If you’re looking for a Porsche but you can’t afford a new-ish 911, you obviously aren’t alone — but that doesn’t mean you should simply give up on your Porsche dreams. You don’t have to have a new, or slightly new, 911 in order to have fun in a Porsche — and there’s no greater proof of that than the “986” Boxster.
The “986” Porsche Boxster is the Boxster model that was offered from 1997 to 2004, which is the first generation of the small roadster. Unlike its rivals back then — the Audi TT, the BMW Z3 and the Mercedes-Benz SLK — the Boxster was midengine, which transformed it from just being “mostly fun,” like this models, to being truly enjoyable.
You may not think this is true if you look at the Boxster on paper. The original Boxster debuted in 1997 with a 2.5-liter flat six that had only 201 horsepower, which doesn’t seem like a big figure — but this was a small car, it weighed something like 2,800 pounds, and 201 hp was really all you needed. Plus, the Boxster was so wonderfully well balanced that it was all a joy: you truly got to wring it out to explore its performance, and you enjoyed doing that on your favorite twisty road. If that knowledge didn’t help, in 2000, Porsche expanded the Boxster line and brought to market the Boxster S, which came with a more impressive 250-hp version.
And these days, all of these used Boxster models are incredibly cheap.
Right now on Autotrader, there are nearly 300 used Boxster models from the original 986 generation listed for sale, and the vast majority of them — about 240 — are under $15,000. In fact, you can find one of these for $10,000 or less pretty easily. This may not be the new 911 you’ve always dreamed about, but it’s a well-designed, highly exciting Porsche for a reasonable price — a very reasonable price, in fact — and one that’s not likely to drop much further.
Indeed, the original Boxster may not have all the amenities of a modern car, and it may not be as fast as the latest Porsche models. But just 15 years ago, every car magazine on the planet was singing this car’s praises — and as long as the one you get has been well maintained and driven rationally, you’ll have a lot of fun in an “old” Boxster for a fraction of the cost of a new one. It’s very much worth considering if you’re interested in buying a fun sports car on a reasonable budget.