Porsche Cayman S

porsche cayman s still nice and clean

Best Driver’s car? Try a Porsche Cayman S

“That’s your car there sir,” said the salesman at the dealership.

“Really?” replied my friend (and soon to be owner of a 2006 Guards Red Porsche Cayman S) in an astonished tone, because it looked like new, not eleven years old with 67k on the clock.

“But it’s not orange,” he whispered to me.

“Yeah that’s what I thought. Sunburnt orange, that’s how it looked in the photo,” I retorted.

Buying a car, sight unseen, is not recommended, but when there are so few options available, even less if you want a manual, then I guess you need to move quickly. That said, in red and beautifully prepared by the dealership, my friend’s new car looked spectacular.

Rocking up to the Porsche centre in Brisbane to check out his new wheels for the first time was still an unnerving experience. For him that is. Not so much for me. It wasn’t my hard earned flying out of the window after all. I was more interested in watching him actually climb into the thing. You see he is almost six feet five and the car is barely 1300mm tall. Funnily enough the thought had not actually occurred to him that he might not fit.

porsche cayman s sunset drive

But fit he did, and with plenty of head room to spare.

“Now, before you head off, I’d just like to introduce a few things to you, some of the Porsche idiosyncrasies. What sort of engine does it have?”

I almost stuck my hand up, much like a primary school kid trying to gain the attention of his teacher.

“A flat 6 horizontally opposed boxer,” he said, ignoring my impassioned puppy-like appeals to please him, before continuing, “meaning oil is continuously lubricating all of the cylinders and valves. Unlike a straight or V6 in which the oil sits at the bottom of the cylinder. So while this helps reduce wear, oil can leak through the seals if the car is left idle for a while. So don’t be afraid if you see a puff of smoke when turning the ignition. It happens.”

“But can’t it also suggest premature cylinder bore wear?” I eagerly yapped.

“Yes, it could, ” he said, almost dismissively, “but normally this is evident on cars that are rarely used. So drive it, it likes it. And drive it hard.”

We shared a look, a look that said we liked the cut of his jib and that we were enjoying the symphony now playing in our ears.

He showed us the neat little cubby holes and storage pods, how the lights worked and how to get the most out of the after-market in-dash screen. But you’d think spending the best part of sixteen grand on options would include an engine chip or maybe some shiny exhaust pipes. Not so, for the previous, and obviously discerning, owner had other ideas. His focus had been on areas that Cayman buyers had most to moan about – the look of the wheels, the slipperiness of the seats and the size of the steering wheel that was obtrusive enough to catch your knee when depressing the clutch. He’d wisely plumped for black 19 inch rims, uprated sports seats and a smaller, thinner, leather bound tiller that harked back to the ’70’s but only in the best possible way. And the car is instantly the better for all of them.

 

porsche cayman s upgraded wheel

After listening to a new Panamera’s throaty bauble whilst waiting for the paperwork to be signed, I was somewhat disappointed by the rather normal sounding tick over of the flat 6 once we were handed the keys and told to go forth. It didn’t appear any more impressive than say a Toyota GT or a Scooby BRZ. But once on the highway and above the 3000 line then that all changes. Not only are you grinning from to ear to ear because of the normally aspirated shunt from every gear, even in sixth, but the noise grows incessantly right up to the red line and is, for me, as good as the bellow of a V8.

For the driver, everything is exactly where you’d want it – the gear lever is perfectly positioned and weighted, all controls are within easy reach and there are no annoying electronic gadgetry. There are no flappy paddles, no seat belt warning dings and no supposed driver safety aids that in my opinion distract you from the more important task of actually driving safely. And,  in this car, fast. Porsche do provide a digital speedometer in the centre of the dials ahead of you however, and it’s the only one you glance down to. The analogue dial on the left gives you an approximation of speed, which in this country would be a dice with license death if that is the one you use regularly.

porsche cayman s rear view

 

I expected to be slightly intimidated but it’s a far easier car to drive than I thought. Though you sit very low, there is ample vision front and rear, and the mirrors and rear quarter windows nullify any blind spots. Weaving through traffic is a breeze but I catch myself lingering over the view of the rear wings curving sumptuously behind me and force myself to focus on the equally curvaceous vista ahead.

The cacophony coming from the tyres on any surface is unchecked and every single bump, every crease, hole or patchwork is telegraphed directly to your behind, so it’s no wonder that after the first three to four hours your bum does start to ache.

But then this is no Grand Tourer. This is a proper little sports car. Once you are away from dual lane monotony and on to the twisty, compressed roads that emanate from one side of the Pacific Highway, up into the hinterland of the Great Dividing Range, you are quickly reminded of this.

My word this is when its true personality bursts to the fore, like a supposedly tamed lion that eventually gets its own back over the whip wielding bastard behind a chair. These roads are what this thing was made for. Initially the side bolsters of the new seats, particularly around the shoulders, had felt a bit too hemmed in, but once pointing down a twisty piece of bitumen their intent becomes clear, particularly for the driver.

porsche cayman s cooling down after a quick sprint

 

It has been raining and it is beginning to spit once more, but there is no hint of it through the wheel,  zero loss of traction, whether the surface is smooth, gravelly, or a patchwork of both. All four wheels are as planted as the stanchions of the Harbour Bridge. The mid-engine layout and low centre of gravity provides balance and poise, and the tail out shenanigans of 911’s of yore are banished along with any sense of fear. The only danger the driver needs to be cognisant of are the humps over small bridges that will easily catch the underside of the front bumper, particularly under hard braking. A well timed foot off to release an inch or two of suspension is necessary, and it allows my passenger to unclench his buttocks and relax from the thoughts of dealing with thousands of dollars of cosmetic repair bills, if only for a second. Then you are back on it, right foot squishing the carpet before lifting off, rhythmically blipping on down changes, and snicking up through the gearbox as the rev limiter nears the 7,000 mark. Or at least you think it is, because you are not really looking at the dials, you are going by feel and sound, and morphing as one with the car. Jeez, I could stay on these roads all year stopping only for the odd wee and a drop of fluid.

It is quite simply the best driver’s car I have driven. Perhaps not the fastest, the souped up M5 a couple of years ago takes that ribbon, but it’s agility, poise and ease of use, on a daily basis, means it tops my list. And this for an eleven year old car. Sure the platform can probably handle more power and I understand why Porsche don’t shoe-horn more into it – it would beat a 911 otherwise, and they can’t have that. So is it worth the $52 odd grand that my very best friend (wink) paid for it?

Absolutely.

porsche cayman s voluptuous moi?

 

So what should he look out for, other than meat heads like me who will pester him continually to take us to the nearest track?

The biggest issue with early Boxsters and Caymans was the IMS – intermediate shaft bearing – failure. It could be the result of sub-standard parts or that the car was not used enough. Either way oil can drain from the bearing which leads to corrosion and this gunk is then taken up by the bearing when you next start the car up. Porsche replaced the part in later models and it is less of an issue. My feeling is that considering this car is over a decade old, the issue has probably been sorted, or it’s not going to be a problem. Not yet anyway.

All the scoops and air intakes need regular cleaning to ensure leaves and other road muck does not get sucked in. Finally the remote locking function has been known to fail, so it’s a $500 replacement.

When used regularly, the car will sing for you for as long as you care to maintain it. Just a service every 12,000 kms, or once a year, and you’re laughing.

Finally, if you are on the hunt for one, avoid those with very low mileage. For me, those owners don’t deserve one if they don’t want to drive it, and they will be the models that cause most pain.

porsche cayman s taking a breather

Car Facts:

3.4 litre, normally aspirated, horizontally opposed flat 6

Mid-engine layout

Rear wheel drive

291 bhp (217kW), 340 Nm Torque

0-100: 5.4 secs

Price when new (2006): $148,500

Asking price (2017): $59,990 (bought for $52,000)

Odometer: 67,140 kms

porsche cayman s 2006

Range Rover Evoque SD4

range rover evoque

A little something for the weekend, Madam

It would not be hard to fathom that I like Land Rovers. I own one and weep constantly at the bills that arrive whenever the word “service” enters the fray. They are both excellent and extravagant, particularly if you live in a city and rarely take it into the rough stuff.

But I have never bought into the baby Range Rover, the Range Rover Evoque. I’m not sure why? It looks unique enough, it has been well put together and, as James May discovered, even the two-wheel drive version can handle some pretty slippery slopes. But it’s a car for the DINK’s of Paddington, hipster types who quaff wheat grass and order soy decaf mocca frappacinos, and spend as much time on their hair as some of us do in the garage. Hardly any of the cars will see a muddy lane, let alone a remote track visited only by an indigenous elder. So it’s surprising to note that Orson, my friend and current owner of this Evoque SD4 Pure Tech, has two children, no dress sense, unless you regard black t-shirts fashionable, lives in the Hills district and has no hair at all.

Why would an apparently sane – no scratch that, he does have a penchant for pinball machines, 1970’s US muscle cars and Japanese people movers – a slightly insane then, successful, driven young father choose to spend $70,000 on a car that does nothing for his image? Answer: His wife liked it.

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Up close and personal, I can see why. Its lines are eye-catching, particularly dressed in pearlescent white with black roof. Its 18 inch wheels fill the arches aggressively and it does have that chic touch about it, that posh image that only a Range Rover can portray. People will invite you to their club for the weekend, organise pony trials with your daughter and make you the golf club captain. You don’t get the same reaction if you tell someone you’ve a Toyota, a Volkswagen, even a BMW. No, only a Rangey can do that.

But is it? Is it really a Rangey?

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Well yes, in many ways it is. It is very comfortable. It has five seats, all be it quite small ones. It can drive almost anywhere, and it is expensive. Even more so if you buy it new. After 3 years of trouble-free motoring however, this 27,600 kilometre example will save you almost $20,000 off list price, just about enough to get that horse-box your youngest will be needing.

For a car that weighs 30kg short of 1700, its punchy little 2.2 litre turbo diesel engine, the smallest in the diesel range, produces a reasonable 110kW (nearly 150 bhp) and gets you up to licence loss territory quicker than you think. Thanks in part to the weight saving properties of its aluminium bonnet and roof, its composite plastic tailgate, and its 6 speed auto box that becomes more responsive still when you use the paddle shifts behind the steering wheel.

Out on the mean streets of the Hills, I find I’m taking corners sharply and speed humps with aplomb. It is certainly a nippy little thing, but the engine note could be a bit more, what’s the word? Manly?

Switch on the sound system, and Orson’s choice of head nodding hip hop accost your ears like a low flying jet plane coming into land, and in the dark, the mood lighting adds a touch of bling to the atmosphere.

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The plastic fascia looks good but to touch it feels a tad low rent, akin to the disappointment of thinking you’ve bought leather shoes only to find out they are made of PVC. At this price a bit of Alcantara wouldn’t go amiss. The rest of the Tech options are nice to play with though, as is the All-Terrain system, a system I am used to in my Discovery. Though I may scoff at its off-road pedigree, it does have class leading ground clearance and with its decent approach and departure angles, this thing will probably follow my Disco with ease.

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So what’s wrong with them? Well after first appearing in 2011, there was a spate of software glitches and the odd one had poor build quality. But in the main, they have been well received by buyers. Orson tells me he has not had any issues with his, he’s not even had to replace the tyres.

So would I buy one? Errrm …. Probably not. But then I have four kids.

So who would? Well that bit is obvious. It was not voted 2012 Women’s Overall World Car of The Year and Women’s Top World Luxury Car of the Year for nothing. Your wife will.

Orson’s Evoque is available for sale on CarSales by clicking the following link:

http://www.carsales.com.au/private/details/Land-Rover-Range-Rover-Evoque-2012/SSE-AD-3684470

 

Range Rover Evoque

Buyers Guide: Porsche 911 (993)

By: The Car Spy
By: The Car Spy

So Great Aunt Mildred has left you some cash and rather than do the proper thing and save it, or put it towards a mortgage, or buy

the wife that massive rock she always wanted, you have chosen to blow the lot on a Porsche. But not just any Porsche, you have chosen to go back to its air cool days and to those magic numbers, 993.

So to ensure your crown jewels remain intact after you first drive up to your front door, grin fixed wide on your doey eyed face and confront your better half, you want to make sure you are not getting a lemon.

One of the beautiful things about the 993 is that you can at least ensure you arrive in once piece. 911’s of yore have the reputation for filling you with confidence and then on one seemingly innocuous curve, snatching it all away. Its rear end oversteering madly and whatever you try with the wheel, you know you’re heading for that ditch, that tree, or worse.

Porsche decided to alter things for the 993, and bring a 30 year old car up to date and use a rear suspension set up that resembled a double wishbone system, something they called an LSA, Light-Stable-Agile, multi-link set up. This effectively banished the lift off oversteer issues of its predecessor to the history book. Additionally it made maintaining it easier and cheaper, because the whole design meant the engine and gearbox were far simpler to install and remove.

Aside of rocking up in one piece, what else should be considered?

The all-new suspension was strong, but you should ensure that all service work is logged properly.

By: The Car Spy
By: The Car Spy

The body parts were not zinc galvanised, and although a lesser problem in Australia, any signs of rust should tell you it has probably not had a healthy lifestyle. Check the bottom edges around the front and rear screens and also the rear bumper. Up front, like any low slung car, check for damage or corrosion brought about by scraping over bumps.

Brakes are powerful but check the discs are not pitted.

Make sure anything electrical works. Standard Carrera 2’s did not have air-con, so if one is there then that is a bonus.

If the doors make a loud cracking noise when opened fully, it may be wiser to put up with it, but it does tell you the door straps have worn with age and it’s an expensive job to repair. Some owners may have welded the straps to the A-pillar but this has been shown to let rust take hold inside the door pillar and will be costlier still to repair.

If you chose the Targa, assuming it came in under the budget, make sure the roof is watertight and there are no electrical malfunctions and that the wind deflector pops up ok. The soft-top rear plastic screen will deteriorate with age and look a little milky. If you decide to change it, it is better to buy a genuine item as they last much longer.

Make sure the carpets are not damp in the front luggage compartment and whilst in there check that the compressor that is supplied still inflates the tyres (what a great touch).

Much like the Beetle, 993’s employed heat exchangers to bring hot air from the engine to the front and they can get rusty, so check that hot air blows effectively from the heater.

If the budget extends to the Turbo, GT2 or RS, make sure the body additions are present and well looked after. The GT2’s bolt-on arch extensions were particularly damage prone and its doors and bonnet were made of aluminium to save weight but are pretty

By: The Car Spy
By: The Car Spy

delicate, so keep a look out.

Better to go with standard interior trim and colours too, far easier to resell.

Make sure the chassis legs have not been completely sprayed, for Porsche left part of them in a white base coat. If the base coat is not evident then you may be looking at a crash repaired vehicle.

Finally, check all 3 areas where Porsche stamped the VIN (vehicle identification number) matches that in the log book – the metal tag under the petrol tank, the label on the right hand side B-pillar and the left hand lower corner of the windscreen.

Prices

Now to reality. This is Australia and so as usual new prices started higher than almost anywhere in the world and even 20 years on they remain high. There are very few 993’s available for sale it seems so this compounds this issue.

You can find more options overseas. The UK market will throw up nice examples starting from GBP 29,000 upwards but tantalising as this may seem, to have a car shipped over is not cheap – shipping costs, GST, you must show ownership of more than 12 months in the country you are buying the car from and if the price exceeds the luxury car tax threshold, currently a tad over $60k, then you’ve a 33% loading on the amount above the threshold.

By: The Car Spy
By: The Car Spy

A Night at the Auction

Interesting night at the auction. Not only did the Quattro, mentioned here on this site, not sell for a decent price tag, it was passed in at $17k (I fear its poor re-spray may have let it down), some people in Sydney are prepared to pay $50k + for a Mk 1 TVR Tuscan; a car that is both beautiful and flawed, fast and unreliable, from a company now defunct, ruined by some junior Russian oligarch after five decades of steady progress from a small factory in Blackpool, northern England. Parts will be almost non-existent, and a lathe and a workshop a necessity.

By: The Car Spy

Yet the $50k bid was turned down because it seems there are even more outlandish people out there and greedy ones at that. However, after the car was passed in someone did stump up the extra reddies and drove away in a whopping $58,500 trouble bucket. I would never have seen that coming and it’s probably why I am still only able to buy second-hand.

I didn’t quite hear the spiel in detail but there seemed a tenuous link with the film Swordfish. Would that make me want to pay $20-25k over the odds for a car that most probably won’t work next week, even if Halle Berry could have draped her shapely frame all over it? No thanks, but I did hesitate.

All this being said, I have to ask myself whether I am missing something. Are TVR’s becoming collectors’ items? Prices overseas suggest not, you can pick up a number in the UK for around £20k ($30k) so unless our buyer knows something the rest of us don’t, the words more money and sense spring to mind.

Would I like to drive it though? Oh yes please. To feel that enormous shove up to 100 kph and far beyond, in under 4 seconds, from a car that that cost a fraction of the price of anything else that could do that? Double please. This version is a 2003 model, with upgraded power to 400 bhp (298kW). There used to be a fantastic race series in the UK called the Tuscan Challenge, and it may still be running, and in race form speeds of over 190 mph were attained with acceleration figures to 100 mph in under 7 seconds. Now that’s fast.

By: Brian Snelson

If you are the new owner, check out the Research category for common problems http://wp.me/s3rCxt-763 and visit the links to the enthusiast forums.

No doubt you already know what you have bought and would have done the research. Wonderful car, fantastic noise and incredible performance, but what a shame if it just sits in a garage somewhere never to be driven.

The highest price on the night went to a beautifull ’59 Mercedes 190SL Roadster for $91k, closely followed by a mint condition ’64 230SL for $89k. A magnificent V12 E-Type sold for $56k completing the last podium spot.

Looking forward to what tasty treats lay in store for the next one.