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Old 08-17-2011, 07:52 AM   #1
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Boxster S vs Air-cooled 911?

I have owned a bunch of sports cars, but I never had a Porsche. I recently purchased a 2000 Boxster S, that I daily drive about 100 miles. It is very nice, refined sports car and I love the AC and cruise on my commute. Only complaint is lack of legroom. The problem is, I still lust after an air-cooled 911.

I could have bought a early 80s 911sc for what I paid for the Boxster. Looking for some advice from Boxster/911 owners on whether I made the right choice. Would the 911 be a poor choice for a DD? I really don't want to sell/trade my Boxster only to find I regret the 911. I have never driven a 911 and don't know anybody who has one. To me, they are the quintessential Porsche and might be the Porsche to own if you only have one in the garage...

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Old 08-17-2011, 08:16 AM   #2
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I love the SCs. That said, if you're looking for a comfortable commuter you made the right choice. The SC doesn't have the performance or comfort of the Boxster. Not even close.
If your priority is style, get the SC. But based on what you are using the car for you easily made the right choice.
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Old 08-17-2011, 08:38 AM   #3
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I drove quite a few older 911's when I was looking for my first Porsche last year. I didn't "think" that I wanted a Boxster because it was:

(1) not a 911
(2) the poor man's Porsche
(3) a girlie car
(4) not a 911

During my 911 search, I happened to drive a Boxster at a dealer who had one on the lot (along with the 911 that I was interested in), so I drove it and I immediately changed my mind and started looking for a Boxster.

The Boxster is everything that an older 911 should be - except that it doesn't have that classic 911 styling. Otherwise, the Boxster is better in almost every regard.

I'd suggest that you go out and test drive several older 911's and see what you think.

(Of course, I still yearn for a 911 and even test drove a 2004 996 Carerra S about two weeks ago.)
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:48 AM   #4
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If you live in Florida and want an A/C that actually works, stick with a water buffalo. The A/C in an SC is beyond useless... same for the 80s Carreras. A 964 is better but not up to Florida DD demands. The A/C in a 993 is really pretty good but still a long way from the excellent 986 climate control.

This is what killed my search for a classic 911. I don't DD my Boxster but I do appreciate modern A/C on hot days a lot. A classic Porsche is a great car to own and drive but don't ever confuse it with a modern car with excellent A/C, ABS, airbag safety, modern crumple zones etc. A classic 911 would have to be strictly a fair weather weekender for me.
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:26 AM   #5
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Buy the 911 as restorations/investments. They will be worth a lot more in a few decades when they become hard to find or really expensive to restore. We discuss this in another thread but I see collector cars that were limited in production rocketing in value in the future. Heck American muscle cars did incredibly well during the credit bubble although I'm not sure how that market works as far as supply and deep-pocket buyers. I'm guessing they made a lot of muscle cars and they're a lot cheaper to restore than vintage Porsches.

Buy the Boxster to drive or drive hard.

two wholly different purposes and investments.
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Old 08-17-2011, 11:43 AM   #6
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Don't forget the dreaded trail throttle oversteer of the 911. Get into a corner too hot, lift off the gas and watch as the back end is now pointed forward.
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Old 08-17-2011, 12:09 PM   #7
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The SC is absolutely my favorite (realistically buyable) Porsche. It provides the light weight (2400 lb) magical man/machine connection like no modern Porsche can but also has enough power to not embarass itself (but you do have to rev it to really get going). I can feel the steering wheel bouncing around in my hand as I write this!

The air-cooled Carreras that came after got heavier and more luxurious (very noticeably heavier) and then the water cooled cars just got huge. Look at an SC parked next to a Boxster and you'll see how bloated these cars have become.

There are companies out there who make retrofit kits for the AC and I've read really good things about the results.

The SCs also have very reliable engines and have good rust-proofing that earlier 911s don't.

If you like the noises (oh that air cooled flat six growl) and sensations of a very mechanically pure and connected sports car, the SC is a great choice. If you're looking for something with modern safety, convenience, and luxury, the Boxster is a better solution. The Boxster is like driving an old 911 with an extra layer of insulation between you and the car.

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Old 08-17-2011, 12:45 PM   #8
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These posts really capture how I feel...

I lust after the sound of the air-cooled flat six revving. I can upgrade the AC with a vintage air kit that will actually cool...

I would like the driving position of the 911 more.

I don't care about automatic HVAC control or ABS or even power seats... (I would miss cruise) The Boxster S is a very nice car, I'm not sure after 3000 miles that it has the Porsche feel I was looking for. The sound is definitely not there. The ride is pretty soft compared to my former C6 and current IS-F. Handling is very good, but the car does feel heavy (could be that I need to lose 40 lbs )

I have stopped kidding myself that any car purchase was an investment I can't keep a car long enough to see any appreciation. I only hope to not lose too much!

Logic tells me I made a good choice, but my head still turns when I hear the sound of an air-cooled flat six or see an old SC go by...
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Old 08-17-2011, 02:10 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by maj75
The ride is pretty soft compared to my former C6 and current IS-F. Handling is very good, but the car does feel heavy (could be that I need to lose 40 lbs )
It shouldn't feel heavy compared to an IS-F. That thing outweighs the Boxster by about a half of a ton!
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Old 08-17-2011, 02:38 PM   #10
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If you're looking for a crappy, abusive ride, that's easily fixed with some stiff springs! But don't confuse that with good mechanical grip, they don't necessarily go hand in hand.
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Old 08-17-2011, 03:25 PM   #11
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I had a 1974 2.7L 911S a while ago and now have a 2002 Boxster. The 911S was my daily driver while the Boxster is a project car for my son. Love both cars for different reasons as well as hated both cars for different reasons.

You seriously cannot go wrong on either car as long as you find the right car to fit you and your budget. Keep in mind that a 1980 SC is now over 30 years old and will provide you with a whole new realm of potential issues.

Good luck!
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Old 08-17-2011, 03:41 PM   #12
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Since no purchase, that most people can afford, will ever be an investment - get what you like. That said, a few years ago I bought a 1969 Boss 302 Mustang to "feel the car" and have the absolute driver's car with no extras or weight... blah, blah,...

That was great but didn't last. Most of us like the creature comforts of modern living like - AC, power brakes, door locks..... The Boxster hands-down out handles, out performs, is more comfortable than an old 911 and, of course, they are convertibles. A 911SC with a whale-tail in Guard's Red is certainly a classic. Maybe too classic for me.
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Old 08-17-2011, 05:22 PM   #13
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Yes go test drive one for a good 20 or 30 min drive. Go with your heart since you don't keep cars long enough to be an investment. I think 'blue2000s' drew up a really good picture, makes me want to hear that growl of an older 911 that I wish my Boxster had much more of.

It is very hot in the south and the Boxster has an awesome AC. I had a 3 hour drive a few weeks ago in low sun (which helped), 100 degree weather in NC and never got out of fan speed above 1 or 2, it just got too cold for my girlfriend.
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Old 08-17-2011, 05:32 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by DenverSteve
Since no purchase, that most people can afford, will ever be an investment - get what you like. That said, a few years ago I bought a 1969 Boss 302 Mustang to "feel the car" and have the absolute driver's car with no extras or weight... blah, blah,...

That was great but didn't last. Most of us like the creature comforts of modern living like - AC, power brakes, door locks..... The Boxster hands-down out handles, out performs, is more comfortable than an old 911 and, of course, they are convertibles. A 911SC with a whale-tail in Guard's Red is certainly a classic. Maybe too classic for me.
If you think a 60s muscle car is a driver's car, you NEED to drive an older 911 on a twisty road. Night and day.

Besides, it's not like an SC is a suspensionless track car. Porsches have always been known for making great streetable sports cars. The old ones are just lighter, more direct, and built better.
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Old 08-17-2011, 05:53 PM   #15
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I went from a Boxster I had for 7 years to an air-cooled (964 Carrera 4 Cab) a year ago and couldn't be happier.

I wasn't looking to make a change, but this car (one-owner 20k mi.) came available through a distress sale and I couldn't resist. I was also able to sell my Boxster for not much less than I paid for the 911 making it almost an even swap.

The AC is fantastic in the 911 (esp. considering it's a Cab). The 911 has it hands down on build quality - no comparison.

Other areas the 911 trumps the Boxster; the sound of that air-cooled flat 6, instant recognition, better interior, feels just as solid, 25% smaller giving it a more true sports car feel while still having a spacious interior - at least as much as the Boxster. And they're on the up-tick. The 964 is worth on average $3k more than I paid for mine last year, and expected to keep climbing. The Boxster I sold is worth $5k less than I was able to sell it for.

Despite being 200 lbs. more than the Carrera 2, the all-wheel drive handling (adapted from the 958 factory rally cars) more than makes up for the weight penalty - this car has manners and dispels the 911's reputation of handling which will bite you - and it's still lighter than the Boxster.

Several major car mags have revisited the 964 (somewhat maligned when introduced in '89) and re-reviewed it. They all stated that they were wrong - that after 20 yrs. real world experience the car has vindicated itself concluding that it may be the best 911 ever built. The 964 sold for less than it cost Porsche to produce (due to the recession of the early '90's) and almost dragged the company over the edge - good for the owner, bad for Porsche.

It's successor, the 993, was a somewhat dumbed-down version with lesser quality interior, a new awd system adapted not from the earlier 958 but from audi (for cost reasons). It's new, non-traditional styling was somewhat polarizing. But it's popularity over the 964 stems from it being the last of the air-cooleds, some like the styling as being more 'modern', it's engine mgmt. system doing away w/ the dizzys, and the adoption of hydraulic lifters though the engine - the M64 is the same 3.6L of the 964.

The SC's are maybe Porsche's best selling (and most produced) 911, and are great cars (I owned an '83). Their issues are: bad chain tensioners, bad AC, require regular valve lashing. But, they are also going on 30 yrs. now and will soon become more maintenance instense. I consider them marginal DD's.

In then end, the Boxster is a fine car, but as mentioned, a totally different animal. Get to know them both well and the right decision for you will be apparent.

Cheers!
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Old 08-17-2011, 06:00 PM   #16
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Nice car! That will always be beautiful, even 20 years from now.
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Old 08-17-2011, 06:20 PM   #17
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964s are great but...

The awd system on the 964 was maligned for the excessive understeer that it caused. It has also turned out to be somewhat trouble proned and expensive to repair. So much so that several owners even go to the effort of converting their cars to RWD. Joel Reiser wrote a very detailed 2 part article about this in panorama in 2007.

The 964 was also Porsche's biggest move up to that time to please the masses with increased weight (heavier than the 996 in fact), options, and standard power steering.

The 993 awd system returned the car's handling to more of the traditional oversteer bias and is much simpler, more reliable, and less expensive to maintain. Above that, the 993 had variable valve timing, modernized styling, a totally redesigned suspension, ect...

But in any case, the further you go back into years, the more fun these cars get.

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Old 08-17-2011, 10:51 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue2000s
964s are great but...

The awd system on the 964 was maligned for the excessive understeer that it caused. It has also turned out to be somewhat trouble proned and expensive to repair. So much so that several owners even go to the effort of converting their cars to RWD. Joel Reiser wrote a very detailed 2 part article about this in panorama in 2007.

The 964 was also Porsche's biggest move up to that time to please the masses with increased weight (heavier than the 996 in fact), options, and standard power steering.

The 993 awd system returned the car's handling to more of the traditional oversteer bias and is much simpler, more reliable, and less expensive to maintain. Above that, the 993 had variable valve timing, modernized styling, a totally redesigned suspension, ect...

But in any case, the further you go back into years, the more fun these cars get.
The case for the AWD system became somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophesy. It was much maligned by reviewers when it 1st came out as being very un-porsche like, complex, heavy and certainly prone to trouble.

Then, when a few did fail, the naysayers shouted AHA!... SEE..?? The truth is that very few of these fail, and if they do, it's not often catastrophic, usually the accelerometers which govern the power distribution.

Now, if it does fail catastrophically, it is very expensive to fix... as is the AWD of virtually any other AWD car - MB, BMW, Volvo, Jaguar. This is inherent in essentially having two drivetrains.

It is rear wheel biased intentionally allowing only a 31/69 F/R power distribution. Understeer is prevelent of most cars of the era, but can easily be dialed out with some suspension changes. This is mostly a preference and most complaining have little or no seat time in the car, or are just letting their own bias speak. Very few 964 owners complain of either of these things and most 964 owners who have previously owned earlier 911s (incl. me) praise the car as an improvement.

Power Steering is a porsche 1st on the 964, but it works well and retains significant driver feedback. This car has zero torque steer, and the power steering may act to mitigate this.

But, I'm not trying to convince anyone. All things being equal, I would more likely have looked at a Carrera or an SC. But all things were not equal. This car is in pristine condition and for less money than an '01 Boxster S - about 3/4 the money of a similar Carrera or SC. I'm actually glad it worked out the way it did, because I too felt the bias of all the negative press the 964 received in it's 1st 15 yrs. IMHO, I think the car is nicer and more drivable than the earlier models. I would prefer the 993's powerplant for lower maintenance, but the styling of that car never appealed to me, not to mention that because it's the last of the air-cooleds, it has commanded a higher price than I think it deserves.

I do agree with you that the fun quotient rises going back through previous generations, but creature comforts and daily driving ability are lessened. Good for me because I don't use it as a DD nor do I expect it to have the creature comforts I would demand in a car I regularly drive. This is a sports car and I have never expected it to be appointed like a Rolls, S-Class or 7 Series car.

Cheers!
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Old 08-18-2011, 06:09 AM   #19
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The case for the AWD system became somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophesy. It was much maligned by reviewers when it 1st came out as being very un-porsche like, complex, heavy and certainly prone to trouble.

Then, when a few did fail, the naysayers shouted AHA!... SEE..?? The truth is that very few of these fail, and if they do, it's not often catastrophic, usually the accelerometers which govern the power distribution.

Now, if it does fail catastrophically, it is very expensive to fix... as is the AWD of virtually any other AWD car - MB, BMW, Volvo, Jaguar. This is inherent in essentially having two drivetrains.

It is rear wheel biased intentionally allowing only a 31/69 F/R power distribution. Understeer is prevelent of most cars of the era, but can easily be dialed out with some suspension changes. This is mostly a preference and most complaining have little or no seat time in the car, or are just letting their own bias speak. Very few 964 owners complain of either of these things and most 964 owners who have previously owned earlier 911s (incl. me) praise the car as an improvement.

Power Steering is a porsche 1st on the 964, but it works well and retains significant driver feedback. This car has zero torque steer, and the power steering may act to mitigate this.

But, I'm not trying to convince anyone. All things being equal, I would more likely have looked at a Carrera or an SC. But all things were not equal. This car is in pristine condition and for less money than an '01 Boxster S - about 3/4 the money of a similar Carrera or SC. I'm actually glad it worked out the way it did, because I too felt the bias of all the negative press the 964 received in it's 1st 15 yrs. IMHO, I think the car is nicer and more drivable than the earlier models. I would prefer the 993's powerplant for lower maintenance, but the styling of that car never appealed to me, not to mention that because it's the last of the air-cooleds, it has commanded a higher price than I think it deserves.

I do agree with you that the fun quotient rises going back through previous generations, but creature comforts and daily driving ability are lessened. Good for me because I don't use it as a DD nor do I expect it to have the creature comforts I would demand in a car I regularly drive. This is a sports car and I have never expected it to be appointed like a Rolls, S-Class or 7 Series car.

Cheers!
AWD cars don't suffer from torque steer, even when it's a 50/50 split system. It's a FWD phenomenon. I understand that you need the Bosch computer system to bleed the brakes in the 964 C4.

Last edited by blue2000s; 08-18-2011 at 06:12 AM.
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Old 08-18-2011, 07:42 AM   #20
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AWD cars don't suffer from torque steer, even when it's a 50/50 split system. It's a FWD phenomenon. I understand that you need the Bosch computer system to bleed the brakes in the 964 C4.
Well, you do need the Bosch 'hammer' to actuate the AWD valves, or something similar. I have a mechanic friend who has a smart phone app that will do the same thing.

But you can actually just bleed the brakes and clutch alone using just a pressure bleeder, if done properly.

There is also a workaround by jumping a couple of connectors which will open the valves.

But, this isn't too unusual... lots of cars today w/ ABS cannot be properly bled without actuating the ABS valves from an outside source. Jaguars and BMWs for instance, even the later Boxsters from my understanding.

The hydraulic system is more complex than many cars, but much less so than some others, such as Citroens or some MBs and Maybachs - the old Mercedes 600 used hydraulics for everything, incl. the power windows - waay more complex than anything on the 964.

Cheers!

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