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Old 12-30-2015, 01:17 PM   #1
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Discussion about a Boxster being an "investment"

Hi all,

First off, I wanted to introduce myself. I am new to the forums. My name is Andy. I have been a car-guy my whole like. I was 9 when my dad bought his new 1986 Honda Accord and it's the car that got me into cars. Obviously, I am a Honda guy at heart. I love all cars though. My username is because of my old 1992 Prelude Si 4WS with a JDM VTEC swap in it. To date, the most enjoyable car to drive and own to-date that I've owned.

I currently have 4 cars. 2 projects cars -1989 240SX hatchback with an SR20DET engine swap with basic bolt-ons and a Garrett GT2560R turbo and a 1997 BMW M3 coupe with minor bolt-ons. My daily driver is a 1997 Honda Accord LX station wagon with 275K miles. I installed several OEM Prelude upgrades as well as a 2.3L SOHC VTEC Honda Accord F23A engine from the 1998-2001 chassis. Planning to do some minor suspension upgrades and possibly a 220HP Euro R Accord H22 swap with LSD trans soon. Finally, I still have the first car I bought brand new. A 2001 BMW 325ci automatic. Completely stock with OEM 18" wheels from a 2009 335i. Never driven in the snow and rarely in the rain. Fantastic shape.

Ok, with that out of the way, I have somewhat of a weird question for you. As you can see based on the cars I drive, I like cars from the 80's, 90's, and early 2000's. I am a little older now and have decided, even though I can afford ~$100K car, I prefer to buy older cars. There's just something about the older more raw cars from that time. I don't enjoy the driver-assisted cars of today. In fact, I think my attitude towards new cars is widely shared and is growing in popularity. I think the trend we will see is car-guys will likely still buy new cars, but they will also look to own an older car as their "fun car"/weekend car.

A little background on what I do with cars. I have been buying up older cars, fixing them, keeping them as close to stock, but mainly focusing my efforts on refreshing the car and bringing them up-to-date on the maintenance. The emphasis is on making the car better than when it came from the factory. Like with my 240SX. I bought a clean chassis that had a blown engine. I planned on swapping out the engine. I did the fewest modifications to make more power, but still be as reliable as possible. The rest of the money went towards refreshing the suspension with as many OEM/300ZX OEM upgrades/Nismo parts as possible. Things like shocks and springs are aftermarket, as well as exhaust, strut tower bars, anti-swaybars and wheels. The end goal of my cars are to be a car that enthusiasts want to buy since most older cars are hacked up and pieced together with aftermarket parts without any attention to normal maintenance.

My three used cars have proven to be good investments. I can sell my 240SX, M3, and Accord wagon for as much as I have put into them, if not more. I bought all 3 when the market for them hit rock-bottom. Bought my 240SX for $750 12 years ago, M3 for $4K 4 years ago, and my wagon for $2500 4 years ago. I think as time marches on, they will continue to go up in value as clean cars from that era will become harder and harder to find, especially in good condition.

This thought process has led me to here. I planned on adding a 1987+ 928 and a 1987-1989 944 to my collection and do the same thing to them a few years ago when they were selling for next to nothing. I missed out on those two cars. I noticed the Boxster has hit the bottom. I never really cared for the Boxster because I preferred the S2000. I think the 986 Boxster is an under-rated car - then and now. I feel this car will become more desired as the years pass by, mainly because they will become rare since many are blowing engines at an alarming rate.

So my question is, do you guys think the 986 would be a good car to do what I have done to my other cars? Pick up a roller for around $2500, focus the money on making the engine reliable (seriously considering a rebuilt and upgraded 2.9L from a company like Raby). Can you see a 986 with all of the engine issues resolved, everything works, and is well-taken care of selling for around $20K in the next 5-7 years? I can see that happening.

Your thoughts?

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Old 12-30-2015, 01:46 PM   #2
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I say no! If it's a Box "S" with 3.6L+, Yes. My 1st new ca was a 1986 Prelude SI. Why don't I ever see a Prelude in SoCA??
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Old 12-30-2015, 02:07 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum. It can be fun to do the Wheeler Dealer imitation. I dabble in that mode during the winter months when I can't golf.

There's one minor problem with your Porsche plan. While values of early Boxsters have dropped into the sub-$10 range and around $3-4K for a roller, prices on parts have not dropped. High market Euro car makers charge a fortune for their parts, as much as 4x the cost of Japanese equivalent parts. You can run up a pretty big bill replacing bushings, control arms, struts, etc. And an engine from a place named Raby starts at $10K and goes up depending on what you want from the engine. Let me say a Raby engine is worth it if you need a replacement, but it's not inexpensive. You can quickly end up investing $15-20K all in. You won't be able to sell one for that because someone else has one for 1/2 that price and a potential customer won't understand how perfect yours is compared to the beater.

Early Boxsters are ending up being salvaged with very little damage because the price of new parts to fix them is more than they're worth. People are starting to buy them and fix them with used parts and staying above water but you have to be careful of hidden damage. There will be more and more lightly damaged cars on the mkt because of the cost to repair.

Good luck with your plans.
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Old 12-30-2015, 02:18 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by husker boxster View Post
Welcome to the forum. It can be fun to do the Wheeler Dealer imitation. I dabble in that mode during the winter months when I can't golf.

There's one minor problem with your Porsche plan. While values of early Boxsters have dropped into the sub-$10 range and around $3-4K for a roller, prices on parts have not dropped. High market Euro car makers charge a fortune for their parts, as much as 4x the cost of Japanese equivalent parts. You can run up a pretty big bill replacing bushings, control arms, struts, etc. And an engine from a place named Raby starts at $10K and goes up depending on what you want from the engine. Let me say a Raby engine is worth it if you need a replacement, but it's not inexpensive. You can quickly end up investing $15-20K all in. You won't be able to sell one for that because someone else has one for 1/2 that price and a potential customer won't understand how perfect yours is compared to the beater.

Early Boxsters are ending up being salvaged with very little damage because the price of new parts to fix them is more than they're worth. People are starting to buy them and fix them with used parts and staying above water but you have to be careful of hidden damage. There will be more and more lightly damaged cars on the mkt because of the cost to repair.

Good luck with your plans.
Plus, when a new engine costs 2x the value of the car, it's easy to get upside down on these very quickly...

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Old 12-30-2015, 02:26 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Prelude Guy View Post
Hi all,

First off, I wanted to introduce myself. I am new to the forums. My name is Andy. I have been a car-guy my whole like. I was 9 when my dad bought his new 1986 Honda Accord and it's the car that got me into cars. Obviously, I am a Honda guy at heart. I love all cars though. My username is because of my old 1992 Prelude Si 4WS with a JDM VTEC swap in it. To date, the most enjoyable car to drive and own to-date that I've owned.

I currently have 4 cars. 2 projects cars -1989 240SX hatchback with an SR20DET engine swap with basic bolt-ons and a Garrett GT2560R turbo and a 1997 BMW M3 coupe with minor bolt-ons. My daily driver is a 1997 Honda Accord LX station wagon with 275K miles. I installed several OEM Prelude upgrades as well as a 2.3L SOHC VTEC Honda Accord F23A engine from the 1998-2001 chassis. Planning to do some minor suspension upgrades and possibly a 220HP Euro R Accord H22 swap with LSD trans soon. Finally, I still have the first car I bought brand new. A 2001 BMW 325ci automatic. Completely stock with OEM 18" wheels from a 2009 335i. Never driven in the snow and rarely in the rain. Fantastic shape.

Ok, with that out of the way, I have somewhat of a weird question for you. As you can see based on the cars I drive, I like cars from the 80's, 90's, and early 2000's. I am a little older now and have decided, even though I can afford ~$100K car, I prefer to buy older cars. There's just something about the older more raw cars from that time. I don't enjoy the driver-assisted cars of today. In fact, I think my attitude towards new cars is widely shared and is growing in popularity. I think the trend we will see is car-guys will likely still buy new cars, but they will also look to own an older car as their "fun car"/weekend car.

A little background on what I do with cars. I have been buying up older cars, fixing them, keeping them as close to stock, but mainly focusing my efforts on refreshing the car and bringing them up-to-date on the maintenance. The emphasis is on making the car better than when it came from the factory. Like with my 240SX. I bought a clean chassis that had a blown engine. I planned on swapping out the engine. I did the fewest modifications to make more power, but still be as reliable as possible. The rest of the money went towards refreshing the suspension with as many OEM/300ZX OEM upgrades/Nismo parts as possible. Things like shocks and springs are aftermarket, as well as exhaust, strut tower bars, anti-swaybars and wheels. The end goal of my cars are to be a car that enthusiasts want to buy since most older cars are hacked up and pieced together with aftermarket parts without any attention to normal maintenance.

My three used cars have proven to be good investments. I can sell my 240SX, M3, and Accord wagon for as much as I have put into them, if not more. I bought all 3 when the market for them hit rock-bottom. Bought my 240SX for $750 12 years ago, M3 for $4K 4 years ago, and my wagon for $2500 4 years ago. I think as time marches on, they will continue to go up in value as clean cars from that era will become harder and harder to find, especially in good condition.

This thought process has led me to here. I planned on adding a 1987+ 928 and a 1987-1989 944 to my collection and do the same thing to them a few years ago when they were selling for next to nothing. I missed out on those two cars. I noticed the Boxster has hit the bottom. I never really cared for the Boxster because I preferred the S2000. I think the 986 Boxster is an under-rated car - then and now. I feel this car will become more desired as the years pass by, mainly because they will become rare since many are blowing engines at an alarming rate.

So my question is, do you guys think the 986 would be a good car to do what I have done to my other cars? Pick up a roller for around $2500, focus the money on making the engine reliable (seriously considering a rebuilt and upgraded 2.9L from a company like Raby). Can you see a 986 with all of the engine issues resolved, everything works, and is well-taken care of selling for around $20K in the next 5-7 years? I can see that happening.

Your thoughts?
The car is a mass produced depreciating asset, not an investment. Just on the numbers produced, your concept is flawed. Add in that you intend to put a lot of money into the car, be fully prepared that you won't get it all back, much less profit.
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Old 12-30-2015, 04:13 PM   #6
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Unfortunately, to a lot of the world.....it's JUST a Porsche. It just isn't exotic enough to ever be an investment. (specifically referring to the Boxster). No more than a BMW Z4 will be or any Mazda Miata's will be.....

Doesn't have the cache of a Ferrari or Lamborghini or other high end exotics.

Which for me is alright. Just means as they age, they will depreciate, and I can pick up a 'newer' one ever few years to keep relatively current.
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Old 12-30-2015, 04:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Prelude Guy View Post
First off, I wanted to introduce myself. I am new to the forums. My name is Andy. I have been a car-guy my whole like. I was 9 when my dad bought his new 1986 Honda Accord and it's the car that got me into cars. Obviously, I am a Honda guy at heart. I love all cars though. My username is because of my old 1992 Prelude Si 4WS with a JDM VTEC swap in it. To date, the most enjoyable car to drive and own to-date that I've owned.
Welcome and its always great to have another car guy join the 986Forum!

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I planned on adding a 1987+ 928 and a 1987-1989 944 to my collection and do the same thing to them a few years ago when they were selling for next to nothing. I missed out on those two cars.
You didn't miss anything. I bought an '88 944 Turbo three years ago for $9K. I gave it to my son and we've put another $10K into it. Its now worth $14K. He's holding onto it because he loves it - I don't see any financial upside within 10 years.

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So my question is, do you guys think the 986 would be a good car to do what I have done to my other cars?
No. Not unless you love the car and plan to keep it. Selling it and getting back out what you put it will be a challenge and not likely to happen.

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Originally Posted by Prelude Guy View Post
Can you see a 986 with all of the engine issues resolved, everything works, and is well-taken care of selling for around $20K in the next 5-7 years?
No. Not even in 20 years.

Far too many Boxster's were built so there is no rarity factor. The parts are very expensive. There are a lot of things that go wrong and need expensive repairs. A Raby engine rebuild is $15,000 and very few people will be willing to pay a premium for it on resale. The bottom line is that you are highly unlikely to never get your money back.

The best advice that I can give you is to find the best 78-83 911SC that you can find for under $25K. This is a car that you will have good odds of returning what you put in (or more) in 3-5 years.
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Last edited by thstone; 12-30-2015 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 12-30-2015, 04:37 PM   #8
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I remember in the late 1980's when 914s were under $1000. There were plenty of them out there and nobody except the hardcore 914 folks ever thought they'd be worth anything. This year the "Poor Man's Porsche" was honored at the Amelia Island concours. Try finding a driving 914 for $1000 now!
The 986 (and 996) will eventually appreciate, but it won't be for a while. Compared to current cars with extensive computer assisted driver aids, they are pretty raw and minimalist, but they are not clumsy the was even earlier cars can be. The niche for our cars will emerge, but it will take some time.
One last note... You can bet there are collectors who have hidden away 986/996s with only delivery miles. A driven/restored car will never compete with that.
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Old 12-30-2015, 04:53 PM   #9
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I don't think they'll skyrocket any time soon, but I am somewhat pleased that '99 986's with similar or even higher mileage than mine are now selling for about the same or more than I paid for mine 4.5 years ago.

I paid $10k in 2011. A '99 now can go for as much as $9-$11k in my area after hitting a low of $6-$7k a year or two ago.
Definitely not an investment in $, but a great investment in fun!
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Old 12-30-2015, 07:07 PM   #10
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I think they will eventually appreciate like the 914. The early s cars are hot rods, that were really a lot different than the base performance wise. I don't think the base needed any legitimacy but the s definitely helped the boxster reputation. They do have a few electricAl gizmos I do not like but otherwise, they are DIY friendly from what I have read which will also make them attractive. The ims issue will become a thing of the past much like big the issues with certain 911 years. The 986 also started the mid engine craze which seems to be a growing trend which I think people will notice. If 928s can go up in value, why can't the 986? Out perform, just as visually beautiful and easier to work on. Not sure I will keep mine until that day (college) but I bet I will wish I had.
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Old 12-30-2015, 07:50 PM   #11
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Here is an estimate of the survival rate of cars. So the oldest of these cars are about 18 years. Less than 10% survive to 30 years. So in 12 years the supply will be very limited as about 70-80% of the current first generation will go to the dust bin.
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Old 12-30-2015, 09:58 PM   #12
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Here is an estimate of the survival rate of cars. So the oldest of these cars are about 18 years. Less than 10% survive to 30 years. So in 12 years the supply will be very limited as about 70-80% of the current first generation will go to the dust bin.
Don't think a survival rate curve applies to Porches. Isn't it some inconceivably large percentage of all Porches ever made still being on road today?

Interesting debate though. Good points for both sides. Time will tell. First it was air cooled as being the craze, but now the turbocharging of newer Porsches and the Boxster going I4 could very well move things into the 986's favor. I agree with the point that mid engine is emerging as the ubiquitous supercar recipe and that should shine a light on the Boxster as well.

Unless one is buying a car to shelve though, as has been mentioned, the black hole of parts and repairs will be a formidable force in undermining the economics towards profit. Even if you were to beat the odds and do planned maintenance only that cost alone plus the diminishing impact from miles on the chassis will add up. And if you don't drive it frequently the ticking sound in your head gets louder... you know the IMS demon on your shoulder that reminds you of the time bomb in your garage that needs to be driven frequently but not frequently enough that you mile the car up and eat up your profit potential. Bit of a catch 22.
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Old 12-31-2015, 02:44 AM   #13
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Porsches die just like every car. The only reason there are so many surviving as compared to made is because they are growing the number made each year so fast. On the other hand the large companies are shrinking or not growing that fast.

Further the 986 will die at a faster rate because of the lower resale price. People won't want to fix these cars because it costs more to fix them than just buying another one used and letting that one die too. Also they will be used up as racing vehicles and from people putting on high mileage because they are priced cheaper. People are less likely to hold them as "investments" and not drive them given the low price they are going for.

And if you believe the IMS issue then they are dying off at a higher rate as well. Time itself also kills the car by the break down of plastics, corrosion etc. - you don't even have to drive it.

Put all this together and the 986 is likely dying off at the rate of the low MPG cars in the graph or maybe even faster. But definitely faster than a 996 given its higher price. How many people are going to spend 5-10k fixing a dead engine on a 10k car vs a 996 costing the same 5-10k to fix but the car worth 20-25k. Also the 996 likely has fewer miles on it because people just parked it.

I've tried to estimate by resale rates how many of the original cars survive and my guesstimate is on the order of 50%. That's a very rough figure.

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Old 12-31-2015, 03:51 AM   #14
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When I buy any car is to have fun and drive it.

When I need to make money I buy and sell stocks.

I make money so I can have more cars.

Not that complicated right???
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Old 12-31-2015, 04:57 AM   #15
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When I buy any car is to have fun and drive it.

When I need to make money I buy and sell stocks.

I make money so I can have more cars.

Not that complicated right???
The only thing I would add to this is buying and selling property to make money, the rest is my philosophy as well. If you are going to buy a 986 as a potential investment then buy one that is all stock and don't make any mods to it. If they ever do become collectible the collectors will not pay top dollar for a modified car if they are interested at all. There is a money manager in Marin, CA that owns 13 low mileage all stock Boxsters and is buying as many as he can get his hands on. He believes the early 986's will be collectible some day. Is he right or is he crazy? Only time will tell.
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Old 12-31-2015, 05:36 AM   #16
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Well,

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Don't think a survival rate curve applies to Porches. Isn't it some inconceivably large percentage of all Porches ever made still being on road today?....
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Originally Posted by Fyeganeh View Post
Porsches die just like every car. The only reason there are so many surviving as compared to made is because they are growing the number made each year so fast. On the other hand the large companies are shrinking or not growing that fast....
As Mark Twain said, there are 3 types of liars - liars, damn liars and statisticians.

Whenever I hear one of the car companies - Subaru, Volvo, Land Rover, etc., advertise that X% of their cars built in the last Y years are still on the road, I wonder what the numbers are by year. Because likely 85% of their cars were built in the last 5 years and 85% of those cars are still on the road. Making the % of cars older than 5 years that are still on the road largely irrelevant.

Some of us are old enough to have been around when one of those Ferraris that now sell for millions or more could be had for $25,000 or even less. And we didn't have the money then, because that was a lot of money then!

Some day there will be some Boxsters that are worth some big money. But it will be hard for anyone to be making money on those Boxsters whatever the price ultimately is. The others are right who say buy it to enjoy and don't look at it as an investment.
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Old 12-31-2015, 05:53 AM   #17
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Lots of people using the 914 as a benchmark to say the 986 will eventually go up. Can someone explain the logic there? Just cause one car has SLIGHTLY gone up (still eons away from being a 'collector' - how does that in any way affect the Boxster?
Totally different car.....totally different mindset and most importantly - they only made around what, 100,000 914 whereas the Boxster has been produced in the 100s of thousands and still going.

One can never say never, but seriously....the Boxster is not a classic. No one cool has ever died in it. It's still viewed as a hairdressers car. It doesn't have the cachet of a real sports car. We all know the comments around "Couldn't afford a real Porsche".

So relax, drive it and enjoy. Who cares what others think. No way this car ever becomes a 'classic' and an investment.

Sure, it might retain SOME value and depreciation will level off - but that's very different from appreciating and growing in value.
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Old 12-31-2015, 07:09 AM   #18
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Lots of people using the 914 as a benchmark to say the 986 will eventually go up. Can someone explain the logic there? Just cause one car has SLIGHTLY gone up (still eons away from being a 'collector' - how does that in any way affect the Boxster?
Totally different car.....totally different mindset and most importantly - they only made around what, 100,000 914 whereas the Boxster has been produced in the 100s of thousands and still going.

One can never say never, but seriously....the Boxster is not a classic. No one cool has ever died in it. It's still viewed as a hairdressers car. It doesn't have the cachet of a real sports car. We all know the comments around "Couldn't afford a real Porsche".

So relax, drive it and enjoy. Who cares what others think. No way this car ever becomes a 'classic' and an investment.

Sure, it might retain SOME value and depreciation will level off - but that's very different from appreciating and growing in value.
Hate being the one to break this to you but according to Porsche the '97-04 986 is a Classic.
Porsche Classic - Information about your Porsche vintage car - Porsche Cars North America
One can argue all they want over the validity but to Porsche they are and that's all that counts to the owners.
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Old 12-31-2015, 07:32 AM   #19
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I think you need to define for yourself what the word collectible means....

Will the boxster ever skyrocket in price like the aircooled 911's have recently? Probably not, but there will come a point where prices will level off and cars in good shape with good mileage may start to rise in value. 944's were at one time one of the most common porsches on the road and we are already starting to see a slight uptick in prices over the past few years for good examples and the same goes for many 70- 80's model cars that were regarded as just "old cars" (early M3's and 3 series, z cars, camaro/TA's, etc.) a few years ago. You just have to wait for enough of them to be written off over the years and the generation that grew up wanting to own one as a kid to have the disposable income and the desire to regain a piece of their childhood. I think if you are wanting to see a 2-3x increase in your investment, you are going to be disappointed, but there will be a point where the values start to rise, even if ever so slowly. As far as buying a roller and putting a Raby engine in it...You would have 20k in a car people would not likely pay over 10k for. The Raby engine is probably great, but no one is going to pay the premium for it. Lastly, not to sound like a jerk, but is there really a demand for honda accord wagons? Is it the japanese nomad?
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Old 12-31-2015, 07:52 AM   #20
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So my question is, do you guys think the 986 would be a good car to do what I have done to my other cars? Pick up a roller for around $2500, focus the money on making the engine reliable (seriously considering a rebuilt and upgraded 2.9L from a company like Raby). Can you see a 986 with all of the engine issues resolved, everything works, and is well-taken care of selling for around $20K in the next 5-7 years? I can see that happening.

Your thoughts?
As a hobby I have bought, worked on, and sold cars. Lots of Hondas: Del Sols, CR-Vs, CRX, Civic, and a couple V6 Accords. My goal has been to have it pay for itself. With the Hondas, I learned a lot and made enough to collect some tools and still come out a few hundred to a thousand dollars ahead on each sold or parted & scrapped car.

I now have four Boxsters and a parts car. The parts car provided me with a decent 2.7L engine, and already paid for itself in other parts sold and reused. The four driving Boxsters are currently worth about what I have spent on them considering maintenance, repair, and administrative costs. I can expect to spend $1,500 a year on (mostly) DIY maintenance on each car every year. In the 5-7 year time frame that is $7,500 to $10,500 each. My chances of selling for a profit do not look good.

The other day as I walked out of my house and saw three (covered) in the driveway and one in the garage I thought, "If I sold all of these, I could buy a really nice car!" Then I climbed in, put the top down and went for a drive through the twistys.

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I am not an attorney, mechanic, or member of the clergy. Following any advice given in my posts is done at your own peril.

Last edited by 78F350; 12-31-2015 at 08:07 AM.
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