In 1996 the Boxster arrived. The name is a portmanteau of `Boxer` which refers to the flat-six engine layout and `Roadster` from it`s convertible roof. Built at the old 924 factory at Stuttgart, the Boxster was the first Porsche since the 1950`s to be designed primarily as a drop-head and also the first ever to have a mid-mounted water-cooled engine. It was a very advanced machine, benefiting from a collaboration with Toyota`s consultants at the design stage. It is a matter of conjecture whether Toyota per se were involved with the development process.
However, Toyota`s success convinced Porsche of the advantages of cross-sourcing parts between their various models, notably the 911. From this consulting process Porsche learned all they needed to know about mass-production, of which they had little previous experience. Porsche was a diligent pupil but as the sands of time ran on, the market for expensive cars dwindled somewhat. The Boxster`s volume production and excellent profit margins elevated the Boxster to the level of a lifesaver. Without it`s contribution Porsche would have been swallowed up by VW and gone forever.
The Boxster was an excellent car to drive, more tractable and better-mannered than the 911. The chassis was superb giving the driver total confidence in the handling and braking. Once given a chance to show it`s mettle even some die-hard 911 owners bought them. It was a `real` Porsche at a sensible price. Like all cars of it`s breed the top-speed was unattainable on public roads and so the 911`s higher top-speed became academic and irrelevant.
In 2005 the second generation Boxster, the 987 series arrived and was even more exciting to drive. It was blessed with more power than it`s predecessor and was much prettier. With the extra horse-power it was possible to test the chassis engineering to the limit. However fast it was driven it would not misbehave. One important character-trait of the Boxster was it`s behaviour in an urban environment. The 911 could be skittish on wet city streets but the Boxster always seemed to know what was expected of it and obliged accordingly. The weight-distribution was perfect, which is more than can be said for rear engined cars. The Boxster continues in production, already a classic with a reputation that owes nothing to any other car. Until the Cayenne SUV arrived in 2003 the Boxster was Porsche`s top-selling car.
Like other Porsches the Boxster had a steel monocoque at it`s heart with a shapely steel body designed by Carrera. The front and rear suspension system utilised McPherson struts with anti-roll bars, which made it very sure-footed. The four-wheel disc brakes were more than adequate.
The six-cylinder boxer motor was both advanced and user-friendly. It was dry-sumped which reduced the height of the engine allowing a sleek, low body line to the extent that it gave the visual appearance of a front-engined car. For the technically minded, the engine was an all-alloy 2.7 litre, flat six with twin overhead camshafts and four-valves per cylinder. Bosch electronic fuel-injection was standard. All of these combined together gave the Boxster 242 bhp and 201 ft/lbs of torque propelling it for the 60 mph mark in 6.1 seconds and reaching top speed of 162 mph. The compression ratio was a very high 11.3 to 1 which went a long way to explaining where all the horse-power came from! The transmissions offered were every bit as impressive. Porsche fitted their wonderful 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic gear-boxes. A 6-speed manual gear-box arrived later.
Boxster 987 2nd Generation.
Late in 2008 Porsche introduced a face-lifted version of the Boxster 987 with a larger 2.9 litre direct-injection engine, offering more performance but much improved economy and emissions. There was a mild re-styling of the bumpers, lights and wheels. For the first time a twin-clutch automated gear-box was offered as an option, derived from technology Porsche pioneered in the 962 Le Mans racing car.
Even though the Boxster was a much cheaper car compared with the all mighty 911, calling it the “Poor man’s Porsche” would be a somewhat unfair. It did a great deal for the company. It saved Porsche’s skin when things got tough and was all together a beautiful drive with the air blowing through one’s hair.
Porsche Boxster 2005-2007 987 Series
|Body Type||2 seater roadster|
|Drive Type||Rear wheel drive|
|Cargo Volume||280 l||9.89 cu.ft.|
|Engine||2.7i DOHC 24V Dry Sump|
|Displacement||2687 cc||164 cui|
|Power||180 Kw||242 bhp||6500 RPM|
|Torque||273 Nm||201 ft. lb||5200 RPM|
|Top Speed||261 km/h||162 mph|
|Acceleration||0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph||6.1 s|
|Fuel consumption||l/100 km||Imperial mpg|
|Gearbox||5 speed manual||5 seep automatic|
|Weight||1305 kg||2877 lb|
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I was born in Hereford UK in 1948 and brought up in Gloucester UK. I played Rugby football internationally as a schoolboy. At the age of 17, a new and wet driving license in my paw, I entered motor racing. I was supported and financed by my parents and so my journey began.
In 1965 I bought a 1293cc Mini-Cooper `S` and campaigned it for a season. Having quickly made some good friends in the racing fraternity, several interesting opportunities came my way. I joined a sports-car team and raced in the Le Mans 24 hours in 1968 and 1969 in a Lola T70. Mechanical failure defeated both efforts. During that period I owned and raced a `D type` Jaguar and an AC Cobra. In those days cars like that were available and not too expensive, now they reside in museums and private collections. I had a chain of interesting cars through my youth including Jaguars, Minis, Mustangs and Lotus-Cortinas.
As a young driver I had my share of accidents too. Often the car would only be worth scrap-metal value by the time I got it home! I worked for an Aston-Martin/Jaguar dealership for a while, which enhanced my experience and gave me the opportunity to sample some very exotic machines, Ferrari, Facel-Vega, Iso and Maserati to recall a few of them.
At the end of 1969 I moved to South Africa to work on my uncle`s farm but the S.A. government had other ideas and drafted me into the army. After five years had passed I was thanked and released from the service. While I was there I bought a beige Cadillac Eldorado, previously the property of Marilyn Monroe. While I was away on a patrol my girlfriend had it re-sprayed pink! I was unimpressed by both the joke and the bill for the work!
When I returned to UK in 1974 I left it behind. On my return I found that the once-mighty British motor industry was in decline and was headed for oblivion. Motor racing was now very expensive so I turned to commercial transport. Driving large trucks gave me freedom and a chance to see some of the world. I don`t remember ever making a career choice but for the next thirty years a truck was my home. For about ten years in that period I owned two trucks of my own.
I also owned a famous MGB-GT, known as `Lucky`. If you`d like to read `The Story of Lucky` there is an article in Inopian`s archive. I finally retired, due to ill-health, in 2008. Since I had varied knowledge and many experiences on our subject I decided to share the stories of the cars I enjoyed (and hated) with the new generation.
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