At $3,500, Is This 1999 Porsche Boxster A Hot Deal Or A Potential Heartbreaker?

Nice Price or No Dice 1999 Porsche Boxster
Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or No DiceIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

They say there’s no such thing as a cheap Porsche and yet today’s Nice Price or No Dice Boxster is...a cheap Porsche. Could its low price make it an easy onramp to Porsche ownership? Or is it a rocky road to future expenses?

The path plied by yesterday’s 1979 Ford F-250 was certainly an interesting one. On the one hand, there were plenty of comments praising both the era from which the truck hailed and the big longbed’s overall spec and condition. On the other hand, there was that $14,500 asking price which, at a 56 percent No Dice loss, came up short. The juxtaposition of praise and passing may not have aligned, but hopefully, that cool truck will still find a new owner.

Speaking of new owners, many of you know that I recently acquired an older Porsche Boxster and am in the process of detailing the joys and travails of its ownership to share with all of you.

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My experience may very well engender one or more of you to take the “Porsche plunge” and pick up your own reasonably wrench-able sports car from the German automaker. If you are of that bent, then perhaps this 1999 Porsche Boxster is a good place to start. It certainly seems to be the cheapest.

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Photo: Craigslist

The ad for this black over Savanna Beige is light on the details, although it does provide some salient info. The pictures tell a story as well. Here’s everything the seller provides in the car’s description:

175K miles.

convertible.

In very decent shape.

Runs and drives real great.

Looks ok.

Custom exhaust.

Top works manually. No electric.

Priced right for fast sale.

Clean title in hand.

OK, so first off, we find out that the car has been 175,000 miles down the road. That’s a good bit of road for a 986 and may make you wonder about the condition of suspension consumables and the like. Perhaps to slightly allay those concerns, the seller notes that the car “Runs and drives real great.” Not just great but “real great.”

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Photo: Craigslist

On the downside, the seller duns the car’s aesthetics by saying its looks are merely OK. The pics bear that out, especially when we get to the interior. On the outside, there are a few obvious flaws. Those include some paint chips and dents as well as the absence of both intake grilles and the front side-marker lights.

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The car features later 996 headlamps with the more subtly colored turn signal lenses. Some people greatly prefer those. The rear boot lid wears a Porsche badge in lieu of the expected Boxster script. The factory Twists look to be in decent shape, but there’s no mention of how much life is left in the tires.

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Photo: Craigslist
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Up top, the convertible roof seems intact, albeit with a clouded rear window. This is all too common on these cars. Less common is the failure of the electric top mechanism, which is good because it’s an expensive repair. That has failed on this car and requires man (or woman) muscle to put the top up or down.

Lowering that top reveals an interior that has seen better days. The seat upholstery is cracked and broken on both sides, showing foam padding in places and pocket change-swallowing gaps in others. The rest of the interior looks grungy and in need of a deep cleaning, but at least looks intact. The rubber trim seems likewise to be holding its own.

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Photo: Craigslist

Other things to note here are what’s described as a “Custom exhaust” and the seller’s claim of the car having a six-speed transmission. We don’t get to see anything of that exhaust other than a two-tip exit under the rear license plate, but hopefully, the customization still maintains all the catalysts. As to the six-speed: Unless it’s had a replacement gearbox from a later Boxster S, the only way it could have that many cogs is if you count reverse.

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A quick VIN check shows that this Boxster is not an S and has the 201-horsepower 2.5-liter pancake six under its now-manual roof. For those of you with your knickers in a twist over the infamous IMS bearing issue, you can relax. The failure rate on the 2.5 was around 1 percent, and if this car’s engine was going to blow it would have done so a long before it hit at 175,000 miles.

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Photo: Craigslist
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The car’s title is clean, and in fact, we actually get to see it in one of the pictures in the ad. That’s a good thing. From other pics, we can see that the registration came due in December and the car is still wearing its 2020 tags. That may indicate old snapshots, or it could just be that the seller simply didn’t want to re-up a car that’s for sale. Whatever the reason, it will need 2021 tags and — if you live in California, where this car is located — a smog test to get them.

The car will cost you $3,500 before all the registration rigmarole, and that makes it about the cheapest running and driving (real great, remember) Porsche Boxster in the country. Does that seem like a deal?

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Photo: Craigslist

What do you think, is this worn but seemingly not worn out Boxster worth dropping that much? Or, is that actually too cheap considering how much more will likely need to be spent making it right?

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You decide!

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Sacramento, California, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

Help me out with NPOND. 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

shanemorris
Shane Morris

Allow me an analogy: You walk into a Quiznos and see a guy leave half of a perfectly good Italian sandwich just... sitting there. There’s nothing wrong with it. The sandwich was clearly cut in half, and aside from being a little rough from the unwrapping process, that’s half of a good sandwich. It even still has the paper underneath it.

That’s this car. It’s not perfect, but the acquisition price is so low, it’s worth the risk.

I can take the slight risk that it’s been sneezed on.

One possibly sneezed on Boxster for $3,500. Nice price.