PH CARPOOL: PORSCHES CARRERA, BOXSTER AND 968
It's a Porsche triple for this week's Carpool. And three definitely goes into one for this PHer
1985 Porsche 911 3.2 Carerra Cabriolet
1994 Porsche 968 Sport
2000 Porsche Boxster S
911 since 2009, Boxster since 2010 and 968 since 2011
Also in the garage:
VW Golf GTI Mk1
Range Rover Vogue
Porsche 944 S2 Convertible
BMW 540 M
VW Golf GT-TDI
This particular 911 caught my eye in a Porsche magazine write-up, described as a 'Handsome Cab'. Once I realised it was only five minutes down the road, for sale by RPM Porsche in Cheddington, it wasn't long before I was behind the wheel and fell in love with the old girl. She isn't the quickest or the best-handling 911 (being a cabriolet), but I love the silver paint and red seats combination, and the old-school driving experience.
It has an interesting history, too, having been ordered by Telstar Records in London in 1984 who kept the car until 1994. Who knows which famous pop-stars may have driven the car over that period - Basement Jaxx, Craig David, Victoria Beckham, or even the Cheeky Girls? Guess we will never know! (Perhaps not those exact artists, but we see your point - Ed.)
The 968 was the most recent purchase, to finally fulfil a childhood ambition to take part in motor racing. It was sourced by RPM for its mechanicals (rather than the colour) and work has begun to convert it into a racing machine. So far its spent most of my ownership in the workshop in bits, with the interior stripped out and a full race roll-cage welded in.
So almost by accident I've managed to end up with all three engine combinations that Porsche offers - a rear-engined 911, a mid-engined Boxster and front-engined 968.
I think I have been very lucky in all my Porsche purchases, as I haven't really had any major issues. Maybe it's because I buy cars with lots of history, especially lots of receipts so you can see that money has been spent over the years. The ECU failed on my Boxster last year, which apparently isn't common and was quite pricey to repair. My best advice is to get to know a good specialist who can get to know your car.
Things I love:
All three cars drive and handle very differently. I love the speed you can easily achieve in the Boxster, especially through the bends. It handles incredibly well and very predictably. I much prefer the engine note since having an exhaust modification last year - it now has a much deeper roar and crackle at low speed, making first gear around town a lot more exciting. But ruining my mpg in the process.
There hasn't been much to love about the 968 yet, as I have driven it a total of two miles, but I am hoping to get out on track over the summer so I am sure that will change. I'm looking forward to seeing how the front-engined car compares to the other two.
I hate the 'hairdresser' or 'poor-man's Porsche' label that comes with the Boxster, as I think it's completely unjustified. OK, I admit it's not an icon like the 911, but it is a proper driver's car and don't think there is much else that handles better (awaiting the comments on the forum!).
The guys at RPM Independent Porsche Specialists in Cheddington look after all my cars, and do a great job in keeping on top of the maintenance. The Boxster and 911 are both very reasonable to run, with annual servicing between £200-£500. I seem to get through tyres fairly quickly, but I think that's more to do with my driving style. The 968 race conversion is costing a bit more than I expected, as I didn't quite appreciate all the parts that the FIA and Motor Sport Association require you to buy for amateur racing. My advice is to do the sums first!
The Boxster has done a few road trips, including a great tour of the Porsche factory in Stuttgart, the Nurburgring and numerous track days at Bedford Autodrome. Seeing the Porsches on the production line is fascinating and I strongly recommend to any PistonHeader. The 911 hasn't done quite as much, but a recent trip to Millbrook Alpine Circuit and Porsche Experience Centre put it through its paces. I've also taken part in a few charity passenger ride days, and of course many PistonHeads Sunday Services.
The next six months will be focused on finishing the 968 and getting out racing. I also need to get my ARDS group-B licence and purchase a trailer so I can tow the 968 to various circuits on the back of the Rangie. Watch this space!
And if you want to follow my progress, then please pop over to my blog