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Old 11-19-2018, 06:26 PM   #1
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Best Model Years To Buy?

Newbie here. Post #2.

I'm in the market for an early Boxster with low mileage (under 50k). Just a weekend fun car for 8 months a year. Probably won't drive it more than 2-3,000 miles a year. Definitely want an S. Hoping to spend under $15k. I've been doing some reading up and research and I'm generally familiar with the year-to-year changes. Also familiarized myself with the whole IMS issue.

But my question is this: considering the year-to-year changes and cost, are there certain years that tend to be more desireable than others? My initial conclusion was that MYs 2003 and 2004 were probably best. They have the glass rear window, glove box, more HP than earlier models, other enhancements, etc. Of course, the 2000-2004 models have the worst IMSB issue. But I can buy one where it's been changed, or for $3,000 I get the clutch/RMS/IMSB done, and it's problem solved.

The '97 - '99 are out since I want an S.

The early 987.1's might be an option too. Even though the IMSB is much less of an issue for those, it could still happen, and there's no preemptive fix.

I drove a 2002 Base with 80k, and wasn't too impressed. Just this past weekend I drove a 2006 S with 50k and liked it, but it was over my budget ($21k).

So again, considering cost and upgrades, which are the best MYs for me to target?

Thanks.


Last edited by BoxMann; 11-19-2018 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 11-19-2018, 09:07 PM   #2
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My initial conclusion was that MYs 2003 and 2004 were probably best. But I can buy one where it's been changed, or for $3,000 I get the clutch/RMS/IMSB done, and it's problem solved.
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The early 987.1's might be an option too.

You answered your own questions.

You did a great job on research and understanding the pro's and con's of the various models. Well done!
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Old 11-19-2018, 11:00 PM   #3
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Unlikely you will find a 987 worth buying for under 15k unless you get really lucky, and doubtful that low mileage. And, believe it or not finding a really good S of any year might be difficult with that low of mileage under 15k. They are out there though, just need to be patient. Mine is an 02 S bought with 56k for 12k two years ago. Overall very clean, no significant issues, a few upgrades.
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Old 11-20-2018, 08:27 AM   #4
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When I was shopping for my Box S in 2003 I did not want PSM, Porsche Stability Management. So I bought a 2000 S as PSM was not an option until 2001 if I remember correctly.
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Old 11-20-2018, 01:51 PM   #5
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Unlikely you will find a 987 worth buying for under 15k unless you get really lucky, and doubtful that low mileage. And, believe it or not finding a really good S of any year might be difficult with that low of mileage under 15k.
Yeah, I'm kinda prepared that if it's going to be a 987.1, I'm probably looking at at least $20k. That's one reason why I've been leaning toward the '03/'04 MYs.

Is it your opinion that the '03/'04 MYs tend to be more, or the most, desireable for the early Boxsters?

Last edited by BoxMann; 11-20-2018 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 11-20-2018, 03:16 PM   #6
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You are on the right track....

....The ‘03/‘04 cars have a glass rear window, a glove box, and improvements to engine bay cooling, sturdier coolant overflow tank, etc.

The switchgear has a nicer finish, and the overall quality of the interior went up a notch.

They also got new front and rear fascias with Can-Am style downforce whiskers up front and a nice rear lower apron.

They also eliminated the “scrambled egg” yellow turn signals.

The radio does NOT require a security code, and you have electronic micro switches that open the Frunk and Trunk.

PORSCHE learned a lot over the years and with the competition from the SLK, Z4, Vette, et al, they stepped the Boxster’s game up in 2003.

If she’s just a weekend toy, I’d find any year that fit your budget and felt right.

If you really want to use her for vacations and commuting, get an ‘03/‘04.

Good luck
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Old 11-20-2018, 04:10 PM   #7
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....The ‘03/‘04 cars have a glass rear window, a glove box, and improvements to engine bay cooling, sturdier coolant overflow tank, etc.

The switchgear has a nicer finish, and the overall quality of the interior went up a notch.

They also got new front and rear fascias with Can-Am style downforce whiskers up front and a nice rear lower apron.

They also eliminated the “scrambled egg” yellow turn signals.

The radio does NOT require a security code, and you have electronic micro switches that open the Frunk and Trunk.

PORSCHE learned a lot over the years and with the competition from the SLK, Z4, Vette, et al, they stepped the Boxster’s game up in 2003.

If she’s just a weekend toy, I’d find any year that fit your budget and felt right.

If you really want to use her for vacations and commuting, get an ‘03/‘04.

Good luck
Thank you for that info. Those last two sentences are something worth thinking about for me. Maybe you're right, as a weekend toy, maybe I don't need all the upgrades that came with the later MYs.
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Old 11-20-2018, 04:22 PM   #8
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Curious . . . what is that?
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Old 11-20-2018, 05:53 PM   #9
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Licensed POC DE/TT Instructor

Curious . . . what is that?
Thanks for asking!

The Porsche Owners Club (POC, mostly in California) and the Porsche Club of America (PCA, nationwide) offer Porsche owners the opportunity to take their street cars onto race tracks around the country.

At a track day, also known as a High Performance Drivers Education (HPDE) event or Drivers Education (DE) for short, the host organization will provide instructors to ride along with you to teach you the basics of track driving and answer any questions that you might have through the day. I instruct at these types of events.

Once you become proficient at general track driving, you might want to compete for lap times against other cars. This is called a Time Trial (TT). Some org's who host TT's also provide instructors to help drivers perfect the preferred driving line, improve cornering techniques, and help you get the best time possible. I also instruct at these types of events.

I also have POC, PCA, and NASA (National Auto Sport Association) racing licenses where I race wheel-to-wheel (open racing and who ever finishes first wins) in the Spec Boxster class. This is generally known as amateur or club racing. This class uses the 97-99 2.5L Boxster as the basis for a production based race car.

My race car story can be found here: Spec Boxster Build

Anyone can (and should) take their Porsche to the track and learn some great performance driving techniques using their street car. Its incredible fun!
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Last edited by thstone; 11-20-2018 at 06:01 PM.
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Old 11-20-2018, 06:15 PM   #10
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The only problem with tracking your car is that it’s quite addictive! Then it’s the slippery slope.
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Old 11-20-2018, 07:19 PM   #11
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Thanks for asking!

. . .

Anyone can (and should) take their Porsche to the track and learn some great performance driving techniques using their street car. Its incredible fun!
And thank you for that explanation !!

Yes, when I finally buy my Porsche, I may very well want to do that. I understand the basics of driving through the apex, "straightening out the turns", braking, downshifting, but I'm sure I can still learn quite a lot.

Stay tuned, we may well be talking again. You can probably count on it.
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Old 11-20-2018, 07:34 PM   #12
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I hope you like gummy, sticky interior panels because that's what the later model 986s have. Check it out...
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Old 11-20-2018, 07:38 PM   #13
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I hope you like gummy, sticky interior panels because that's what the later model 986s have. Check it out...

You're gonna have to explain what you mean by "gummy, sticky"
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Old 11-20-2018, 07:46 PM   #14
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Search for "soft touch interior flaking" or "peeling" or "sticky". The later models have a "soft touch" finish on many of the plastic parts (door armrests, center console, etc.). It is a kind of rubbery coating used on many cars in that era, not just Porsche. It breaks down after 10-15 years and can get sticky and peels or scratches off easily.

Nasty stuff.
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Old 11-20-2018, 08:01 PM   #15
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Search for "soft touch interior flaking" or "peeling" or "sticky". The later models have a "soft touch" finish on many of the plastic parts (door armrests, center console, etc.). It is a kind of rubbery coating used on many cars in that era, not just Porsche. It breaks down after 10-15 years and can get sticky and peels or scratches off easily.

Nasty stuff.
Is there a fix or treatment for it, other than replacing panels/parts?
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Old 11-20-2018, 08:18 PM   #16
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Peeling? yes! Give any 986/996 interior piece an angry look and the piece will scratch!

The only sticky parts I experienced in my 10 years of 986 ownership was the radio knobs.
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Old 11-20-2018, 08:58 PM   #17
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The only sticky parts I experienced in my 10 years of 986 ownership was the radio knobs.
Give it time.
My son has the same crap in his car. I'm getting really tired of stripping and painting it.
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Old 11-20-2018, 11:55 PM   #18
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Give it time.
My son has the same crap in his car. I'm getting really tired of stripping and painting it.
What is your preferred method of stripping it? I am almost considering a media blast of some sort....it comes off but...
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Old 11-21-2018, 12:05 AM   #19
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What is your preferred method of stripping it? I am almost considering a media blast of some sort....it comes off but...
I really haven't found any easy method, but plain water and a green scrub pad seems to work best on the loose stuff. I'll break down and use 1000 grit wet sanding for the more stubborn bits.
Chemicals are risky because a lot of the parts on his Volvo are ABS and will be damaged or even melted by chemicals (especially acetone...that will dissolve the plastic fairly quickly).
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Old 11-21-2018, 06:00 AM   #20
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2002 S model - hands down the absolute best Boxster to buy

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