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Old 12-19-2013, 08:01 AM   #1
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Question Should I buy? Would you buy?

New to this forum as of 1 hour ago. Have always wanted a Porsche and now I may have the opportunity to buy. Thanks to all in advance who weigh in.

Locally I found a 1999 Boxster with 99,000 miles. Has 3 previous owners and looks like at some point was hit in the rear while parked. Current owner has had for last 6 years.

Everything appears to work as it it should with no lights on and the roof is in good condition.

The exterior is fair--foggy headlights, spidering on the back bumper and paint bubble on drivers rear side--assume from shotty repair work from accident.

The interior is fair to poor--all leather surfaces heavily worn including boot for shifter.

Service records are very limited. Has 4 new tires and brakes. You can tell this car has been well driven but mechanically it seems decent. I can take it to a local Porsche dealer and do a pre-inspection--would rather not. I was thinking of making an offer where even if it turned out to be a "lemon" I would still be able to recoup most of the cost.

I am by no means a mechanic or auto body specialist--but I have patience and could do most of the interior myself. The last offer he gave me was $6500 down form 8,600 down from 7,400. I am thinking of offering $5,000-$5,500--seems like if he will take that it's a no brainier? I don't mind taking a gamble as I know these cars can be one. It will be a third car. Good idea? Thanks again.

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Old 12-19-2013, 08:06 AM   #2
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Quick question, do you want a roadster or are you just interested in buying a Porsche?

Owning these cars is expensive. I just spent $6,500 this year, the third time I had a repair bill that was at least $4,000 (my car only recently crossed 90K miles). Don't get fooled by the purchase price. That's just the cost of getting you into the party. If you live where winters are rough the roads take a beating, which means your Porsche will have to work harder than owning one in Sunny Florida or So Cal. The harder it works the sooner repairs come and labor is not really the expensive side of the equation, it's the parts.

Point being make sure you want this Porsche model. Fixing and maintaining a non-GT/Turbo 996 or 997 Carrera is no more expensive than maintaing a Boxster/Cayman.
Drive all the Porsche models in what you can afford to spend when considering purchase price and approximately $2,000 a year maintenance and typical repairs -- these are two separate things.
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Old 12-19-2013, 08:11 AM   #3
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Depends on what you want from the car. Just know that when the engine has to be renewed sometime in the next 99,K miles it will cost $5,K+. You are planning to put money into it so $200 for a PPI might be the best money you ever spend even if you lose it & this particular car. If this car was perfect & like new it would be worth $15,K max so think about what it's going to cost you long term. If the engine is solid & you are ok with the looks as is, you will love it, but it doesn't sound like you are qualified to do your own PPI.
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Old 12-19-2013, 08:12 AM   #4
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It's a gamble, figure on having $10k set aside for possible repairs for the first couple years , or you might want to just look for a newer model. There is no such thing as a cheap Porsche, you pay one way or another. Good luck though!
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Old 12-19-2013, 08:16 AM   #5
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The money you save on the purchase you will quickly spend on repairing the cosmetic damage, never mind the mechanical work it probably needs. The appearance of the car is a good indication of the previous owner's commitment to looking after it. It sounds like you might be getting in to a piece of junk.
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Old 12-19-2013, 09:23 AM   #6
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Hell yes, get it. Funnest money you will have ever spent!`
That kind of money is nothing for such a sweet car.
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Old 12-19-2013, 09:38 AM   #7
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I bought a similar one with 96K last year. If you can get it for $5,500 AND can perform basic maintenance it might be a good entry level Porsche experiment.

Given the situation, I went without a PPI but armed with research from this site, a flashlight, notepad and a lot of patience. If you do buy it realize that you have just rolled the dice and have a plan on what you will and will not do. At $5,500 IF you later discover it needs a lot....cut your loses and sell it. Worst case is the engine goes and you sell the roller for $3-$3.5K and you are out $2K for the gamble.

The worst thing you can do is buy it and then chase the maintenance and problems thinking "one more thing and I'm there and the car is good...." There are some epic stories on here where people have brought a "bad one" and just keeping sinking money into it.

This is a risky path and not for everyone. If you don't want risk and can't take a $2K quick loss, then look around, spend more, and get a PPI. I took a gamble, eyes open, and after a year I have 10K miles use with less than the $2K/year typical expense....
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Old 12-19-2013, 09:40 AM   #8
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There is no such thing as a Porsche for less than $10K. Which means that $5500 Porsche is simply a lustful mirage.

Actually there are many $5,500 Porsches. They sit on used car lots and in backyards waiting for some guy to end up spending $10K.
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Old 12-19-2013, 09:42 AM   #9
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In my youth I bought used cars. Most were okay but some were crap.No PPI's in those days. I ask myself how could I do that? As the above mentioned you will not be sorry to spend $200 for a PPI. It should rule out major problems but you should read about buying a used Boxster in this forum.

You cannot run a Box for the running cost of a Miata.....
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:06 AM   #10
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A PPI would certainly give you a better picture
I only found one other 99 w/104k miles for $5,999 (Auto trader)

As it's a third car you have the luxury to let it sit to figure out what is wrong and repair if something breaks
If this is not fun money to spend then you need to do the work your self. Labor to fix will kill your wallet.
That also means you need a place to fix it, tools and the patients to learn, make mistakes and do the work yourself.

It will be those little odds and end breaking/wearing out that will drive you crazy and questioning it's dependability. It only take one little thing that shuts you down somewhere away from home.
For me it was a $10 Fuel Pump Relay, easy, cheap fix but it took time to figure it out, internet the part in.
It's not a Miata

The dead motor problem, like others said, you could part out, etc to recoup a good share of your money

You could also get a GRIN maker that just starts and runs
14 months into ownership (and a 'S...' load of GRINS) and logically buying an older Boxster still doesn't make much sense
Now Emotionally, that is a whole different story - Hell ya it makes sense
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:56 AM   #11
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Porsche's are special. And maintenance costs can be astronomical so get a PPI by a PORSCHE PRO. If they think it's in decent condition buy it.
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:16 AM   #12
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Upkeep isn't cheap on Boxsters or any other Porsches. Generally speaking, buy a Boxster in the best possible condition with your desired options from the start.

I've got a '99 Boxster that I bought for $12,500 with 25k miles five years ago. I'm now up to 81k miles and have spent at least $6000 over that time on the car. Many parts aged and needed replacement regardless of the low mileage of my Boxster when purchased. I dare say that out of the four owners it has had, I'm its first enthusiast.

If I were to sell my Boxster now (which I have toyed with from time to time), I would be lucky to get what I spent on it 5-years ago (ignoring all the repairs and improvement costs made a long the way).

If you want to join the Boxstering crowd, great! These cars are so much fun. Just do yourself the favor of doing your homework first. Try to find one with the IMS bearing already retrofitted at least. Replacement of the water pump, AOS, coolant reservoirs, window regulators, motor mounts, ignition switch, and suspension (etc.) are all instabilities too, so look for one with as much of those fixes on the books as possible too.
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:19 AM   #13
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So, now that you have a clear and unanimous consensus from the group, you know exactly what you should do.

Aren't internet forums wonderful? You can make life-altering decisions based on the "expert" opinions of a bunch of people that you have never met and know nothing about.
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:22 AM   #14
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If you are able to do your homework well (PPI, take a friend who knows about this year boxster), and you really know what youre looking for (some stickies in this forum about buying a used boxster), you end up paying for car washes and oil changes...

Of course, looking for a PO who was a PCA member etc will lighten your homework load
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:32 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the replies. I'm up in the air still but will take everything in consideration. Unfortunately, the local Porsche dealer charges $350 for an inspection. Granted, money well spent even if it is 7% of the price of the car.

A point I have found..people have said buy one for whatever you can afford. I just get hung up on the difference between afford and justify. I can afford a more expensive Porsche but definitely can't justify it...hence the gamble. I know it may pay off but probably won't. Thanks again
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:40 AM   #16
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I went through your same debacle over the summer.

wanted a porsche, didnt need one. Found a cheap one, was the first one i looked at, and I almost paid the guy on the spot just because of the thrill of how cheap it was. Luckily, my dad talked me out of it. For a few weeks I was convinced I made the wrong decision and should have bought it.

Then I realized as soon as I brought it home I would have been upset that the interior was crappy (because I hate when interiors are ratty and beat up), and even if I could get over the interior, the paint had some blemishes (and I would have liked my new car to appear nice on the outside at least).

So I waited and kept searching. THEN a perfect car hit the market. PCA PO, only $2K more than the POS I had went to see, and it was near perfect with less miles and way better factory options. THATS when I knew it was time to blow my load....of cash. Luckily, if you pass this up, you will be able to see that you probably are happier with a non-beat up car, even if it runs fine.
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:41 AM   #17
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SJS, I would highly recommend you buy the newest Porsche you can stomach paying for, and buying the S model with the bigger motor.

Every year they made the Boxster, the better the build quality. The 99s were certainly better than the 97s (which I have) but the build quality is not very good if you compare it to a 2005 and up model.

I bought a cheaply priced boxster and thought I would just fix it up myself and then I'd have a nice, good looking, dependable weekend car... I ended up dumping 4x the car's current value into it to get it to drive straight (mine was wrecked by a PO too) and look good.

Along with a PPI, get a four wheel laser alignment. Best $100 you'll ever spend on a Porsche purchase. If they can't align the car, walk away. I sure wish I had done this... and I will pay for a PPI and alignment on every car I buy until I can no longer drive cars.

Will buying a $5500 boxster pay off? I'd bet my 401k balance that it will not.
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:50 AM   #18
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Another bit of free advice:

Prioritize mileage over year.

1996-1999 Boxster is essentially the same car.
2000-2004 Boxster basically the same.
2005-2008 Boxster basically the same.
2009+ different altogether engine.

Point being don't fret over a 2001 vs. 2002.
You get more value from a Boxster with less mileage than one with less years.
So when they say buy the newest Porsche you can afford, take that to mean usage not vintage.
If mileage is high like this 99 you're looking at, it needs to come with a very long list of repairs to big ticket items like the shocks,
clutch/ims, coolant system, exhaust/cats and all the other stuff like AOS, starter, alternator, wheel bearings add up big.
If it dosen't come with these repairs already done, you're not getting a good deal like you may think you are.
If you're handy and have a lift, you can get a decent deal fixing it up yourself... but still very far from cheap.
Pay now or pay later but with Porsche you will pay.
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Old 12-19-2013, 01:21 PM   #19
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I've owned a 2000S for the last 5 1/2 years and the car is a blast. Besides the S, I have two data points for you to consider:

1. Picked up a '98 (117K miles) in Sept. 2011 for $4800. 2 Owner car with decent, but not complete maintenance records. The top was shot and would not go up or down automatically. Overall the car looked good with very few dings or paint chips but was very dirty. The PO had his work done at a reputable indy but the labor was killing him. When the top quit working and the window split, he'd had enough.

I ended up with about $6800 in the car, bringing all maintenace up to date and fixing the power top (and replacing the top/frame). I did the labor. The car cleaned up very nice and ran great. I put about 1000 miles on it while I had it. I sold it for $8200 in October of 2011. The new owner has had no problems with the car since its purchase. It is not a daily driver.

Bought another 98 in Sept. of 2012 for $5,400 (117K miles again). Two owner car and the roof worked but the back window looked like crap. I ended up with $7900 in the car, mostly on new top with glass, replacing the seats and suspension and brake work. I put 3000 miles on the car while I owned it and worked on it. I sold the car to a friend for $7700 just last month. It will not be a daily driver, just a toy to cruise the beach.

The key is doing the work yourself. Neither of the cars would have been worth it at all if I'd have had to pay someone to do the repairs and maintenance I did. I would have easily been over $10K in each of the cars.

Although my S has been great, there is no way I'd have kept it if I was running to mechanic for all my repairs. As an example, rear wheel bearing R/R will run you 4 to 5 hundred dollars a side at an indy. The bearing is under $50 if you do the work.

CV boots split. The boot kits are ~$10 each, so $40 for both axles. An earlier reply listed $1000 for the work at an indy. You get the idea!
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Old 12-19-2013, 04:04 PM   #20
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Thanks again for all the advice!

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