Posted by: porschebahn | October 13, 2010

Making more of a Boxster S than a Spyder

by Scott Hornsby

This project started in May of this year with the sale of my highly modified 1988 911 Carrera. I’d hoped to go back to one vehicle to do daily driving and all chores with. This was going to leave me though without a Porsche of my own. The only Porsche to fit that bill is the Cayenne and I did not want an SUV even if it is a Porsche. My wife owns an 01 911 which she claims and said as much with the idea that I [President of the Palmetto Region] would not have my own Porsche any longer. So I quickly set my eyes on Porsche of Hilton Heads web pages to see what Wally and the gang had down there.

I also did not want nor could afford a whopping payment on a newer model. As well I’ve finally given up on wanting any older models in our climate [just too hot for too long]. I saw in their list a beautiful 2005 987 Boxster S. The miles were fairly low. It was a darker color than I really wanted, but was beautiful none the less. It already sported over 4000.00 in sweet BBS 19” rims shod with almost new Michelin Sport pilot tires. 235’s up front and 265’s in the rear. It had full leather interior and heated seats. Coming from 911’s and the girlie car mentality on boxster’s this was a big change. I called Wally and asked about the car and sight unseen said I’d buy it. I had done homework on the performance and handling of the 987 S series so I knew it would be a great car to drive. After my wheeling and dealing with Wally and Roy and Chip I left with this Boxster S and the thought that I now had to find the daily driver again.

  Within a month I really was enjoying the new car a lot. I was also already bugging Don in service and my friends at Autometrics locally about what upgrades could be done to the car. The list became exhaust first. Intake and suspension and reflash of the computer next. Not long after I got a call from Don about a Cayman or Boxster coming in to be CPO’d that had a Borla exhaust needing a home. I’d already been doing research on the exhaust and found it was going to be the best for dollar per dollar. This is by sound and performance levels. I drove down on a Saturday morning to have George put the slightly used Borla on the car. With the hour and a half drive the exhaust was way hot for George to start removing. As we know Porsche of Hilton Head is not a bad place to wait around at. Parked out front was a brand new Porsche Boxster Spyder. The same one Car and Driver just named the best handling sports car to be had for less than 100,000.00 dollars period. Roy Stine was kind enough to let me test drive it so I could get a feel for the difference between it and what I have. I can say without a doubt it is superb in its abilities and did feel slightly tighter and more wound up than my S. Once back from the jaunt I began asking George about the differences and went out to measure the sway bars to find them the same diameter. The ride height was obviously lower on the Spyder and it’s a little less than 200 pounds lighter. As George was finishing up the exhaust I let Wally know we had dyno’d the car a few weeks back. The spec S 05 which has a 3.2 liter motor put down 238 H.P. to the wheels from a spec of 280 B.H.P. I paid my bill and cranked up the car to hear a whole new sound. My first comment was why doesn’t Porsche put this exhaust on as stock on all S models and offer the very expensive on/off sport one as a silly upgrade.

  As I drove away and home the sound of the note from the Borla had me totally enchanted with this car. I now knew the other mods had to come soon. I got with Autometrics at home about doing the other mods since they are my friends and are in my neighborhood. I wanted a dyno run done again to see what the exhaust did on its own and one after the intake and reflash for the final result. We had issues getting a hold of the H&R sport springs for the lowering until I found a web sales place called Grip Motorsports. They said they deal directly with H&R and drop ship the product and they were available. This was 180 degrees from the constant backorder status at Tire Rack.

I took the chance and gave them a card and lo and behold they showed up. With that and the intake in from Evolution Motorsports the car was off to the boys to begin the transformation. First it was dyno’d for the exhaust results. By the way the day I drove up their doors were down. I slapped the throttle a few times before going in. They thought a GT3 had pulled up. On the dyno it now pulled 251 H.P. to the wheels for a huge gain of 13 H.P. This is on the mark of Borlas claimed 18-21 brake H.P. The intake was installed and then the hard work of dropping the suspension. Moving it and pulling the brakes and all away to swap springs was a lot more work than on other Porsche’s. When Travis was done it was time for Cory to do the alignment. He knows what I like in a street able alignment that is as close to track as you can get. Once done he told me what he had done to get it there. It’s a science I don’t fully understand, but he compared it to a GT3 and said simply [it’s now more aggressive than the Spyder and yet should be fine on the streets].

 Adam then went to task with GIAC to get the reflash down loaded and installed in the car. I’d had a prior 02 911 done before and was astounded at how much better the GIAC programs let the car behave. You wind up with more power, better throttle response across a wider band and better mileage to boot. The only thing we didn’t do was a plenum chamber change since it costs and only a mild HP gain is supposed to be achieved. They put the car on the dyno a final time at the end of the day right after the reflash. Final Tally, with the computer probably still working in the reflash, was 260 H.P. to the wheels. This is in line with the current to the wheels H.P. for the 3.4 liter 320 H.P. motor in the Spyder.The lowering equaled the ride height of the Spyder in the rear and is a half an inch lower in the front than the Spyders ride height.

  The Tail of the Dragon run for our Club a few weeks back was the testing ground for my car and its upgrades. Friday and Saturday I ran some serious roads very hard quite often scaring my navigator to death. I can honestly say it is as good as or better than the Spyder I drove at Hilton Head that day and even with modifications cost less than half as much. It also still has an electrical top that can be put up while driving at speeds up to 30 M.P.H. You won’t see any Spyder owners doing that. I can also honestly say this is the best handling car I’ve ever owned or driven hands down. It’s not the fastest, but it is plenty fast. The exhaust is not excessive on the street or highway yet when you want to hear what you have it gives it to you with a beautiful wail. The comfort level of driving is better than my wife’s 01 or my old 02 996. There was more than enough room for a long weekend of luggage and goodies. You can get one hell of a Porsche by doing what I did and not break the bank doing it. If you look at 987 05-06 prices there are great deals out there just like 01 thru 04 911’s. The best thing off all is that in the Low Country you can feel comfortable quickly with a flick of the finger even on the most miserably dog days of summer. As well this particular 987S has been running a steady 175 on the thermostat in all weather and even in [warm weather] hard mountain road driving akin to track use. People are always talking of needing to add a cooler to these cars for additional effect. This one does not seem to need it.

This has been a really fun project that with the price of the car and all modifications has been under 34,000.00 dollars.


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