Wednesday, March 1, 2017

fancying for a porsche - part 4

The end is near. It has been precisely one month since I caught the Porsche fever.

I have been struggling with in deciding which car would give me the most enjoyment among the many options. First option is the new Cayman 718 S which I can order new and specify it to my exact liking, and take the European delivery which I would spend a month touring Germany. I like the new Cayman 718 S option for it would be a car best suite as a daily driver, which means I would use it the most.

 a black Cayman 718 S with tan interior at my local dealership

as most people purchase the car with PDK I was unable to test drive one with manual transmission; I did test drive a 2012 Boxster and I found driving the PDK very dull

the rear brake rotor looks tiny

Second option is to find a lightly used pre-owned Cayman GT4. This car really resonate with what I want from a driver's car. When I first found out about it I only had a cursory impression of what it is - a naturally aspirated 3.8 liter flat-six engine from the 911 Carrera S, similar front suspension from the 911 GT3 including inverted dampers, huge brakes from the Carrera etc. Soon I would learnt that the suspension parts are basically racing components. I initially balk at the nearly 50% added cost to what I can purchase a brand new Cayman 718 S for. Very soon I swing to that even at this price point it is a true bargain for a car with this performance level, and most importantly, purity.

the dashboard of the 911 Carrera S is more elegant compared the Cayman

One of my other early option is a brand new 911 Carrera S which can be purchased for about $120,000 with few sensible options. This was my initial sanity check to rationalize the wanting of a pre-owned GT4. The aircooled 911s were sports car that I have always wanted. Strangely I prefer the classic appearance of the aircooled over the larger watercooled generations.

The cost of a lightly used GT4 currently costs between $100,000 to $120,000, depends on the paid options equipped.

While I am quite impressed with the new turbo-charged Cayman 718 S the more thought I gave to driving pleasure, the more I want a naturally aspirated engine with manual transmission. This led me to entertain a lightly used pre-owned 981 Caymans. This including 2015 Cayman S, and Cayman GTS. Surprisingly not a lot of these cars are in the market. However, in my search for a GT4 I came across one brand new 2015 Cayman GTS for $10,000 discount over the original MSRP. It was certainly a bargain for someone wishing to get a new Cayman GTS with the naturally aspirated 3.4 liter flat-six. Unfortunately for me it has the PDK transmission. By then I have already made up my mind that I will not compromise my want for a manual transmission.

a Cayman GTS like a brand new one that I came across but alas it has a PDK transmission; the agate gray is also not a color I like
I have been actively shopping for a GT4 for over 3 weeks now. When I begun the pool of cars was about 75 across the nation. In the process I would learn of the market, the buyers, sellers, and the price points with respect to the options, mileage, and history of the vehicle. While I am happy that with each car that I investigated and inquired I learnt more about the market dynamics, I was also quite rattled how rapidly the better deals have been vanishing over this past weeks. I would regret that I wish that I caught the GT4 fever say a month earlier when the market was still soft. I must have spent 80 to 100 hours finding one to buy. I have inquired close to 30 cars out of the 75 car pool. Many I could reject quite early but many requires a lot of research, discussion with the dealer, and feeling the likely mutually agreeable price point.

a couple of photos that do the yellow color justice out from the GT4 boucher

one of many that got away from me

I passed on this one because I could not get over the yellow and lack of options; meanwhile I also passed on all black, grey, and blue ones; I should remark that this is one awful shot of the car resulting in bulky appearance like a Mustang because of the wide angle lens distortion

I have been waiting for a local car with the GT Silver to come into the market to no avail; note the massive immense carbon ceramic brake rotors; I really like the sensible choice of the wheel finish as well as the wing support; this is my favorite combinations but this car is not on the market

the rear rotor on a Cayman 718 with 19" wheel looks like a toy compared to the PCCB

one of the best presented photo of a white GT4 for sale; I decided against this particular car due to the ownership history from my internet forensics

this is one of the best angle of this car (though this is a GT4 Clubsport)

all the available colors - there is really no color that look bad on this car

One can view all the photo and video of this very special car. Seeing one in person and able to sit in the driver seat is striking how special this car is. A normal Cayman S immediately feels like, well a common production Porsche. Even a $120,000 911 Carrera also feels like an ordinary production Porsche. Then consider all the racing bits on this car especially the suspensions, exhaust headers, and the 3.8 liter engine from the Carrera S, and racing aerodynamics, in retrospect the price of the car is a bargain to me now.

in this video the design chief of Porsche Rennsport talks about the development of the GT4

this is the first time I able to see a GT4 first hand and sit in the bucket seat
The past week I could see the market for this car has picked up pace. There is one less car in the market daily on average. By now there are only 39 advertised and most of these are priced very high, wrong optional equipment, wrong color, or have less than stellar prior ownership. There were about 8 cars that were prospects that slipped by my fingers. There are countless that I rejected after the inquiries. There are many we could not come to price agreement. I was also waiting to find out a local prospect that has only 10s of miles on the odometer but the owner is out of the country and cannot make contact. I tried wait for it as at the time GT Silver was my top pick. I passed off a few GT silver because they lack one or more of the crucial options.

The more time I spent thinking the options that are important to me three rose to top. They are bucket seats, carbon ceramic brakes, and sport chrono package. With these I would give up carbon ceramic brakes for a right car that without them. There are two equally compelling arguments for and against carbon ceramic brakes. On a Porsche 911 GT3 there can be no argument against PCCB, and I see it the same way on GT4.

and there is an iPhone app for it too - if you have the Sport Chrono Package

to me the carbon fiber reinforce plastic bucket seats are surprisingly comfortable and not that difficult to get in and out; I am grateful that is a this one near me that I can try out

The past few days have been difficult. I begun to feel that the market is running away from me. Three of the highly priced cars that I have been on the fence was sold in the course of a weekend. One the dealer accepted my low-to-him offer only to be rejected by me because of the DME report of the engine shows a badly botched downshift causing over-rev (to level 5) of the engine. I would later told that the adverse overspeed due to this one bad downshift would not void the warranty.

Seeing the shrinking pool of cars I begun to make calls on a few cars that I previously did not want to consider. Many simple throw up red flags and most are overpriced. I have to urge myself to keep an open mind.  By this past weekend I have 2 prospects but one that I tendered an offer turned out not being available as the owner ran into financing problem with the car he wants to buy. The available of the car and my offer was put into a holding pattern, which also place me in a bargaining disadvantage.

I even considered this track-prep car with half roll cage that has been a lease car with 2 ownerships; just because a lady dress up in heels does not mean that she must be sleeping around. I really like the idea of a factory-prep roll cage. I requested some photos of the tire threads to send to me, and from them I could see little signs of tracking.

a different angle of the bucket seat - it has electric height, and manual fore/aft adjustments

in the end we could not come to a mutually agreeable price before I perform more due diligence to ascertain that the car has not been abused or driven hard; just as well as it does not have PCCB

In desperation, I call one car that has been unattractive from the start and was a private seller asking for top dollars. Surprise. As I talked to the seller I felt the personal dynamics and begun to warm up to the car that the seller took impeccable care of it. The fact that he is in auto repair business does not intimidate me that the car could have been tracked or driven hard. I kept a cautious open mind. Within the same phone conversation I felt comfortable to extend my offer, of course subject to my due diligence to ascertain the vehicle's use history. I really want this car though it has few options but all are ones that I want - bucket seats, carbon ceramic brakes, and sport chrono package, and also very importantly has one of my prefer exterior colors.

this car definitely had been track; I am not against tracking but the sale price must reflect the harder use

Once we agree on the selling price, the purchasing process was very rapid despite I cannot see the car first hand. It has been precisely one month that I first caught the Cayman fever. I am quite pleased I found a car with my prefer color and all the options that are very important to me at a fair price and very low mileage.

While I think the new Cayman 718 S is a great car for me and more practical than a GT4. Still owning a supercharged Mini Cooper S I really want a naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine. So rarely does a car so special like the GT4 come along and I decide I must have one, despite it costs about 50% more than a brand new Cayman S.

Rebecca gives a review on the Cayman GT4

3 seat options: 18 way adaptive Sport Seat Plus (left); Sport Seat Plus (center); Full Bucket (left)


  1. I hope it all works out for you!

  2. Thanks. Right now is like watching paint dry for the closing process. Compared to the folks who was on the list waiting to hear about the constant changing rumor of the production allocation my angst is pale. Many have to wait for close to a year for their cars, and many paid $10k over MSRP to greedy dealers. I found there are two common reasons the GT4 are sold. The owners found the car too hard to use as road car, and the owners that trade up to the 911 GT3, or GT3 RS.

  3. I expect it's going to have some sharp edges that might not make it a "comfortable" daily driver, but those are probably the same sharp edges that make it a delight for every drive that isn't purely about transportation, and a beloved inhabitant of your garage.

    1. The bucket seats appears to be very high quality and the price reflect them. They are upholstered with leather on the sides and the non-skid Alcantara on the seat bottom and back. They are not intended for long distance trips but are quite comfortable. The tilt angle of the backrest and seat bottom is fixed so some may find it uncomfortable. The bucket seat is other quite similar to the Sport Seat Plus but with less padding. I prefer very firm seats and I know what it is like on track to slide around when you don't have bucket seat that have very good tight bolster support. Certainly this car is not a daily driver and the seats go with the territory. I added a photo of the three seat choice above and you can see the side by side difference.

    2. One of the love-of-my-life cars is the MKI Ford Escort RS1600, which I would mention in my next post. While finding photos of it I came across one with the aluminum racing bucket seat. I thought of your mention of potential sharp edges. Check it out: