1 Jan 1997
PORSCHE was facing ruin in the early 1990s, after the heady days of the 1980s boom times busted spectacularly.
Fuelling the woes was a need to replace the rapidly ageing range – 944/968, 911, 928. The youngest was a 1977 vintage vehicle.
After much backroom disagreements and managerial changes, Porsche decided to abandon development of super-luxury sports sedans and coupes and instead go back to its roots.
The plan was set for a relatively affordable open two-seater that was to be spun-off the 996 911 replacement, with as many parts commonality as possible in order to not go bankrupt developing these crucial new models.
And the result was the 986 Boxster, based on the retro-meets-techno 1993 show car of the same name.
As the company's rival to BMW's 2.8 Z3, the Mercedes SLK and Audi's TT, it also happened to be the cheapest new Porsche in years.
It was also the German company's first mid-engined production car since the forgotten 914/916 of the late 1960s.
Sharing almost half of its componentry with the rear-engined 996 series 911, the Boxster Series 1’s engine is a horizontally opposed 2.5-litre flat six with quad camshafts and four overhead valves per cylinder.
It produces 150kW of power and 245Nm of torque.
Helped by its mid-engined layout, the Boxster's handling was class-leading and the roadholding tenacious.
But many critics believed the car to feel underpowered, since the extremely highly engineered chassis could clearly handle more power.
Nevertheless the Boxster was just the hit the ailing Porsche needed to get back on its corporate feet.