Tuesday 2 November 2021

Boxing clever

Let’s be honest, 2021 hasn’t been a year for celebration (you don’t need us to fill-in the details), but there are some very notable anniversaries to celebrate this year. Did you know the Jaguar C-Type is 70 years old? And the E-Type only a decade younger? The DeLorean DMC-12 is 40 this year; and every 70s kid’s bedroom poster car, the Lamborghini Countach, is – staggeringly, given its science fiction-movie looks – 50 years young!

Of course, there are plenty of other notable milestones: not least of which is our own 30th anniversary! Yes, we have been trading since 1991 – that’s the same year Street Fighter II hit the arcades, Arnold Schwarzenegger made his second appearance as the Terminator, and the anthem for Generation X, Smells Like Teen Spirit, was released.

There is another big anniversary this year that we must mention: the 25th anniversary of the Porsche Boxster. First introduced to the public as the 993 coupé concept at the 1993 Detroit Motorshow, it was another three years before buyers could get their driving gloves on a production version. 

In the early 90s, Porsche was struggling with its product ranges. Reactions had been poor, the ranges were expensive to produce, and sold too poorly to guarantee the company’s future in the fast-moving auto markets. In 1991, Porsche’s model lineup comprised only three cars; the 911 (964), still air-cooled; the 928, originally intended to replace the 911; and the 944, based on the old 924 of ’76.

Now with a new CEO, but an ageing  and dating lineup, and desperately trying to turn its finances around, Porsche took some advice from Toyota – a company that had previously offered to purchase Porsche. Toyota gave them the perfect idea: create a cheaper sportscar using 911 parts. This would have been almost impossible to achieve if Porsche hadn't had a secret up its sleeve: a new water-cooled engine being developed for the next 911 (996).

With Porsche’s typical penchant for numerical nomenclature, the first generation Boxster was designated as the 986. It was powered by a 2.5-litre flat-six, good for a 6.7sec, 0-60mph dash, and with a top speed of 149mph. The car was loved by the press and public alike: agile, fun, and surprisingly practical, and with Porsche’s impressive quality.

Early concept sketches for the Boxster. (From Porsche Boxster, The 998 Series 1996-2004, Brian Long)
Grant Larson's proposed '93 Detroit
Motor Show car, drawn in May 1992.  
(From Porsche Boxster,
The 998 Series 1996-2004, Brian Long)

Design-wise, the Boxster didn’t strive to be different to the 911; this was no 928 or 968. Taking inspiration from its historic 550 Spyder and 718 RSK racers, this was much more your classic Porsche, with Grant Larsson’s designs translating beautifully into reality, albeit with a little refinement here and there.

It was certainly more 911 than other Porsches – perhaps too 911 for some. As webuysupercars.com note:

This new Boxster could be mistaken (from the front anyway) as a new 911 convertible, especially if specced with the right wheels.Conversely the new design 911  could now also be mistaken for the new Boxster especially when specced with the wrong wheels.

Not ideal, then, for the reception of the new 911, but great news for potential Boxster buyers who had even more reason to buy the car.

The car exhibited at the
Detroit Motorshow. (From Porsche Boxster, 
The 998 Series 1996-2004, Brian Long)

The Boxster has come a long way in 25 years, and to celebrate the journey, the 718 Boxster 25 Years edition was released to celebrate the car's silver anniversary. Limited to 1250 units, this 4-litre, flat-six has already sold out, thanks to a slew of tasteful touches paying homage to the original concept car.

25 years on, the Boxster has proven to be anything but 'the poor man’s Porsche'; it’s a true Porsche in its own right. While this car may have originally been all about the price, in 2021 it’s all about the drive, and people have woken up to the fact that the Boxster, from its first generation, to the latest 718 variant, is simply a fantastic, fun, practical driver’s car. Here’s to another 25 years!

Cutaway car, showing the difficulties in packaging a modern, 
mid-engined vehicle. (From Porsche Boxster, 
The 998 Series 1996-2004, Brian Long)

The 718 Boxster 25 Years edition. (Courtesy Porsche)

In the market for a Boxster? Own one yourself? Simply a Porsche fan? You can discover all about the history and development of the Boxster with two excellent volumes from marque expert Brian Long

Porsche Boxster - The 986 Series 1996-2004

This volume begins with the origins of the Boxster and how Porsche came to create it. From concept sketches and early cars, to 2004 models, this fact-filled and informative book is packed with words, photography and detail that fully illustrate the Boxster’s first eight years of production. Currently out of stock, if you’d like to see this book reprinted, head to the web page, and hit the Notify Me button.

Porsche Boxster & Cayman - The 987 Series 2004 to 2013

Brian continues the story, revealing how the Cayman was born, and covering all the models produced until 2013. As with the previous volume, it’s a photo and fact fest that’s brimming with detail.

The Essential Buyer's Guides

If you’re lucky enough to be in the market for a Boxster, or maybe a Cayman for the more inclement parts of the world, you’re in luck. Adrian Streather has penned four Essential Buyer’s Guides, covering Boxster and Cayman models, spanning the first 20 years of production.

For the 986 Boxster - Boxster, Boxster S, Boxster S 550 Spyder – produced from ’97 to ’05 (#1 in the pic above), click here. If you’re assessing a 1st Generation Boxster, Boxster S, Boxster Spyder, Cayman & Cayman S, from ’05 to ’09 (#2), you need this book. If you’re tempted by the 2nd Generation Boxster and Caymen, Boxster, S, Spyder & Black Editions; Cayman, S, R & Black Editions of ’09 to ’12 (#3), here's the book for you. Finally, if it’s a ’12 to ’16 Boxster, S, GTS & Spyder; Cayman, S, GTS, GT4 & GT4 CS (#4), then you need this guide.

That's just a taster of our Porsche titles – for more Porsche perfection, search our online store and take your pick – we’re pretty sure we have something for every Porsche fan.