Home » I Bought A Yellow First-Gen Porsche Boxster Because Sometimes We Make Good Decisions Around Here

I Bought A Yellow First-Gen Porsche Boxster Because Sometimes We Make Good Decisions Around Here

Holy Crap Bought Porsche
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This article is overdue. After all, I’ve picked up a new-to-me car, driven it enough to use half a tank of 93 octane, got it in a member post and mentioned it on Discord. Some of my friends will have seen it on my Facebook wall, or Instagram stories, or even in real life. The truth is, I’m a bad writer when it comes to my own cars because they aren’t basketcases, they aren’t typically that interesting, and most of the time, they just work. My 1999 Porsche Boxster is no exception.

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If you were to ask my parents, I had a thing for German cars from a very young age. Well, cars in general, but particularly the sorts you might find hauling ass down an unrestricted stretch of autobahn, or camped out for the Nürburgring 24 hour race. Eurovan MVs, Hebmüller Cabriolets, Luthe-penned BMWs, brick outhouse Benzes — all that sort of stuff. While other kids my age had Mustangs and Corvettes on their bedroom walls, I had a Flachbau 930 cabriolet. Yep, that’s me next to the Mk3.5 Volkswagen Cabriolet.

After experiencing American and Japanese machinery, I ended up returning back to my roots. I’ve done the BMW thing and love it. I’ve sampled Mercedes and Volkswagens, and finding a good manual Audi 5000 Turbo Quattro with the multiple diff locks is about as likely as finding a piece of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in a box of Lucky Charms. Besides, I’d driven enough Porsches at this point to know exactly what I wanted. That was in 2021, and I ended up looking for the right 986 for so long that it eventually found me.

Joining The Club

1999 Porsche Boxster

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The saga of this particular Boxster starts with a tale of office space and community. While I’m usually content to work from home, it’s nice to have a change once in a while. In addition, I’ve sort-of drifted into a largely new sphere over the course of the pandemic, and while I’ve kept touch with many friends, greater local community interaction was on the list of desires. Then I learned about a place called RCLUB. It’s a private automotive social club in Toronto where members can wrench, hang out, develop their driving technique on some really nice Simucube racing simulator setups, wash their cars, and just do stuff that would otherwise be impossible in most apartments. David’s probably going to accuse me of being posh for being a member, which is fair enough, but it’s also where this Boxster found me, and where I ended up shooting it. [I’ve gone Hollywood, you may recall. -DT]. 

It turns out that another member’s mum was ready to let go of her Boxster, a 2.5-liter five-speed car with an incredible story. She actually ordered it while her husband was out of town on a business trip and just didn’t tell him until it showed up. How’s that for girl power? Needless to say, this car was loved from the start, and I’m a sucker for a car with great history. A deal was done, and I ended up taking home the perfect Boxster for a very reasonable price.

What A Spec

1999 Porsche Boxster

I’m hugely picky when it comes to the colors and options on my cars. [Ed Note: Thomas isn’t kidding. When I shopped for my i3, he made it clear: You gotta get the Giga World interior. I drove a nice 2020 model that was cheap and had the big battery, but the interior was black. “Get the right spec” he advised me. I’m glad I listened. -DT]. For example, my 325i had to be one of three specific colors, made before September of 2005, have a single-hump dashboard (no iDrive), no wood trim, the sport package, the Logic7 audio system, and heated seats but not the cold weather package. Oh, and it had to be a rear-wheel-drive manual car in a place that gets snow. Remember that scene in Spaceballs where they literally combed the desert? Yeah.

Unsurprisingly, my Boxster is also a bit of a rarity. It’s Pastel Yellow over Metropol Blue with a Metropol Blue top, a particularly uncommon color combination that’s a joy to behold. In addition, it came with the wind deflector, the amplified premium audio system, the storage box, embossed headrests, heated seats, colored wheel crests, an upgraded exhaust finisher, and 17-inch wheels. It’s a wonderful touring spec, with enough creature comforts for serious mileage.

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Oh, and that’s before I get to the documentation. This is a never-wintered car with one previous owner, purchased new in 1999 and kept until September of 2023. It has extensive dealer and specialist maintenance records, a copy of the original order invoice, the original radio code card, and even period-correct license plate frames.

Bring Out The Glass Tables

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A good sports car is a party drug, enveloping, intoxicating, and highly addictive. The rush of combustion, the snick of a shifter, the peak of cornering forces telegraphed through the steering wheel. By numbers alone, some of the best sports cars on the planet can be outrun and out-cornered by certain crossover SUVs, but that doesn’t matter. It’s all about sensation. So, what’s an early Boxster like to drive in 2023? In a word, profound.

It all starts with an unmistakable driving position. Slide past the reasonably narrow sills, drop down into the driver’s seat, and it feels like you’re almost skimming the asphalt. The enormous four-spoke telescoping but non-tilting wheel feels at odds with the shrink-wrapped three-pod gauge cluster with the slit in the hood like a red carpet dress, and you catch a glimpse of the left front fender in the corner of the windscreen. The 986’s cabin is tight in the inseam, but the litany of organic shapes transport you back to a different time as you slide the light yet precise cable shifter into first.

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These early 201-horsepower 2.5-liter cars got a final drive 9.4 percent shorter than on later 2.7-liter cars, and slightly longer ratios in fourth and fifth. While that doesn’t sound like much, it makes all the difference in the world. Combined with a 6,600 rpm redline, this all means that second gear tops out at just under 60 mph, and third just below 89 mph. Since you’re rarely running to the ragged edge of the tach in everyday driving, this gearset imbues the Boxster with a lively character that easily keeps you in the meat of the power band at properly sane speeds. You’ll want to be there because above 4,000 rpm, the flat-six belts out an exotic elixir of induction and exhaust noise, a wailing reminder of what we’re losing soon.

After reveling in the mellifluous notes of Stuttgart’s six-pipe organ, the true test of a sports car arrives — a corner. Brushing the ball of your right foot on the middle pedal conjures up immediate bite and a firm yet easy to modulate pedal. The steering feels like reading braille when going in a straight line — keep a gentle enough fingertip grip on the wheel and you’ll swear you’d be able to feel imperfections in the earth’s tectonic plates while driving on a billiard table — so it shouldn’t be surprise that weighting builds in a gloriously linear manner as angle and tire forces rise. Despite the low polar moment of inertia inherent in mid-engined cars, this thing’s absolutely intuitive to drive for everyone from beginners to seasoned pros, communicating far before the limits of grip are ever breached. Set the front end up right and you’ll be able to get on the power early, surging out of the corner on a wave of smooth internal combustion jazz.

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Yep, the Boxster does the sports car stuff alright. However, the really shocking things about a 986 Boxster are the ride quality and the cabin noise with the top down. Call it the presence of meaningful sidewall, suspension tuning by German wizards, or just a reasonable curb weight, this thing glides over Toronto bumps that my 325i would be crashing over. It’s uncanny how comfortable this sports car is, and that’s before we get into top-down volume. Thanks to enormous side windows and an adorkable wind deflector, you can hold a proper conversation with the top down at 60 mph without having to raise your voice. I’ve tested many newer cars that are absolutely deafening with just their sunroofs open on the highway, so this attention to noise is an unexpected joy. Perhaps because of its comfort, the 986 feels less serious than its successor, a more jovial roadster up for coffee runs and backroad jaunts alike. How wonderfully joyous.

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Nobody’s Perfect

1999 Porsche Boxster

While my Boxster has been well-kept, it does have a few cosmetic considerations after 24 years of life. The odd scar, the occasional bit of wear, that sort of stuff. I’ve already replaced the worn shift boot and knob with a brand new part, and replaced a frail trim piece covering the alarm system’s ultrasonic interior sensor, but I’ll have to pop new lenses into the headlamps at some point and send it out for some light paintless dent repair.

This car’s definitely received paintwork in its past, and huge regard hasn’t been given to avoiding swirl marks so a full paint correction is planned for the spring. Speaking of springtime maintenance, it makes sense to replace the tires with fresh units in the spring, given the car’s very occasional use over just the next few weeks before winter storage. Continental has released its ExtremeContact Sport 02 300-treadwear summer tires in Boxster fitment, so I have my eye on a set.

The top is wonderfully water-tight, although it’s a touch fuzzy in spots and will need replacement eventually. In addition, the infamous IMS bearing, rear main seal, and clutch were done several years back but will need re-fettling in the future. While my car features the tougher dual-row IMS bearing and is well within the acceptable mileage limit for a replacement IMS bearing, I know better than to turn a blind eye.

A Certain Romance

1999 Porsche Boxster

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This certainly isn’t the last you’ll see of the Boxster, but it’s probably best not to expect frequent content. See, we have this thing called “blogging the misery,” a premise where if the going gets bad, the blogs get good. Normally, this is the result of buying cheap and neglected cars, but this Boxster is in pretty good shape. It needs a few odds and ends, but we aren’t talking about rust repair, battery pack replacement, or anything of that magnitude.

Besides, joy isn’t meant to be overshared. It isn’t performative. It’s in the backs of cupboards, the sodium lights, the 6,000 rpm mark on a tachometer, and the 3,500 K glow of golden hour. A quiet shared giggle, barely audible from down the hall, drowning under the waves of the bathroom fan. A little secret that’s pacifist, benign, innocent. It’s in the stories we keep from childhood, the ones we laugh over yet are still wary to tell our parents about. Most of my Boxster tales will likely end up confined to group chats and asphalt. It’s a big wide world out there, and we choose what we want to keep. Let this be our little secret.

(Photo credits: Thomas Hundal, probably Thomas’ dad)

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Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
9 months ago

I’m glad you are loving the car man. And I will add my voice to those that love reading blogs about joy too!

Fraser Houston
Fraser Houston
9 months ago

I’m hoping for another Toronto Autopian meetup with this new glory.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
9 months ago
Reply to  Fraser Houston

Torontopian?

pliney the welder
pliney the welder
9 months ago

Top down , windows down . ALWAYS * ( * unless it’s a cold night and no one can see you * ) Also, A zipper hoody is convertible mandatory .

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
9 months ago

I put the top down but the windows up on the highway. Otherwise the noise is a pain.

Bob
Bob
9 months ago

Ooh, Thomas! [manwithhandup.emoji]

First, here is one vote against “blogging the misery.” I find it so objectionable that I have largely stopped reading this site. The best writing tells you more about the writer than anything else, and I just don’t want to hang out with people who make such bad decisions. It’s also just too easy to make inches by revelling in idiocy. I’d almost rather have more stories about taillights instead. Well, no, not really, but stories about rust are just not trying hard enough.

Second, depending on how much rain you get in Toronto, you might think about the Continental ExtremeContact DWS tires. More than good enough on any public road, and still so good in the wet that you’ll be able to drive more often, confidently.

Third – “windscreen.” Well done.
Cheers,

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
9 months ago
Reply to  Bob

Guess I’m the opposite…come here for the rust/shitboxes and wish David “Rusty” Tracy would write more articles on it…Project Cactus was the best!

Glutton for Piëch
Glutton for Piëch
9 months ago
Reply to  Bob

¿Por qué no los dos?

Obnoxious 986 Peasant
Obnoxious 986 Peasant
9 months ago

Unsurprisingly, I heartily approve.

Richard Smith
Richard Smith
9 months ago

Such a beautiful car; although without that front plate, it would look so much better. The side view is so awkward. I’m glad my state finally dropped that requirement a couple of years ago.

Widgetsltd
Widgetsltd
9 months ago

Congratulations on joining the 986 clan! I have owned a 2000 S in Ocean Blue/Savanna for about 14 years now. It’s a bit of a rat, and it was roasted by the Autopian brain trust here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CqjdVylJRxW/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
9 months ago

I’m totally a fan of yellow (or any real colour) cars, but I have to say the Boxster is definitely the best looking car in silver with the terracotta leather interior and top. That’s probably the only car I would accept in silver. It just works with the form. Maybe a Miata too, but their chicklets colours are too hard for me to pass up.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
9 months ago

Congrats Thomas a yellow Boxster is one of my if I could afford it I would Ibuy it. I was entranced when I flew to CA to train with a coworker at a new job who picked me up in his yellow Boxster. It was everything you claim. However unless you got that 1 boxster that can run on water and get 100 mpg it is only a matter of time before the Porsche, well I would say Nickle and dimes you but instead I need to know the German term for Benjamin’s and Clevelands you.
FYI Grover Cleveland is on the $1,000 bill.

Last edited 9 months ago by Mr Sarcastic
Goof
Goof
9 months ago

As a heads up, if you check the forums, you’ll likely be able to find the ENTIRE workshop manual. Not some condensed 200-page Haynes thing. No. The ENTIRE thing you’d normally pay subscription access for. I have it for my 981 Spyder — it’s over 6000 pages long, and has every diagram, every torque spec., and is cross-referenced and indexed to make it as hard to miss anything as it is possible.

Keep it on the laptop or tablet you’d bring out to the garage, and makes DIY very easy.

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
9 months ago

Hate to be the one to say this, but you’re out of BMW Club. I’m sorry it had to be like this, but those are the rules. Heresy in the House of Bavaria has its consequences. Good luck with your new friends! I hear they don’t even drift though. :’(

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
9 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Hundal

A welder. Why just limit slip? When you can stop slip in it’s tracks, with tough acting whatever welder you have access to. Sure parking lots become an inconvenience, but when you put it sideways you know it’s going.

Real answer: get an M3. It’s cheaper, better pumpkin and you can run some juicy thic boy axles

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
9 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Hundal

Oh no, not the car. Just the diff it’s self. They’re usually about a grand on EBay. Those extra pumpkin fins really help the whole heat problem. It won’t lock as quick as the aftermarket, but it’s fine. Plus with a Stage FP tune or what ever and full duel straights probably be around 280-300 wheel area. You’re gonna want the M3 axles.

I ran my N52 w/ 3disa, full header to straight pipe, milvs up to 7800 without anything dropping. So they will run free if you let them.

Hondaimpbmw 12
Hondaimpbmw 12
9 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Hundal

Depends on which DCT you are talking about. The M3 DCT is like a 0.67 7th gear, The is DCT is 1:1 top gear, so the 335is has a 2.56 rear gear.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
9 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Hundal

I’ve been told by my BMW specialist that Quaife gives you a weird feeling when lifting the throttle. Wavetrac seem like a weird technology, I personally wouldn’t trust it. Someday I’ll get myself a proper clutch style LSD from Drexler, but the price and maintenance are keeping me from doing it now

JurassicComanche25
JurassicComanche25
9 months ago

Congratulations! If the S600 I am looking at doesnt work out, one of these is on my shortlist next to an MR2.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
9 months ago

This is what life’s about, Mr. Hundal. Good on ya. And may you always feel the glory of a ragged apex through the feedback of the wheel! Send it!

Chachi549
Chachi549
9 months ago

The last paragraph was downright poetry! Bravo!

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
9 months ago

The 986 Boxster is a really important car for me personally because it was more or less one of the first cars I knew was cool as a kid. I still remember being at soccer practice in 4th or 5th grade and one of my friends going LOOK AT THAT PORSH BOXSTER and pointing at one. I was mesmerized from then out.

My aunt who later taught me how to drive stick took me to a Porsche dealership to sit in one (extremely cool) and one of my uncles got me a serious RC Boxster as a Christmas gift. I wound up entering it in an RC car race and winning the whole event. I spent hours running flogging the thing in an alley behind my house and it’s still alive today in my closet at my parents’ house.

Anyway this was a great read! People have finally come around to these cars in the last few years. They’re great machines that are still somewhat affordable. I’m glad yours has the IMS bearing sorted out because obviously that’s the biggest concern with Porsches of this era. It’s also a lovely color combo. Porsche had some excellent choices available for these and the blue interior/top are the icing on top of the cake.

Drive it in good health and enjoy! I’ve toyed with the idea of picking a 986 up as a weekend car but sadly we don’t really have any space for it right now. I may double back in a few years but I worry that the Porsche Tax is going to come for them very soon. It’s also neat how usable these are…the two trunk situation means they’re very well suited to road trips and getaways. More so than a Miata for sure, but then again…they’re a lot more complicated too.

But who cares? I love Miatas as much as anyone but I’d take the Porsche every single time. There really isn’t a substitute. They’re incredibly special cars and they’re universally loved for a reason.

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
9 months ago

Be on the lookout for cylinder scoring

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
9 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Hundal

My buddy picked up a Cayenne that developed the issue in short order. I know those engines are more prone to it, but it scares me right off of the 996 dream. I wish you the best of luck

Jb996
Jb996
9 months ago
Reply to  TheHairyNug

As the owner of a 2004 996, my understanding is that the likelihood of scoring is inversely proportional to displacement. So the smaller 2.5L Boxter is pretty unlikely to have that issue. My 3.6L M96 however? I worry.

Also, there is discussion from M96 expert builders that scoring is worse in cold climates due to longer warm up times, increased time running open-loop high fuel ratios, which may lead to washing the cylinders of oil.

Thomas should be okay on this.

However, this is just my internet arm-chair quarterbacking, I am only repeating what I have read on the internet. So… it MUST be true. 🙂

Last edited 9 months ago by Jb996
Data
Data
9 months ago

Porsche, there is no substitute.

The Schrat
The Schrat
9 months ago

Congrats, and welcome to Team “Fried Egg”!

Fuzz
Fuzz
9 months ago

Yellow is good.

Drew
Drew
9 months ago

I’m hugely picky when it comes to the colors and options on my cars.

That’s the right way to be. I’ve settled for “close enough” a couple times and really regretted it.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
9 months ago
Reply to  Drew

I still wish I had AC in the beemer.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
9 months ago

Well-written, Thomas, what a love note. Especially that closing. I’m not the biggest Porsche guy, but I can identify with your irrepressible enthusiasm.

Ottomottopean
Ottomottopean
9 months ago

Just speaking for my own preferences, I’d enjoy hearing about how you go about the small upgrades and fixes to any of the stories of misery and purchased crapcans that really should have just been avoided.
Part of my preference stems from my own ownership of a 981 Boxster so mines a bit newer but many of the things you’ll deal with are likely in my future.

Earlier this year I took mine on a cross-country road trip from Atlanta to Sonoma, CA and back. I can say that the road noise with the top up is good for a convertible but I did underestimate how much it wears on you after hours of highway miles. I know the Boxster isn’t a GT car like the 911 and the differences showed on my trip. I’m supremely glad I did it but if I was doing the same trip again it would definitely be in a bigger vehicle.

At any rate, congratulations on the new car! It’s quite lovely and I especially enjoy when an interesting car is so well cared for. Enjoy!

Last edited 9 months ago by Ottomottopean
Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
9 months ago
Reply to  Ottomottopean

The only thing I’d change personally, is the steering wheel. I like the 3-spoke Carrera wheel for 1999 more. Feels like it should, and you can see through it better.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
9 months ago

Good luck keeping The Screaming Yellow Zonker secret. Enjoy.

Duke of Kent
Duke of Kent
9 months ago

Congratulations on your new car! It’s wonderful, and it looks fantastic at what I assume is your cool Toronto car club location. Take good care of it, and enjoy it!

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
9 months ago

Get some Michelin’s instead of the Conti’s, I ditched my Extreme Contacts for Michelin Pilot A/S. Feel the Pilot All Seasons were better than the Conti Summers. Or just go full crazy like I did on the Z4M and get Falken RT615Ks, which is street/track tire kinda, when the weather is 80+ holy cow the grip.

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
9 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Hundal

I was waiting for a RT660 or RT615 deal all spring, it didn’t come till July and was on the 615s not the 660s, never had a semi-track tire and was blown away. Yeah sometimes deals are hard to pass up, but aside from DWS’s I hardly consider Conti anymore, I just suck it up and pay the Michelin tax. Now the deal I got on the SUV Blizzaks of 60% off in June when I hate Blizzaks still amazes me that I compromised.

Jb996
Jb996
9 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Hundal

The Michelin Pilot Sport 4S is a max performance summer tire, and seems to have a concensus of being the best tire of this class.

But, I suppose it’s sometimes hard to pass up a good deal.

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