Normally I don’t shoot cars that have been very picked over as there isn’t that much to see, but while Boxsters aren’t super-rare, the ones I come across in the junkyard venues I attend are usually accident or burn victims. This was the first that isn’t visually offensive in one of those ways and the fact that it was so picked over makes it perhaps of interest to see what’s underneath the usual shiny paint that most of us are limited to looking at. In addition I don’t believe we have ever featured a Boxster in the metal here although by now the oldest are well into CC range, this particular one being a 2000 model which included a larger and slightly more powerful engine than the one they debuted with. The big bonus here is that the engine is still in the car and I caught up with it the day before it was going to the crusher, it was the next car in line to be removed.
The logical assumption is that someone just gave up on it after the IMS bearing perhaps failed, which was the big bugaboo of this generation of watercooled Porsches (Boxster and Carrera), however tracking the VIN led me to find out that it was actually involved in an accident while stationary involving the front right corner, not that anything is visually apparent underneath the now missing bodywork. A hood, fender and headlight and the labor to put it all back together would be enough to finish it off. All indications are that this was a well loved and well taken care of car, however early Boxsters have reached the point that even a small amount of damage will result in a total loss and a moderately large mechanical issue will have owners thinking twice about investing the money.
The structural damage to this car appears to be limited to a small corner right above the black bracket just behind the aluminum bumper bar. What’s dangling below is one of the two AC condensers which would have been mounted in series with a radiator, there’d be a set on either side behind the front bumper. Obviously the entire front suspension has been liberated from this car as well.
The right side of the front shows the radiator hanging from that side, most other front end components are gone. Boxster parts are not particularly expensive (when used, new is another story) but these are now well into the hands of do it yourself hobbyists, so good used parts are still quite sought after.
Stuff like trunk linings generally never disappear on junked cars, this one is more stripped than most in that regard. This particular car was actually assembly by Valmet in Finland, whom Porsche contracted with when they got far more orders for the Boxster than they could handle at Stuttgart. Valmet is a well known contract manufacturer and engineering firm that has also built cars for Saab, Talbot, Mercedes, Opel, Lada, and Fisker, among others. Some people swear that the Finnish Boxsters are better assembled than the German ones, but most evidence shows they are completely interchangeable without an advantage either way.
I found it interesting to look at how the seams were pasted in the upper corner for example and just to see all of the little components mounted here and there in a modern car, I sort of geek out over all of that type of stuff in the ‘yards and repeatedly find myself wondering how I never ended up in the auto industry…
The name Lucas is still enough to keep people well away from components bearing the name, (I kid, I kid), in this case it’s actually Lucas Girling, the brake people. The two coilpacks laying there are somewhat ominous though.
The battery is mounted just ahead of the windshield base, which keeps the mass pretty centered if higher than it really needs to be. The easiest way to replace them is to actually step into the trunk, which seems a little hair-raising, at least it was for me when I did it on my old Carrera. Of course it’s completely solid but I see enough rusted through trunks in the junkyard to always wonder about it. You can get it out from the side but that’s a lot of dead weight to lift while pretty stretched out and afraid of dropping it onto the fender or something. The filter is the cabin air filter, also changed from the front after removing the same panel that covers the battery.
Stepping back again we can see what remains of the front left, which doesn’t amount to a whole lot.
Slightly closer, what was gratifying for me to see at least was how, just as on our Tesla, a good chunk of the structure that isn’t seen isn’t covered in body colored paint. The blue of the Porsche is similar to that of our car, so when I was under it and poking around I was curious that not everything seemed fully painted, it’s also something that people seem to complain about or knock Tesla about. Well, Porsche seems to do the same, so I’ll consider it perfectly normal, clearly it saves some small amount of weight and cost and this 21-year old car exhibited zero corrosion.
The cabin was well picked over, even though being a 2000 model doesn’t have as nice of finishes as the slightly later models do, still, replacement pieces are desirable when in good nick. The dashboard itself is still there though and just as with a 911 the ignition is on the left.
Most every part of this car from this point towards the front of the car is shared with the Porsche Carrera of the era. This obviously helped Porsche to start being profitable again after the Boxster debuted in 1996 (1997 in the US) and the Carrera shortly thereafter (1999 in the US). At the time Porsche was hemorrhaging money and the Cayenne was still a distant concept, coming up with a way to save serious money by designing two cars with many parts in common was a company-saver.
Under the rollbar and where the convertible top would sit is the engine. Note that someone has cut part of the firewall away (the top part), there is usually just a small access cover for the belts from the cabin side. While the original cars used a 2.5l flat-6, by 2000 it was upgraded to a 2.7l unit, producing 217hp @ 6,500 rpm and 192 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm. While this doesn’t seem like a huge amount, it’s plenty to propel the car forward at a quick rate, while making excellent noises right behind your back. Personally I find the shriek of the original 2.5l even sweeter but the slight extra power would be welcome. Porsche also introduced an “S” model which increased the engine size to a 3.2l with obviously more power.
While a 2.7l engine is a usable upgrade for a very early car, if given a choice most would likely prefer the “S” motor or just step straight up to either the 3.4l from an early watercooled Carrera or the 3.6l from a 2002 or newer one, the power difference there is significant and it fits perfectly fine without any overly significant extra work (I’m oversimplifying a bit, some early engines have other differences such as cable throttle vs electronic etc. but a lot of options are mix and match). Porsche never did as they realized the the Boxster (and more specifically, the very related Cayman (Boxster with a roof) would be a faster car than a Carrera and a better handler, thus feeling the need to artificially protect the crown jewel.
I do not know why there is an exhaust manifold gasket laying on top of the engine, as can be seen there is access from the top, but the design really is to access most items from the bottom and in general with a well equipped shop it’s not difficult to just drop the engine and transmission out from the bottom. Maintenance is not particularly rigorous, and in general these are quite reliable and long lasting cars.
This particular car had 104,556 miles on it, so the engine is well within its normal lifespan and based on the condition, it is virtually certain that the IMS bearing had been replaced with a more durable unit (not really an overly difficult or expensive procedure, but less desirable to do as these cars drop in value). Since it was an accident car, the engine wasn’t the problem, but who knows what someone found to make it not worth taking. Perhaps someone tried to take it out of the top, although the yard would lift the car up higher if asked. The cost of the long block with everything attached here would be around $200, if running this engine is worth significantly more than that and even as a core for another purpose would be, it is genuinely curious that it is still in here, this yard generally has its engines removed very quickly, far quicker than the other yards I wander around in.
The driver’s side vent is the air intake…
…while the passenger side vents air out with a fan behind it.
Moving around to the back we can see the sort of Speedster look of the back end, with the mid-engine this was a superbly balanced car (far better than any 911), and basically reversed relative to that car with the transmission behind instead of in front of it.
It’s nice to have the extra trunk space of the Boxster although obviously the cabin is limited to two people instead of four(ish).
At the upper right are the fill ports for oil and water, spelled out in four languages, reflecting the worldwide sales base of the car. Overall they tried to make the car as user friendly and owner maintainable as possible, at this generation of Porsches (Boxster and Carrera), really are. Far less maintenance intensive and considered some of the easiest to maintain over time this has helped their popularity immensely over the years.
The small dent in the quarterpanel was almost assuredly not there when it was delivered here. I’m not sure how I neglected to take pictures inside the rear wheelwell, especially as the rear brake disks, hubs, and axles seem to be there. I also am not sure if the transmission was removed from this car although I think it was. The next time I came by the car was already gone.
It’s also odd that the rear bumper cover stayed with the car, although there could be damage that isn’t visible here. The center exhaust was probably damaged by the yard when they (stupidly) used it to rest the car on the welded wheel stand.
This car probably looked something like this one a couple of months ago, but in the end has served as a donor to countless other cars, so that’s the bright side here. And it gave us an opportunity to look under the skin of a Boxster.