Six Decades, Seven Porsches

Brian Konoske

2004 Boxster

Steve Ross is the president of the Northeast chapter of the Porsche Club of America. The fact that the Porsche club prez owns a Boxster should tell you something about Porsche's once-controversial convertible. We sort of take the Boxster for granted now that it's been around for more than a dozen years, but it's an excellent used car. You don't buy a used Boxster to show off. You buy it because it's great to drive.

Ross's car is a base Boxster, not an S. "I drove them both, and honestly, I couldn't really tell the difference," Ross says. In 2004, the Boxster made 225 hp; the S put out 258. And I think I agree with Ross. Throttling his car down an on-ramp and running up through the gears, it feels plenty strong. It makes the signature flat-six honking howl. The steering is dead-on precise, and I know from prior Boxster experience that this car would be perfectly happy-neutral and naturally composed -- if it were on a track.

And track it Ross does. This is the rare modern convertible designed to pass muster at a road course. "The roll hoops pass the broomstick test," Ross says, referring to the practice of running a broomstick from the windshield to the roll bar to make sure the driver's helmet doesn't become a prop rod for an overturned car. Ross's Boxster even has a removable trailer hitch, which he uses to tow his track tires. How cool is that?

Automobile Magazine's West Coast editor, Jason Cammisa, recently bought a used Boxster, and after driving this car, I'm tempted to run home and start trolling the classifieds. I need a reason not to. "I've heard that used Boxsters can be trouble, as far as reliability," I say. "Well, I haven't had any problems with mine," he replies. Damn.

With the Boxster, Porsche finally figured out how to break the 911 habit while retaining the main ingredient that loyalists consider mandatory -- a horizontally opposed engine somewhere behind your seat. The Boxster was a revelation: not a 911 but still a Porsche.

I have recently parted with my 1987 Diamond Blue Metallic coupe. It was by far the most enjoyable car I have ever owned. I removed the cat, added a custom exhaust from B&B, installed a cold air ram system and had it chipped. The car put out way over 300 hp. It was a joy to drive just to listen to the engine. The pedal position was never an issue and nothing short of a turbo is a better car, even today than a late 80's 911 Carrera
And one last thing (this article really bugged me, obviously). Bump steer is not a twitch in the steering wheel when hitting a seem. Bump steer is from a suspension bottoming out, and a typically problem in "slammed" cars that have been lowered by hacks. Come on guys, really. And yes, it was common for sports cars to not have power steering in the 80's. Emphasis on sports cars...the typical chevy Impala did have power steering.
Too bad cars have all grown by one third or more on average. At 6'3" and 220 pounds, I never found a classic 911 too small. And I never had trouble adjusting to the way the pedals are mounted on the floor. The humorous exaggeration doesn't work in this case.
The author had never driven an air cooled Porsche? What is he, 16? At 42, I didn't think I was old enough to have nothing in common with the current crop of auto journalists. I recently read another auto journalist state he'd never driven a Z3. That dude must be all of 8 years old. And he pretends to know what the quintessential 80's yuppie car is? (It's a grey BMW btw). My 86 Carrera still keeps up with most anything on the track. And it's a rock solid daily driver.

New Car Research

our instagram

get Automobile Magazine

Subscribe to the magazine and save up to 84% off the newsstand price


new cars

Read Related Articles