It may not yet be a bona-fide classic, but that time must be fast approaching
CHASING CARS Quentin Willson’s hot tips
I have mentioned this before, but early Porsche Boxsters are looking silly value. A decent car with a sensible mileage can be yours for under £4500. In April, SWA in Poole sold a silver ’1999 with 99,000 miles, AFN history, nine stamps in the book and a recent service for just £2100 plus premium. That is bonkers money for a baby Porker that’s looking more of a neo-classic by the day.
Simple, chaste, unadorned and with brilliantly neutral handling, the 986 was widely credited as the car that saved Porsche in the late Nineties and buyers loved its retro styling with echoes of the 550 Spyder. The 2.5-litre flat-six M96 engine has proved tough and reliable, and bodies are commendably rust-resistant. The Intermediate Shaft Bearing (IMS) is an issue on early cars, so upgrading to an improved ceramic bearing is a shrewd move. On the earliest 1996-98 cars there were cases of cracked bore liners, but most were fixed under warranty. The MoT pass rate for the 986 is a highly creditable 78%, which speaks volumes for its durability.
‘Buyers loved its retro styling with echoes of the 550 Spyder’
Regular oil changes are a must, so walk away from anything that doesn’t have a continuous service history and replace the engine and gearbox oils with modern fluids as soon as you buy. If you see metallic or black plastic pieces in the drained oil the IMS is definitely on its way out. It’s also worth upgrading the camshaft chain tensioner to a stronger version. A private seller in Taunton has a silver ’98 S Tiptronic with 77k and full history for £4000, while JPO Cars in Ipswich has a blue 2001 with 88k and full Porsche history for £4475. In March, Brightwells dispatched a 2002 in blue with two owners, 108k and eight stamps in the book for £3250. In the same month, Historics at Brooklands sold a fine ’1999 in dark blue with just 64k and full history for £4928.
The early Boxster may not be a card-carrying classic yet, but it’s on its way. Find a low-mileage one that’s been cherished and it’ll make the perfect weekend toy. A well-fettled first-generation Boxster is the best-value used Porsche I know.
VALUE 2012 £6750
VALUE NOW 2019 £4750