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Old 12-21-2016, 05:56 AM   #1
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Which way to go?

This is my first post and I would like to hear people's opinions.
I will be entering my last year in my 50's and have been a car nut all my life and am now looking to go in a new direction. I have owned all kinds of British, Japanese, American and German cars. I recently gave up the last of my corvettes and am looking to move back to a small convertible. I'm only going to use this as a weekend toy and mostly drive it to my golf course and an occasional pleasure drive and not an investment or big asset hog. So, I've been going back and forth with getting a used MX-5 (basically because it is Japanese and dependable and cheap to operate) and of course a Boxster. I won't ask about peoples opinion about the MX-5 as I can guess the average opinion.

What I'm interested in is thoughts on several different cars I've been watching for the last few weeks. First off I've been mainly looking at cars in the sub $10k range (remember this is supposed to be inexpensive). Would prefer an "S" but not a requirement. Car #1: 1998 red/orangey interior is a 2 owner, current owner for 10 years, with 37k miles and lots of recent service done including IMS, newer tires, brakes etc. for $9000. Car #2: 1999 Silver/black with 141k for $6500. All major mechanicals including IMS, clutch rear main seal, new top and lots of custom and upgrades done. She looks beautiful and well kept.

Granted I have not physically seen either car and am relying on internet browsing only at this point. I am in the middle of winter anyway and if I can find a great buy I will buy it when I find it. My main concern is that I don't wind up with a sudden $5k bill and something I can enjoy stress free.

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Old 12-21-2016, 06:02 AM   #2
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Buy one that has been loved.

Signs of love are:

1. Complete service record with no big misses on maintenance
2. Car is clean with no defects that haven't been repaired
3. Even niggly little things have been done, like sun visors replaced when doors have broken off
3. Owner has a good, plausible explanation why it is being sold
4. Owner is PCA member
5. Owner is on this forum

Lots more signs, but these are off the top of my head.

Good luck!
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Old 12-21-2016, 07:03 AM   #3
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I think golf clubs fit in the rear trunk of a boxster but no way in the back of a Miata...
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Old 12-21-2016, 07:07 AM   #4
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Most vagabonds I knowed don't ever want to find the culprit
That remains the object of their long relentless quest
The obsession's in the chasing and not the apprehending
The pursuit, you see, and never the arrest

Enjoy the search, that is a big part of the fun!

If it was in your budget, I would suggest you get in touch with Chuck W about his 2001 Boxster S.

Oh, and you may hear this more than a few times - PPI! PPI! PPI! (Pre-Purchase Inspection!)
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Old 12-21-2016, 07:30 AM   #5
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I think you would be better off with a MX-5. For what you want the car for it make more sense then a $10k boxster
especially if it's going to sit most of the time and you will probably store in the Winter.

The less you drive Boxsters the more they seem to have issues. I would think that a good MX-5 will sit around and wait to be driven more reliably then a boxster would.
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Old 12-21-2016, 09:38 AM   #6
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The 986 (Boxster) rear trunk was designed to fit a set of golf clubs, so it will definitely fulfill that requirement. That said, the maintenance on a Porsche will generally cost more than a Miata.

As much as I would like to recommend a Boxster, it sounds like you are looking for whichever car will be less troublesome to own. While the majority of Boxster's only require regular maintenance, when they do require work, it can be expensive. So I would probably suggest a Miata, solely because it will be cheaper to own. But if you don't mind spending the extra money when it is needed, very few cars can match the handling of a Boxster for the price.
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Old 12-21-2016, 10:05 AM   #7
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Although you can get golf clubs in the back of a boxster they don't really fit. First off they will not fit with the bag. You have to put your driver and woods in first as they require some finagling to squeeze in. After your clubs are in there is a little room left for the bag. I drive with the bag in the front seat. Only if I go to the driving range and I take like 4 or 5 clubs with me do I try to squeeze them in the trunk.
Miatas require nearly no maintenance. Porsche seems to require a bit more according to most people but I have yet to experience any of it in my first year of ownership but the car only had 64k on it when I bought it with fresh brakes and service. Having said that, Miatas of similar vintage of late 90s are mostly rusty at least here in Michigan. Porsche is galvanized and built much nicer. The car is much more solid IMO. I had a 95 Miata and now have the 97 Boxster and I can tell you it is a night and day diffence. Miata is no where near as solid of a feel and has zero torque compared to a Boxster. Other than they are both good handling cars and have 2 seats and a drop top they are not in the same category anywhere else. One feels like a higher end car the other feels like a cheap compact that performs well.
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Old 12-21-2016, 03:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Boomer80 View Post
My main concern is that I don't wind up with a sudden $5k bill and something I can enjoy stress free.
Buy the Miata.

And I hate myself for saying that.
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Old 12-21-2016, 03:43 PM   #9
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Got 1 Boxster S and 2 Miatas an NB SE and a NC prht. Unless you have a fat wallet and a second car ,get the Miata.I too hate to say that!
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Old 12-21-2016, 06:38 PM   #10
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Just get a Boxster. Why wouldn't you want to be able to participate in this great forum
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Old 12-21-2016, 07:41 PM   #11
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How many people are you thinking of taking to the golf course? What kind of bags?

Are you willing to take some of the clubs out of the bag to fit just one large bag in the rear trunk? I doubt even that would fit the Miata. I had owned 2 Mazdas and both were good, one Porsche before the Boxsters and it was horrid. But I fit the Boxster perfectly and the Miata horribly enough I never even drove it.

I'm a golfer and think I took me and my clubs maybe twice in five years. Otherwise my golf car or a CRV.

In cars this old, there is no assurance that you won't get a big expense. Stuff happens. Owned two. Wonderful experiences. Both cars sound reasonable from your postings. I owned a base 2.5 '99 and a '01S and never found much difference.
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Old 12-21-2016, 07:45 PM   #12
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I own 3 miatas (two 1999 and a 2006) and just bought a 2005 boxster. I was looking for another Miata when I came across the deal on the 2005. I've only had it about a month.

Ride, size, performance, and engine growl all are better with the Boxster.
Maintenance and "reliability" will be better with the Miatas. Very solid mechanically but don't have the soul or performance of a Boxster and especially a Boxster S.

To get a Miata to perform near a Boxster you'll need to turbo or supercharge, and those affect reliability and aren't all that cheap. Neither option will get you to Boxster S level without lots of extra work on top

At Autocross A stock or near stock Miata is a hoot though

For me I do my own maintenance and understand what comes with the Porsche. I've only had to do rotors, pads, and oil change so far. Maintenance costs can outweigh the other benefits to some people. Price a brake and rotor change on Porsche Vs Mazda, or an oil change. Heck the price of a set of shifter cables on the boxster can make people pass out.

Bang for the buck you can't beat a Miata, but the Boxster is a whole different animal

And if you really want a fun Miata, there is an LS swap kit available, with options all the way to genuine turn key through Flyin Miata

You'd have to bring your golf bag when you look at Miata, some people have no issue and others with longer clubs say no go.
I have a trailer hitch and bike rack on one of my 99's, and you could put a golf bag holder there. Very few options for that on boxster due to exhaust layout.

Last edited by BBQBryan; 12-21-2016 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 12-22-2016, 04:08 AM   #13
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Which way

When you have this many owners telling you to buy another brand (based on your criteria)...listen to them. Buy the Miata as well. Honestly, you'll have just as much fun for what you want to do.
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Old 12-22-2016, 05:53 AM   #14
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WOW! Thank you very much everyone! Truly great information and respectful replies. Being a basic gearhead my whole life and being on many different forums for all the cars, motorcycles and snowmobiles I've owned, this has been one of the best and most honest replies to one of my posts I've ever gotten. All your replies have certainly helped steer me to a better decision. Especially if the forum is this good and valuable

I especially appreciate all of the golf club suggestions. As a walker while playing, I also have a push cart that I also have to account for. As I belong to a private club, I can always just store that, but I also play a lot of other courses too and I have several smaller bags I think would fit in the rear boot and I even thought the front might fit my folded Clicgear cart, but maybe not. I owned to previous Miata NA's and never had a problem fitting a bag in that though. I guess I should have stayed with the Corvette (nah!). Chevy at least designed the Vette with the thought and intention that the coupe hold 2 golf bags. It certainly was spacious. I sure wish designers would design a car that can easily store a golf bag. I flew on a golf vacation a couple months ago and rented a new Camaro. Big mistake, that car would hold nothing and forget trying to fit a bag in the trunk with any clubs in it. Thank god for the rear seat.

I still am leaning towards the Boxster though. I read about the early year (97-00) Boxsters being somewhat more reliable as far as the IMS bearing. I had a talk with one of my mechanic friends who specializes in Euro imports and he just scared me with the costs associated with engine and engine compartment repairs. This is why I would only consider a Boxster that had had at least the IMS, Clutch and main bearings done. I just do not ever want to get into the engine on a Boxster. Externals eg: brakes don't scare me. I also have heard several say that not driving these cars can cause problems too. That is what scares me about the 98 with 37k miles. Even though the major mechanicals were done. What is waiting to go next. Sure low mile older cars might be nice on some, that is not the case with a Boxster I guess?
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Old 12-22-2016, 07:14 AM   #15
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Buy the Boxster and sell your clubs. Why would you spend time on a golf course on a nice sunny day when you could be out driving your Boxster?
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Old 12-22-2016, 08:13 AM   #16
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Why restrict to just Miata vs Boxster? For very casual driving with lots of trunk space...why not go Mustang? I'm no fan of the Mustang, but it does sound like it would be more in line with what you are looking for. Room for clubs, top down cruising....you just won't get the same handling and feel, but for casual use? Perfect.
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Old 12-22-2016, 08:41 AM   #17
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The 98-99 MY are subject to D chunk cylinder failure. The higher mileage one should be ok in that respect having survived this long but will of course have other high mileage issues. The low mileage one would be the bigger worry for D chunk
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Old 12-22-2016, 11:30 AM   #18
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Drive them back to back and see what you think. I owned a 99 anniversary edition Miata, and it was great. But, I didn't like it on highways, at all. As many others have already said, the Boxster is a much better all around car. Good luck with your choice!
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Old 12-22-2016, 01:01 PM   #19
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If you guys want to suggest other cars besides the Miata vs Boxster question he posted instead of a Mustang I recommend a Audi TT. I have one and love it. Took some Bilstein coilovers to make it handle decent but the build quality is excellent, actually better than the Boxster especially the interior is nicer quality and much more comfortable. Maintaining it is cheap as it is not much more than a Golf mechanically and mine has been rock solid while still averaging just a tick under 30mpg even with 208k miles on it now.
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Old 12-22-2016, 01:29 PM   #20
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Hi - just over a year ago, I sold my 96 Miata that had only 40k miles and bought my current 2002 2.7L Boxster, also with only 40k miles. I think I have a decent perspective on this. There is just no question about the reliability of the Miata and its low costs. Some say there is a "smile for every mile" that you drive a Miata - and I cannot deny that. But I think this question is comparing apples to oranges. The Boxster is a Porsche, period. The Boxster is as solid as you can get, plenty of power, tremendous handling, and its a Porsche. The Miata is a bit like a toy, the Boxster is a "mans car" which may be an inappropriate analogy these days, but it's the truth. And that's the difference I feel when I drive and people stare at me. I also believe that there are many DIY possibilities on the Boxster, which will lessen the annual costs and not be terribly burdensome either, especially with the mileage that you plan to put on it. You also seem to be looking for the right things to be done on the car, IMS, RMS, etc. Very smart. So, I say go big or go home! C'mon guys, just having some fun!!

Good luck.

David Preston
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Last edited by por356c; 12-22-2016 at 01:32 PM.
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