Today’s topic is the Porsche 986 Boxster, commonly known as the Porsche with the 911 front end that you can get for four-figures, which constantly are in the “Manager’s Specials” sections in newspaper advertisements. However, this is the Porsche that is also known for something called and IMS and RMS failures, which has contributed to those four-figure prices on used 10+ year old Boxsters. So you’d think someone would have to be crazy to own one. But as this Driver Profile attests, Boxster drivers are actually fairly normal people.
Age Group: Anywhere between 40 and 60 years old. People who’ve always wanted a Porsche convertible. Or those who fell for the Porsche marketing scheme of the Boxster being a modern-day 550 Spyder.
Occupation: Usually an engineer with a taste for German precision and who prefer mid-engine placement over the motor hanging out the back, as Or whatever it is Jack Baruth does for a living. People in other professions look at the price tag, power figures, and maintenance cost, decide it's not worth it, and promptly buy a used Corvette.
Residence: Any suburban neighborhood across America, where the Boxster will be housed in the garage. If it's in the yard or even driveway, the Boxster's become the owner's lost cause.
Leased or Bought: Bought, because they can’t be leased anymore. And the people who bought them second- or third-hand will be screaming about the excellent deal they got on theirs from the local used car lot and how they didn’t take the extended warranty.
Intended Use for Car: Show off the fruits of their labor by buying a Porsche. They intend on driving it to work all the time during the summer. They might even take it to an autocross or even a track day. Never mind how much they actually paid, it’s a Porsche!
Actual Use for Car: Mainly for weekend driving, because they need to keep the mileage down. And they want to extend the life of the car since they know the rear main seal and intermediate shaft are essentially ticking time bombs. That and to avoid the sky high maintenance costs.
Attitude Towards Maintenance: If the first owner has held onto it, he or she has stuck to the preventative maintenance schedule, since they’ve heard about the IMS/RMS problems. Otherwise, on those third or fourth owner cars, there’ll be a fairly lax approach to servicing. Expect them to be surprised beyond belief when the intermediate shaft goes and they have to replace the engine for more than they paid for the car.
Car They Wish They Had: 911. The only reason one even considered the brand-new Boxster was because a 911 was too expensive. However, I have encountered someone who wished they had a Z4 or an S2000 instead, since the maintenance costs would’ve been cheaper. And they wouldn’t have to worry about the ticking time bombs.
Car They'll Recommend to Others: It’ll be another Boxster. They’ve fallen into the Porsche trap. But they’ll insist on having the intermediate shaft and the rear main seal checked out by a certified mechanic. And they’ll give that advice even to their worst enemy.
Car They'll Want At the Rental Counter: They’ll take anything. They know nothing on the lot is going to measure up to the performance of their Porsche. And it should be the cheapest one to rent. After all, they have to conserve some cash for the inevitable Boxster service bills.
Driver Profiles is a recurring feature on Clunkerture. Anyone is free to create their own Driver Profiles from this form, since I'm not qualified to write profiles on some car owners, like the people who run Pontiac Fieros and Alfa Romeo Breras. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com if you'd like your piece to be featured.
Photo Credit: Porsche