The Porsche paint-to-sample craze of the last few years quickly went from niche, to excellent and creative, and took a hard right into tiresome once people on Rennlist started to compete with each other for the rarest colors for the sake of it. Thanks to this strange coolness curve, this grey 997.2 GT3 feels clean and classic.

  • Car: 997.2 Porsche 911 GT3
  • Location: Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles, CA
  • Photog: Chris Rosales (me; @chrishasacamera on IG)
  • Camera: iPhone 11 Pro Max

I was at the Outlaw Gathering at the Petersen Automotive Museum when I spotted this GT3. Among a crowd of cool Porsches and a serious line of people who wanted an autograph from Magnus Walker were some standout cars. I witnessed a row of E39 BMW M5s with one turned into a wagon. Of course, I saw approximately one million Porsche 911s, including a 997 GT3 RS 4.0, which is one of a few cars that will cause me to make a faint gurgling sound.

This, however, is the same generation “standard” GT3, with a sweet 3.8-liter flat-six that revs to 8,500 rpm. It is one of the last Mezger engines before they switched to the new engine architecture of the 991. The Mezger part of the 997 GT3 is what makes it special to so manu enthusiasts because the engine can be traced directly back to the air-cooled 911s, or it’s designer Hans Mezger at the very least.

Famously, the M96 engine of the 996 and 986 generations of Porsche sports cars was notoriously explosion-prone. For the then-new GT3, GT2, and next-generation 911 Turbo, the M96 wouldn’t do. The strong and dependable Mezger was dusted off and given water-cooled cylinders and heads while using a similar split engine case design. The earliest of these modern Mezger engines can be traced to the twin-turbo 959 with water-cooled cylinder heads, and traced through to this very GT3, with countless motorsport wins and championships in between.

So yes, I consider myself part of that Porsche cognoscenti. Enjoy the last Mezger powered GT3 in full resolution below:

When People Get Colors for Clout, a Muted Grey Starts Looking Good Again