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Old 01-03-2018, 08:56 PM   #1
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Boxster, or something else?

Ok - Almost bought a cheap boxster about 4 years ago. Didn't (it was really really cheap - and I got scared off from maintenance possibilities.) Ended up buying an older Camaro (92) that had a LS1 swapped in it. Drove it for four years, and low and behold, I can now increase my budget...also, the boxster is now well within my budget, and I've seen many threads, posts, videos, articles describing the ~$10k Porsche Boxster.

Wife gave me the "ok" (long as the Camaro gets sold) and I'm free to jump into Porsche-Land...biggest fear, still...potential maintenance costs. I tend to do much of my own work, but don't want to see this car taking all my $$$ before I even get to enjoy it.

It'll be a spare car, used on weekends or to commute to work on nice weather days. Have a daily driver, so that's not it's purpose at all! Other cars I'm considering.

BMW Z3
BMW Z4
Chevrolet Corvette

Obviously the 986 is the only mid-engined car on this list. And I imagine it'll drive like a dream. I don't think I NEED to have a 300+ HP car at the moment, as a good driving car is more important to me than brute strength. Same time, the Corvette has been described often as being fairly nimble (albeit a bit porkier than a boxster)

Now I know this thread will likely be biased...but, if you were looking at the cars on the list. How would you rate them against the 986? (BTW - I'm basically looking non-S models...most of the "S" models are a bit above my ~$10k budget...can go up slightly, but not significantly.

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Old 01-03-2018, 10:16 PM   #2
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You seem to know what you are getting into, I would look for a 986 with a documented service history which should help with any immediate maintenance, and get a detailed PPI from a knowledgeable Porsche mechanic. Obviously, you can never be 100% sure, but I would pay up for a non-S with a good service history, preferably one that has not been sitting around too much. These cars like to be driven, sitting can do more harm than good, unless the car was properly prepped to sit around, for example being stored for the winter. Regular maintenance is not that much more than other European cars if you DIY, but some parts need to be OEM because the third party options fail too quickly (ie - coolant tanks).

Compared to the other cars, drive them and decide for yourself, but the 986 will handle better than all three of those cars in my opinion (It has near perfect 50/50 weight distribution). I personally prefer a car that handles well over pure horsepower, because it makes around town/weekend driving more fun. I always found the Z3 was too small if you are taller. If you prefer going fast in a straight line I would look more closely at the Z4 or Corvette. There are no cheap ways to get extra HP out a 986.

Best of luck with the decision!

Also, the online 986 community is one of the best, if that makes any difference. Tons of knowledgeable owners and online resources/guides.
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Old 01-03-2018, 10:46 PM   #3
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Boxster, or something else?

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Ok - Almost bought a cheap boxster about 4 years ago. Didn't (it was really really cheap - and I got scared off from maintenance possibilities.) Ended up buying an older Camaro (92) that had a LS1 swapped in it. Drove it for four years, and low and behold, I can now increase my budget...also, the boxster is now well within my budget, and I've seen many threads, posts, videos, articles describing the ~$10k Porsche Boxster.

Wife gave me the "ok" (long as the Camaro gets sold) and I'm free to jump into Porsche-Land...biggest fear, still...potential maintenance costs. I tend to do much of my own work, but don't want to see this car taking all my $$$ before I even get to enjoy it.

It'll be a spare car, used on weekends or to commute to work on nice weather days. Have a daily driver, so that's not it's purpose at all! Other cars I'm considering.

BMW Z3
BMW Z4
Chevrolet Corvette

Obviously the 986 is the only mid-engined car on this list. And I imagine it'll drive like a dream. I don't think I NEED to have a 300+ HP car at the moment, as a good driving car is more important to me than brute strength. Same time, the Corvette has been described often as being fairly nimble (albeit a bit porkier than a boxster)

Now I know this thread will likely be biased...but, if you were looking at the cars on the list. How would you rate them against the 986? (BTW - I'm basically looking non-S models...most of the "S" models are a bit above my ~$10k budget...can go up slightly, but not significantly.

BMW's have very quiet interiors. Hard to know the engine is running in most. The Corvette may cost you 10's of thousands of dollars if a body panel gets damaged. The Boxster, is not quiet. Body work can be expensive but, nowhere near that of a BMW or
Corvette. If a 986 is the goal, get an S model. The base models are dirt cheap but, also
vastly underpowered. 2.5 (pokey) and 2.7(better) liter engines, 5 speed transmissions... The S has 3.2 liters, 6 speed transmission, larger break calipers, better suspension and so on. Definitely look for complete service histories.

Depending on where you live, a hard top is a plus. Much less road/wind noise and much' more comfortable in colder climates. Again, depending on where you live, 10K is plenty
to buy a good to great condition 986 S. Options will of course vary and add to the price
point but, if you buy a 10k base Boxster, you'll wish you'd held out for an S.
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Old 01-04-2018, 04:02 AM   #4
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For the 'Vette, looking at a C5? Not trying to be pedantic, but that is technically mid-engined.

On the track, even base 986s can overcome C5s when the course is fairly curvy and tight.

Really would have to drive both back to back to get a feel for which one you prefer. And also, get a pre-purchase inspection from a reputable shop - that right there can help you avoid any potential pitfalls on deferred maintenance or pending trouble points (such as the water pump).
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Old 01-04-2018, 04:08 AM   #5
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You can pick up 986ís in Orlando for $10k or less in great shape.

The other day I saw a 2003 Boxster with a 911 engine at:

https://www.nortnortham.com/mobile/mdefault.aspx


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Old 01-04-2018, 05:03 AM   #6
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986 drives great. Motors are a crapshoot. Rest of the car is pretty decent. Interior is kinda cheesy. Hard to beat how a well set up boxster feels in the turns though.

Get the S...its worth the extra money
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Old 01-04-2018, 08:58 AM   #7
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The Box and BMWs you probability will need to online purchase parts for almost everything to get a decent price.
At least the C5 you can go to PepBoys, NAPA, etc to get parts

A $10k boxster will need regular preventive maintenance to keep it ready to go at all times

Out of all these, I only have driven the Boxster. As a matter of fact I have only driven mid-engine Porsche (914, 986) sports cars
My neighbor has a C5 and I don't see it up on stands as much as mine but his wheels are dirty even after he washes it. That's my gauge as to how well someone takes care of their cars

As said and good advice, drive them all so you can compare. Oh and I'm biased towards the 'S'
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:17 AM   #8
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What sounds better at the end of the day?

I drive a Beemer?
I drive a Corvette?
I drive a Porche?
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Old 01-04-2018, 10:11 AM   #9
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What sounds better at the end of the day?

I drive a Beemer?
I drive a Corvette?
I drive a Porche?
who cares?
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Old 01-04-2018, 10:40 AM   #10
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Years ago I got the go ahead to buy a Porsche. Started out looking at the 928. Too big, too old. And then for the next 4 weeks I drove every thing that even looked like a sportscar. 'vette: see 928. Jaguar: talk about maintenance. BMW: took me a half a block to turn around and surprise the dealer with a no. Miata and Honda. Too small inside and I didn't want something that I had to wind up. So I saw a Boxster advertised. Test drive 1 mile out and one mile back. Bought it. Six months later totaled it and waited only 2 months before buying another Boxster.

It fit for me in that it was small enough, smooth enough, fun enough and had enough oomph. I'm not into drag racing, my sportcars in my youth had as little as 85 HP (914 and 2 Alfas).

But my selection might not be right for you. Shop around, test drive. Don't buy the first thing you see/drive even the first of a model you decide fits you. Do get a PPI from a mechanic who knows the M96 Porsches.

Wonderful cars. Highly reliable for me. After an initial 'get its services updated', I doubt I spent $500 in 5 years on unplanned items. I don't count batteries and tires, those you expect.
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Old 01-04-2018, 03:44 PM   #11
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Great replies! Thanks for the advice everyone! Will be looking to read other replies as they come in, and continue the research.
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Old 01-04-2018, 08:29 PM   #12
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How tall are you? I am just a little over 6' and the Boxster does not have enough leg room.

I have a 911 and it is way more roomy and I fit in that a lot better.

Check it out for yourself before you commit to a sale.
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Old 01-04-2018, 08:44 PM   #13
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How tall are you? I am just a little over 6' and the Boxster does not have enough leg room.

I have a 911 and it is way more roomy and I fit in that a lot better.

Check it out for yourself before you commit to a sale.
I'm 5'10"...my bigger problem isn't leg room, but hip room...weigh about 210. I'm not hugely overwheight, but I'm not a skinny 5'10" either .

I've driven a 911 a couple times, and absolutely loved it. What's always intrigued me about the Boxster is the mid engine vs rear engine design of the 911...and the fact that it's what Porsche really WANTED to design, but the 911 design was considerably easier to manufacture, and over time it's been very well refined.

There are a couple 986 cars around here locally, and I may call up the dealer to see one tomorrow, need something to keep my mind off selling this camaro...and nothing clears the mind like a test drive.
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:36 PM   #14
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Boxster, or something else?

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How tall are you? I am just a little over 6' and the Boxster does not have enough leg room.

I have a 911 and it is way more roomy and I fit in that a lot better.

Check it out for yourself before you commit to a sale.
I'm 6'2". I feel like I'm falling getting in but, once in, with the seat adjusted for me
I'm far more comfortable in my 2001 Boxster S than I am in my Dodge Ram 1500 Sport, the Geo Storm I had before, the Ferrari I test drove for a week, the 69 Mustang I drove for a year or the Mercury Montego MX (302 Boss engine) I drove for 10 years. Never mind the El Dorado, 65 Galaxy 500, and another 15 or so vehicles I've owned or driven regularly over the past 40+ years. Nearly bought a Jaguar before the Boxster. Very nice car, lots of power but, also very tight in the seat.

Here's what sold me on my current Boxster. I drove her, a few miles from the dealership. I crossed 2 railroad tracks and decided to drop the top so, I pulled off the road. That turn off of the roadway sold me. Felt nothing on the tracks. Felt like gravity, turning off to drop the top. The Ferrari never felt that good talking a sharp sloping turn. Though, have to say, the Ferrari was much prettier
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Old 01-04-2018, 11:42 PM   #15
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BMW Z4 isn’t too bad a choice potentially, my dad has a Z4 coupe and I really like it. BUT it’s cramped. I’m 5’10 and run around 200 athletic build and the Z4 was a bit tight. The storage (trunk) is very small. But it was fun to drive. However, my S is WAY more fun to drive and is simply a kick in the butt fun. I had a 1984 911 for 10 years, as much as I hate to say it, once a Porsche guy, always a Porsche guy. As Hammond says, “it has THE BADGE”.

Regarding the maint etc. If you get a well sorted one, barring something silly, they really aren’t bad at all and are very reliable. Things happen, the 986 is getting old. But still every bit worth it IMO. Absolutely incredible bang for the buck. If you go early year 2.7 the IMS situation is negligible. Other years, certainly a discussion point, but not necessarily a deal killer. The big bad boy expense is IMS, RMS, clutch. If you can find one that had these done some what recently that is potentially a good place to start. ALWAYS buy the newest and best maintained Pcar you can afford. Unless you like to tinker and wrench. These are rewarding cars, but need some TLC every now and then.
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Old 01-04-2018, 11:56 PM   #16
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I had an S, I test drove a nonS. I strongly recommend driving both if you go the 986 route.
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Old 01-05-2018, 02:17 AM   #17
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Iím the other side of the pond but when I was looking there were 3 cars on my list. 986, S2000 and Z4. All roadsters and similar performance. Brief was summer weekend toy, convertible, good to tour in and capable of being tracked a few times a year.

Z4 didnít cut it at all. Loved the S2000 but much smaller inside than the 986 but an incredible engine, better gearbox than the 986. It was a fantastic car. Tested a 2.7 and it didnít do it for me so was about to pull the trigger on the Honda but said I should test a Boxster S to rule it out.

The rest as they say is history. Looking back I think there must have been something wrong with the 2.7 as it was dull while the S was an event.

So for me the torque won out, easy to drive on motorways with little fuss. Torque letís it pull with regular traffic from any revs. Also much roomier and better finished than the S2000. More upmarket if thy makes sense and a nicer place to cover distances in. BTW Iím 6í4Ē and 250lbs and I find it fine room wise. A bit more would be nicer but itís definitely not an issue. I think people get surprised when I get out of it and stand up.


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Old 01-05-2018, 03:38 AM   #18
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Ok - Almost bought a cheap boxster about 4 years ago.
Was this parked next to a unicorn?
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Old 01-05-2018, 07:41 AM   #19
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Was this parked next to a unicorn?
Actually, I think it came with the unicorn!!! Weíre you looking at the same ad as me?

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Old 01-05-2018, 05:25 PM   #20
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Ok - Did a first drive today and looked at 3 different cars. 2 were duds, bad shape....like really bad, neglected, previous owners had zero spare cash (but some ingenuity) bad shape. The 3rd car was drivable, but did have a CEL (not a deal breaker if the price can be worked out properly). All in all, I did enjoy the driving experience of the third car. Smooth, ran well, really nice car. If that car represents what I should expect from a 2000+ Boxster Base, I was rather happy with it.

Now on to find the car that I'll buy. Have been in contact with two individuals who have what look like nicely taken care of examples of early 2000-20002 cars...2 base, and one S. Hopefully I'll really fall in love with one of those three, and can make something happen in the near future! but so far, I'm liking these little cars.

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