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Grace
Hagerty Employee

Ask Jack: He knows I can Box!

Allow me to start this advice column by giving you an outstanding example of why you shouldn't take my advice: In 2005, I turned down a Porsche 993 Turbo in order to buy a leftover 2004 Porsche Boxster "550 Spyder Edition," pictured above. The money would have been about the same either way. Had I bought the 993 Turbo, I'd have a car that now would be worth between $125,000 and $175,000 at any random auction I chose. The Boxster? Well, I sold it to a lovely lady three years ago for about a tenth of that. Clearly, I don't know anything about buying and selling cars. But I do know quite a bit about Boxsters ... which brings us to this week's episode of "Ask Jack."

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com: https://www.hagerty.com/media/advice/ask-jack-he-knows-i-can-box/

27 REPLIES 27
laffo
Passenger

**bleep** you Baruth.. I've been craving a Cayman S...and you had to go all realist on me!

Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

It's possible that I'm steering you wrong. To see if Cayman ownership is right for you, try sitting in your bathtub while lighting $100 bills on fire!

Germanicus
Detailer

Thank you for scaring me straight with the number your friend has spent on maintenance and repairs in the last 3 years. I'd rather spend time and money in Rome and Pompeii, or our National Parks, instead of the dinky waiting room of an independent Porsche mechanic.

 

The only requirement I have so far for my next car is that it has to be a good dance partner on track. I'd like to make the jump from being fast online to being fast in real life. An NC2 Miata will likely be a finalist, as it'll be inexpensive to purchase and run on track, and I can also get some topless action. The C5 was historic as it was the first American performance car that could compete on the world stage since Nixon left office, but C5 buyers think they're capital-H Historic, and thus have set delusional values for them. C6 and C7 sellers are more grounded than C5 sellers. Perhaps I could trade my daily in for a new sport compact, like a Civic Si or GTI, or a lightly used compact luxury car, like a Lexus IS350 F-Sport, or a Cadillac ATS. I may send in another email in a few months once I've done some driving to narrow down the list.

Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

NC Miata Club is what you want, I think.

docwyte
Passenger

In your examples of a miata beating a boxster or a corvette beating a GT3, only if the drivers skill levels are extremely disparate.  IE, no way does a miata keep up with a boxster given the same driver, same with the corvette and a GT3. 

 

These are great cars and if you have a modicum of mechanical ability, they're astonishingly cheap to maintain.

Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

A 991 GT3 is pretty easy meat for a Camaro ZL1 1LE or a C7 Grand Sport on most tracks.

race911
Pit Crew

Define "pretty easy meat."  From what I see out here, if we're moving to a 991 GT3, potential is 1:52-53 on the full 3.0 mile Thunderhill.  Acquaintance has a ZL1 LE, and he can't even sniff 1:55.  Yeah, massive difference in buy-in.  And driving experience--I'd play more golf if I had to muscle around a 4K lb. car.  Or just go slow in the Spec Miata.  More of a challenge to drive fast anyway.

Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

This comes from testing prepared press cars on factory tires in controlled conditions.

 

And here's someone running a 1:52 in a Camaro at T-Hill, on the Goodyears: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1A7pGITLnvY

coshproductions
Pit Crew

I wholeheartedly agree. I have a 2001 Boxter S, and it’s extremely  reliable, fast, and an absolute joy to drive, especially with the 6 speed manual. I’d take one over a Miata any day. 

race911
Pit Crew

That was bypass.  (Big picture, what's with the obsession of the last decade or so about chasing "speed" in overweight, stock cars?  Once upon a time, we went racing.  I suppose we can thank that racer, the Go Pro guy.)

CJinSD
Instructor

It looks like he was using a primitive manual transmission to go faster than a street legal Porsche automatic has ever gone. I thought an automatic was necessary for people who care about performance. It's almost like talented drivers can still drive manuals for reasons other than being Luddites.

pstudebaker
New Driver

Methinks you protesteth too much, but maybe it's because you track it. I bought my 2005 987 in 2010 with 80K on it for $20K. It now has 132K. Outside of regular maintenance (tires, oil changes, belts, brake pads, brake fluid changes, spark plugs, air filters, struts) it ate two water pumps, the original at 80K and the cheap pump I put in then at 130K. I check the PS fluid every 30,000 miles and it's fine. Yes, it needed a door latch (bad switch), a convertible top link, and I had the A/C controls redone by StickyNoMore.com. Altogether, if you can do a few things yourself, as cheap to keep as my 1992 Civic. The rear main drips a bit and maybe it could use some bushings, but I can't tell. I love it.

Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Have you done the math on what you've listed?

 

2 sets of tires at the non-N-rated discount price of $950 per --- $1900

Oil changes, 9 quarts of Mobil 1 and an aftermarket filter, x 7 --- $800

Belts, changed yourself --- $200

Plugs --- $100

Air Filter x 2 --- $80

Struts, Bilstein x 4 --- $1200

2 Water Pumps, doing it yourself --- $400

Clips and latch and A/C work --- $400

 

Total, not including a penny of labor: $5,080. For 52,000 miles.

 

To put this in perspective, I ran a 2009 Town Car for 103,000 miles for one set of all-seasons ($800), 15 non-synthetic oil changes ($400), and one alignment ($125). That's $1325 for 103,000 miles. Your Boxster is literally ten times more expensive to operate than my Town Car. And that's assuming that you do all the work yourself, which the fellow asking the questions said he couldn't do.

 

And you're only one IMS problem away from having a $11,300 paperweight behind the seats.

 

All of that being said, I think you're the right kind of person to own this car: mechanically adept, willing to spend money on parts, and sympathetic to the idea that it won't be dirt-cheap to run. I'm the same way with some of my bicycles and motorcycles, but I wouldn't recommend that someone buy a Kawasaki ZX-14R to ride to work; it eats a rear tire every 1200 miles 🙂

race911
Pit Crew

40 years of Porsches now, since 18.  Thousands of miles on track--DE, Time Trial, Wheel-To-Wheel.  Yeah, kept me in the poor house to the extent I could retire at 55.  (Two stints owning Porsche repair shops.)  Kind of guessing here, but a minimally prepped 986 is probably a 2:12 Thunderhill (full)/1:50 Laguna car, with decent tires and not much else--Spec Boxster is down to around 2:01 (bypass).  What, exactly, is the prep level of the Neon????  Ultimately, I'll side with your ex-car's owner--sounds like she is having fun with the car.  And that what it's all about.  (Finally, there's always anecdotal observations of slow exotic/fast nothing car.  Out here, a GT3 or C6 Z06 is a ~1:35 car at Laguna--but in either case you find them being lapped in the 1:45+ range, passed by a Neon/whatever.)

Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

The Neon is a 2.4-liter SCCA STU car, but I only have ten grand in it 🙂

race911
Pit Crew

Quick check for the Northern California tracks shows they run about the same as Spec Miata.  Driving which I've had to muscle my way through expensive, underdriven car more often than not.  Unfortunately, there are more out there showing up thinking they need the Big Spec car.  Where on earth could THAT idea come from????

CJinSD
Instructor

You owned Porsche repair shops and prospered financially? You don't say!

MotorManMark
Intermediate Driver

yup ... I tell everyone, if you're not going to fix it yourself, DON'T buy a Porsche (unless you truly can afford it) ...

 

From my point of view ... most look at my first generation yellow 97 Tiptronic with amazement (bling headlights/taillights), it looks good and is fun to drive. I don't do track racing, in fact up here 31mph over the speed limit will have your car impounded and have you left sitting at the side of the road with a huge ticket!!!

 

As for the cost, I bought this beautiful yellow car for equiv to $4500us. yes I had to do the IMS bearing, currently doing the shocks, and thanks to your insight I will keep an eye on the power steering system. No matter what comments I hear about these 986's I have no regrets buying it, and fixing it to me is as easy as putting in a stereo system but who wants to hear music when you have the sweet song of a Porsche! 

 

The bottom line, I've owned quite a few north American cars, have a 63 Pontiac that I've owned for many years ... my new found love of driving this car is like no other!  Yes, you will find other cars will leave you in their dust, but this stock Boxster handles like a dream!

 

Finally, yes there was a C6 Vet that I really regret passing on a couple years ago, but this car has cost me half of what that C6 to date, and I'm saving a tone of money now that this little gem qualifies for Hagerty Insurance!!!!

1fastcat
Intermediate Driver

The IMS issue was the reason I did not buy one in 2013 , when I retired.  I have a loaded c5 convertible but hardly ever drive it.  I drive my MR2 Spyder , almost the same styling as a Boxster but no issues.

Zephyr
Instructor

The whole idea behind the Boxster was to build a relatively inexpensive, entry-level Porsche, something closer to disposable than enduring. Corners were cut. 

TerryZ
Passenger

After nearly 50 years of driving, and going through most of the british sports cars and several different corvettes, the boxster has been hands down the most fun car to drive.

Jeffreythorton
Pit Crew

Can I say it, can I say it? Can I be that guy?

 

2015 Mustang GT with PP... $28.3k from Carvana. $1900 Performance Pack 3 upgrade, which I installed myself. $1000 Ford Racing exhaust. $300 Hawk brake pads. $450 MGW shifter. That's pretty much it.

 

The car runs 2:06's at VIR, and I'm an average driver. At my last Porsche-heavy track day, only the new GT3 RS's were faster (as they should be). Any previous-gen GT3 or anything Boxter/Cayman wasn't even close. The car literally behaves like a minivan on the street. Stock suspension is so good I may not even modify it... all I do is put gas in it and empty the oil separators after my track day. In a Ford.

pianoporsche
Pit Crew

What a disservice this article does to the auto enthusiast community! Don't listen to this guy.

 

Used 986 Boxsters, especially the pre-2000 models with the double ims bearing (1% failure rate) are TRUE BARGAINS that provide insane amounts of automotive pleasure.

 

Take one out on a country back road and you will fall in love with the joy of it's low polar moment of inertia handling and it's addictive flat six engine sound right behind your ear. Speed is not the end all and be all.

 

They are perfectly easy to work on. Get a set of race ramps and you are all set. I bought a Guards Red '98 with 77k miles for $7700 to teach my son about cars having had ZERO knowledge and experience doing any kind of automotive or mechanical work. With the help of YouTube we changed all the fluids, the brake pads, rotors, lines, hoses, put in a short shift kit and rewired a period Porsche radio WITH CASSETTE (which he got a real kick out of). It was a priceless experience that I could not have had with virtually any other Porsche (certainly not one that comes close to the driving dynamics of the Boxster). (And with respect to your comment on comparing the maintenance of a Boxster to a friggin Lincoln town car- who the heck would take that over a Boxster?)

 

Think of the Boxster in this way: just imagine that you could look through any online car ad today and easily find a pristine 914 for sale for less than $10k. You'd buy two! I predict that this will happen to the Boxster in 20 years. Take advantage of the opportunity while you have it and buy a 986 Boxster NOW. Or two.

DRF
Intermediate Driver

I actually did buy a government owned (fire department) 1999 Suburban 2500 (7.4L) with 65,000 miles on it and it has proven to be very useful and cheap to maintain.  I'm sure many will not agree, but I think an MGB is really a good fun top down car with cheap and easy to get parts...

cmfannin
Passenger

Any thing on 1983 El Camino

Steve1957
Intermediate Driver

I never met a woman who wanted to be gripped by the neck like that, and I'm not sure I'd want to - for TOO long, anyway. But I've got a suspicion about why he might feel the need to impede her flight. That's a lot of hot air in the face to endure for nine innings, especially when you'd rather not even be there. She looks....enthralled.

Andy7777
Passenger

Dunno, I'd have to say you're projecting a little bit here. Let's put aside the hyperbolic my engine will explode stuff-- it won't in the 987.2, it 99.9% won't in the 987.1, and it 92% won't in the 986-- (the widespread knowledge of this amongst Porsche people and indy repair shops resulting in Mr. Fix it companies coming up with the bore scoring drumbeat)-- the only folks who give a rat's behind about whether a 911 is or is not the only "real" P car are folks no one needs to have a conversation with. There are people out there-- I am one and your nice buyer is another-- who are not troubled by potentially expensive repair costs. A 300HP, give or take, 3000 lb car with superb brakes and a cheerful chassis for $25K? Yummy. 

 

Plenty of folks, like me, have had 911's. Fast(er) yes, more fun, errr no. 

 

I liked my impulse-buy '07 Boxster S so much, I ended up with a Cayman R too, which routinely gets passed by all kinds of high HP cars in DE's.  But I need to point out,

 

Of all the cars out there, Mustangs, Camaros, some crapped out Honda race car, which green Cayman R got all the love in the paddock, hmmm? (Hi Jack, from Grattan earlier this summer).