By on June 2, 2017

2007 Porsche Cayman S, Image: Porsche

I sure have enjoyed my European adventure, although as usual when I’m overseas, much of what I see makes no sense to my adopted-Midwesterner eyes. Here’s an example: Why is it that I see more Porsches out and about in my home town of Powell, Ohio, than I do when I’m visiting Germany? If I am on an Ohio freeway for 20 minutes, I will see a Porsche; if I am on an Ohio freeway for an hour and it is not snowing, chances are that I will see a real Porsche, meaning something with just two doors and an engine behind the driver. There are a half-dozen 911s garaged within a mile of my house of which I am aware, which means that there are probably a lot more of which I am not aware, because general awareness is not my finest personal quality.

You would think the place where they actually build Porsches (some of them anyway) would have a lot more of them than Ohio does, the same way that Ohio has a lot more Honda Accords per capita than you’d find in, say, New Mexico. It is not so. Unless you are in the immediate vicinity of the Nurburgring, Porsches are virtually non-existent on the roads of the Fatherland. Maybe they know something we don’t, or maybe they’re just not buying Caymans and Cayennes at the moment because they are spending all their money on subsidizing all those nice young fellows arriving from parts unknown.

Speaking of Porsches, it’s time for Part Two (Electric Boogaloo!) of Ask Jack: Stuttgart Edition.

Chris writes:

I currently have a 1999 Mercedes-Benz SLK as a third car, which I drive occasionally about 5,000 miles/year. However, with a new paint job looming, I’m thinking about giving it to a relative and replacing it with something newer.

I’ve toyed with owning a Cayman for many years but have always been scared off by the spectre of IMS bearing failure (or any failure where the repair requires the cash equivalent of a new economy car). I have a garage full of tools, and the time to fix many things on my own, but it’s that $15,000 new engine risk that’s scared me off up ’til now.

I’d like to spend $30,000-something, with an absolute limit of $40,000.

What would be a good model year range? Is the S worth that much more over the basic Cayman? The car will never see a racetrack, just southern California driving. Where is a good forum to find a car? I’m leaning towards AutoTrader because the cost of listing means only the nicer cars are listed.

Chris, I have to admit I initially read your first paragraph to mean that you have a new job in the painting industry — but then I remembered that old Benzes really do enjoy a spot of the ol’ ultra-delamination. Something that you do not mention is whether you’ve been using the retractable hardtop on that SLK of yours. I’m thinking the answer is “no” because you’re in the market for a Cayman and not a Boxster. In my experience, cars with power hardtops rarely have those hardtops in any position besides “up,” whether we’re talking about that crazy old Ford from the ’50s or the modern 4 Series “convertible.”

If, on the other hand, you’re thinking you want a Cayman and not a Boxster because of some nonsense about “superior chassis rigidity” or “on the limit handling,” then be like Princess Elsa and let it go, brother. (It was Elsa, right? I didn’t actually watch the movie, because I’m a grown man.) The difference in the racetrack prowess of a similarly equipped Boxster and Cayman is about nothing. On the street, where you’ll be, it is nothing.

Is long-term resale value important to you? In that case, don’t fail to get the “S” model, even if you have to get a slightly older or higher-mileage car to do it. But if you just want the best Cayman possible for the money, then the recommendation is easy. You can find a 2011-2012 Cayman 2.9-liter for $30,000 or less. They come with a six-speed manual transmission if you like and they do not come with an IMS bearing problem. Although some people think that problems with the direct-injection systems on these newer Porkers will end up being the “IMS bearing” of this generation, the 2.9-liter cars don’t have direct injection. It’s the most trouble-free choice.

As far as where to find the car, I suggest that you join the Porsche Club of America — you’ll end up doing it anyway once you have the car — at which point you can make full use of their excellent classifieds section. Typically, PCA listings are priced a bit high, but most of the owners are willing to deal down to non-club levels. And although nothing in life is utterly certain, I’d take an enthusiastic PCA member’s car over an auction rat from your local “affordable exotic” dealer.

Last but not least, make sure you find a reputable independent dealer to do a pre-purchase inspection. These cars can hide plenty of very expensive problems. The PPI for my Boxster revealed about $1,900 worth of suggested repairs. I split the tab with the new owner. She’s happy to have a sorted-out car and I’m happy to be entirely out of the watercooled-Porsche lifestyle. Not that you should let my diffidence regarding those cars deter you. John Mayer said it best:

And airports
See it all the time
Where someone’s last goodbye
Blends in with someone’s sigh
‘Cause someone’s coming home
In hand a single rose
And that’s the way this wheel keeps working now
That’s the way this wheel keeps working now
And I won’t be the last
No I won’t be the last,
To love her

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59 Comments on “Ask Jack: Opening An Account In the Caymans?...”

  • avatar

    No idea what advice you gave, I stopped reading when your snark came out regarding how the Germans are spending their money, unless your family roamed the plains and were here when the Vikings, Europeans or someone else came here at one point your family was those folks from unknown lands. I thought I was reading TTAC not the truth about Jack’s political views. I realize you do not give a shit about my views, you got your click. I am Jack free for the summer, see you after Labor Day.

    • 0 avatar

      Of course Jack’s family roamed the plains – ’cause I learned on Earth Day that we’re all one big Gaia family. We even have a flag! And glitter!

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      There is some recentish immigration in my family. My great-grandfather arrived here from Germany, actually. Came here legally, with money in his pocket. He brought his family instead of leaving them behind. He had a profession and a business from day one. And although I’m sure he went to the train station in Brooklyn, he didn’t violate women or attack children while he was there.

      He doesn’t sound like he would have been the kind of immigrant you fancy.

      • 0 avatar

        Comments like these prove you are the lowest of the low, Jack. Keep it up.

      • 0 avatar

        I’d wager some German immigrants did violate women and attack children. Shall we simply lump your great grandpappy in with those?

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          If you can find any report from the 19th Century of massed German immigrants raping women in a train station I’ll apologize on behalf of the entire fourth-generation immigrant community.

      • 0 avatar

        I am at a loss here, having reread the article a few times. Did I miss something about German immigration?

        • 0 avatar

          You missed the part where people who consume too much right-wing media are routinely fed stories about Arab immigrant men raping women, specifically the Köln New Year’s Eve incident last year. It gives them cover to justify their xenophobic urges.

          • 0 avatar

            “Phobia: an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.”

            There are a lot of instances of migrants raping/killing women and children, Rotherham is a very sad story. I don’t see what’s irrational about have a healthy fear of people that disproportionally commit these crimes.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            Rotherham was just “grooming” according to the media. That doesn’t sound so bad. 1,500 children were “groomed”. And the police took no action because they didn’t want to be criticized by the media.

          • 0 avatar

            Did NPR report anything about a recent occurrence in Manchester, England? It takes a special filter to think that there’s concerted jingoistic propaganda behind people’s concerns about the clitorectomy and child bride explosion. It couldn’t be that the actions of real muslims are ruining things for the imaginary ones, now could it?

          • 0 avatar

            Jack’s original comment wasn’t about rape. He merely pointed out that maybe Germans can’t afford Porsches because their government taxes them and redistributes their wealth to subsidize food, housing, and other goods to young male immigrants en masse. None of this is false or xenophobic. It’s fact.

          • 0 avatar

            But! But! How dare them foreigners rape our women! Those are our women to rape! Won’t someone think of the poor Brock Turners of the world?

          • 0 avatar

            Everything you see in media is either an outright lie or purposely lacking key facts. I think this has been true for decades but has gotten either worse or simply more evident in the past eighteen months.

            Do something for yourself and the world: THINK.

      • 0 avatar

        Jack, not all immigrants to the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were saints. From Once Upon A Time In America to the Godfather trilogy to Scarface (both versions).

        As the line from Firesign Theater goes: “Ve vas small angry men with hairy faces and burning feet. Ve vas running away from poverty, intolerance… the law… and the army.”

        I went to grade school with the granddaughter of Harry Keywell, who ran the Purple Gang.

        That being said, what is happening in Europe looks more like an invasion in slow motion than immigration. My image of an immigrant is someone who wants to embrace the culture of the nation that they are joining.

        It’s quite fascinating to see the varying standards for tolerance by our moral betters. A Christian family with 8 children? They’re despoiling the planet. An orthodox Jewish woman who covers her hair and doesn’t show skin? She’s a Stepford Wife. A Muslima with a hijab? A proud expression of her heritage, one of the world’s great religions.

        Abe Twerski is a psychiatrist who specializes in addiction. He’s also an ordained rabbi, a Jewish scholar of note, and scion of the Chernobler Chasidic dynasty, and he dresses accordingly. He lives in Pennsylvania and was once traveling by train. His seating companion was a secular Jewish lady, who proceeded to give him a hard time about his frock coat, black hat and long beard. “I’m Jewish and my family doesn’t dress that way. Can’t you orthodox Jews live in the modern world?” she said. Dr. Twerski said to her, “Excuse me, but I’m Amish.” Her affect changed from hostility to affection. “Oh, I’m sorry for the mistake. I’ve always admired the way you Amish maintain your traditions.”

        Dr. Twerski then said to her, “You were correct the first time. I am a Chassidic rabbi, but I’m also a board certified psychiatrist and I think that it’s fascinating that when I was a Jew you were ashamed of me but when I was Amish you admired me.”

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Zekas

      I was a Democrat, until the DNC ignored my union brothers and I, and decided to import Third World voters!

    • 0 avatar
      King of Eldorado

      What happened to the new policy that followed TTAC’s parting of ways with the other Baruth brother a few months ago? I’m not advocating the departure of Jack, but an editor’s simple removal of half a sentence of gratuitous inflammatory social commentary — on a par with Trump’s stupid Mexican-rapists comment — would have solved the problem here and conformed to the supposed new policy.

  • avatar

    The reason you haven’t seen “Frozen” isn’t because you’re a grown man. It’s because you’re the father of a boy, not a girl.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      I’m a grown man with two daughters and have seen it eleventy billion times.

      OTOH, my older daughter has begged me to take her to Cars 3 opening night, so it ain’t all bad.

    • 0 avatar

      I on the other hand, did not know grown men listened to John Mayer.

      • 0 avatar

        Have you heard him play blues guitar? It’s completely worth it. The guy is a prodigy. Average songwriter, but outstanding musician.

        He makes albums of the soft pop stuff to make money, his real passion is in the blues. Check out his stuff from Clapton’s Crossroads festival and you might change your mind.

        • 0 avatar

          “He makes albums of the soft pop stuff to make money, his real passion is in the blues. ”

          so it’s topical to say he’s the musical equivalent of Porsche.

      • 0 avatar

        I know a lot of guitar players and they think highly of Mayer’s chops. He’s music school trained and knows his way around the fretboard.

        Anyhow, if for no other reason than he has convinced a new generation of young men that the way to female’s hearts is by slinging a six-string, he deserves praise.

        I go hear blues once or twice a week and I’ve noticed that the John Mayer wannabes are starting to be as common as the Stevie Ray Vaughn imitators were just a few years ago.

  • avatar

    I just bought a 2008 Boxster base (987.1 with the 2.7L, 5-speed) for $14000 from some old rich executive-type whose wife surprised him with a new car as a gift. 78k miles, full maintenance records, PPI revealed a leaky CV boot, worn tires/brakes, and not much else. It did have three things that made it cheap: Speed Yellow, almost no options, and an owner that didn’t want to mess around with selling a car for too long. I looked at almost everything I could think of from the past 20 years that I could afford, nothing felt better to drive to me than the baby Porsches.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I will get flamed for this comment….

    I believe the person who posed the question really wants a Corvette, but feels that Corvette ownership implies you are a certain class. Corvette: good paint, fun to drive, reasonably low cost of ownership can be had in just about any iteration at the stated price point <40k. Keeping in mind we are comparing to a Porsche and not a Camry when discussing frequency and cost of repair.

  • avatar

    It would be interesting, JB, to describe how you avoided the dread IMS problem in your 2004 Boxster.
    I have a 2007 Cayman S w/ 51k miles on it. By the time it was made, Porsche had apparently found the phone number of either Timken or SKF, although they will probably do their best to keep any information about failures of this 3rd gen bearing a secret.
    I drive a mix of suburban and highway roads and have taken to forgetting that the car has more than 3 gears. (Redline in 3rd is about 100mph, IIRC.) In short, I’m depending on keeping the revs up to get some oil flung towards the bearing. I had a 91 Carrera 4 and the owners manual devoted a page to ‘don’t lug the engine, dummkopf’ which they defined as running below 2000rpm. That was for the sainted Metzger block engine too. Can’t believe it would be any better for newer and current engines either. These are not ‘vettes or diesels.
    Also, I certainly don’t pull 1.3Gs cornering on gummy bear tires. Everyone throws around high lateral G numbers, but I think its pretty irrelevant for street driving. Plus it’s uncomfortable without better restraint than the standard seatbelts. Hanging on for dear life while the car attempts to cram your ass into the crack between the drivers seat bolster and the door doesn’t sound like a lot of fun.
    Anyway, wish me luck, that’s how I’m trying to compensate for an engine with a glass jaw.

    • 0 avatar

      High G loading is probably pretty irrelevant on the track too. When I had a chance to go to the Ford Performance Racing School I took a minute to reset the accelerometer and recorded my run. At the end of the day they put you in the car with an instructor at the wheel for a fast lap and the recorded max load didn’t change but you sure as hell got around the track a helluva lot faster.

      It’s only useful function is really in bench racing where it infers a higher level of performance and isn’t necessarily indicative of a vehicle’s actual performance. People generally can’t correlate that number in much the same way they have trouble correlating horsepower and acceleration. Somebody sees a high number and they assume a car is blindingly fast yet fail to take into account the various effects of weight, aerodynamics and gearing (the 07-09 GT500 was the poster child for this – a 3900 pound car with fairly sedate gearing and all the aero of a brick festooned with all sorts of air brakes – people saw “500 HORSEPOWER” and thought it could warp space/time when it reality the early GT500s were really just slightly more refined Cobras in terms of overall acceleration).

      • 0 avatar

        When I was comparison shopping my latest, I looked at C&D reviews once.

        They were breathless over things like a .05G difference in pad performance, and I was all “who the hell ever cares about that and do you think I’m ever going to put summer tires on any car I ever own? No!”…

        • 0 avatar

          If you get winter tires (and if you live north of the Mason Dixon line or up in the mountains, that’s a good idea), then it makes no sense not to get summer tires too. All-seasons are a compromise.

          • 0 avatar

            There are lots of 50K mile performance oriented A/S tires, while summer tires tend to be short-lived. That’s one reason for all-season tires, even if you do use winter tires. Also, winter tires don’t hold up at all on warm, dry pavement, so they often aren’t on the car the first time you’re caught in a snow storm.

  • avatar

    One of my favorite things is the comparison/contrast of the motor pool, with apology to all my middle school teachers who used this as the generic question in English Class.

    My family is used to me spending a few minutes looking at some nondescript Chinese car while on vacation on an island somewhere. Most normal folks don’t fine Ssanyong minivans interesting, I get that.

    You don’t see Porsches much in Germany because they are expensive…more than here. Here, by which I mean the US or the more civilized nation slightly north, you can have a car. You need a car. Space isn’t expensive outside of a few major cities. A Porsche is a second car anywhere form 99.5% of owners.

    In Europe, you have to go one class down for the same money…a GTi is what we pay for a 3 series….so all those tiny engine cars you don’t get here are the CamCords of europe. So, to own a Porsche in Europe, you need to basically have US Ferrari money, which we’d see as a definite step above Porsche. You need to have a parking space for it too, so look at NYC prices to get an idea. A normal boring car here is way nicer and has a bigger engine and more power accessories than a normal boring car over there. Geeks fixate and whine as to “whyyydont we get the SL-RS TT_SR Sport x2 version of something, yet your neighbor has a 3 liter car with an automatic and power everything instead of a 1.4 liter Polo with manual everything. Away from the sporting class, I’d rather flog a W chassis all day instead of a Polo, and we laugh at the rolling living rooms Detroit sends us, but better than than a penalty phone booth.

    Likewise, the euro motor pool has all those four cylinder big cars we (I) scoff at here…a gas engine is a sign of excess money, and a big gas engine is tossing euro out the window. A few years back we went to Bavaria, and rented two cars. I got a 320d, and my friends got a 318i convertible with M package (hey, Germany). By the end of our trip, they’d used two and a half tanks more than the d had, and the d was a faster car everywhere…I was dogging it slightly on the Autobahn because my top was over 220 kph and they were hard pressed over 160 kph. Those tanks were over $100 US each, so that added up quick. OK, I didn’t help things by setting the pace (or trying to), but still…..

    I see more AMG here….more V8 versions here….more M class here…than on a whole two weeks in Berlin, where there is no shortage of money. I was most impressed though but the person with the SRT Charger, though, because 15 mpg @ $10 gallon is brave….

    I saw two X5…one Q7. They don’t do trucks either, too big and too thirsty.

    Now, I love Porsche as a concept…I need to actually drive one before I die…although I’m internet scarred by IMS. No, I have zero actual experience, but this IS the internet, so,

    • 0 avatar

      And there is that excellent public transportation in the EU which furthermore caps the need for vehicles…

    • 0 avatar

      The SRT Charger and most of big F250 you see are more than likely US Servicemen. Gas isn’t bad on the base.

    • 0 avatar
      Rick T.

      Had an awkward moment back in the day when I picked up the managing director and a couple of officers from my UK client in my V-8 E class when I knew they drove an E with a small diesel. Of course, I paid for my while theirs was part of their compensation package.

    • 0 avatar

      +1 Speedlaw

    • 0 avatar
      Tele Vision

      In Ireland we rented two cars: a Mercedes van-thing and a Ford Mondeo. The Diesels were too pricey for my blood but were the top-shelf choices. That said the Mondeo was a better drive than my old 944. Fantastic car for a rental and a manual, too. The hood was unfortunately bolted down but I’d like to think I had the 2.0L in there.

    • 0 avatar

      Common Europeans never got to enjoy the fruits of the industrial revolution before being re-impoverished by war, so they don’t know what they’re missing by living like our ghetto rats. There are people in our coastal cities who’ve been brainwashed to have contempt for their fellow Americans that live like English Lords on barely six figure salaries, and it is to laugh.

    • 0 avatar

      “You don’t see Porsches much in Germany because they are expensive…more than here.”

      yep. people don’t often stop to remember Europe has much higher fuel costs than here. Here, the Fusion’s base engine is a 2.5 liter 175 hp 4-banger, and you can choose from more powerful engines up to a 325 hp V6. Meanwhile, in Europe the Mondeo (same car) *starts* with the 1.0 Ecoboost, and only lets you go up to the 2.0 Ecoboost (with a bunch of diesel options in between.)

      Can you imagine how hard a 1.0EB Fusion would flop here?

    • 0 avatar

      Go to Xtreme Xperience or something similar that has a 911 GT3 available for track duty. Get one ride along and two GT3 drives. You will be a believer.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    That’s a shame Jack didn’t see many Porsche’s in the Motherland, my last trip to Italy was well over a decade ago, and I was impressed to see many an M car, or P car with significant road rash, scuffed wheels, some even parked on the curb . Obviously indicating regular use.
    I, too have been perusing the usual Classifieds for a worn but maintained 996 to be used as a daily. Fortunately my commute is all reverse highway , so minimal stop and go, which we really don’t have a lot of in KC.
    My biggest problem is I will have to travel for my purchase, which makes PPI etc. a big hassle .
    As of IMS, there are other things that can go wrong, Ovaling of cyl in the 997s,leaks galore. I plan on not buying an ultra low mile garage queen and hope for at least a few years of scheduled maintenance while banking the cost of DI 997.2 model price difference.

  • avatar

    The Cayman and Boxster are the best premium sports car value on the market.

    No other car combines the engineering and attention to quality that is noticeable the moment you open a door and step inside.

    Until the 718 generation, the engine was also a differentiator.

    Any 987.2 or 981 with decent service records would be a great buy today.

  • avatar

    Car ownership is simply much cheaper in the United States than it is in Germany. Insurance is cheaper, gas is cheaper, registration fees etc.

    Also, our GDP per capita is greater in the US than Germany. So we have more money. So more Porsches.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    So, for auto loving Germans, who are wealthier and have more Porsches, where were they when Jack was driving?

    • 0 avatar

      probably on holiday somewhere else. Most of the rest of the world gets more holiday/vacation, and they USE IT.

      Yes, even the Japanese. I’ve worked for Japanese companies; they’re *gone* during national holidays. And forget about getting anything out of home base during Golden Week.

  • avatar

    Why not a 911 instead?

    $30k will get a very good 996, or a 997.1 with the IMS done. Put in a few more bucks, and mid-30s can snag a 996 Turbo on a good day.

    • 0 avatar

      996? Vomit…

      That’s sarcasm. I actually enjoy the look of the facelifted 996 (the one without Boxster headlights. It’s the cheapest way to get into a 911 right now, and will be for a while. I say it’s a good buy.

  • avatar

    Why you see more Porsches in certain places in the U.S., and not in Germany? Simple, Porsches are a lot cheaper to buy and own in the U.S. than whichever place in Europe, including Germany. Plus, on average, gasoline is three times more expensive in Europe as in the U.S.

  • avatar

    I live in Germany and find some of article’s statements as well as some comments rather annoying and xenophobic.
    If you would like to see Porsches parked on the street and used as daily drivers come to my neighborhood (Frankfurt Westend).
    And for your information Germany has not increased any taxes in recent years, especially not for refugees and currently runs a budget surplus. Also, unlike in the US, nobody dies in their twenties for lack of health insurance. This in spite of the fact that the US GDP per capita is indeed higher.

    • 0 avatar

      When you see innocents being raped or slaughtered and know your police/gov’t DOES NOTHING about it does it make you feel better saying “I’m not a xenaphobe”?

      • 0 avatar

        Do you seriously think police and govt in Germany or elsewhere in the first world don’t do anything about this kind of thing?

        • 0 avatar

          Allowing the circumstances of the situation in the first place suggests the sane and good-hearted people are not the ones in charge. We have the same problem here.

  • avatar

    God created Germans, Japanese, Chinese and other unamerican nations to create material objects for American (and now also Chinese) consumers. Germans, Japanese, Chinese and etc must work hard and save money to pour saved money into American economy and American government for American to consume and enjoy. Amen.

  • avatar

    As an ex-pat American living in Europe (Austria) for 25 years, I can add a couple responses to your note of a dearth of Porsches on the road in Germany:

    1) Premium cars (BMW, Porsche, Audi, MB, etc.) are much more expensive here than in the US.

    2) Conspicuous consumption is not as socially acceptable in Central Europe as in the US (although this has changed over the decades).

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