Oakley Wheelwright is a serial sh-tbox buyer and the current owner of Miles, CT’s now-legendary 400,000+ mile Skoda Octavia
What do you expect when you set out for a run? For me, a stitch perhaps or maybe an overwhelming desire to stop and have a nice sit-down. If I had to compile a list of unexpected events, then buying a Porsche Boxster would feature pretty high up said list, just below cracking that elusive 20 minute 5k. Nevertheless, that’s what happened to me.
Like so many fellow car enthusiasts, the 986 Porsche Boxster had been on my radar for a while now. With prices seemingly having hit rock bottom, they make for a very enticing proposition. A mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive Porsche for around £5,000 would surely tempt anyone remotely interested in all things automotive. So when the text popped in from Alex, alerting me to the availability of a 2.7-litre Boxster used in CT’s £5000 American vs Euro vs JDM challenge videos, I cut my run short and went straight to man maths HQ.
In this case, that meant my parent’s front garden. Having just opened our new shop, I knew I was in no position to be buying yet another car. A shared ownership proposition, on the other hand, was something altogether more sensible. My dad had been looking for another vehicle, something small, modern, reliable and cheap to run. A Honda Civic diesel had emerged as the favourite. After just half an hour of two seasoned car buying veterans convincing one another, we concluded it would be ridiculous, foolhardy even, to miss this chance. A Porsche Boxster was joining the family fleet.
The following Saturday, still rubbing tired eyes, we boarded the 4 am train bound for London. Three different services later and we emerged, blinking into the morning light. Chauffeured by Alex in his new long term test car, we were soon sipping our third coffees of the day. Conversation soon turned to all things Porsche. There were two of Stuttgart’s finest on the drive - our Boxster and a Guards Red 944. The latter being the main reason we were leaving with the keys to the 986.
Smitten with the Boxster’s charms, Alex thought about buying it for himself after filming had finished. The plan was to address a few issues and then enjoy it as a practical and rewarding sports car. Suspension issues and water damaged electricals fixed - the only thing left to do was drive it. However, while filming for the Trading Up series, Alex fell head over heels for the 944, thanks in part to his mother once owning one. With Phil in the garage and an eclectic mix of press cars and shitboxes coming and going, there was room for only one Porsche in the fleet. That’s where I came in.
Suitably caffeinated, we departed in torrential rain. Our sights trained on the Kent coast. Travelling on all manner of road surfaces and periodically enduring some very intense weather, it wasn’t long before I felt entirely at ease behind the wheel, helped by the Boxster’s innate sense of solidarity and surefootedness.
The motorway section soon dispatched, the sun decided to make an appearance as we hit the narrow country lanes of Kent. An impressive jackal and hyde character trick revealed itself as the roof dropped and the revs climbed. It felt fluid and all too easy to hustle along the twisting back roads, the banks reverberating to the howling boxer engine. I was a Porsche convert.
As is the other key player, yet to be introduced, my dad. Suffering from a very similar affliction to me, he’s owned countless cars over the years but admits to never having considered a Porsche. Initial concerns surrounded the low slung nature and a strong desire not to portray the mid-life crisis purchase. Apprehensions quickly vanished once he and the Boxster met since both he and my mum found it easier to enter and exit than their Volvo 940.
An unexpected but gratifying turn of events, having a Porsche on the drive has spawned a tinkering habit. More often than not, if I call in unexpectedly, I’ll find my dad outside, working on the Boxster. One day it might be using a trumpet cleaning tool to clear drain channels, the next and it might be time for some wax and polish. What he doesn’t want to do is lavish it with unnecessary expenditure. Boxster on a budget is the catchphrase - DIY jobs where possible and independent specialists when YouTube just can’t cut it.
Thanks to Miles the Skoda and the connection to Car Throttle created through him, I’ve had the pleasure of getting my hands on some fantastic cars, but the Boxster feels extra special. Slipping into the cabin, dropping the top and blasting along the coast, flooded in the sunshine, created one of my most memorable drives this summer. The Boxster is now heading for winter hibernation in the barn. The promise of more adventures next year will see both me and my dad, counting down the days until spring.