The Porsche 986 Boxster Is a Performance Bargain You Should Consider

Colin
By Colin Wood
Jun 26, 2020 | Porsche, Boxster, 986

Looking for a fairly inexpensive, mid-engined, drop-top sports car?

We'll let you in on a not-so-secret secret: The first-generation Porsche Boxster is pretty inexpensive right now. How inexpensive? We only paid $8300 for the 2001 Boxster S featured over at our sister publication, Classic Motorsports.

In this video, we discuss what it’s like to own and track one. And before you say it, yes, we did address the infamous IMS bearing.


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Comments
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nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
6/19/20 10:59 a.m.

My 987.1 cost the same as that 986 S so even middle-age Boxsters are becoming a bargain.

I just had this terrible flash-forward to a future video -- "Cayenne 955: The Truck That Saved Porsche" -- and now I'm a little queasy.

DukeOfUndersteer
DukeOfUndersteer UltimaDork
6/19/20 11:02 a.m.

Ugh. The 986. I don't know how much different the street car is to drive, but working on the Spec Boxsters, man was that grind. First and foremost, it needs a limited slip diff. Without it, they are beyond super snappy. I would have anti rake in them, 8 mil total of rear toe in and the rear ARB disconnected! Just a massive disconnect between the front axle and rear. This isnt me trying to scare anyone away either. If I had the opportunity to own one, I'd buy one. Just not a very good race car platform

Javelin (Forum Supporter)
Javelin (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/19/20 11:05 a.m.
DukeOfUndersteer said:

Ugh. The 986. I don't know how much different the street car is to drive, but working on the Spec Boxsters, man was that grind. First and foremost, it needs a limited slip diff. Without it, they are beyond super snappy. I would have anti rake in them, 8 mil total of rear toe in and the rear ARB disconnected! Just a massive disconnect between the front axle and rear. This isnt me trying to scare anyone away either. If I had the opportunity to own one, I'd buy one. Just not a very good race car platform

Conversely, that ability to rotate on a dime makes them fantastic autocross cars, like my CS-build 986S. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/19/20 11:18 a.m.
nderwater said:

My 987.1 cost the same as that 986 S so even middle-age Boxsters are becoming a bargain.

I just had this terrible flash-forward to a future video -- "Cayenne 955: The Truck That Saved Porsche" -- and now I'm a little queasy.

You know it's coming. 

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/19/20 12:21 p.m.

Starting to think more and more about picking one of these up. And this video isn't helping. laugh

dps214
dps214 Reader
6/19/20 12:32 p.m.

The only reason I would recommend against buying one is that it can be a gateway drug to an expensive porsche addiction. I bought one about two years ago, now I've traded up to a 981 Cayman S and it convinced a friend of mine to get a 997 GT3 instead of the camaros and corvettes he had been shopping previously. But if you can manage to contain yourself to just the 986 and maybe some upgrades, it really is a best of both worlds situation - porsche performance and driving experience for not much more than a miata from the same era. My 2.5L 986 was 1000% more fun on track than I expected. The brakes were a disappointment but that's at least partially my fault for putting crappy hps pads on it. Otherwise it did everything I asked of it and wasn't even too hard on the front tires.

Box4VIR
Box4VIR New Reader
6/28/20 12:18 p.m.

In reply to DukeOfUndersteer :

As a Boxster track guy this is pretty surprising.  They're known for being one of the easiest most forgiving track cars out there.   I'm not sure how the Spec Boxster you drove was setup though.  Spec cars are looking for every millisecond and loose is fast so who knows.  In stock form it is virtually impossible to brake the backend loose or spin a tire.  Lots of understeer though with a factory setup.  
 

cheers,

stu

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/28/20 5:39 p.m.
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) said:

Starting to think more and more about picking one of these up. And this video isn't helping. laugh

Get an automatic. I hear they're super-easy to work on. devil

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
6/28/20 5:51 p.m.

I've never been able to get over the front overhang. I think Boxters have more front overhang than WRX's and those have the radiator, engine and a good part of the transnission ahead of the front wheels. Boxters just have a frunk up there? Can they carry golf clubs in the frunk or something?

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/28/20 7:28 p.m.
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) said:
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) said:

Starting to think more and more about picking one of these up. And this video isn't helping. laugh

Get an automatic. I hear they're super-easy to work on. devil

I have PTSD just from the stories! laugh

johnbennett103
johnbennett103
6/29/20 12:24 p.m.

I bought an engine less 2002 S for $2000 on ebay.  I am swapping in a custom twin turbo bmw M60 engine.  Once I finish cutting and patching the firewall, it looks like it will fit. The engine bay is very wide, so no issues fitting the turbos.  I am adding limited slip to the differential.  Let's hope I don't kill myself in this.

Jah29
Jah29 New Reader
6/29/20 3:21 p.m.
johnbennett103 said:

I bought an engine less 2002 S for $2000 on ebay.  I am swapping in a custom twin turbo bmw M60 engine.  Once I finish cutting and patching the firewall, it looks like it will fit. The engine bay is very wide, so no issues fitting the turbos.  I am adding limited slip to the differential.  Let's hope I don't kill myself in this.

Tell me more!!!  Using a boxster transmission?  5sp or 6spd?   Did you make or buy the adapter plate?

thanks

Patrick Kirby
Patrick Kirby None
7/13/20 8:53 a.m.

Bargain track day option and great platform to learn on.

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
7/13/20 9:57 a.m.

I've only driven one Spec Boxster on track (right seated another) and the balance seemed fine to me. Note I am Mr Oversteer so it's possible normal people would find them tricky.............so again my opinion could be suspect. As for regular Boxsters they are very nicely balanced.

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
7/13/20 10:08 a.m.

My 2001 Boxster S is for sale if anyone wants to partake of the P drug.  Only 58k miles and very nice!  I do really like my Boxster and its a great car, but I want to go a different route and am selling both of my toys to do so.  

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
7/13/20 2:54 p.m.

Different route Dave?......do tell.

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
7/13/20 5:16 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

I'm kicking around the idea of a new Corvette.  I need to sell all of my toys to do so, but...

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
7/13/20 5:42 p.m.

In reply to racerdave600 : I shall enable you: I have two friends who instruct at Spring Mountain Motorsports (one is chief driving instructor) and both of them have said the new Vette is the easy car to drive fast they have ever driven. They've both been racing for 30+ years.

 

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
7/14/20 9:57 a.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

Good to know!  I finally saw one in the flesh a few weeks ago, and they are even better looking in person.  I need to drive one.

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
7/14/20 2:45 p.m.

< enabling >

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIyS8YlydG0

< /enabling >

 

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/14/20 3:24 p.m.
racerdave600 said:

My 2001 Boxster S is for sale if anyone wants to partake of the P drug.  Only 58k miles and very nice!  I do really like my Boxster and its a great car, but I want to go a different route and am selling both of my toys to do so.  

Do tell? I'm starting to get pretty serious about looking for one of these. 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
7/14/20 3:40 p.m.

I may be in the market in a couple years, too.  It may be getting time to replace the Manic Miata with something a little more civilized.

How disappointed will I be moving from a 240rwhp / 190ft/lb supercharged NA Miata to a stock Boxster or Boxster S?  I would still be autocrossing the car, just in Street rather than SSM.

 

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
7/14/20 3:47 p.m.

In reply to Duke :

You're going to be underwhelmed.  The Boxster has two trunks and brand prestige, but your Miata is going to be a much more entertaining driving experience than a 986 or 987.  A 2013+ Boxster S/Cayman S may be able to hang with your car on track, but at a cost of over $30K.

dps214
dps214 HalfDork
7/14/20 4:02 p.m.

Yeah, you're going to want at least a 987.1S or 987.2 base/S or newer for it to be anywhere near as fun to autocross in street class form. My base 986 far exceeded my expectations on the street and on track, but autocross was pretty underwhelming. It was fun in its own way of the challenge of getting it tossed into the corner as upset as possible in the hope of unsticking the rear enough to get some rotation on corner exit rather than just pure understeer, but that fun wears off pretty quickly. That said, the extra cost of a 987.2 or newer is well worth it in performance, styling, and overall driving and ownership experience.

spandak
spandak HalfDork
7/14/20 4:03 p.m.

I've only test driven a NC but the noise and feel was more special in the Boxster for me. The two trunks are very usable too. 
The big downside is gearing. The Boxster is really tall and it takes away from the fun a little bit. The Boxster S might be better with an extra gear in the same range. 

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
7/14/20 5:31 p.m.

In reply to Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) :

I looked for a couple of years before buying this one.  Dark metallic gray, gray interior.  57k miles, looks almost perfect outside, as does the interior.  The only thing I have done to it in the year I've owned it is replace the air bag control module.  It is seriously nice.  I did run one autocross in it, but other than that, its a garage queen.  I think I've put maybe 2k miles on it in the last year.    $12.5k

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
7/14/20 5:35 p.m.

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
7/14/20 5:36 p.m.

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/14/20 8:40 p.m.

Damn, that thing looks great, and worth every penny. But I need to stay under $10k, and also you're almost 700 miles from me...

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
7/14/20 10:49 p.m.

That is super clean, if I were in the market I'd jump on that.

 

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