TorqueNut New Reader
July 29, 2011 9:27 p.m.

Hmmm, the search function still is not working… forgive me if this has been discussed before.

I currently have a 99 Miata Sport with hard top in very good condition. I’m toying with the idea of selling it so that I can purchase my brother’s 2004 Boxster (standard, not the S model). I wanted to use this message board to bounce this idea around and make sure I’m thinking straight.

I purchased the Miata 3 years ago to do Autox, and some HPDE. In those three years, due to work, family life, and the fact that it takes almost 2 hours to get to the site where autocross events take place, I have only participated in a handful of practice events. While I enjoy Autox, it is evident that I did not catch ‘the bug’.

While I enjoy the Miata for everything it is (a well-balanced fun car) I find the sport suspension to be a bit hard for around town and my wife is not quite comfortable with how small the car is compared to others on the road. In addition, it does not have A/C, or a wind blocker, so cruising down the freeway with the top up (windows open) or top down is pretty noisy for those weekend trips (I actually wear ear plugs if I’m on the highway for any length of time).

When my brother offered up the Boxster, I thought that this might be an interesting alternative. It rides a heck of a lot better than the Miata, it has A/C and is comfortable driving it for weekend get-a-ways. I could still AutoX it and do some track days with it. The fact that it is not an ‘S’ model does not bother me. The nice thing is I know the car’s history. I’ve also read up on the car’s issues as pointed out in the last buyers guide in GRM.

On the other hand,….; what can I do to the Miata to make it more comfortable? I have a used AC unit I can put into it, I can change the suspension so that it is fully adjustable (hard to soft), get a wind blocker and call it a day. I’ve only scanned Flyin Miata’s website on suspension upgrades, but it seems possible to get what I want (something that rides better than the stock sports suspension and yet I don’t lose anything in the way of handling).

I use the Miata as a DD for the summer, going to and from work (22 miles on the freeway) and running all sorts of errands. Would I do that with the Boxster or not (e.g. would I feel comfortable parking it in the K-mart parking lot, or at the gym like I do the Miata)? The boxster would be better on the highway.

Maintenance on the Miata: cheap and I can do most of it myself. Not so on the Boxster.

So I go back and forth on this debate in my head. What do the GRM fathful think?

JThw8 SuperDork
July 29, 2011 9:54 p.m.

Really depends on what you want. Dollar for dollar I'd take the miata any day. The P-car has a certain panache for sure but beyond the badge I dont think it's any better than the miata.

Miata will be cheaper to maintain and own for certain.

NOHOME Reader
July 29, 2011 10:29 p.m.
TorqueNut wrote: While I enjoy Autox, it is evident that I did not catch ‘the bug’. While I enjoy the Miata for everything it is (a well-balanced fun car) I find the sport suspension to be a bit hard for around town and my wife is not quite comfortable with how small the car is compared to others on the road. In addition, it does not have A/C, or a wind blocker, so cruising down the freeway with the top up (windows open) or top down is pretty noisy for those weekend trips (I actually wear ear plugs if I’m on the highway for any length of time).

I think you have already answered your question and phrased it in the form of a question.

Enjoy the Boxter!

BoxheadTim SuperDork
July 29, 2011 11:15 p.m.

I'm somewhat sensitive to noise and had to wear earplugs in my Elise, which meant I never took it out on longer drives.

If the Boxster is quiet enough for you, take that. I don't think it makes sense to retrofit a/c either so if that's important to you, that' another argument against the Miata.

Let me know if you want to sell the Miata. I might be interested .

Maroon92 SuperDork
July 30, 2011 6:47 a.m.
TorqueNut wrote: Hmmm, the search function still is not working… forgive me if this has been discussed before.

'Round these parts you don't have to start conversations with that line. Nobody cares, cuz nobody uses it. The only time reposts matter around here is when that damn Ken Block video gets posted 30 times in an afternoon.

My advice, the Boxster is an AMAZING car. Great handling, great power, GREAT sound. If you can stuff it, get a late 2001 and up model. M96 cases are notorious for leaks...check the rear main seal first as it is most often the culprit.

They are a bit flexy in comparison to a Miata, and a bit bigger... And the yearly running cost is about 3 times as much (possibly more). Avoid super high mileage (above 150,000), because the intermediate shaft can lunch itself costing you a new engine.

Have fun...

DaveEstey HalfDork
July 30, 2011 6:54 a.m.

I'll trade you my miatas's softer suspension for your sport setup.

Rusnak_322 HalfDork
July 30, 2011 7:36 a.m.

Have you looked at newer Miatas? I had a 99 sport and hated the look of the NC when it came out, but since then it has grown on me and I took one for a test drive and it was such a better car for every day driving.

Woody SuperDork
July 30, 2011 7:37 a.m.

The only insight that I can offer is that I'm thinking about replacing my Miata with a Cayman.

PCA membership opens the door to a lot more track day opportunities.

noddaz New Reader
July 30, 2011 9:12 a.m.

I thought the answer to everything was "Miata"...

Adrian_Thompson HalfDork
July 30, 2011 9:28 a.m.
noddaz wrote: I thought the answer to everything was "Miata"...

Only after excessive consumption of Kool Aid

This from a former AND future Miata owner

nderwater Dork
July 30, 2011 11:27 a.m.

If the car in question was a 987 or even a 986 S I'd say go for it, no question - but a base 986 though would have me on the fence. I happen to love my '99 Miata (the turbo doesn't hurt) but if yours has you yearning for something else, you could do much worse than the Porsche. Before you buy though, take the chance to test drive an M Roadster and S2000 first - I prefer them both the the base Boxster, and you may too.

Vigo Dork
July 30, 2011 12:42 p.m.

Im guessing you'll be happiest with the Boxster. If you have peace of mind about its service history and any known issues, you're a leg up buying that one over any other porsche on the planet, basically.

I think it checks all the boxes you named as problems with the miata.

forzav12 Reader
July 30, 2011 3:33 p.m.

Boxster is the much better/nicer car in nearly every regard except service costs. If you are OK with that and find a nice one with records, its a no brainer.

KATYB HalfDork
July 30, 2011 3:38 p.m.

change the shocks on the miata.... yes shocks will make things ride smoother if they are good units.... get something monotube get rid of the twin tube bs that is oem.

David S. Wallens Editorial Director
July 30, 2011 8:41 p.m.

I haven't driven a '99 Miata Sport in a while, but I remember that particular Bilstein application feeling a bit stiff. We recently put Konis plus Flyin' Miata bumpstops on my brother's 1996 Miata. The springs are stock. It rides nicely.

On the other hand, there's a Boxster plus a Miata at the house right now. They're similar yet different. I like them both. (I know, a lame answer.)

njansenv HalfDork
July 31, 2011 8:52 a.m.
KATYB wrote: change the shocks on the miata.... yes shocks will make things ride smoother if they are good units.... get something monotube get rid of the twin tube bs that is oem.

I believe the OEM sport shocks ARE monotube. It's all in the valving. There are good twin tubes (appropriately valved koni) and good monotubes (appropriately valved Bilsteins). I've heard that the Sport Bilsteins aren't "all that" in terms of ride quality.

fastmiata HalfDork
July 31, 2011 3:58 p.m.

I looked at the same choices and bought the Elise. It certainly isnt for everyone but the Boxster family (and actually any water cooled P-car) just had too many issues that couldnt be fixed DIY and I have been involved in Miata since 1994 and I wanted something different.

sanman Reader
July 31, 2011 4:53 p.m.

The cost to maintain the boxster would kill it for me. However, if you got it at the right price, then it is worth it. Personally, I would get rid of them both and pick the NC miata for a weekend cruiser.

Vigo Dork
July 31, 2011 5:17 p.m.
couldnt be fixed DIY

Depends on the DIY'er.

TorqueNut New Reader
July 31, 2011 5:37 p.m.

Thanks for the input and comments, they opened my eyes to other possibilities.

I like the suggestion by sanman and nderwater about driving other cars, particularly an S2000, M3 roadster (if I can find one) and an NC. Heck, might as well toss in a Solstice while I'm at it.

My brother's Boxster is tempting because it only has 28K miles on it, he has already replaced the rear bearing seal and had the clutch replaced (according to a local Porsche mechanic, the factory clutch goes pretty fast). Too bad he did not know about upgrading the Intermediate shaft bearing with the LM unit, it would have been nice to do that at the same time. So that would have to be done within the next 5K miles. He is the 2nd owner and has had it for 4 years. He bought it as a mid life crisis car. The crisis is now over and that is the reason for selling it.

His asking price is currently just north of 20K (we have not gotten to the negotiation stage yet so it may be a bit less) but for that money I could get any number of other vehicles as mentioned above, so I'm going to test drive some of them. Usually our family's 3rd 'fun' car (aka, my hobby car) is less than $6K (I've had an 87 MR2, an 86 RX-7 Sport and now the Miata as the third 'fun' car) so going up to $20K is a stretch for me. It was only the excellent condition of the Boxster, and the fact that I just recently decided not to replace the family sedan (2002 Passat) with a 3 year old 3-series because I can't find a Bimmer with a manual tranny (), that I would even consider spending that much for a fun car.

Keep the comments coming if anyone has anything to add. It is great getting different viewpoints (and at the same time my wife does not have to listen to me talk about it all the time).

kreb Dork
July 31, 2011 6:21 p.m.

If I could afford a Boxter, I'd take it over a Miata. If you do keep the Miata, FCM (Fat Cat Motorsports) is known for doing wonders with Bilstein valving to where more compliant equates to yet more grip. - The best of both worlds!

wspohn Reader
July 31, 2011 8:18 p.m.

You can get good deals these days on low mileage Solstice GXPs, which are faster than either of the cars you are considerng, look nice, get good mileage (if you keep it out of boost) and have reasonably soft stock suspension that can be upgraded to whatever you want.

sanman Reader
July 31, 2011 11:56 p.m.

You may want to check out a z3 and 350z vert as well.

redstack New Reader
Aug. 1, 2011 2:27 a.m.

I've been thinking about the same question. To track my 99 miata I had to put in a roll bar. So now on a daily basis I have a padded steel bar right behind my head. Keep thinking how uncool it looks driving around wearing that polo helmet all the time.. Kidding

I"ve checked with PCA and NASA and they will let me hpde a boxster with the popup roll bar. So safer, and I end up driving 2=3 hrs for autox and 5 for track days. So a boxster would be better in that respect.

I'd vote to switch to a boxster. I keep thinking about doing it, but I'm lousy at selling stuff like my 99...

nderwater Dork
Aug. 1, 2011 10:01 a.m.

The way I see it, you can find a nice used Miata then add wheels, tires, brakes, suspension & forced induction to get world class performance and handling for a total of $10,000-15,000. Or you can start with a $15,000 Boxter S or S54 M Roadster and have similar performance in a nicer--though more complicated and expensive--car. The answer used to clearly be Miata, but with depreciation these days (S2000's can be found for under $10 grand!) we're pretty spoiled for choice.

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