Home » Welcome To Our Nightmares: 1999 Porsche Boxster vs 1983 Jaguar XJ-S

Welcome To Our Nightmares: 1999 Porsche Boxster vs 1983 Jaguar XJ-S

Sbsd 1 29 2024

Good morning, and welcome back to another week of crappy cars for sale! On Friday, I warned you about a car that our own Mercedes Streeter found for sale that was so awful that I would have to hunt high and low to find its equal. Did I succeed? We’ll find out in a minute.

Friday’s runoff had you imagining a future in which gas cars were a novelty, and you had to choose one to buy from an imaginary estate sale. And, wonder of wonders, our emissary to whatever Autopians remain fifty years in the future is… a Dodge Shadow. I can’t tell you how delighted I am.

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Yes, I realize it wasn’t the “best,” just the “least bad.” Whatever. I’ll take it. Not that I need validation about my terrible taste in cars, but sometimes it is nice to see that I can, in fact, find something even worse.

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Once in a while, however, I come across a car so awful, one that has been so badly mistreated, that it haunts my thoughts. Last week, Mercedes posted a link to what purported to be a Porsche Boxster for sale, posing the question, “Is this the worst Boxster in the world?” Man, I sure hope so. I simply had to show it to you all. I mean, when you were a kid and you found a dead mouse rotting away on the side of the road on your way to school, did you keep it to yourself? Of course not! You showed your friends, so you could all share in the horror.


But what to put up against it? There had to be another once-nice car, rendered useless and hideous by abuse and neglect, worthy of competing against this abomination of a Porsche. I found one, not far from here. And of course, it’s a derelict Jaguar. Here we go.

1999 Porsche Boxster – $1,700

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Engine/drivetrain: 2.5 liter overhead cam flat 6, five-speed automatic, RWD

Location: St. Louis, MO

Odometer reading: 105,000 miles


Operational status: Not running, has bad fuel pump

The idea of an “entry level” Porsche has been upsetting to the marque’s snobs ever since the 914. But I’ve always liked Porsche’s cheaper rides, so when the Boxster came out, I was really excited. I got a chance to drive one early on, and thoroughly enjoyed it – even though I was afraid for a minute that I broke it; it was my first experience with traction control. It’s a delightful little car to drive, and I’m actually a little envious of our Canadian pal Thomas Hundal and his screaming-yellow Boxster.

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The typical advice when shopping for a classic sports car is “Buy the best one you can afford.” Fixer-uppers almost always cost more in the end than just getting a decent one to begin with. What does that say about this car? If this is the best Porsche Boxster you can afford, you can’t afford a Porsche Boxster. This thing is screwed six ways to Sunday. The exterior is several different colors, the interior is a wasteland, it doesn’t run due to a bad fuel pump, and to make matters worse, it’s an automatic.

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And I don’t even want to know what happened to the roof. Is it melted? Was there a fire? Or did someone vandalize it after it became beached in this parking lot alongside an abandoned sofa and a Dumpster? The seller is fantastically unhelpful in explaining this car’s current condition. They only say it has a faulty fuel pump, but a new battery. Fuel pump replacement doesn’t sound too hard on these; it’s accessible under the battery tray. Will that actually fix the problem and put this ugly duckling back on the road? Who knows?

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If you could get it going again, what would you do with it? It’s ugly as sin, I’m guessing half the stuff inside doesn’t work, and the trouble with cheap Porsches is that the parts are just as expensive as they are for high-end Porsches. You could just embrace the post-apocalyptic vibe, I suppose.

1983 Jaguar XJ-S HE – $2,000

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Engine/drivetrain: Overhead valve V8 of unknown displacement, three-speed automatic, RWD


Location: Molalla, OR

Odometer reading: unknown

Operational status: Hasn’t run in years

Old Jaguars seem to fall into one of two categories: Fully restored and beautiful, or “ran when parked” a decade or so ago. Dealing in the price range which we do in this column, we aren’t going to see any of the pretty restored ones. Usually I find XJ6 sedans in this condition for this price; an XJ-S coupe is kind of a treat.

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Sadly, this particular XJ-S has been deprived of its most intriguing feature: Jaguar’s 5.3 liter “High Efficiency” V12 engine. In its place is a Chevrolet small-block V8 of some sort. The seller has no idea what size or age it is; it has an HEI distributor and a ’70s-style air conditioning compressor, so I’d imagine it’s a 305 or a 350 from the late ’70s. It has some sort of double-pumper four-barrel carb in place of the standard GM Quadrajet, and some snazzy Edelbrock finned valve covers. The seller says it ran when they bought it, but it has been sitting in a barn untouched for several years, so who knows what kind of shape it’s in now?

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The condition of the Jaguar bits is even less certain. The interior is a mess; at the very least the front seats will need reupholstering. Clearcoat is flaking off the outside. Oh, and it has a rebuilt title too, for an unknown reason.

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The photographs show this car in “as-found” condition, dirt, moss, cobwebs, and all. It’s hard to really assess its condition under all that gunk; a good thorough cleaning would give you a better idea what you’re dealing with. Of course, by then, you’ve already spent your money.


I know a lot of you are going to turn up your nose at both of these, and I expect a lot of calls for a “Neither” option in the poll. But no such luck; just play the silly game and pick one. We’ll look at some less hopeless cars tomorrow.

(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)







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Scott Wangler
Scott Wangler
28 days ago

At least with the Boxter I could gut it and make it into a track car.

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