The Great Engine Debate
Though it hasn't been made by Porsche in nearly 25 years, the air-cooled engine will forever be associated with the Porsche 911. But obsolescence has never gotten in the way of a purist, and air-cooled Porsche lovers are purists through and through.
In our current auction we are offering both a 964 model 1991 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Cabriolet/Speedster Conversion with the traditional air-cooled engine, as well as a 996 model 2000 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet with the water-cooled engine of the later 911s. Porsche introduced the 996 model with the water-cooled engine in 1997, and die-hard Porsche fans the world over dug themselves graves in which to turn over.
Diagram of an air-cooled horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine
The air-cooled hill is one upon which many, many Porsche enthusiasts are not only willing to die, but have built businesses with what they think is a nice view of the water-cooled engine drivers below. The water-cooled drivers in turn rest easy down there, in the roomy interiors of their powerful, reliable 911s. The people restoring, rebuilding and driving air-cooled 911s love them for their classic sports car feel, for the skill it takes to drive them, for the simplicity of the engine design, and, possibly above all else, their sound.
The water-cooled drivers love the amped up performance that the newer coolant system allows, the reduced emissions, and all the other design improvements that Porsche made in tandem with the engine change. Porsche switched to the water-cooled design to meet ever-stricter emissions standards and to stay competitive with the likes of Jaguar and Ferrari. The water-cooled engine has allowed for many engineering improvements over the years and likely assured the survival of the 911.

For our purposes, we will simplify the difference between the engines this way: the air-cooled engine is your favorite band before everyone else loved it. It's the sports team your family has cheered for generations, even when they were losing, and especially when they came roaring out of the past to win championships. The water-cooled engine 911 is the new kid at school who moved from somewhere impossibly hip like New York or LA. It's the newest iPhone or drone, it's the digital assistant that knows when you're out of milk, which kind you like, and where to buy it and have it delivered to your doorstep before you even open the refrigerator. New stuff is cool because it can do things the old stuff never could. Old stuff is cool because we loved it with all our hearts even without the new stuff's tricks. We'll never escape the pull of loving things the way they used to be, and we'll never be immune to the bells and whistles of what comes next. We can make room in hearts, and our garages. We are talking about Porsches after all.

March Collector Cars
Thursday, March 25th
10:00am (EDT)