In 1989 design work started on the 964’s successor. Tony Hatter was in charge of the design team that would take the 964’s maladroit body style, revise the flow and shape, and release the refined and balanced 993 to near-immediate acclaim. This new design featured the iconic 911 silhouette but showcased a more unibody design comprised of updated exterior panels, a lowered stance, more flared wheel arches, and fully integrated smooth front and rear bumper designs. The now steel body shell was wide-styled to accommodate a new multi-link suspension. For the first time in 30 years, the front fenders were overhauled, even the adorning headlamps changed to a new elliptical shape.
The 993 model year is famously the last and the pinnacle of the air-cooled 911s marking 50 years of innovation (1948-1998). Significant technical advances in the underpinnings created a more civilized car and a greatly improved handling experience. The 993 retained the 3.6 L m64/01 engine from the 964 but it was redesignated as M64/05. It produced 272hp at 6100 rpm and 243 lb-ft of torque at 5000 rpm, putting the top speed at 168mph. Porsche got rid of the crankshaft vibration damper, axed old torpedo tube exhaust system in favour of a dual flow system that incorporated two catalytic converters, and fixed the 964’s failure-prone flywheel and ignition distributor making the 993s easier to maintain and more reliable than its predecessor. Valve weights were reduced and valve clearance was now operated by automated hydraulic-tappet valve lifters (a first for a 911) meaning they no longer had to be checked during a service. For the 993, Porsche changed to the venerable G50 transmission and for the first time added a 6th gear. Also on offer was the excellent 4-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. In 1996, a second-generation engine was standardised across the lineup; the M64/05 was replaced with the naturally aspirated M63/21. The new engine utilized VarioRam, a modification that changes the tube runner length inside the intake manifold based on engine load and RPM, boosting torque throughout the lower and mid-range. All 993s had 3600 ccm capacity standard bore and stroke engines but the new Varioram system put power up from 272 to 285 at 6100 RPM and torque at 251 lb-ft at 5200 RPM. An optional factory power increase or WLS (in German Werksleistungssteigerung, hence the abbreviation) upped capacity by 200 ccm to a 3.8L and increased power to 300hp. Please note – we have one of these rare upgraded vehicles in stock.
On top of easier maintenance, the 993 had a £5,000 lower build cost thanks to new manufacturing techniques, simplified electrics and new materials e.g. vinyl and composites. An all-new modular system was used for the complete wiring harness. Instead of the previous universal system that included the options for every single model variant, the wiring was bespoke to the specific car’s options, saving weight and decreasing manufacturing cost.
The 993 was available in both C2 (RWD) and C4 (AWD) configurations and whilst the MacPhearson strut suspension was retained upfront, the rear changed to multi-link suspension that mostly fixed the 964’s infamous handling jitters. The C4’s AWD system was also completely different, doing away with the heavy, expensive to fix mechanical system in favour of a viscous fluid coupling that sent power to all four wheels. If front wheels needed more power it could send up to 40% of the power to the front, improving handling rather than merely providing grip. Purists tend to prefer the C2 but the C4 is far more functional and will give you the last laugh when you can put the power down in torrential rain.
The rear-wheel-drive C2 models have the benefit of being the lightest of the 993 models making them nimble, quick and an absolute pleasure to drive. It was available in coupe (1994-1997) and cabriolet (1994-1997) versions as well as S, RS and GT2 variants. Production numbers were as follows: coupe: 14,541, cabriolet: 7,730, S coupe: 3,714, RS coupe: 1,014, GT2: 172, and GT2 Evo: 21. C2 cabriolets tended to be the least desirable because, like most cabriolets, they were slower and heavier therefore they are now the least expensive. If the windswept hair is what you’re after, you should know that cabriolets tended to be bought by people who were less fastidious about maintenance so look for excellent service history.
In 1995 Porsche launched the RS (Rennsport) variant which was lighter, faster, more refined than its predecessor and more aggressively styled than its contemporaries. Although not entirely released for homologation, the 1000+ production run qualified it for competition in the N/GT class. The RS line came in three variations, M001- an RSR cup racing car, M002- a standard RS and M003 – an RS Clubsport. The RS was the first model to get the second generation M64/21 VarioRam, but it had bigger intake and exhaust valves than the engine that would become standardised. Output was 300 bhp at 6500 RPM and 262 lb-ft at 5400 RPM, on the standard M002 this put top speed at 173 mph and 0-62 at 5 seconds. Performance modifications included a cross-brace between the two front strut towers, ball-joint mountings on the damper units, thicker, fully adjustable anti-roll bars, stiffer springs, and a lower ride height (dropped 30mm front and 40mm rear). Alongside a large rear wing, front splitters, and black side skirts, the RS was signified by bigger wheels – new 18″ split rim, three-piece alloys – plus the 993 Turbo’s cross-drilled and ventilated brakes with four-piston callipers. Interior trim was simplified for lightness, rear seats and airbags were also lost to the cause.
Also introduced in 1995, the GT2 was built for homologation for the eponymous GT2 class racing. A more hard-core, race bred, and 200 kg lighter version of the 993 Turbo, the ‘GT,’ or GT2 as it was more commonly referred to, featured wide bolt-on fender flares, allowing for bigger wheels and a wider track. The large rear wing and integrated air scoops helped with the downforce needed to wrangle the 430 hp made by GT2’s 3.6L engine. Top speed was 184 mph and 0-60 was 4.4 seconds. Front and rear anti-roll bars are fully adjustable, and special Speedline magnesium centre wheels were fitted which took weight saving to the extreme. 33 M003 (Clubsport) were ordered, ONE of which was RHD, and they were only road legal in certain countries.
1996 saw the release of the C2S (1996-1998) which utilised the wider turbo style body shell but the naturally aspirated engine of the base models making it truly the best of both worlds. The C2S also featured slightly lowered suspension which alongside the wider tires created better road-holding and an overall more dynamic driving stance. With a quicker acceleration time and a higher top speed than the C4S (thanks to that all-important lightness), it is no wonder the Carrera S is one of the most desirable 993 models. Aesthetically, the C2S is differentiated by the split air vents on the electric spoiler.
The “4” in C4 is an internal designation signifying the 4 wheel all-wheel drive (AWD) system available as a base for some 993 models. The C4’s AWD improved stability over the C2 models. It is visually distinguished by silver brake callipers, C4 badging – wheel centres featured C4 logo rather than the Porsche crest, clear front and side indicators and rear red turn indicators. Despite being the heavier out of the two Carrera versions, the AWD system was significantly lighter than its predecessor’s system. The C4 sacrifices top speed for better handling, but the extra stability makes it a year-round all-weather joy to drive. The C4 came in coupe (1994-1997), cabriolet (1994-1998), and C4S coupe (1995-1998). Production numbers are as follows: coupe: 2,884, cabriolet: 1,284, C4S: 6,948.
Introduced in 1996, the C4s had the Turbo’s widebody, lowered suspension and unlike the C2, its brakes. The C4 utilized the naturally aspirated engines of the base models, bridging the gap between track bred and road car. It had more kit as standard than the C2S like a trip computer, AC, and electric seats.
The 993 Targa was released in the 1996 model year and debuted a retractable glass roof dubbed the “greenhouse” system which would continue to be available on the 996 and 997 generations. The glass roof slides underneath the rear window creating an open-air motoring experience without the hassle of a convertible. Previous models had featured a removable roof and an enlarged b pillar that functioned as a roll bar. The new design allowed the Targa to retain the same profile design as the other Carrera variants and freed the driver from the inconvenience of storing the detached roof. This generation Targa is, therefore, an optimised version, offering the best of the air-cooled benefits alongside the modern, less cumbersome Targa top. The Targa was originally less popular than the coupe option but is now preferable because they’re better maintained than the cabriolets but still offer an open-air experience. When looking for a Targa, it goes without saying, but check the roof mechanism works because it is very costly to repair.
Launched in 1995 for the 1996 production year, the Turbo had a new twin K16 turbocharged 3.6L 408 hp engine and the superb 993 generation AWD system ensuring all the power made it to the ground. The increased output was helped by air-to-air intercoolers, electronic engine management and redesigned cylinder heads. This was the first Turbo to feature AWD, and it was accommodated by widened wheel arches (6mm beyond the standard 993). Most notably, the rear featured a fixed “whale tail” wing which housed the intercoolers and dramatically upped the 993 Turbo’s “cool” factor. The Turbo also featured larger brakes, new 18″ alloy wheels, and was one of the first production cars in the world to feature the OBDII diagnostics system which would later feature as standard on the base 993 models. Thanks to a host of updates and firsts, the Turbo is an exciting drive but the all-wheel drive system means the car still feels in control. Later (1997-1998) production models featured a few key differences that improved upon the 95-96 years; stronger transmission input shafts were better able to handle the immense power in partnership with the AWD system. They also featured a modifiable ECU, motion sensors for the alarm, and “Turbo” emblazoned wheel caps.
993 Turbo S
The even more impressive Turbo S was released and had an original production run of 345, of which only 23 were RHD. The 993 Turbo S was the first 911 with permanent four-wheel drive but the last with an air-cooled engine so in a way, it marks a transition in Porsche’s line-up. The Turbo S was upgraded over the standard Turbo to include a body-kit, wing, and updated brakes – six-piston callipers. The suspension has been stiffened and lowered by 15mm, and the bigger turbos and new exhaust take the power up to 450hp.
Things to check
As previously stated, Porsche saved about £5000 in build cost over the previous generation 911 and whilst the overarching reputation is one of great build quality, there are some things that this cost-cutting impacted negatively. Porsche, like many of their contemporaries, used soy-based wiring jackets which were particularly enticing to rodents, resulting in short-circuiting. Another cost-cutting measure saw the discontinuation of the engine oil magnetic drain plug. Because it collected ferrous material from engine oil, it had been a good early indicator of internal engine issues in previous generations. 993 generation door retaining straps aren’t the sturdiest so they’re worth having a close look at as well. Check drive on the cabriolet’s electric roof and the Targa’s mechanism as well. Bonnet dampers can weaken over the years but are pretty cheap and easy to fix. Because all 993s are over 20 now, mileage, level of service, and number of owners are important indicators as to how well each car has survived. A well looked after 993 should be simple to keep on the road. But here are some places to check for issues:
Air-cooled engines were excellent, the only reason they were phased out was because of increasingly strict emissions rules. Air-cooled engines take longer to reach their operating temperature and engines release more emissions when rising to temperature. There simply wasn’t any way that Porsche could, as demanded by a hungry fanbase, keep increasing performance in their air-cooled engines and keep their emissions low. Oil should be at the right level and changed every 12k miles. Valve guides have been known to wear out because of excessive heat meaning oil gets past guides and into the combustion chamber. The telltale sign for this is blue smoke upon cold start. Normal usage is 1L/600mi or 1.5L/600mi in the city. Check the oil temperature gauge as well because if it is too high it may indicate issues with the oil cooler or temperature sensor. Fittings on oil lines can also fail so inspect the oil catch tank and pressure hoes. In general, there was a slight issue with incontinence, main seals have been known to leak, but it’s also worth checking the chain, valve, and cam covers which could similarly suffer. The second-generation naturally aspirated engines (1996-1996) with the onboard diagnostics 2 (OB-2) system had a secondary air injection problem because of valve gear wear. Injection ports became clogged with carbon buildup from burnt engine oil leaking from failed valve guides in the exhaust ports. This would result in a check engine light when the secondary air injection system wasn’t operating. All second-gen 993s will eventually have this issue unless the valve guides are replaced. It’s worth noting the earlier generation can have the same problem with secondary air injection failure but because of the earlier onboard system (OB-1), the check engine light won’t be set off. However, this wasn’t an issue on the Turbos because a higher quality material was used for the valve guides. If a car has over 100k miles, the engine may have been rebuilt, check by whom and when. If it’s low miles, check for uneven running and perished horses.
The newly introduced dual-flow exhaust was excellent overall, but it is worth checking as the connections can erode. Engine and gearbox mounts can also wear over the years. Listen for vibrations in the cabin and feel for them in the gear lever this could lead to leaking exhausts or headers. Check for rust on the heat shields and silencer welds, if the exhaust has been upgraded, check if it satisfies emissions and noise regs.
Manual cars thrive on scheduled oil changes and the clutch should be good up to 70k miles, so if it’s any higher check for service history of replacement as the clutch master and slave cylinders can be leaky. A noisy torque converter in Tiptronic cars is bad news, but all in all the gearbox’s in the 993s are fairly reliable.
Check disc faces for pitting and edges for lipping, suspension bushes should last 40k or so. Replacement bushes, new dampers and ball joints will tighten the car up nicely, so it’s a worthwhile bit of work to invest in. Aluminium brake callipers are costly to replace should they corrode, but this is quite rare.
Check panel gaps and rubber seals as always and if it’s over 100k, check for damaged under shields which could indicate neglect by previous owners. Look for rust on panels and check under the boot carpets for any bad repairs. If the windscreen has been replaced, check for rust by lifting the rubber seals in the corners. General rust hotspots are as follows, headlights, front and rear screams rear chassis legs, rear bumper support brackets, the scuttle and front wings.
If the heating system is struggling, check heat exchangers are working, air-con problems may be a failed resistor but buyer beware, a new system is extremely costly. In cabriolets and Targas check seals for cracks and feel for damp carpets which may indicate a leaky roof.
So, you’ve sifted through the litany of models and figured out which 993 you want, now comes time to comb through the multitude of listings and find the best. Over the years, Hendon Way Motors has sold every single one of these models and variants, and we believe that armed with all this information you’ll see that those we have in stock are the best of the best. Head to our Porsche Stock to view what’s currently on offer, and if you’re looking for something specific that you don’t see, give us a call. We have extensive connections within the industry and can often find you exactly what you’re looking for. In 2020 993s were our best selling generation, at 20 years old they’re on the cusp of classic but have much of the modern technology and features we’ve all come to rely on. If you have the money there is a 993 that will suit your needs. They’ve always been in a high-cost bracket so most owners were wealthy enough to take proper care of them. 993s have what every Porsche purist covets, an air-cooled engine, but with many of the previous generations’ wrinkles ironed out. Therefore, this generation is seen by many as the most desirable 911 series, elegant styling and a body that’s halfway between the narrow early cars and the large contemporary models. They’re reputable, sturdy and sophisticated and prices look like remaining high, they won’t drop much but are equally as unlikely to skyrocket. The 993 is the swansong for “overengineered” 911s, where the almost unchecked pursuit of engineering component integrity was given free rein.