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Old 12-28-2011, 02:05 PM   #1
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Late 986 or early 987?

Hi, my name is Mark, I've been lurking here a while, asked one or two questions, I am ready to buy, but I have one question. First, though a little background....

I am semi-retired, I've owned Porsches before (a 914 and a 911). Both cars were driven on the track by my friend and business partner Fred, and I had them for 90+% of the time for street use (as an extra car). A few years ago we sold the 911. I did a fair amount of work on them, especially the 914, drove them a lot -- although my wife hated the harsh street ride, especially the 914.

I started looking for a neat car project -- more than a day to day car -- and I first stopped by the AC Replica Forum (Factory Five) to check that out. It had some nice upsides, but some downsides as well, I concluded it was not for me.

I have ridden in Boxsters before, Fred has had 3 of them, and I read this forum, and I bought the '101' projects book from Pelican. Seems like you can get a really nice used 986 or 987 for a reasonable price, I can take any car to Powertech for a PPI before I buy, and after I buy I could get a Durametric myself, do a lot of fun projects, and have a great fun spare car.

I'll be away for a few days, but once back (after the new year), I want to do this.

So now to the question: Should I buy a late 986 (2003 or 2004) or an early 987 (2005 or maybe 2006)? Prices are close, depends on mileage and features. They all have glass rear windows.

- Seems that the 986 has a little less HP. Older of course.
- Since the 2005 and 2006 are early models of the 987, I know that any IMS problem requires an engine pull/rebuild.

Any other gotchas with the 2005/2006?

Should I just ignore this OCD thinking and just get the first really nice one which 'passes' the PPI?????



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Old 12-28-2011, 02:08 PM   #2
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Have you driven one of each? They're different from behind the wheel and you'll know which you like better.
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Old 12-28-2011, 04:08 PM   #3
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Excellent. I only drove so far a 2003 S -- it was really great. But that is a great idea, there are so many more non-S's that I could drive a Base 2005 or 2006 to see if it feels different. I hadn't thought it would, and there are 4 variants (986 vs 987 and Base vs. S) but I could see how they all feel.

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Old 12-28-2011, 04:30 PM   #4
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I agree with Blue2000. You should drive them both, and make an informed decision from there . Otherwise, you'll end up cross-eyed trying to sift through all of the opinions and advice here on the forum regarding which one to choose. Personally, I would recommend buying the best kept, lowest mileage, well maintained boxster that one could afford . Good luck !

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Old 12-29-2011, 02:54 PM   #5
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personally I'm not a fan of the 987, either Cayman or Boxster, style changes but as far as engine and all other relevant engineering it is a better value. With the third generation Boxster coming out very soon that means the 986 will be that much older as far as technology.

And let me say one thing about PPI. I've put about $12K into my 11 year old Boxster in the last two years. A PPI would not have caught about half of the work that needed to be done. Many things just went without warning. So take that inspection with a grain of salt. That's why I would lean toward a newer, more pampered car from a sunny climate.

R.O.C.S. in NJ is also a very knowledgeable shop, particularly on air-cooled Porsches.

Get an S model. It's well worth the wait/hunt.
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Last edited by Perfectlap; 12-29-2011 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:45 PM   #6
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I'm doing the same thing as you, and picked a Boxster S as what I consider a semi-kit car. I'm now taking old lower performance parts off and upgrading - so far it's been fun and rewarding as I have a car i can tweak a little at a time and keep making faster.

I faced the same decision as you about a year ago, and decided the 986 was the way to go. When I bought, the 986 prices in the southeast were much lower than 987 prices, leaving more for modifications, so that's the way I went. The suspension geometry, etc. is all the same, so I believe there there is very little difference in performance potential.

Either way, you can't go wrong - good luck.

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Old 12-29-2011, 06:05 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by msk914 View Post
- Since the 2005 and 2006 are early models of the 987, I know that any IMS problem requires an engine pull/rebuild.
Not necessarily. 2005s still use an IMS that can be pulled w/o breaking the engine case (the engine code is M96). Somewhere in MY 2006 Porsche went with the M97, which does require more work to replace the IMS. So you never know in 2006 - you could have an M96 or M97 engine.

There's quite a bit of difference in the interiors between a 986 and 987. As others have said, try them both and see which one you like. I've owned both and prefer the 987 vs the 986, but that's just my opinion.
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:47 PM   #8
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I'll go one step further and suggest that you drive all four models: 986 base and S plus 987 base and S.

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