If you’ve been paying attention, the Gen 1 Porsche Boxsters, also known as the 986, are finally starting to creep up in value. Enthusiasts are beginning to snap up well-kept examples at a premium.
I’ve always felt these cars were underappreciated. Okay, as an owner, I am biased, but have you ever heard anybody discount the car after driving one? Very few ever do.
These cars were slammed from day 1. Enthusiasts and the 911 faithful claimed the Boxster wasn’t a “real Porsche” mostly due to the water-cooled engine placed somewhere other than over the rear axle. I’m not even going to get into the fact that this car is hailed as the car that saved Porsche from near financial ruin, but claiming this car is not a real Porsche based on design is simply false and, arguably, flies in the face of the design of the first Porsches.
The first few Porsches ever built look far more similar in design and layout to a Boxster than they do a 911. Porsche’s vision was to build a car that could be raced on the weekend and driven during the week. But, the mid-engine design of the first few examples, while great for racing, was not ideal for daily use and mechanical service. So, they moved the motor to the rear and added a back seat. Ironically, this disrupted the balance and made the car more difficult to drive fast. But, Porsche was trying to find its way through financial challenges coming out of WWII and they knew they could sell more cars if their automobiles featured some practicality. So, the 356 and, eventually, the 911 had the engine in the rear and featured back seats.
Look, I get it, the 911 is an absolute sports car icon and it provides a driving experience like no other car. I own an old SC and it’s a joy to drive. But the Boxster is an easier car to drive fast and handles and drives every bit as a Porsche should. And, isn’t that how we enthusiasts should be evaluating a sports car? By driving dynamics?
So, next time somebody says a Boxster isn’t a real Porsche, go ahead and explain the car is far closer to Porsche’s original vision than the 911 ever was, and then ask them if they’ve ever even driven one. And, heck, may as well throw in the fact that the car saved the company. You’re welcome.