No single Porsche has ever garnered more controversy than the fifth generation 911, dubbed the 996. When it found its way to the market in the late 1990s, Porsche enthusiasts were immediately up in arms over the radical changes to the 911 architecture, including a new design that was lower, longer, and sleeker than the outgoing 993. But the most argued about change was the new headlights, which had forsaken the classic ovular design for a curvier design, dubbed the, “fried egg.”
However, the 996 had an opposite effect on me. Why? Well, it was in fact the first Porsche I ever saw with my own two eyes. I was walking through Walmart with my parents when I spied a 1:24 996 Carrera on a shelf. I was immediately taken aback by it, in fact it may have been the first time I ever grasped the concept of a sports car. I begged my parents to buy it, and they of course obliged. Fast forward to now, and the 996 has stayed firmly within my mind as the summit of all 911s. I always say, the 996 was the first Porsche I ever saw, it’s the first Porsche I ever sat inside of, and I’d like it to be the first one I ever drive.
Very recently, I confessed to my Facebook group how much I loved the 996s and how much I’d love to own a Carrera 4S or even a Turbo one day. It got me thinking about my past loving these cars, how many diecasts of them I had owned, and magazines I bought ritualistically just to get a sliver of 996 action. I felt nostalgic, and I wanted to capture that nostalgia again, which led me to the eBay auctions.
There I found a number of diecasts I had owned, but one stuck out to me in particular: this 1:18 2002 Carrera Targa by Maisto. It was an odd spec to have a 1:18 in, with it not being the usual Turbo, GT2, or GT3, so I had to grab one. I found the cheapest I could find, which warranted a few scuffs on the body here and there, and a few weeks later it was finally in my possession.
As I stated before, this is not the first 996 I’ve owned, and it’s not even the first Maisto one either. I’ve owned three Maisto 996s before (the aforementioned 1:24 Carrera, a 1:18 Carrera 4S, and a 1:18 Carrera Cabriolet) and one Bburago (a 1:18 Turbo), so it’s a cast and model I’m very, very familiar with. Just as I remember, these Maisto 996s are a great bang for the buck, as they offer everything that makes these 996s so great in a small size.
I’d imagine that Maisto knew the importance of getting the 996 right with detailing, as they ended up producing dozens of different 996 models within its run. This Targa, however, might be my favorite, as it stands as being very unique amongst its familiars. Those timeless curves and familiar Porsche silhouette brings back so many memories of my childhood, playing with them and re-enacting scenes from movies in my bedroom. There’s not a day I don’t look at this model on my shelf, even if it’s a passing glance.
This being a Maisto model, it of course isn’t on par with the likes of AutoArt, Norev, or Kyosho when it comes to detailing. The interior does look like a massive hunk of grey plastic with a few stickers here and there for color. But it does the job well, as quick passersby wouldn’t really notice any of the imperfections on first glance. Plus some of the neat little details such as the silver paint on the Tiptronic shifter and the “Targa” door sills light up my soul in an odd way.
Like the details, the build itself is good, but not as great as it could be. It is a solid cast, made mostly of metal, but the plastic parts do show their brittleness when tampered with. There are some bits that I wish did operate as they do on the actual car, such as the rising spoiler in the back, which seems slightly ajar on my model. I thought this implied that it would pop up, but when I pried at it, it had no interest in giving way. The rear trunk also does not open, which I remember being a feature on the Carrera 4S and Cabrio that I had, which leads me to wonder why they took this feature away for this cast.
The Maisto 996 is not the most perfect 1:18 996 representation out there, but it’s honestly my favorite. It does its job just perfectly, and reminds me of a simpler time when I loved these cars to death. If you’re looking for a good 996 to pick up that doesn’t break the bank, I really do recommend this one, or any others that Maisto made during its 996 run. You will not be disappointed.
Now I’d like to give you all a sneak peek to my next addition, with a little hint...