At $4,800, Could This 1998 Porsche Boxster Be A Square Deal?

Illustration for article titled At $4,800, Could This 1998 Porsche Boxster Be A Square Deal?
Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

We are often told that it’s advantageous to think outside the box. When it comes to today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Porsche, however, we definitely need to think inside the Boxster. Let’s see what doing so might just cost.

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Whether you’re an actor or an electric car, having a limited range can often also limit your career. Consider Michael Cera for example. Have you ever wanted to see him do Shakespeare? Do you even remember who he is? I mean Cera, of course, not Shakespeare.

A similar lack of interest faced yesterday’s 2012 Coda EV, a small electric from a failed company that in the real world could only do about 90 miles before needing an extension cord. The lack of range, lack of critical parts, and lack of really any other endearing qualities made the Coda an orphan with little appeal for adoption. A $5,500 asking price wasn’t going to help either, and the Coda concluded the day with a decisive 76 percent Crack Pipe loss.

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That was our third loss this week, which means we’re on a bit of streak. Today’s car, however, may just break us out of that downer of a rut.

Illustration for article titled At $4,800, Could This 1998 Porsche Boxster Be A Square Deal?

Porsche is an aspirational brand, and the company’s products’ prices—both new and used—generally reflect that. There have been times, however, when a less desirable model has seen values drop into normal people range. Maybe they have reached a point in time when enough are on the market to satisfy demand, but they are old enough and, maybe sketchy enough, that they warrant a lower initial investment. That happened to the 924 and 944 models, as well as the 928, although the most affordable of those generally are fright pigs.

Today’s 1998 Porsche Boxster 986 is a prime example of what may be considered an affordable entry into the pantheon of Porsche ownership. It’s just up to us to determine just how affordable that really should be.

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Illustration for article titled At $4,800, Could This 1998 Porsche Boxster Be A Square Deal?

While it’s generally considered that any older German car is going to be a pricy proposition to keep on the road, Porsches tend to be less finicky in general than their competition—cough BMW cough. That’s not to say they don’t have their own quirks and these early 986 models have their share. One of the big schnitzels of those was the M96 engine. A newly designed water-cooled flat-six, the M96 suffered from several teething problems in its early days.

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The worst of those was cylinder liner creep and the infamous Intermediate Shaft bearing failure. The good news is that both of those issues can be rectified. The bad news is that the 986’s engine is buried in the middle of the car with access limited to underneath, through a couple of small hatches up above, or in a cutaway image you found on the Internet.

Illustration for article titled At $4,800, Could This 1998 Porsche Boxster Be A Square Deal?
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That’s what makes the Boxster so great though, right? It’s a mid-engine convertible. How many of those are there in the world? That’s a layout shared with Ferraris, Lamborghinis… and well yeah, Toyota MR2 Spyders, Honda Beats, and MG-Ts. Anyway, it’s pretty gosh-darn cool.

It’s also a Porsche, and just to reiterate, pretty much every car nut wants one of those at some point in their life .

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This could be that point. This Boxster comes with a modest 115,000 on the clock and a number of new parts that up its appeal. Those include new struts all around, along with the brake pads with fresh Yokohama meats in front of those. New headlights spiff up the front end, and there’s a new Bosch battery to keep those illuminated when the need arises.

Illustration for article titled At $4,800, Could This 1998 Porsche Boxster Be A Square Deal?
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The interior shows new leather on the seats and a surrounding cabin that seems to be holding its own. The color scheme is black on tan with paint that looks okay from most angles but falls down when you get to the nose. There it exhibits considerable peppering. At least the top and rear window look serviceable, as do the Turbo-look wheels.

The seller claims the car to have up to date maintenance and a recent oil analysis showing a clean bill of health. On the downside, the electrics for the convertible are on the fritz, requiring manual labor to erect and put down. Other than that, it seems right as rain. oOh, and you’ll want to practice on that top in case it does rain.

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Illustration for article titled At $4,800, Could This 1998 Porsche Boxster Be A Square Deal?

The 986 is now at a point in its career where the supply seems to be meeting its demand, and the potential for issues with cars of a certain age and mileage scare off the timid and easily swayed. That has left the rest of us brave souls. And, in good news for us, these factors have driven Boxster values into the I’d-be-stupid-not-too range.

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We now need to decide if it would be stupid to ignore this Boxster at its $4,800 asking. That’s a running Porsche for the price of… well, I can’t think of anything out of category that might cost that much right at the moment, but you get the idea.

You might also be getting an idea about whether it’s worth that asking or not. What do you think, could this 986 grab $4,800 as it sits? Or, is that too much considering the early model’s teething problems and potential future maintenance nightmares?

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You decide!

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Miami, FL Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Don G. for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOCP. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.

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DISCUSSION

I would buy it, totally expecting the IMS to go, and then part out the car. An IMS repair can be a solid $2500.

It is NOT my business to tell anyone what cars to love. I firmly believe one man’s CP is another man’s NP and to shit on someone’s decision is poison to car culture.

However, in this case I think any buyer should happily, cheerfully, and with love... expect the worst. I did so with my Northstar Cadillac, and when the time came, parted ways with gratitude and zero regrets. Love your car.