Project Porsche Boxster S: Time to Buy One?

We have wanted a Boxster since the original was introduced as a concept car more than 25 years ago in 1993 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Thanks to its drop-dead gorgeous, ’50s Speedster-esque styling, classic sports car proportions and a reasonable price tag, we wanted one right away.

As of late, early Boxster prices have reached rock-bottom. Enthusiast auction sites like Bring A Trailer and eBay Motors are even starting to see these cars, especially in nice, unmolested shape or in even the hotter Boxster S models, going up in value. Part of our job is to track these modern classics, determine when they have fully depreciated, and then buy one and show you how to live with it.

As we kept fretting about rising prices, we decided to jump in and go for it. Porsche Classic has recognized these cars as bona-fied classics and were sourcing even more parts for them, and we wanted one before we couldn’t afford one. (Have you seen early Porsche 911 prices lately?)

While perusing eBay Motors recently, we found this 2001 Boxster S in classic Artic Silver with grey leather interior. The car was in nearby Jacksonville, Florida. It had a slight bit of used car rash, but the odometer only showed 65,000 miles. 

While maintenance records were scarce, it had a clean CarFax and a decent, if not miraculous list of options that included:

413: 18-inch wheels (993 Turbo look)
454: Cruise control
490: Deluxe sound system
502: Finland build
551: Wind deflector
584: In-dash CD storage box
696: Becker CD player

The car also has the Porsche factory deluxe speaker system that was dealer installed. 

But not all of that OE equipment was present. The original radio and 18-inch wheels were not with the car when we bought it.

From what we had been seeing on Bring A Trailer, we were expecting to pay $10,000 to $12,000 for a car like this in this condition.

We bid accordingly and were pretty shocked when we won the bid at $8300. Sure, it was off-season for a convertible, and the listing wasn’t as comprehensive as it could have been, but our car is worth at least a couple of grand more than that. 

Now we had our Boxster.

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View comments on the CMS forums
Brian_13 New Reader
1/28/20 1:21 p.m.

Nice deal on the car.

"Bonified" is not a word, and shouldn't have passed a spell checker. "Bona fide" is a latin expression which is used in English by people who for some reason don't want to say something like "genuine".

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/28/20 3:16 p.m.

In reply to Brian_13 :

Thanks. Fixed. 

TreDeuce New Reader
1/28/20 3:35 p.m.

Kinda rough for the price, and no provenance, especially for an 'S'.  These go for a lot less in our area then your buyin cost. But, that won't make a difference in five years.

I'll take mine in silver with red interior.

wannacruise New Reader
1/28/20 5:17 p.m.

Good for you Tim.  You would have just spent more money chasin after another one if you hadn't grabbed this one.  A grand or so one way or the other doesn't make any difference if you going to enjoy the car.  I was telling Penny that I am starting to get hot for a Porsche.  Especially since they have been beatin Corvette on the IMSA circuits the last few years.  But I want a new one.  I figured I could grab one I want for a wee bit less than 200k.  She said yeh how you going to do that? I told her I would sell the house and trade in the new Vette.  She said after your half of the proceeds and the divorce attorney fees I'd better hope it had reclining seats because I would be sleeping in it.  I said Ok.  cheeky 


David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/29/20 6:14 p.m.

In reply to TreDeuce :

A good friend of mine has an early S that's silver over red. Looks good. 

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
2/6/20 6:08 a.m.

TreDeuce, not sure what part of the country you are in, but in most places, these cars, in this condition, have started moving north of $10,000. The non S models are a bit cheaper, but they are starting to rise as well.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
2/6/20 6:09 a.m.

wannacruise. You might want to skip the new Porsche right now, although the new Caymans are real tempting for me.

Bob_S New Reader
2/15/20 6:42 a.m.

Hi Tim,

Are you going to cover the IMS bearing problem?  I understand that the IMS failure is unpredictable and at some point the original bearing will fail.  I would love more info about it, because these are great handling car.  I would love to upgrade from my 46K mile Miata NB2 to a Boxster.




wspohn Dork
2/15/20 11:09 a.m.

The mechanical issues they had (some of which were later addressed by Porsche, but some owners were presented with needing a new engine due to the IMS problem and that cost more than the cars were worth if they were off warranty) would put me off on the early cars, and I am really more of a coupe guy anyway.

I did seriously pursue a Cayman GT4  but up here in Canada the dealers were trying to get an extra $20K over list, so that soured me on the idea.  I still really like the Caymans, but one probably isn't in my future (I went BMW instead).

cnavarro None
2/15/20 12:30 p.m.

Great S model to start from. Early Boxsters are great cars and I wouldn't pass on them. You just need to go in eyes wide open rather than wallet wide open. 

I have a '99 myself with a 3.8 liter we built up from a 3.4 996 engine and addressed all the issues. Big brembo brakes, factory aero package, M030 sport suspension, etc.  Yes, I have more in it than it is worth, but how much would it cost for a car with similar performance? This thing will just need oil changes and fuel. If I do decide to track the car again, it's good to go too. 

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