So you have spent the last 6 months car-less because you have moved too close to work to drive and haven't got any off street parking. Its now obvious that you've made a huge mistake, you love driving and being without your own mode of conveyance has cause sections of your soul to die off slowly. Worse still you rely on public transport. You have no choice...you must combat all this logic and reason and bring back passion and excitement.
What can possibly be the antidote to being so sensible?
Enter stage left: A 2001 Meridian Silver Porsche Boxster.
Stigma of the more feminine looks of the 986 Boxster aside, there is nothing else in a comparable price range (this version had just under 110,000kms and was immaculate inside and out for under $21,000) that can offer Porsche build quality, mid engined handling and that noise......
I was quickly addicted to taking the engine beyond 5 thousand RPM which wasn't a problem because the Boxster felt like the more properly it was driven the better it got. It felt quick enough too, with a 0-100 time similar to modern hot hatches, but with the Boxster its all about how it feels through corners. It really has to be experienced.
I had wrongly suspected that an old Porsche would blend into its surroundings like a Camry....they aren't exactly rare after all. What surprised me though was the amount of attention you got driving it, as well as people wanting to talk to you about it as you got in or out. So if a bit of brand recognition is your aim, you will be happy.
It's ride is firm, but let's face it, what else did you expect? Having said this though, you could still live with it every day and my passengers claim they found it more comfortable than a Mark 6 Golf GTI in that respect.
The seats are as you would expect from Porsche. Very comfortable with great bolstering holding you snugly through any twisty bit of road. The pre 2004 986s though didn't possess much in terms of cabin storage, with the glove box (along with cup holders) being non existent before then.
If buying a 986, remember that it was't until after that date that the Boxster finally got a glass back window either.
Its not all sunshine and apexes for this little convertible though, the engine in the 986 was plagued by a bearing issue that, although rarer than forums about them will have you believe, is serious enough not to be disregarded. When buying, steer clear of the earlier 2.5 litre models as they suffered from this more commonly.
Another thing to keep in mind is that although it might only cost in the low 20s to buy, it IS still a Porsche so as a result, servicing is not exactly cheap. Even if you use someone cheaper than taking it to a Porsche centre, parts are still going to sting.
Add to that the relative age of the car and there is a chance you will have uninvited electrical gremlins to deal with as well as the occasional not so wallet friendly convertible roof issue. Mine decided to become a coupe for a brief period,expensively disagreeing with the concept of open top touring.
Another interesting 'quirk' is the car's penchant for blocked drainage pipes under the roof mechanism, so when buying yours, feel around under the seats and along the carpet at the bottom of the doors to see if they are damp.
All that said, a Boxster can last really well with examples having well over 180000 kms for sale online, however you will need to be prepared to maintain it thoroughly and vigilantly. MANY people will try to scare you about the bearing issue, but like domestic terrorism, you are best to be alert to the problem but not alarmed.
My stint with the Boxster was sadly short lived (boring practicality/logistics issues) but I'd still have another in a heart beat.
In the end it's a Porsche, there are a million logical reasons not to buy one and one very important reason you should.....you really REALLY want one.