The Truth About Cars » porsche cayman The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 30 Jul 2014 14:05:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » porsche cayman Will Auto Enthusiasts in 2053 See The Alfa Romeo 4C As This Generation’s Dino? Fri, 27 Sep 2013 12:00:36 +0000 IMG_0737

When it was first introduced, what we know today as the Ferrari Dino was a bit of a conundrum. Simultaneously a tribute to Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari’s beloved deceased son, the first roadgoing midengine car from Ferrari, and an attempt to amortize costs between Ferrari and Fiat, which had bought the sports car maker in 1969, the Dino was also the first non-V12 powered car made by Ferrari and in fact it was not originally sold as a Ferrari. Dino was supposed to be a new marque for six and eight cylinder cars from the company, at a lower price point than Ferrari branded cars. That idea went away after the Dino 308 models, but the notion that the Dino was not quite a Ferrari sort of stuck to the car when it first came out. That the Dino had a DOHC V6 engine, designed by Ferrari to compete in Formula 2 but originally built in a Fiat factory to homologate it and shared with the Fiat Dino, a completely different car with, confusingly, the same name, didn’t help matters. Dinos from Ferrari weren’t cheap, about $13,000-$14,000 when new four decades ago, thousands more than a Porsche 911, and if my memory serves me well, they languished on the dealer lots and then stagnated in price once out of production. In the late 1970s, I’m pretty sure you could get them for used car money. At least at first.

Today Dinos are welcome at any Ferrari meet and it could cost you the price of a new Ferrari California to buy a 1973 Dino 246. Hagerty Insurance’s price guide says that the average price of a 40 year old Dino 246 is $172,000.

I’m not here to talk about the Ferrari Dino, though.


This post is sort of written from the perspective of an auto enthusiast in the year 2053, forty years hence and it’s about the new Alfa Romeo 4C, already evoking cackles in 2013 from Chris Harris and comparisons to Ferraris by Road & Track. The 4C is the cheapest car you can buy today with a carbon fiber structure, one of the things that’s going to limit production to just 3,000 units a year. Only a few more Ferrari Dinos were made in its full production run, 3,761, so Dinos will always be rarer than 4Cs. Still at a suggested retail U.S. price of $54,000, you could buy three 4Cs, and have about $41,000 left over for when you needed something more practical if you opted for Alfas rather than that Ferrari California, and you’d have at least 10 more cylinders than if you bought the California.


I have a hunch that should Sergio Marchionne actually start selling the 4C in the U.S. next spring that in time it may become something akin what the Dino is today. While it may never have the cachet of being a Ferrari, I just don’t see with that carbon fiber tub how it’s going to depreciate the same as the cars that it will compete with, primarily the Porsche Cayman and perhaps the Evora from Lotus. The Cayman’s made in much greater volumes than the 4C is, and considering that the Evora is more costly, even Alfa Romeo probably has a better record on depreciation than Lotus.


What do you think? Will the Alfa Romeo 4C be a potential blue chip collectible, like air-cooled Porsche 911s are these days? A 1973 Porsche 911S model averages just about $100K these days. That’s a nice appreciation in price, but a ’73 Dino has done even better.


Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallac view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Porsche Makes The Scene At Adbusters, Linked To A Mental Illness Wed, 28 Aug 2013 19:08:27 +0000 porschead

Your humble E-I-C is a fairly committed capitalist tool, in pretty much all senses of the phrase, but I’m also a fairly ardent reader of left-leaning publications and books. This month’s Adbusters throws a shout out to Porsche by reprinting a recent Cayman ad and superimposing a description of narcissistic personality disorder on it. To be fair, the first stereotype regarding Porsche owners probably sprang into existence when the first customer for the Gmund coupe drove it past his neighbor on the way home from taking delivery, but it’s easy to argue that the company’s actions of the past fifteen years have done a lot to make those stereotypes more true than ever.

Porsche fans and owners have always battled the stereotype of the P-car driver as a pathetic little prick hiding behind the pricetag and alleged superiority of his hilariously overpriced German status symbol. For much of the first fifty years that Porsche was in business, however, the company’s defenders could offer the same milled-stainless rebuttal that aficionados of Rolex watches, PRS guitars, Huntsman suits, and Pelikan pens could use: yeah, the stuff costs more money than anybody should pay, and yeah the product may be the choice of various unlovely and/or reprehensible individuals, but it’s engineered and built to a superior standard. The product has merit apart from the social message it sends. Oftentimes that’s a valid defense. I was recently taken to task by a member of the B&B for bragging about my PRS Private Stock guitars, and I’ll admit that he had a point, but if you played a PRS-PS guitar with no markings on it you’d immediately notice that it’s made to a standard that you don’t get anywhere else. Res ipsa loquitur and all that, homie.

(That same member of the B&B also implied I was a fan of Joe Bonnamassa. A repeat of that allegation by him or anyone else will earn that individual the title of First Member Of Our August Commenting Community To Be Banned Under The New Regime, by the way, as will the use of the phrase “Black Rock” without concurrent use of the name “Vernon Reid”.)

Say what you want about the yuppie Carrera explosion of the Eighties, but those 3.2-liter aircooled cars were built to last indefinitely. They don’t rust and although they are far from trouble-free, they last and last and last. That statement could be applied to most Porsches built before 1997, even the 944 and its descendants. There are a lot of 150,000-mile cars out there with numbers on the door at PCA meets. The normally-aspirated eight-valve 944 continues to be represented in staggering numbers in almost all forms of club racing, and it’s not just because people love them.

That was then, and this is now. The thousand injuries of water-cooled Porsche I have borne the best I can, and others have done the same, but the arrival of the Cayenne and Panamera made it absolutely plain that the company was no longer interested in creating durable and venerable products. The endless bleating by the “Stuttgart syndrome” crowd about how the manufacture of two-ton glandular-dysfunction blob-mobiles was absolutely essential to maintaining Porsche’s independence has been hilariously deconstructed by the fact that Porsche’s stewards used the money for fiscal adventurism even as they claimed to have pockets too empty to create a proper four-cylinder entry-level car. The company is now half-owned by Volkswagen, making the Cayenne, Pajun, and Panamera approximately as necessary to the company’s plans as would be a Bugatti medium-duty pickup.

The days when Porsche ran advertisements like this:


are long gone. Today it is assumed that the prospective buyer is a moneyed moron looking to attach his image to, er, “carve his niche” with, the most expensive Porsche he can afford. The merits of the product, where discussed, are done so nebulously. The important thing is that the car look like a Porsche and that it incur feeling of envy and/or hatred in one’s peers. The modern cars might blow their engines or nav screens 30,000 miles into the ownership process, but what customer would keep the car that long.

I will forever cherish a conversation I had on Facebook with PCNA’s Communications Manager a few years ago. I was discussing my frustration with the company’s direction when the fellow, upon learning that my newest Porsche was four years old, said something very snarky along the lines of “we’re not in the business of catering to the desires of used car buyers” or something like that. I cannot express how much pleasure it gave me to buy an Audi S5 instead of a 911 when the time came to do so. I guarantee that you can show up at a PRS event with a used Private Stock — hell, a used SE model — and you won’t hear any shit like that from Paul Reed Smith, because he’s smart enough to know that it’s commercial suicide for a company to turn their back on people who bought their last guitar/car/watch four years ago. Ferrari sure as hell doesn’t treat their clients that way.

It amounts to the Hublot-ization of a brand that should know better. The market will eventually teach Porsche the error of its current ways, but when you build up fifty years’ worth of goodwill it takes a lot time to fritter it all away. Even when that happens, the company will certainly have new customers. Consider the BRIC and the MIST and the Saudi states. It’s a supply of narcissists deeper than the oil shale in Canada and twice as profitable, and the best news is this: you can burn the Porsche customer base again and again, but the supply of idiots is truly abiotic. You can probably never burn it up.

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Does The Porsche 911 Have Any Competitors? Tue, 23 Apr 2013 17:10:40 +0000

I used to work for Porsche. You already know this because I mention it in most of my stories, hopeful that you will go tell your friends “TTAC has a guy who used to work for Porsche!” to which they will reply: “Used to? Road & Track has fifty people who still do.”

Just kidding. The cars get good reviews because they’re damn good. I know this because when I worked at Porsche I had several 911 company cars, and the ones I didn’t crash drove tremendously. This sentiment was not echoed by my rear seat passengers, who often said things like: “This is really cramped!” or “You want to give this up to be a blogger?”

When I worked there, I had two main questions on my mind at all times. Traditionally popular in the morning, the first one was: “Can I get away with a two-hour lunch today?” But when I got back from lunch around 2:30, the rest of the day was spent pondering the second one: “What the hell competes with the 911?”

A Brief History of 911

To help answer this question, let’s take a walk down 911 memory lane. Some of you are saying: “Yes! Porsche!” whereas others have already tuned out and are thinking: “I hope Steve Lang writes something today.”

For those in the second category (which includes my mother), I’ll be brief. Here’s a basic rundown of the 911. It came out in 1963 as a rear-engined sports car back when there was no such thing as a rear-engined sports car because that would be stupid. In other words, it was exactly like today.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Porsche did things to make it even cooler. This included the “whale tail” spoiler, the Fuchs wheels (rhymes with “Lukes,” which I learned the hard way), and a turbocharged model that was famous for killing like OJ Simpson, and in a similarly violent manner.

But at some point between 1989 and 2013, Porsche ruined it, which can be confirmed by any purist who owns a 30-year-old 944 with fading paint. Unfortunately, purists can’t agree on exactly when this happened. Some will say the 1990 debut of Tiptronic. Others, the 1999 arrival of the water-cooled 996 with its ugly headlights. Further nominees include the 2003 Cayenne (which isn’t even really related to the 911) and the all-new GT3 which now comes solely with PDK.

Regardless of your view on when it happened, the simple fact is that the 911 is no longer the sports car it once was. Instead, it now lives in a blended world of sports car and grand tourer. So what exactly competes with it?

Potential Candidates

When I ask people this question, I get various answers, all said with tremendous confidence. I will now debunk each of them, using my favorite argument style: the one where I list things and describe why they’re right or wrong. These arguments are typically very solid in that they often stand, enshrined in perfection, until the very first comment.

Mercedes SL-Class: On paper, the SL-Class seems like a perfect competitor in the “overpriced grand tourer” segment. Similar performance numbers. Similar pricing. Similar old male buyers who cruise below the speed limit while looking around to see if anyone’s noticing them. But in practice, the SL’s vague steering and squishy ride means it doesn’t come close.

BMW 6-Series: The 6-Series is the reigning king of the “overpriced grand tourer” segment. It would be the perfect competitor, except for the fact that it weighs as much as a medium-sized Sheraton Gateway.

Chevrolet Corvette: The Corvette is actually a reasonable match in a lot of ways – and with every new iteration of the ‘Vette, driving experience is increasingly one of them. But the $50k Corvette isn’t cross-shopped with the 911, which costs $90k, or $2.4 million with options.

Nissan GT-R: The GT-R should be the ultimate 911 competitor. It costs as much as a Carrera S, but it has the performance of a Turbo. I’ve driven a GT-R, and it’s just as balanced as any Porsche, or Ferrari. It does have “soul.” But … it’s a Nissan. And no one grew up with posters of Nissans on their bedroom walls. Say what you will, but at $100k, brand value plays a role in your car decision.

In other words: the 911, a car that is largely responsible for making Porsche the most profitable automaker in the world, plays in a segment without competition.

Or Does It?

After much post-lunch deliberation, I’ve concluded that the 911 has just two competitors: the Boxster and the Cayman.

That’s right: Porsche’s own “baby” sports cars are the only legitimate challengers to the 911’s sports car throne. On paper, the numbers seem to agree. Acceleration times are similar. Horsepower isn’t that far off, and power-to-weight is even closer. The mid-engine Boxster and Cayman have physics on their side. And most importantly, they’re a whole Corvette cheaper than a reasonably optioned 911.

But my argument falls apart when paper turns to practice for one major reason: image. The 911 may be twice the price, but its owners justify the cost because it’s twice the cool. That may be. But for people who don’t mind the “poor man’s Porsche” jokes, save some money and go buy yourself a Boxster. And for God’s sake: do it before Porsche ruins it.

Doug DeMuro operates He’s owned an E63 AMG wagon, road-tripped across the US in a Lotus without air conditioning, and posted a six-minute lap time on the Circuit de Monaco in a rented Ford Fiesta. One year after becoming Porsche Cars North America’s youngest manager, he quit to become a writer. His parents are very disappointed.

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Porsche Reveals Hat-Wearing Boxster: 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show Wed, 28 Nov 2012 15:20:25 +0000

We liked the Boxster S when we briefly drove it during a stage-managed event designed to show off its best characteristics. The Cayman should be even better.

The base Cayman uses the venerable 2.7L flat-six, good for 275 horsepower, while the Cayman S gets a 325 horsepower 3.4L unit. With the PDK, Sport Chrono package and god knows whatever else, the Cayman S is capable of a 4.4 second 0-60 time. Considering that the new 911 has evolved into some sort of Grand Touring car with an engine in the back, this might be your best bet at a sporting P-Car.

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Porsche Cayman Insta-Leaked Fri, 16 Nov 2012 18:15:28 +0000

A couple of Instagram photos blew the cover of the next-generation Porsche Cayman. Yes, it looks like the Boxster, and under the skin it will probably be the same as well. More photos below.

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail 2013-Porsche-Cayman-front-three-quarter. Photo courtesy Motor Trend. 2013-Porsche-Cayman-rear-three-quarter. Photo courtesy ]]> 15
Toyobaru Hype: We’ve Hit Peak Bullshit Fri, 20 Jul 2012 15:06:42 +0000

As if the absurdly hyperbolic headline “The day the world changed” wasn’t enough of a tip-off , the hype machine for the Toyobaru twins has officially reached its zenith, with Wheels magazine’s Peter Robinson declaring the Japanese-spec Toyota 86 to be superior to the Porsche Cayman.

Reading Robinson’s article, it’s as if I’d experienced a different car than the two FR-S’ I’d already driven. Robinson rhetorically muses on whether the transmission is “…the best manual gearchange ever” (Not a chance) and praises the Toyobaru’s steering as being better than the Cayman’s. If you want to feel like you’re driving Polyphony Digital’s approximation of what a Miata feels like, then yes, it’s wonderful. Reading the rest of the article, you’d think that this car could cure cancer, re-ignite the spark in your floundering marriage and make your hairline stop receding.

When I wrote my first article on the hype surrounding this car, I was partly dismayed because I was prepared to go and buy one, with my own money – not as some corporate (or freebie) long-term tester. The reviews I’d read beforehand led me to believe that this was the one we had all been waiting for, the affordable sports car that would set the competition on fire and usher in a new era of focused, rear-drive machines that a punk like me could realistically afford. I tempered my expectations, hoping it was merely a blast to drive, rather than the Second Coming of Christ, but even then, the experience left something to be desired.

Make no mistake; it’s a good car. We need cars like this, badly. It really is light, nimble and engaging, it looks sharp and it’s priced accessibly. And yet, I couldn’t really connect with the car. I began to empathize with the reviewers who felt that the original Lexus LS400 was a well-made simulacrum of a European luxury sedan, but without the essential intangibles that make the car a superlative experience rather than just “good”.

Some people seem to think that I have a particular axe to grind with this car, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. My issue is that the breathless praise of the Toyobaru is harmful to the car itself. The Toyobaru has numerous flaws that keep it from being truly great, but there’s no honor in obscuring them. The engine is a dud, there are instances of embarrassing corner-cutting evident in places that most people don’t look and the dynamics of the car feel more digital than analog – something that may be unavoidable in this era, but it remains a sore spot as long as the MX-5, with its hydraulic steering, frenetic I4 engine and unassailable manual gearbox exists in its current form. Even Randy Pobst, in his recent Motor Trend comparo, felt that the twins lagged behind the MX-5 in subjective driving pleasure.

From that vantage point, comparing it to a Cayman is asinine. The Cayman is better in every single respect, period. It’s also exponentially more expensive, built to a much higher standard and therefore, should be better. Robinson’s insistence to the contrary is disingenuous, and no amount of “everyone has their own opinion” is going to convince me otherwise. It’s a blatant falsehood, like assertions that the Hyundai Equus is superior to the Lexus LS. Both are fine vehicles, but one is simply better than the other, and I can’t ignore it. Would I go and buy the Equus to save some money and get an almost-as-capable car? You bet. But I wouldn’t delude myself into thinking I bought a superior car. Instead I’d be satisfied with the value proposition and the anonymity, and leave it at that. Nobody is cross-shopping the Toyobaru and the Cayman the same way – the car is a stepping stone to Porsche ownership, one that’s been sorely missed in the market. Why pretend otherwise? I’m perfectly content with accepting the Toyobaru on that premise, with all the compromises it entails. But trying to portray it as a “giant killer” or whatever hyperbolic turn-of-phrase is en vogue right now will only induce eye-rolls and lead to unmet expectations. Lest we forget the Camaro and how opinions changed once the rose-tinted glasses came off  a year later.

Fanboyism always plays out the same way. Lacking any concrete or meaningful pursuits to identify with, people hitch their emotional and even spiritual well-being to manufactured brands and entities. They invest themselves in them with literally a religious fervor, and any attack on their chosen entity is taken as blasphemy. Movie critics are getting death threats over poor reviews of the newest Batman flick, and auto journalists are unwilling to give a sober analysis of this car, save for the lads at Evo magazine. Nonwithstanding all the insinuations about being blackballed, my experience has shown me that few journalists (but many readers) are willing to stand up and say “The Emperor has no clothes” when a car doesn’t live up to the hype.

The Toyobaru, at least, isn’t naked.

Postscript: I’ve seen comments on various forums alleging this review was bought and paid for – I promise you, dear reader, it’s not. This is the work of an overly enthusiastic journalist who is either using hyperbole as a literary crutch, or is so self-deluded that they have the gall to run this story without a hint of irony.

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