Badgeless Porsche Boxster

This is one of those “First you ignore them, then you laugh at them, then you fight them, then they win…”  stories. A classic tale of how one’s idea about a car can be blown away by actually living day to day with it and achieving a true bond between man and machine. This is my Boxster story.

 The Porsche Boxster 986 is an underrated wonder

It all started as a joke. I’m a big fan of David Duchovny’s Californication character Hank Moody. I kind of identify myself to a lot of his ways and challenges he faces. Thus, when I came to spend a couple months in SoCal, I couldn’t help but want to buy a Convertible Porsche as a daily driver. I know, kind of a cliché. I may be a big time automotive enthusiast, but the Stuttgart based manufacturer never excited me enough to buy one of its offsprings, mostly due to the crowds associated with driving them. But somehow, I found Hank’s purposeful neglecting his Porsche appealing. It felt as if he was saying out loud: “Yeah I got a Porsche, but I don’t care!”

The badgeless 986 Boxster overlooking Downtown LA from Mullholand Drive
The badgeless 986 overlooking Downtown LA from Mullholand Drive

I started looking for a perfect replica of his 90’s 911 convertible but quickly found they were still in the mid 20s range with dubious quality problems. This was a little too much for a joke. So I did a really simple thing. I went on LA’s Craigslist and looked for the cheapest Porsche I could find. And what I found was a 1999, silver Porsche Boxster with red interior. Supposedly, everything functioning, but with busted seats and bodywork, as well as a missing hood emblem. This was exactly what I was looking for, and everything for under $6K!

The deal was quickly made, and I soon took delivery of my California cruiser dream, fully expecting an engine failure or breakdown within a few weeks, if not days. I had no expectation whatsoever and considered this purchase as an experiment : just how bad could it be for that price, anyway?

To my surprise, I must say the day to day experience with the car has been extremely positive and the little roadster kept on growing on me. First of all, for not failing me. (Everything was actually in proper running order, from the electric top to the heated seats) And second, for being a pretty damn good car overall!

Day-to-Day Living With a Porsche Boxster 986

I took it a few times to the Malibu Canyons where I found out the chassis is well balanced with a delightful  steering: crisp and precise, which is very surprising for a 15+ year old sports car with 112000 miles on the odometer.

Boxster at the Bixby Creek Bridge
Boxster at the Bixby Creek Bridge

The engine, a modest 2.5L with 6 cylinders gives you 204 HP. While it’s no speed demon, it has plenty of torque in the low revs spectrum, enabling you to stay in fifth gear in almost any situation above 30mph. But above 3800 is where things happen. The engine has a very distinctive howl that comes with a welcome boost that enchants the ears. Kind of the Porsche’s take on the Honda V-TEC, but in a much more guttural way.

FRUGAL THIRST, BUT GOOD PERFORMANCE FOR THE Porsche Boxster 986

What won me over was when I found out how many miles per gallon I could achieve with it. think of a number…. and it will be higher than you think. On a trip to Vegas, I achieved 32 MPG! And on the way back, I used only half of the 16 gallon the tank holds. Add the fact that I was able to stuff in both boots the entirety of my travel apparel, and you probably get the ultimate bachelor’s car ever made. Cheap to buy and run, fast, reliable, good looking and practical. It will take you far and do everything you ask from it, and even more.

It’s quite the head turner too, which I was not expecting at all considering the outrageous number of 986 wandering around town. Maybe it’s because of the special wheels and really nice color combo, but who knows? Maybe it’s because I actually drive it with the top down, unlike most owners? The point is I get as many compliments and pictures taken as when I drive some of my more famous movie cars. When I ask why the enthusiasm, some answer “it’s a classic, man!” It’s mind blowning… Did I ever mention a three days driving around Hollywood filled with mud, thumbs up everywhere and people yelling “Going offroad in a Porsche huh? Badass dude!”

The Boxster after the video
The Boxster after the video

The Boxster has been my best friend for the past few months, literally. Nothing brought me more joy than hopping inside and figuring out what would be the next adventure. From Vegas to San Francisco, I’ve traveled around quite a bit and added up 9000 miles to the clock in less than three months.

I just didn’t expect just how good this car would turn out to be. Overall, this Porsche Boxster 986 has surprised me in more than one way by being easy to get along with, a great all around feel, frugal gasoline budget, comfort, handling and more.  This car has been looked down ever since its firts release, probably because it was the “cheap Porsche”, and owners of the 911 Nomenklatura couldn’t tolerate that drivers with more humble wallets could sport the same badge. Even less in a car that despite being cheaper, had better balance than their overpriced beetles, thanks to a mid mounted engine.

The Porsche Boxster 986 is indeed an under-recognized classic.

Porsche Boxster - Road to perdition
Road to perdition

I’m now back in Europe and left the Mursche behind me. (Yes, that’s the name I gave it, MUddy poRSCHE).

See you soon old girl, you’re now more than a means of transportation to me.

You’re an extension of my personality.

x Franck

PS. For those horrified by the “Porsche in the Mud” video, sit back and relax, we got it professionally cleaned and pampered!

 

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Owner and Founder of the famous MovieCarsCentral.com, a website dedicated to providing the finest movie cars, Franck spends his time scouring the world for unique cars and their history, bringing you a taste of local food and events, as if you were there.

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One thought on “The Boxster Redemption”

  1. Similar story, wanted a 911, then a neighbor sold me his boxster dirt cheap. I left it in my garage for a few months until I needed it one day. The handling, the fun, the top down, the quality … all a huge surprise to me. Now look for reasons to drive it, and it hasn’t let me down. I don’t care about the old f’ers who say its a girls car, they just don’t know. It handles better than a 911, so in time, will carry the same or more value IMO.

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