Over the last weeks, I have been moving towards the purchase of a new track car. I was talking to my dear wife about how it would be nice to move into a track car that wasn’t quite as hard core as my 944. No NASCAR style cage to climb through. More power. Air conditioning! I was thinking about moving up to a 944S2. My wife said, why don’t you buy a Cayman?
This was not a casual question. She bought her mid-life crisis car in 2006. A brand new Cayman S. This was the first year they were introduced in the US and she was blown away with the styling and the performance. So she bought one. Her rule, not mine, was that she really didn’t want to risk damaging it by using it for track events. Left to my own devices, I would have readily taken it to the track. So the solution was, buy one for myself.
The first generation Cayman S, designated by Porsche as the 987.1, is a very capable car. The S came with a 3.4 litre engine that rated just a tad shy of 300 hp. Our first Cayman would really pin you to the seat under acceleration and the braking was fantastic. The steering is very responsive. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time but it has traditional hydraulic steering versus the electric units that started to be introduced in Porsches later. Ours had a 6 speed manual transmission.
If I had a gripe with our 06 Cayman it would be that I really couldn’t stand it on longer trips. It is stiffly sprung and to me the seats were not that comfortable. For a variety of reasons, our 06 Cayman, 15 years later, is struggling to break 75000 miles. My wife mainly uses it for commuting.
So she put the thought into my head and I couldn’t let go. I decided to look for a Cayman to use as a track car. I had a few criteria. I wanted a “mid” mileage car. Not too few, not too many. Too many might be obvious but too few? You may have heard of the intermediate shaft bearing (IMS) issue with Porsche flat 6 engines starting with their first water cooled version circa 1999. That is a long story but the good news is that they made an upgrade in 2006 with a larger bearing that appears to have largely fixed the problem. But if there is a problem, it seems to be with cars with low mileage. I would be happy with any mileage between 50k and 100k. I of course wanted the 6 speed manual transmission. And I definately wanted the S model. I wanted 18″ wheels, for reasons that I will explain later. And I did not want black, red, or any shade of silver or grey. And I did not want a black or grey interior. My wife’s car is white with a a tan interior.
BTW, the 987.2 cars, starting around 2009, get mentioned a lot as a solution to the IMS bearing problem. That is true but a negative, at least for me, was more technical complexity due to their use of direct injection of the fuel into the cylinders and much higher cost, generally. At the end of the day, I want to be mentally prepared to total my car during a track event and not have it be a financial disaster. Painful mind you but not a fatal financial hit. I do not plan to buy track insurance.
Well of course all the cars on the market when I started looking were red, black, and silver. With black or grey interiors. I started by looking at the Rennlist and PCA classified sections. I also check my local Craigslist daily, out to a 250 mile radius. That is easy on Craigslist. Going out farther requires a little bit of finagaling. One day I decided to do a 250 mile radius search manually at all Sunbelt and west coast cities. When I got to Portland, OR bingo there it was. A 2007 Cayman S. 90K miles. Manual transmission. Forest green metallic with a tan interior. 18″ wheels.
I contacted the seller. His name is Mark Togni. He is a broker, flipper, middle man, whatever name you want to put on it but he specializes in finding and re-selling the early Caymans. I was really intrigued with the green color. It turns out to be a “4 paint brush color” which is Porsche’s way of saying that it is a 4 out of 5 on the rarity scale, with 5 being the most rare. Mark sent me a Carfax (clean) and a PPI done in CA where he had purchased the car. There was one problem that was “setting a code”, which also was illuminating the check engine light. Mark and his mechanic traced the problem to a bad catalytic converter. He agreed to get that fixed. When that was done, I had my own PPI performed. A few more minor issues were identified but no show stoppers. I gave Mark his full asking price, as I really wanted this particular car.
What about shippping? Oregon is a long way from North Carolina. I briefly entertained flying to Portland and driving it back. My body said it would hate that trip and I had to agree. I entertained the idea of an “open” car hauler. That price would be around $1500. After watching a Youtube video of how they load and unload open car haulers, I decided I really didn’t like the idea of my manual transmission low slug car being driven up and down steep ramps. I contacted some of the name brand enclosed haulers, like Intercity. The going rate seemed to be $1/ mile or close to $3000. Mark then advised me that he had a relationship with an “Indie” hauler, DC Automotive Transport. I was able to talk to the owner Vlad directly (not a broker) and he made me feel comfortable. His fee was about 75% of the big guys. For that, I did not get GPS tracking or a lot of hand holding but 9 days after the car was picked up it arrived. In the pictures below you will see that his equipment is new and first rate. I was pleased with their service and I was pleased with my overall transaction with Mark Togni.
So the car is here and I am just getting acquainted with it. It is very similar to our 06 car naturally. I have some modest plans for making it a track car, which I will discuss in a future article.