Ran When Parked: 2002 Porsche Boxster

Modern day barn finds are intriguing specimens, largely because they represent vehicles that in most cases, haven’t been put out to pasture. In the case of this Porsche Boxster, the owner has clearly had better things to do than keep up with the maintenance, as it’s been left sitting for a few years with a dead battery and thick coating of dust. He’s owned it since 2015, and has certainly racked up the miles in that time, with 210,000 showing on the odometer. These are fairly dependable sports cars if the troublesome IMS bearing doesn’t do you in, but not particularly desirable with the automatic gearbox. Find this tired Boxster here on craigslist in the San Francisco Bay Are for $6,500.

While we may be inclined to thinking this Boxster is owned by a person of means who just doesn’t care, remember that you can get into these for fairly short money, especially a Tiptronic car like this that most enthusiasts don’t want any way. The Boxster is, in some ways, the modern day 924, but only as it relates to perceived value – a Boxster outshines a 924 in every capacity and twice on Sunday. The point I’m trying to make is that some owners see the Boxster as disposable, especially when not found in S trim with the manual gearbox. You can pick them up reasonably cheap, and if you’re willing to roll the dice on the IMS bearing, there’s endless options for a sub-$10,000 purchase.

Now, despite how awful it looks outside, the interior is in decent shape. Plus, it’s black leather, which is always in season. The seller doesn’t offer any details on whether there are any issues, or if the air conditioning still works, but the cabin at least tells me the Boxster wasn’t totally abused. Plus, it looks mostly OEM inside, with items like the CD tray holders and the steering wheel the correct specs, even if the radio head unit has been swapped out. What’s most impressive is that coating of dust and dirt on the glass – there’s little doubt this Boxster has been parked for quite some time. I wonder if the heated seats still work?

The Porsche license plate frame is a must-have for the first-time P car owner, a small detail you’ll likely never see on an air-cooled example. The seller isn’t interested in your low ball offers and keeps it straightforward by noting you’ll get a pink slip and a bill of sale one you put $6,500 in his hand. Of course, not hearing it run and determining if the IMS is bad is a fairly risky move, especially considering this isn’t a giveaway price – but you’ll quickly have a paperweight if you crank it up for the first and hear the dreaded popping sounds indicative of a failed bearing, hopefully before you embark on long-ish sunset cruise. Is this dusty Boxster worth the asking price, especially considering the neglect it’s been subjected to?


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  1. JoeNYWF64

    2 words – the headlite COVERS – & many cars many makes have been on the road drIving at nite for the last 25 yrs with ones in the same or worse condition. & there’s been no recalls. Not one. Just shaking my head repeatedly left to right.

    Like 3
  2. Steveo

    Hilly San Francisco is a dandy place to learn to drive a stick shift, but as a daily routine I expect it would get old fast so a slush box isn’t the worst thing in the world. If he has a pink slip and not a cert of non-op past registration might be a bit pricey and it’s already no giveaway with a double ton of miles.

    Like 15
    • Steve R

      Most of the thoroughfares in San Francisco aren’t particularly hilly. Besides, this car is located in Watsonville which is about 100 miles south of San Francisco located on the flatlands between Santa Cruz and Monterey.

      Steve R

      Like 29
      • Chester

        I live in SF; you are wrong.

        Like 21
    • SebastianX1/9

      If you don’t want to drive a manual, then buy a different car. An automatic mid engine Porsche is absurd.

      Like 7
  3. CJinSD

    I don’t know that non-running automatic Boxsters are worth more than scrap value. Back when they were commonly seen cars, I knew of a Porsche service center in Southern California where they’d stopped taking them for free almost a decade ago. All the same things broke on every one of them, so the Boxsters they had stacked in storage already had all of the parts nobody needed and none of the parts that get the cars taken off the road.

    Like 4
  4. Mike Freeman

    Another little Boxster quirk is that the top boot will fry the electrical system. They’re made out of a neoprene type material and as the top goes up and down it rubs a hole on both sides of the boot towards the front at it’s lowest point. Owner ignores musty smell as the back of the interior floor fills with water(There’s a raised gusset across the floor pan that catches it like a dam) As it fills and water gets under the seats every time you touch the brakes it cooks the computer module under the seats. Car starts doing weird things all by itself.

    Like 3
  5. Dave

    By 2002, the IMS issues wasn’t nearly as big of a threat as it had been in the first couple of years, as I had a 2001 standard Boxster for years. For 2000/2001, Porsche had slightly reconfigured the engine and made the standard Boxster more powerful and the chance of the IMS issue almost non-existent. The thing about a Porsche is and one of the ways to ever avoid the IMS issue is you want to make sure to rev the car to at least 4000 rpm before gear change. Porsches are not designed to have gear changes in lower revs. Now being that this car is automatic, I’m not sure how feasible that is, however, mine was a 5 speed manual, and I always got the car to 4000-4500 rpm before gear changing, on advice of many Porsche specialists.

    Like 1
  6. t-bone BOB

    Located in Watsonville, CA

  7. Rich nepon

    Been driving a ‘87 944 with tiptronic for 14 years. Tons of fun, especially around town. Geared for stoplight wars. Handles just like a stick would on long windy roads, but a pleasure in traffic.

    Like 2
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Rich, Did you add Tip to your 944? I don’t think Tip ever came in a 944, and certainly not in an ’87.
      I don’t think they came in the 911 until the early 90’s.

      Like 2
      • Rich Nepon

        No, I’m pretty sure it was original. I’ve seen others. This one was apparently wrecked when four years old. Squired by a body shop that clipped the whole front end, cut the top off, created a folding top, Dutchman panel and trunk lid. He also added 1” square tubing down each side. The title remained original through NJ,Pa,FL & got changed to convertible in Oregon. Never a branded title. I bought it at 40,000 miles. It is now just under 80,000. Had 4 snow tires in PA snow! Went everywhere.

        Like 1
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        Porsche doesn’t agree with that. Tip was never available in the 944, I’m not sure if they had a specific name for the auto unit that went into them. However, yours is so heavily modified that one could easily have ended up in there, and it would be a very good upgrade.

      • Rich Znepon

        I have seen others. I also show it listed in parts catalogs.

    • Brian

      I put a lot of miles on my friend’s Boxster with a tiptronic and I preferred it to a manual. Just as much fun to drive with less work. Most of the comments here are from guys who have never driven a Porsche. I’m on my second Porsche with this one being the car of my dreams, a Panamera

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Well, I’m no Porsche expert and have never owned one, I just go by what I have read about them since I am a fan.

      Glad that yours had one, they are great transmissions.

  8. Ray Boyajian

    Are we really talking about ims issues on a car with 210k miles? You can buy good boosters for under $10k all day long. This guys gonna sit on this thing for awhile…

    Like 3
  9. Claudio

    This guy wants to keep his boxster with this asking price !
    I first tried the steering wheel shift button on a toyota
    I had 2 mr2’s, one stick and one with buttons,
    The toyota smt is awesome but the car was simply underpowered for me so i upgraded to a boxster with tiptronic and loved it , kept it for a few years and regret selling it but life constantly forces you to change things

    I would buy another but would be an S but prices have gone up by $5k since the covid lie kicked in

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Hey Claudio,
      Was it the MR2 Spyder that you had? I almost went to look at one locally last weekend but decided it is too late in the season now to buy a convertible.

      Just want to get your opinion of the car. I too am concerned about the power band. I guess I am looking for a low cost Elise option. I drove one of those years ago and was amazed.

      • Claudio

        Yes , they were spyders
        2000 to 2005
        They are go carts and handle like one
        2200 pounds of fun
        I too tried the elise
        And loved it but getting in and out and the price were not for me
        I haven’t met many owners that didn’t love their mr2’s
        But i always felt that it lacked in power with all else being spot on
        If i remember , the hp was 155 , the same as a base celica of the same year wich my brother had
        Go and try one , you should have a smile in no time !

      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        Thanks Claudio!

        My friend had the Elise and I agree with your assessment – spartan and hard to get in and our, and too much money, but what a blast!

        I read where there is an easy engine change for the MR2 to go to a higher powered Toyota engine. I figured that meant that a lot of people think they are underpowered.

        They seem more interesting to me than a Miata for the same money.

  10. Claudio

    The mr2 is miles above the miata

    If i could find a reliable mec for an engine swap , i would to it but sadly i have fought that battle before and can only find unreliable scumbags …

    Like 1

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