The year after next, the Porsche Boxster will be a classic car - launched in 1996, 2021 will mark its 25th birthday. And although the point has been trotted out with unerring and almost irritating regularity, it's hard to imagine a modern Porsche existing without the Boxster - before it, the company was making the transaxle cars and the 993; now there's a sprawling empire of successful vehicles, from saloons to SUV coupes, buoyed by the late-90s renaissance.
It has absorbed its share of flak, too. The fried egg headlights, the anaemic early powertrains, the push-me, pull-you styling, the reliability issues secondhand... it hasn't been the easiest 20 years or so, despite superlative dynamics and opening up Porsche to a whole new sector of buyers.
But look at it this way: the Boxster is a mid-engined, six-cylinder, manual Porsche sports car, one without much interference from 21st century technology. They make great road cars as standard, they can be tweaked pretty simply into decent track cars and, best of all, they're still cheap. Numbers contribute to that, as will its reputation - deserved or otherwise - and should be taken advantage of, because it won't last.
There have been cheap Boxsters for a while, in the same way there were cheap 924s, 944s, 968s and 928s for what felt like yonks. Then the good ones were used for track cars, or Porsche took an additional step away from what those cars represented, and the desirability increased. Now you can't get in a 968 Sport for less than £20k, and the 928 is commanding big bucks. The days of Shed 924s seem very, very long ago.
Yet here we have a Boxster S, with the RMS and IMS issues rectified, in a nice specification and with a low mileage, for £5,000. Cheaper cars are out there, though none appeal quite like this one. Its Lapiz Blue paints looks great in the photos, it has matching tyres on its 18-inch wheels, it was serviced three thousand miles ago and its third cars status would imply it's looked after well. There's even a trip back from mid Wales to factor into the bargain...
It really is pretty hard to argue against. When rivals like the Honda S2000 and original BMW Z4 are starting to be appreciated, even the 996 era of 911, the Boxster can't be far behind. While it really is difficult to see something like a Cayenne achieving true cult status, the Boxster is peak Porsche as far as layout goes: flat-six, engine behind the driver, drop-top roadster styling.
Running a used Porsche on a tight budget is never advisable, though with a lot of the usual Boxster issues addressed - plus a seemingly conscientious maintenance schedule - there shouldn't be too much to be concerned about. Not for five thousand pounds at any rate. It's hard to think of anything endowed with mightier bang for so few bucks. Don't come complaining when the good 986 Boxsters are more than double this...