You might think it’s a bit early for early Boxsters to be considered anything other than old, possibly troublesome Porsches, but David Sutherland found there is clear evidence that the best preserved ones are now increasing in value
For some time now, since 924s, 944s and 968s began to gain some collectability and showed a commensurate increase in value, we’ve been telling you that the early Boxster is now the “cheap Porsche”. It was not hard to spot them for as little as £2000.
Fortunately for us we never went as far as, ‘If the first Boxster becomes a classic we’ll eat our hat!’, because had we done so lunchtimes at 911&PW Towers would witness quantities of cloth and felt being ingested. Yes, two decades on from launch, the original, 986-model Boxster can be hot property that fetches (moderately) big bucks.
But let’s be clear: most late 1990s/early 2000s Boxsters are still simply old (but of course still immensely likeable) sports cars, many just one step ahead of an overwhelmingly uneconomic repair such as a terminal lack of compression in the flat-six water-cooled engine, or an IMS (intermediate shaft) bearing failure. They are not collectable and won’t be until such time as there are so few left that supply and demand kicks in to hoist values. As ever, it’s the low mileage, full history cars that have been cossetted that people are going to pay some serious money for.
Aside from the £2k wonders, presently if you’re looking for a 986 Boxster in average condition, and are prepared to accept 150,000 miles on the clock, most are priced between £4000 and £6000. Perhaps early Boxster values have sunk to their present modest level because – at least up until the appearance of the turbocharged four-cylinder cars in 2015, some might say – each of the three model generations had been a close evolution to make the car more desirable. Improved engines, interiors, equipment and so on left little longing for what went before, the best Boxster being the latest one.
However, nostalgia now does appear to play a part, which explains why Whittaker Motor Company in Bretby, Derbyshire, which specialises in low mileage German prestige cars was asking £19,990 for a white, twoowner 2004/04-reg Boxster 2.7 with 21,000 miles (lead photo) when its ‘Retail’ value was, according to price expert Glass’s, around £8500.
‘The person who buys this will be someone who knew Boxsters at the time but couldn’t afford one, and now wants one that feels as though it has just come out of the showroom even though it’s not 2004 any more.’ explains proprietor Chris Whittaker, who bought the Boxster back from the lady he sold it to about a year ago.
Chris reckons that for Boxsters of this era, condition alone does not guarantee a high sale price. ‘Low mileage is absolutely key,’ he stresses. ‘I went to a British Car Auctions sale last year and a Boxster in red and about the same year as mine, but with just 7000 miles, sold for £20,000 – that’s obviously a trade price to which a dealer mark-up would be added.
‘Our white car will probably be bought by someone who’ll put it in a collection – it might be the least expensive car in the collection, but it’ll continue to make money as long as the mileage stays the same.’
His example had the advantage of being a late 986 model and therefore incorporating the key improvements that took the rough edges off the original Boxster, including the enlarged, 2.7-litre engine and the glass rear screen in the hood. The dark blue 2.7 offered at Porsche specialist Williams Crawford in Saltash in Cornwall was the same year and with under 60,000 miles and a part-porsche Centre, part-independent service history – but it was left-hand drive, which inevitably reduces value in the UK. Nonetheless, Williams Crawford was asking £13,995.
‘If we can find a nice car an unusual spec – every option box ticked – then it will really ring the bell and we can throw the price manual away,’ says Director Richard Williams of early Boxsters. ‘We’ve found people really love cars like these.’ His car could certainly claim a generous sprinkling of extras, equipped with 17- rather than the standard 16-inch wheels, metallic paint, climate control, full leather, Litronic lighting, navigation module and Bose sound system.
But like Chris Whittaker, he stresses the importance of ticking all the boxes: ‘To make a special place in people’s hearts, it has to be a car with a special story. It’s not good enough just having sat in a garage for a while, it has to be low mileage and have a great history.’
Early Boxsters at way above book prices are common. For example Rosemount Car Company in Glasgow had stickered its silver 2002/52 2.7 with 38,200 miles at £11,995, £4700 more than Glass’s forecourt price, and perhaps the Belgian trader who was advertising a very early Boxster, a 1997 2.5 with 151,200km (94,500 miles) for £10,500 was being slightly over-optimistic. But this car would have the advantage of being far cheaper to insure on a classic policy than 2003/2004 cars. Coming closer to book value was the private seller in south London wanting £12,750 for a 2004/04 Boxster S Anniversary edition with 25,000 miles, while another privateer in Stroud asked £11,850 for the same model with just 18,750 miles.
Search out a pre-2004 Boxster, preferably in 3.2 S form, that is in top condition, is not in a loud paint colour and has lots of extras, and you should at least have a car that holds its value (provided you’ve paid the correct price for) and might well appreciate. And, probably more importantly, every day you can enjoy what is still the world’s best affordable mid-engined roadster. PW
This low-mileage 986 Boxster 2.7 is for sale at £19,990. And how good in white?