Living with a Porsche 997
Living the Dream
Is the reality as good as the Dream?
My dad always used to say to me that when it came to these types of cars the hunt was almost more fun than the arrival. Working hard, saving searching and dreaming has for the last 20 odd years become a way of life for me in regard to my ambition to one day own one of these cars. Now I have achieved it rather than a feeling of satisfaction I instead find myself doing the same all over again. Currently my ambition is to turn my 2001 Cavalier which I use as a daily driver into a 2001 to 2004 Boxster.
So to the question is the reality of owning my dream car as good as the dream? Unfortunately I am going to be ambiguous in my response. The answer is both yes and no. The car is amazing to drive, every time I use it I fall in love again with the experience that owning a Porsche means. I also can't recommend the cabriolet enough. Being able to drop the top on a sunny day and feel and hear the acceleration is just one of those life affirming moments. So why the no? The car for me is a good weather weekend toy and while the Boston area is blessed with wonderful summers I still can't help that nagging feeling that I have in the back of my mind which is that's an awful lot of money to have tied up in something that you essentially only use at the weekend. These thoughts are only compounded when I add insurance and servicing costs and of course my desire to add things to my toy. The last thing that has slightly lessened the overall joy in ownership of the car is that my wife is a little nervous to drive a stick these days. If she was more confident in driving the car on a day to day basis the above feeling of getting value out of it would certainly be lessened.
So given what I know now would I still have bought the car? The answer is yes. The highs I have had from owning the car outweigh the lows. Some people just love cars and others don't. If you are in the car lovers camp you will understand why spending money on something like this is worth while, even if you feel guilty from time to time. The fact is that every time I drive the car, wash the car or even see it I get a great sense of satisfaction from it.
997 holds her own next to the latest 991
How much does it cost to own one of the cars?
One of the things I would most have wanted to know when looking at one of my dream cars is how much does it actually cost to own one of these things.
There are two main categories of cost that you can associate to owning a 997. There are the costs you have no choice on and there are the costs you choose to pay.
In the first category I have encountered only one cost in my first 6 months of ownership. However even this needs a little bit of explaining. As part of my warranty agreement I have to get the oil changed on the car every 6 months plus what ever other servicing tasks that need to be performed. This cost approximately 250 usd. However despite the claims of my dealer when I received my car it was missing the service book. I could see the car had been regularly serviced in the carchex information but the last service they said they had performed was not showing anywhere. This meant that the car had a weak service history if I ever wanted to resell it privately, but more importantly to me it made me doubt whether it was in mechanically as good a shape as I thought it was. Therefore for my own peace of mind I took it into the local main Porsche dealer and agreed with them that it was probably best to have the last major redone as from the carfax it appeared it may have been missed. I also asked them to take a quick look at the cabriolet top as it was squeaking when I put it down. My quote was for an eye watering 1500 usd but as explained I thought it was for the best. When I picked the car up I received a bill for 1200 usd and a nice shiny stamp in my new service book. I talk to the mechanic who had worked on my car and he confirmed to me that the car was in fantastic condition although there was one little warning for me in the form that my tires would need replacing in the near future. For some reason the car felt better than ever driving back that evening :) and when I dropped the top noticed they had even fixed the squeaking that had come from the mechanism previously.
The only other thing that has even slightly concerned me on the car was that I found that if you tried to restart the car after a short journey or even more embarrassingly after you stalled it then it would need to turn over quite a few times before the engine would fire back to life. I mentioned this to the Porsche dealer when I went in for the above service and that I had read on the forums it was often caused by corroded battery contacts. They said they would have a look and like everything else has been problem free since that service.
So for costs I couldn't avoid my total has been 1200 but if it wasn't for the convoluted history above would normally be around the 300 usd mark.
When I got the car although in great condition I wanted to get it detailed. A level one correction with the installation of an xpel ultra bra across the front set me back 1200 usd. The guys I choose did an amazing job and the car came back looking like a deep pool of black water. I also have to say that the areas covered in the film are so easy to look after compared to the uncovered areas of the car. As you can see in the attached photos car looked amazing.
I have done some minor alterations to the interior such as changing the interior lights to LEDs that has cost me about 75usd and changed out some sticky buttons I had on the PCM units. The latest addition I have just managed to pick up off the forum but have yet to fit is a the PSE (Porsche Sports Exhaust) which set me back 1000 usd including shipping. I need to pick up the lines for the valveswhich apparently will cost me another 169 usd and it is looking like installation is going to cost me about another 1000 usd.
Total other costs today = 2325usd however with exhaust fitted is going to be closer to 3500 usd.
So presuming I have the exhaust installed in the next month or so the total cost of the car so far will have been 4700 usd not including insurance or any of the cleaning products I have bought. (perhaps its not such a good idea reflecting on what you have done over the last 6 months :))
Detailing really brings out the shine
How to keep the car Clean
One of the areas I have really gotten into since I have had this car is in looking at car cleaning products that give me better results while at the same time making my life eaiser.
The products I would recommend you pick up in order to assit you with keeping your car clean are
Sonax Wheel Cleaner. What you do with this stuff is to pull your car out of the garage and before you go off to fill your buckets with water you squirt this stuff over your wheels. It then chemically cleans them pulling all the hard to remove stuff of the wheels. It turns from a lime green color to a bright red as it removes all those hard to get out brake particles. when you return from filling your buckets simply rinse the wheels down with a hose. It is just then a simple case of wiping over the wheels with your wheel cleaning brushes.
Girots Micro Fibre Wheel wands. These are great for cleaning your wheels. The bigger size of the two brushes also happens to fit perfectly into the holes on the Lobster wheels making them particularly easy to clean out the hollowed parts of these wheels.
Borla Exhaust cleaner and polish. You will also need some Bronze wool. Put a spot of this stuff on the wool and you can quickly (still takes some elbow grease) buff those exhausts up. Once you have applied the polish and worked it up so the black carbon as disappeared just use a micro fibre towel to buff them up to a brilliant shine.
Gilmour 75QGFMR Foamaster Adjustable Multi Ratio Cleaning Gun and Chemical Guys Maxi Suds. I love this thing. You just attach it to your hose and you are able to create the foam you need to remove those nasty particles from the car that lead to a lot of the swirls you see in some cars paint work.
I also have some cheap wheel brushes I use to help clean the tire part of the car. # large buckets from Home Depot a wool which a friend got from Dooka a detailer in the UK along with one of those amazing large micro fibre drying towels.
Having the right tools to clean your car makes the experience easier and more fun.
Wheels and Tires
I am sure everyone has there favorite wheels for the 997. Mine are the Carrera Sport II wheels pictured to the right. I just think they suit the car fantastically however it appears I am not the only one as they tend to either be priced very highly on the second hand market or move very quickly when they do turn up at a good price. I am also a huge fan of the Carrera classics and the lobsters I have on my car currently also look great. So why do I want to change them? As I said we all have our favorites and owning these cars tends to be more a heart reaction than a head one. Also the wheels on my car while not in bad shape are not in great shape either. A few scuffs where wheels have been mounted or bolts tightened mean they either need to be replaced or refurbished. My mood on this changes about as quickly as the wind changes direction and today as I right this I am leaning toward the cheaper refurbishment option. I will let you know as soon as I make a decision one way or another.
Tires are also on my mind a lot at the moment simply because I know the current Pirelli shoes I have on the car are getting close to being worn out. From my reading on the subject the best tires to purchase at the moment are Michelin Pilot Super Sports as they are quieter than Bridgestone or Pirelli wheels and by all account give better performance while being cheaper as well. Why Pilot Super Sports over Pilot Sport 2? One of the arguments is that you should buy PS2 tires as the have the N rating which shows they are approved for use on Porsche cars. While the Super Sports lack this rating they in fact represent the newest technology and outperform the ps2 tires despite being heavier. From my reading of the forums everyone who has purchased the PSS have been incredibly happy with them. At 5oo usd less for a set of 4 than the PS2 tires they also represent a considerable cost saving and will most certainly be my next purchase. In particular I am looking forward to the lower road noise they give in comparison to the Pirelli wheels.
I am only going to briefly touch on this subject as I haven't really made any changes to the car on this front. The closet I will have gotten so far is the PSE when it is installed and the reason I am doing this is not to raise the physical performance of the car but to improve its aural one instead. It does give me a nice excuse to add a few PSE youtube clips to the bottom of this page however :).
What are my thoughts on modifying a Porsche? In very simple terms there are those people who think its blasphemy and there are those who thinks what ever makes your car better is perfectly fine. Amongst those who are mod friendly however you also get those who will only change items for Porsche parts and those who are happy to look as all options in improving there car. My view is its your car do what ever you want to it, I personally lean toward sticking with oem parts simply because I wouldn't be in rush to buy a car full of lots of third party parts myself.
In terms of what modifications I have on my wish list for the car so to speak I would currently list them as.
- x51 Headers
- Third radiator
- new plenum.
Of those parts only the last one listed isn't a Porsche oem part. However the reason I am not rushing to do any of this is that the performance gains are not mind blowing especially compared to the cost. The little list above would set me back about 2000 USD and then labor costs on top. When you bear in mind that this costs more than my current daily driver you can understand my hesitance even more. With my mind set toward replacing the daily driver with a Boxster the idea of at the moment spending this money seems out of the question.
PSE Exhaust 997.2
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