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pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
7/17/21 10:56 a.m.

In a wild hypothetical scenario, say you're uprooting your life to move to California for work and want to live your best life. You want a convertible that can handle an easy commute with little traffic during the week and go run HPDEs at 7/10ths on weekends. This is going to be your only car for a while (until SWMBO moves out and probably buys an EV of some kind), so it has to have some basic grocery getter capability, but you're intending to rent a pickup for furniture hauling type stuff. You would like to spend $30,000-ish or less.

You are primarily looking at 3 cars:

ND2 Miata

+ Miata is always the answer!

+ The most fuel efficient and probably the cheapest to insure

+ Lightest on consumables at the track

+ Ability to buy a brand new one, with a warranty, easily

+ Japanese reliability

- Most expensive to buy

- Going to depreciate the most

- Need to install a roll bar for the track (and probably pay someone else to do it without a garage to work in)

- Arguably the least practical (even smaller than S2000)

- Extremely hard to find one with Recaro package for some reason

AP2 S2000

+ Bucket list car, one of a kind

+ Cheapest to buy if you shop around

+ Will not depreciate and may actually gain value

+ Reasonably cheap to run

+ Japanese reliability

- Need to install a roll bar for the track, and it's much harder to do right than the other options, almost definitely will be farmed out to a pro with experience

- Expensive to insure and probably the highest theft risk

- Hard to find one that hasn't been beat on or with high mileage (but not impossible)

- Really not much faster than the ND2

987.2 Boxster (non-S)

+ It's a Porsche! You've never had a Porsche.

+ 9A1 port injected motor is when Porsche finally fixed everything, is under-stressed and stone reliable (for a water cooled Porsche)

+ Cheaper than ND2 but more expensive than S2000

+ Near bottom of depreciation curve

+ By far the most practical with spacious and comfy interior, and dual trunks

+ Don't need to hack up for a roll bar; Brey-Krause extension is all it needs

+ The fastest of all options

- Most expensive to own and run

- If something breaks... :(

- Pretty hard to find and can't be picky about options; only available in recession years and not many made

- I don't really care about this, but maybe some negative optics around being a guy with a Porsche in Silicon Valley

What would you do?

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/17/21 11:14 a.m.

ND2 all day long. Warranty, cheaper insurance and consumables. Turn Key. 

Javelin (Forum Supporter)
Javelin (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/17/21 11:27 a.m.

987.2 all day long. You shouldn't even need the extension for HPDE/TNiA/TT work. You won't need anything else (brake calipers/pads/rotors, wheels, seats, etc) like you would with the other two choices. Buy the car, and just drive it. It's also easily the most practical with two trunks. 

Also it's hilarious that you think it might be bad optics to drive a Porsche in the Bay Area. Dude it's like a Corolla there, everyone else is strutting McLaren and Bentleys. You aren't even worthy of a look in a Porsche until at least 911 GT3 territory. 

dps214
dps214 Dork
7/17/21 11:50 a.m.

None of them technically need extra rollover protection for track use, especially if you know you're taking it a little easy. If you want extra protection that's totally reasonable but IMO the BK extension for the porsche is comically worthless and I wouldn't bother with it even if I wasn't comfortable with the stock hoops.

ND2 and realistically S2000 probably need at least some minor mods to hold up to long term track use and be fun, as javelin said the boxster basically just needs a set of brake pads and it's ready to run forever.

IMO ND2 if you want the comfort of a warranty, boxster otherwise. I haven't paid attention to boxster values but I would think you'd be able to find a 981 base for ~$30k. I'd go that route, they're newer with more modern interiors, and more of them were made and more of them are well optioned. Plus should be a few extra hp, marginally better suspension, and a stiffer chassis.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/17/21 11:57 a.m.

I think any of them will do fine for what you're describing.  If the S2000 is one of your personal bucket list cars, then I'd say get that one because the opportunities to do it are only going to get scarcer in the future.

 

mxandcx5
mxandcx5 New Reader
7/17/21 12:16 p.m.

How far is your commute and is it back roads or on a busy highway? I don't have any experience on the highway with an ND, but my 986 feels much more comfortable on the highway than the first three generations of Miatas that I have owned (larger engine, interior and track, better overdrive, less noise). I like that the ND2 includes blind spot monitors on all 2021 models for days when the top will need to be up. The ND2 being factory new, along with great fuel economy and availability of all season tires with the ability rotate them will also help keep cost down.

It is hard to find 987.2s and may take patience. Maybe go drive a 987.1 locally (Cayman too?) and compare it to the others. I am very interested to hear what your driving impressions are. I am considering ditching my DD 2007 Mazda3s later this year and have the ND2, 987, new GR86 and new Civic Si on my short list.

Javelin (Forum Supporter)
Javelin (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/17/21 12:45 p.m.
dps214 said:

None of them technically need extra rollover protection for track use, especially if you know you're taking it a little easy. If you want extra protection that's totally reasonable but IMO the BK extension for the porsche is comically worthless and I wouldn't bother with it even if I wasn't comfortable with the stock hoops.

Might want to double-check that. When you sign up for SCCA Track Night in America or Time Trials they specifically ask about factory roll over protection. The 986/987 Boxster are listed in the supplements as having that, I am not sure that the ND non-RF and/or S2K are. (I don't know that they aren't either, but I don't remember seeing them)

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/17/21 1:37 p.m.

SCCA will let you run an S2000 with factory rollbar - check the TT/HPDE rules for the cutoff year. My S2k required a bit of discussion with the tech guys but I was able to run that on the track without issues. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
7/17/21 1:51 p.m.

There are no bad choices there but I'd still go with the Miata. It's going to be the cheapest to run.

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
7/17/21 3:01 p.m.

I definitely was pushing my Cayman harder on the track than 7/10ths, but lack of camber is a real issue with the Cayman/Boxster.  You either kill the outside edge of some really expensive tires, or you invest another ~$2-3k on GT3 control arms and alignment. Brilliant cars otherwise though, IMO a big step up from either a Miata or an S2000. 

newold_m (Forum Supporter)
newold_m (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/17/21 4:08 p.m.

I previously had a 987.1 Cayman and now drive an AP2v1 (non-DBW) S2000. Cayman was more comfortable for sure but S2000 is a more engaging drive. Dare I say build quality on the Honda is actually better - Cayman was plagued with rattles and peeling interior trim which hopefully should not be an issue for 987.2.  Both are pretty DIY friendly to work but some of the Honda parts are starting to become NLA whereas that was not an issue with the Porsche. One advantage 987 has over S2000 is interior room and seating position; Porsche has more adjustments and you can sit very low which I am missing on the Honda even with aftermarket brackets on stock seats. 

With the organizers I run with factory roll bar is a non-issue on S2000 and insurance with Hagerty is very reasonable with an agreed value. While Porsches are dime a dozen here in Bay Area I was also not comfortable with the optics even though mine was cheaper than most econoboxes. 

I'm a Miata guy at heart (had 4 NA/NB's over the years) but new ND2 w/ Recaros is significantly more expensive than an S2000 and that cost delta is what swayed me to the S2000 and not regretting my decision. 

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
7/17/21 5:56 p.m.

FWIW, my problem with the S2000 factory "roll hoops" is that I'm 6'3" and I have seen pictures of a few of them upside down...we all have our level of comfort in regards to safety gear and I am not comfortable with the factory S2000 setup relative to how tall I am.

No experience with the ND in that regard but I pass the broomstick test in the 987.

dps214
dps214 Dork
7/17/21 6:04 p.m.
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) said:

I definitely was pushing my Cayman harder on the track than 7/10ths, but lack of camber is a real issue with the Cayman/Boxster.  You either kill the outside edge of some really expensive tires, or you invest another ~$2-3k on GT3 control arms and alignment. Brilliant cars otherwise though, IMO a big step up from either a Miata or an S2000. 

All of the cars in question are camber challenged in stock form so I left that out. The porsche is the most expensive to correct but GT3 control arms are like $1200, not $2-3k.

Pretty sure the SCCA rules these days are anything newer than '06 can without any additional rollover protection as long as it's <V8 and the original drivetrain.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/17/21 7:30 p.m.
pointofdeparture said:

FWIW, my problem with the S2000 factory "roll hoops" is that I'm 6'3" and I have seen pictures of a few of them upside down...we all have our level of comfort in regards to safety gear and I am not comfortable with the factory S2000 setup relative to how tall I am.

No experience with the ND in that regard but I pass the broomstick test in the 987.

The ND hoops are not structural. I would not recommend using them while performing inverted maneuvers.

DWNSHFT
DWNSHFT Dork
7/17/21 8:24 p.m.

Your analysis is good but you overlooked one highly important thing:

Boxster is mid-engine.  The others, well, they are not.

You did say HPDE at 7/10s, though, and if you really stick to 7/10s it wouldn't matter.  For me, the tires are always sliding and the balance and ability to make mid-corner corrections make the Boxster head and shoulders above.

I do like the ND Miata.  No previous owners is a good thing.

Before I ever drove an S2000 I thought they were cool.  They >are< cool, but I don't think the drive is all that great.  The rear toe issue is very disconcerting even to a high level driver, although it can be addressed.  The steering feel is about nil.  And my right knee banged the dashboard every time I shifter my right fool to heel-and-toe.  I'm only 5'10".

The practicality of the Boxster is a major differentiator against the other two.

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/17/21 8:50 p.m.

Marks against,

ND2
-Transmissions shouldn't be a wear item anymore in stock powertrain form.... but might still go.. so YMMV.. but worth noting.

Join Mazda Motorsports and they're only like $1400 if you do (by chance) have to buy a new transmission..


S2000
-You probably won't go through a motor only going 7/10ths, but you still might and they're thousands of dollars for an F20 with high miles, let alone trying to find a not thrashed F22 for an AP2. There's a reason the K swap S2000 is taking off, because even though the pool of K24's is shrinking.. it's still the atlantic ocean compared to the gently used F22 market that's an ankle deep splash pad at best... 

 

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
7/17/21 9:18 p.m.
DWNSHFT said:

The practicality of the Boxster is a major differentiator against the other two.

If I'm totally honest, this is the major thing that's causing the grief.

Unpopular opinion, but I wish the ND was NC-sized.

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
7/17/21 9:29 p.m.

While I enjoyed the two s2ks I've driven on track I really didn't enjoy the one experience I had driving on the street.  You really need to keep the RPMs up to have any kind of power and I quickly found that tiresome.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
7/17/21 9:35 p.m.

In reply to pointofdeparture :

 Boxster.  Because I don't fit in an ND, AP2s have a lower redline than I would accept from an S2000 and the whole thing pisses me off because it should be called an S2200, stupid Honda making a name that correlates with a characteristic then un-correlating it (see also: discovering that BMW does not have 4 liter engines in 3ers, Nissan does not have 7 liter engines in G-sedans).  And when the Porsche engine explodes, you can bolt a better-er Audi engine in its place.  Lots of people go for the V8s, but I hate crossplane V8 exhaust uneven-ness, sounds like something is broken.  Audi V6s fit even better than the V8s, and are lighter.

dps214
dps214 Dork
7/17/21 9:47 p.m.
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) said:

Marks against,

ND2
-Transmissions shouldn't be a wear item anymore in stock powetrain form.... but might still go.. so YMMV.. but worth noting.

Join Mazda Motorsports and they're only like $1400 if you do (by chance) have to buy a new transmission..


S2000
-You probably won't go through a motor only going 7/10ths, but you still might and they're thousands of dollars for an F20 with high miles, let alone trying to find a not thrashed F22 for an AP2. There's a reason the K swap S2000 is taking off, because even though the pool of K24's is shrinking.. it's still the atlantic ocean compared to the gently used F22 market that's an ankle deep splash pad at best... 

I took a quick look at ebay and F22Cs are if anything more expensive than porsche 2.9s. And afaik if anything the S2000 is more likely to grenade an engine than the boxster is, especially with track use.

GTwannaB
GTwannaB GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/17/21 9:48 p.m.

Won't be any motor swaps in CA for this scenario because CARB. What is your commute exactly?  Anything with significant time on 101 may be less comfy in S2000 than the others. If you wish ND was size of NC then but a minty NC and trick it out.  For $30K you could buy two cheaper Boxsters with one as a spare. 

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
7/17/21 9:55 p.m.

In reply to GTwannaB :

Commute to North San Jose, probably from Santa Clara or Campbell, not a huge deal.

The NC is a back-up plan (if I can find a decent NC2 for sale) but they need a lot of investment to still be much slower than a ND2, and I likely won't have a place to do my own work in the area, which makes it less of a value proposition.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
7/17/21 10:02 p.m.

In reply to ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) :

Camber plates are far more affordable.

P3PPY
P3PPY Dork
7/17/21 10:27 p.m.

I have no hands on opinion with any of these but Codrus hit the nail on the head: looking at your garage, you obviously have no problem selling a car off, so get your bucket list car. If you like it, then great! If not, there are plenty more of the others to go with, but the clock is ticking on ever having the chance to own an unmolested S2000. This isn't a permanent decision (unless you run out of S2000s) and swapping vehicles is not even nearly so much of a hassle as replacing a house. 
 

Also, how am I the first person to recommend something not on your list??: Z4 :)

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/17/21 11:25 p.m.
pointofdeparture said:

In reply to GTwannaB :

Commute to North San Jose, probably from Santa Clara or Campbell, not a huge deal.

Welcome to the San Tomas Expressway.  I've driven it many, many times.  :)

 

<stab in the dark> cisco?

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