It doesn't matter if you're performing your own routine maintenance or working on a full blown restoration, you're going to need parts for your Porsche. How easy or how hard it is to find those parts depends a great deal on your ability to provide your preferred supplier with a part number. The problem lies in the fact that not all parts, on all models, are stamped with a part number. Or, if you're performing work on an older model, take a 356 for example, it's entirely possible the part number simply isn't legible anymore. I can't even begin to tell you how many times our own Bradley Brownell has told me stories of people calling him at work (besides writing for us, he sells parts at Stoddard) trying to describe their must have part and failing miserably at it. He wants to help, but his hands are tied.
So, what's a DIYer to do if they need a part and can't describe it in a way that lets their favorite Porsche parts counter look it up? Simple, check out the Classic Genuine Parts Catalog.
Basically, it's a static repository of Porsche's PET system (the same interactive system Porsche part suppliers use). In this instance, it covers all models designated by Porsche to be "classics" (which now encompasses all model types starting with the 356 and ending with the Carrera GT). Simply choose your model and year and you're rewarded with a complete PDF based catalog featuring drawings and schematics of any component you might need. Rebuilding the oil cooler on your '98 993 and need a new air baffle plate? That's part number 966-207-223-01. You can basically find anything! That's not to say you'll actually be able to get the part you need, but at least you'll now be able to tell your part supplier exactly what you're looking for so they can start hunting it down for you.
Last but not least, for those so inclined, don't forget to check out our guide to the meaning behind Porsche's part numbers.