It's been hard to avoid talk of flat-six Porsche Caymans these past few weeks, given the announcement and then launch of the 718 4.0 GTS. And a GT4 group test. So, er, here we are, talking some more about flat-six Caymans. Direct all PorschetonHeads mail to the usual address...
But there's good reason for the excitement. The Cayman - through both 987 and 981 generations - was the small coupe of choice for years; the combination of peachy powertrain, finely honed handling and pert good looks ensuring it remained formidable opposition for any prospective rival. Alternatives could beat it in certain areas - a 350Z was probably better looking than an early Cayman, a Monaro obviously had more power, a Z4 the hooligan charm - but as an all-round package it was pretty hard to find fault with. That was the case throughout the lifespan of the 987 and the 981 which followed - despite some concerns about electric steering, it was still the best small coupe out there. Then came the 718, which is probably a discussion for another time.
Point being we've had 15 years of the Cayman (usually) trouncing its opposition, which means a glut of cars available secondhand. Now, this has certainly been covered on PH before, from pretty much every angle, but we've reached a new milestone: a 987 Cayman with a '10' at the start of its price; more than that, a £10k Cayman that you might actually want.
High mileage cars have been around for ages, of course. But here we have a Cayman on less than 80,000 miles, in a sensible spec and with a manual gearbox for £10k. Alright, so it's a 2.7-litre standard car rather than an S, and it's £10,995 in truth, but the fact remains that this is a presentable Cayman for the price of a small Hyundai.
And what a joy that might be. A small, light, mid-engined Porsche coupe, with six cylinders and five manual gears to maximise the fun. Should you wish, the past decade and a half has yielded a wealth of tuning parts for the 987, with everything from track optimisation to full-on race car specification possible depending on imagination (and budget).
It isn't perfect, naturally. There's an oil leak on this particular car that's shown up on the MOT history as an advisory in a recent test, and failures for worn tyres don't exactly imply the most conscientious ownership. That's before considering the general cost of keeping a Porsche on the road - never a cheap endeavour. But then buying a cheap version of any car was never without its pitfalls, leave alone a cheap Cayman. And while there are myriad Boxsters on offer for less money, the other £10k Porsches aren't enormously desirable: the 996 Carrera has long departed this price range, leaving 944s and 924s alongside a few Cayennes available. No contest, really, is there?
'Interesting' is typically a euphemistic term for a used sports car purchase, in that every mishap will be 'interesting' for the internet to read about. And while there's plenty that could afflict a Cayman in the years to follow, there's a lot that should be tremendously enjoyable about the experience as well. Moreover, it would be surprising if the 987s depreciated a great deal further - though, as always, there are no guarantees about that. But don't forget there are plans for the Boxster and Cayman to be electric-only not long after the Macan does. Having one of the earliest six-cylinder cars, even just a 2.7, might look like a canny purchase come that time.
SPECIFICATION - PORSCHE CAYMAN (987)
Engine: 2,681cc, flat six
Transmission: 5-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 245@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 202@N/Arpm
First registered: 2006
Recorded mileage: 79,000
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £10,995