owners about how much better the Turbo is for a daily driver due to AWD and traction/stability control. Well, all the acronyms in the world are not going to save you if the tires do not have traction. What is the expression: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Yes, the GT3 is and will be my daily driver. I am going to get winter rims/tires for her. I am going to drive her when i go skiing. I am going to drive her to work. And flog her on back roads on my days off. It is a car that really seems to do better the harder you drive it. It is also a car that clearly is a much better car than i am driver at this time. That is ok. I want a car that forces me to be a better driver and rewards good technique. It is going to take me time to really get a feel for it and sort out all the information that the car is giving me. My senses are overloaded everytime i drive it. The amount of input and feedback from this car really make one realize how much most cars (and even many of the different Porsche models) dampen the sensory information and isolate the driver from the driving experience. It is a very demanding car, but i hope that with time and effort i can make this a very rewarding car. The engine and exhaust note, alone, are worth the price of the car. The engine is just...amazing. Yes, there is always faster (Turbo, GT-R, Z06), but does it really matter? The suspension has been described as too rough and harsh. I think that it is perfect. I can feel the shudder as the car goes over expansion joints, but 99% of the time is is just right (for me). Porsche, in general, does an amazing job of suspension tuning: great control and road feel with an amazing level of comfort. When i was test driving, I was amazed how “soft” a 997 C2 and Turbo felt to me coming from the g35, yet the road-holding and feel we leagues better. All that seems a step or two even better in the GT3. The clutch has a perfect weight and feel—i would not characterize it as too heavy. And yes, i have already had to deal with heavy stop-and-go traffic in the car. The shifting is precise and so “direct” in feel. Yes, it is low to the ground, but with some foresight, i have adjusted the approach angle and have not had a problem even on turns with a dramatic change of grade (there are lots of hills in) my part of Pennsylvania. Heck, i had to do the same even in my g35. I cannot rave enough about this car. Everyone has different demands and automotive needs, but with a few minimal compromises it offers a fantastic daily driving experience. I personally have never driven better.

And, did i mention the gorgeous? People (publications, forums) have chastised Porsche for maintaining the same shape for the past 4+ decades and lacking a design department. The 911 is one of the most beautiful automotive shapes of all time. Why change what is almost perfect. So clean, shapely, and purposeful. And what an ***. I have to say that the 996 GT3 is much more beautiful to my eye than the 997 GT3. I know that the traditionalists abhor the head lamps, but the car as a whole is just lovely. It is the best looking of all the 996's and it may even be better looking than any 997. Do not get me wrong, the 997 GT3 is a good looking car, but the more aggressive bodywork makes the car lose a little of its elegance. Beyond the fact that i could not afford a 997 GT3, the 996 GT3 is one of the most beautiful of all 911's...ever. Yes...i like my car that much. Heck, if i expressed my affection for my car any more directly, she would file a restraining order. Uh...just kidding, she likes the attention.

I have only had the car for a matter of days, but i have already logged about 600 miles. It helps that i bought the car in North Carolina and drove it to the Phily area. I drove it already in freezing temperatures, wet and rainy roads, heavy traffic (through DC and Baltimore) with road construction and all sorts of other hazards. i have hammered it on some of the lovely back roads that we have here in Chester County.

In case this was unclear, i am amazed by this vehicle. She is clearly so much better than i am driver, but i hope if she is patient with me. I will do my best to become better for her sake.

----end of rant----

And, now for some photos. After i bought the car, i had this wacky notion that i would take a bunch of back road home from NC to PA. I also wanted to take photos along the way in a variety of scenic places. Well...i flew down to NC after finishing up 4 overnights of work, test-drove, negotiated, and bought the car. At that point i was about 22 hours without sleep and i had to drive about 450 miles (if i took the most direct route) home. Well, back road became mostly I-95. And, most of I-95 is not overly scenic, so lots of photos became 4. Though i could have obtained nice photos of DC and Baltimore along the way, the traffic and roads were not too cooperative and i was tired, so it did not happen. I hope that folks enjoy the mini-travelogue.

#1: Point of origin, Raleigh, NC. Though not always the biggest fan of Starbucks, i had to get myself good and caffeinated for the drive.

#2: Some point between Richmond and DC. Nothing special, but even ordinary sunset is a pretty sunset.

#3: Somewhere in MD. She is thirsty.

#4: Home in Pennsylvania. Her home from now on. My neighbor's obnoxious spot lights provide a nice backlight. Not that i am overly religious (bad catholic), but it is like the light of God and good fortune smiling upon me. i feel very fortunate to have a wife that understands and enough financial resources to indulge myself with such a fantastic machine.

Note: in the test message, that is my daughter, Sofia, with the car.

fve (frank)






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Thanks for such a great letter. I'm sure most of feel what you feel about the 911. I'm also in the market for a GT3. I'm pleased to hear your road to finally acquiring one.

Enjoy it and please post some more pictures!!



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Are you sure this wasn't a college essay? Anyway welcome to the forum. Have you ripped the lip off the car yet? it is very low, hit driveways at a 45 degree angle and do not hit deep dips or high speed bumps head on. Take your time with the bonding process. She will reward smooth thoughtful input. She will bite the contrary.

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Are you sure this wasn't a college essay? Anyway welcome to the forum. Have you ripped the lip off the car yet? it is very low, hit driveways at a 45 degree angle and do not hit deep dips or high speed bumps head on. Take your time with the bonding process. She will reward smooth thoughtful input. She will bite the contrary.

Sorry. After seeing it posted...i too realize that it is long. It did not feel that way when i wrote it. No lip ripping...yet, but here is hoping that i have a good story behind the first one. I am taking time...but she really like to go. you know the type.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Congratulations! ...possibly on two fronts since it sounds like this may be your first Porsche, as well as your first GT3. There may be faster in magazine comparisons, but as a complete package, P-cars have yet to be beat in my experience.

You made a great choice. I would highly recommend getting the suspension setup checked and then taking it out to some autocross then onto the track. New Jersey Motorsports Park is almost done and Pocono is near and while not a Watkins Glen or Mont Tremblant, a good place to stretch the GT3's legs and practice your driving skills. If you are an accomplished track driver, it pays learn the car's strengths and drive to them. If you are just beginning, be patient and start slow as inverterman points out, the GT3 is an amazing track vehicle but requires respect. The Porsche Club of America (PCA) and their Autocross and Drivers Education programs are an excellent and inexpensive way to get started. But be careful, once the needle is in, you will need more and your checkbook will take a beating. By the way, if you join PCA you can become a member of any region, but your local one in Chester is Riesentoter.

One note about your intended use. I highly recommend the car as a daily driver but know that there is no undercoating or sealing anywhere under the car (at least there wasn't on my 2004 GT3), so if you do drive in salt and snow you need to be especially vigilant about cleaning it well very frequently. The stitch-welds are beautiful underneath the car and it would be a pity to see rust take hold.

Enjoy and good luck!

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