Feature Listing: 2009 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet

If I’m honest, I was a bit disappointed with the Larz Anderson Auto Museum German Car Day. The main reason why was that in some ways it turned in to a new car show, with basically brand new models turning up on the lawn. As an enthusiast, I’m torn in two different directions by this. The positive side of me says that I should embrace all enthusiasts irrespective of their origin. After all, if I walked in to a dealer today and purchased a brand new M4 I’d feel pretty proud of it too. But the cynical side of me says sure, but I can drive down the road to the dealership an see the exact same car. It wasn’t just BMWs, though – there were brand new Audis, Volkswagens and Porsches present too. In fact, the number of new or very close to new cars seemed to outweigh the number of cars more than 10 years old. Am I just a curmudgeon? Perhaps, and considering I showed up in a relatively new car maybe its hypocritical of me to question other’s presence there. But it seems as though, in part, the generation of enthusiasts that is currently emerging in this soundbite, disposable world is just looking for what is newest and flashiest. Want to go fast with the top down? It doesn’t come much flashier than the 911 Turbo Cabriolet.

But I’m not talking about this 2009 Turbo Cab. No, I’m talking about the brand new 991.2 Turbo S Cabriolet. With 580 horsepower on tap, there isn’t much outside of a S1000RR that can keep up – and if you’re in launch mode, you can leave the bike behind off the line. It’s full of technical highlights and gadgetry that will make any silicon valley executive proud to call it their ride of choice. But there are two very big reasons why I’d choose this older 997 model over a brand new car. First is the price; with no options selected, the base Turbo Cabriolet stickers at $170,000 with the S commanding a further $30,000 premium. Despite nearly new condition, this 997 is available at half that rate as it’s no longer the biggest, baddest or newest stick on the market. But the second reason has more to do with that stick.

You can’t get a manual transmission.

Much has been made of this and truth told the newest automatics truly are amazing. But as the classic Porsche mantra has been driver engagement, and it’s hard to claim a manual is less engaging than an automatic no matter how quickly it shifts. This car may not be the last turbocharged drop-top from Porsche, but it does seem to currently seem to signal an end of an era at the company, and if history has told us anything about the cars from Stuttgart it is to pay attention to those changes:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2009 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet at Sun Valley Autos

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2008 Porsche Boxster S

 

I’m not sure if there is a more under appreciated and oft maligned sports car than the Porsche Boxster. I was quite fond of the original generation, even had a 1:18 scale Maisto model of the original concept version that would become the 986. I think what drew me to the car was the obvious design nod to the Porsche 550 Spyder, which is art on wheels as far as I’m concerned. The majority of people would say the Boxster is just the opposite. They still look at it as the poor man’s Porsche or the divorcee mobile or the car you get bait & switched into by a shady dealership when by some divine miracle, you make a hole in one at the tournament with a WIN A PORSCHE gimmick. Look it up, that kind of thing has totally happened.

I actually think that’s a good thing because it leaves plenty of these cars out there for those of us who know better than to be swayed by public opinion. The Boxster isn’t without its faults but that can be said of all Porsches right up to the very tip top models that like to catch on fire just for the hell of it. The Boxster is a great choice of vehicle for anyone who just loves to drive.  First one I got to pilot was a 2013 base model with the excellent 6spd manual transmission, top down on the freeway in the middle of December on a cloudy day in Los Angeles. I remember everything about that experience vividly and I think that’s a true testament to just how good of a machine these are.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Porsche Boxster S on Cars.com

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Future or Now? 1998 993 Carrera 4S v. 2007 997 Turbo

This past weekend I caught a bit of the Mecum Auction action, and I was pretty stunned to see a fairly new 993 Turbo in Arena Red come across the auction block. Generally, when newer metal comes across the block at these auctions, the commentators break to commercial sponsors and don’t really pay attention. But the 911 market is such that this particular 993 – which wasn’t perfect, mind you – hammered for around $170,000 not including fees. The surge in air-cooled prices is amazing, and it seems that there’s a scramble to buy what good examples are left while they’re still affordable. Two cars were sent our way by readers last week that got me thinking more about this; one was the 993 Carrera 4S that you see here from our reader John, and a 2005 996 Turbo S in Signal Green – reportedly 1 of 1 – from our reader Michael. I’ve talked before about how the 996 Turbo is a screaming performance deal right now, and this one-off Turbo S wasn’t too far from the price of the 993 Carrera 4S offered here.

Obviously, despite being very similar cars in many respects the two have very different markets. Those in the 993 market are looking for a rapidly appreciating classic; a well proportioned, ultimate development of the air-cooled days of Porsche when limited production numbers, over engineering and sublime driving experiences ruled the day. Those in the 996 market are looking for the most performance they can buy, and a twin-turbo, all-wheel drive 911 is truly a car that now can be used all year long while lighting your hair on fire every time you hit the loud pedal. Unfortunately, that Signal Green example disappeared before I could get this article up; what I found to replace it might even be more astounding – a 997 Turbo Sport Chrono with less than 40,000 miles on the clock. Nearly a decade separates these two cars and there’s a substantial performance gap as well; which would you choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S on eBay

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