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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."


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Replies (15)

Replies (15)

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.

New Driver

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.


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

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!!!!


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.


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.

Intermediate Driver

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). 


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.

New Driver

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.

New 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.

New Driver

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.)

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 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.


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


Any thing on 1983 El Camino


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...

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