The moniker unloved or hated 911 is nothing more than an unfortunate side effect of modern influencers pandering for popularity.
Influencers have been around for centuries, this is where the whole idea of sensationalized headlines originated. You can rest assured that anywhere people get their news that headlines will rarely reflect the true nature of the article you’re reading, or the video you’re watching. I’m sure this started with the first newspaper back in 1605 which, incidentally, was a German paper called Relation aller Fürnemmen und gedenckwürdigen Historien (Account of all distinguished and commemorable stories). But I’m willing to bet that old books, scrolls, and even messages sent via carrier pigeon had their fair share of embellishments. In the modern era, today’s influencers are found on social media sites like YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter, to name a few.
Was the 996 unloved or hated when it was first debuted upon the world? Possibly, for some, but not for everyone. The 996 was the first water-cooled 911, and that was fairly polarizing for a lot of folks in the Porsche community (even though it wasn’t the first water-cooled Porsche). Suddenly, we found ourselves in the Porsche debate of the century, and that is: what was the last true 911? I’m certain if I did thorough research on this topic I would find the origins to be that of sensational headlines from the influencers of that time (which were largely magazines and newspapers, and a handful of car related cable television channels). All new design, mass produced, not hand-built, weird headlights, bigger, shared parts, and a water-cooled engine were all departures from what Porsche enthusiasts perceived as a 911, but change was inevitable (otherwise Porsche would have ended up being the laughing stock of the entire automotive industry). Later on things came to light like the over-hyped and sensationalized IMS Bearing, the RMS, and bore scoring. This fueled the frenzy of the “hated” and “unloved” headlines to no end… and it continues to this day.
It’s been 24 years since the 996 was unleashed upon the world, and the problems it had now have permanent solutions (like any car). The 996 has proven to be an incredible 911, and based on all technical specifications and features, the best 911 ever made when it was first unveiled. Nonetheless, the headlines fanned the flames for the battle between air-cooled vs. water-cooled (or rather people-who-can’t-handle-change vs. people-who-understand-progress). And time has done nothing to curb the ill-informed headlines. Go to YouTube and see how many videos you can find that use the words “hated” or “unloved” and “911” in reference to the 996. You might be shocked at how many there are. But, here’s the thing: time has passed and most people have matured (with the exclusion of so-called influencers). As a 996 owner, I’ve never had anyone say a negative word to me about my car. Most people I encounter that engage in conversation tend to admire it and say nothing but positive things about it. They see a Porsche, and they wish they owned one.
Time has proven that the 996 isn’t hated or unloved (and, quite frankly, probably never was), so why do these negative headlines persist?
This phenomenon exists because influencers want clicks (views), that’s it. We call this “clickbait.” By posting videos and articles with controversial titles, they’ll get more views—and it usually works. It’s not just modern social media either, plenty of magazines still fall prey to this as well, perpetuating the same old, tired adage. In this modern age, more clicks = more views, and more views = more engagement (comments and sharing). This is the way YouTube, for example, pays their influencers: the more views and engagement you have, the more money you make.
We can stop these lies, we have the power. We’re not only their audience, we’re their paycheck too. The best thing we can do is simply not fall victim to the headlines of these videos and articles. If we stop watching the videos, stop reading the articles, stop commenting, and stop sharing them with other people, then they stop making money. If they stop making money, they’ll stop spreading lies. Right? Don’t help them get paid for spreading these falsehoods! That is literally the only reason these headlines exist.
Should anyone ever try to spark up a debate of what the “last true” 911 was (which is code for “the 996 sucks and air-cooled cars rule!”), my answer is always this: There isn’t one. Porsche still makes the 911 today, and I can’t think of a greater qualifier for a “true” 911 than that. Thus, there’s been no “last true” 911 yet. Every 911 is a true 911, and the last true 911 will only come if Porsche ever stops making the 911.