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986 Vs 944 S2 or 968 Cab?

Iíve been a Porsche nut for years, love almost everything theyíve made as long as the word Panamera isnít on the back. Iíve watched oil cooled 911ís evaporate out of my price range. Iíve come close to buying a 944 in the past, but itís never panned out.

Iím probably looking at buying a new car next year. The original plan was to buy a new Mustang, but even with my A plan pricing, whenever I price out a Mustang I want it keeps coming out the wrong side of $40K, I just donít want to spend that much money on a car. So for a while now my intention has been to buy the a 986 or 986 S for cash in the $10-15ish K range come early mid 2016. Then immediately do the IMS bearing and clutch where ever I had the PPI done. Bonus points for it coming from Southern Cali as an excuse to fly out and drive it back across country with the spousal unit. Iíve always loved driving Boxsters. The intimate go kart like handling with wonderful steering, still coupled with a ride that works on Michiganís special stages, err sorry super smooth streets. But my wife has never been that enthused, she finds the lack of torque annoying in the two base cars sheís driven. Weíve both driven and like 944ís in the past, although itís a long time since sheís driven one and Iíve never driven a 944 and 986 within any sort of a time frame that makes a back to back comparison possible.

So my brain has begun ruminating on a 944S2 cab as a good weather DD keeping my Volvo C30 for inclement weather and the chilly seasons. 944ís will be a lot older than a 986 and have more age related issues. But they donít have the potential high $$ down falls that an M96 can have. As long as you keep up on the timing belt and with the 16V engine the chain tensioner they are reliable as gravity. Yes the clutch is a two weekend job without a hoist, but it can be planned for. A 944 is also probably past the low point in its depreciation, so while Iím not a car flipper and keep my cars a long time I would at least be assured that my money it wasnítí loosing value. There is also the 951, but there are fewer cabs out there with 951s. There is also the 968, but it just doesnít have the purity of the 944 in its lines, not that Iíd discount it. Part of this was kicked off by seeing this 968 cab on Sunday morning in Ferndale Mi, it was a tiptronic though which is a complete non-negotiable no no.

Now this being the 944 forum I'm fairly confident of the answer I'll get so I'll probably cross post on Boxster forum as well.


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Old 08-07-2015, 07:20 AM
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Sounds like you should get a boxster that has been well cared for.
Old 08-07-2015, 07:38 AM
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Old things like attention. The more plumbing a car has, the higher the propensity for leaks. Someone has to fix those leaks.

Boxsters are cool but engine access is cumbersome in comparison to your other choices. The polar moment is also on both ends of the spectrum but that doesn't matter unless you take it to the limits of adhesion.

Engine management systems have evolved with the 24/44/51/68 series. Diagnostic plugs are something that puts you ahead of the game.

If you are going to turn your own wrenches, read the model specific boards and look at who actually works on their cars and those that want a pretty shifter.
Old 08-07-2015, 08:00 AM
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I have owned several examples of all 3... as far as fun factor I would rank them S2, 968, 986. but when it comes to reliability it would be the other way around 986, 968, S2.. an older car will have more parts due for replacement.

S2, is going to be the hardest to find in good shape and the one that you will really have to look at closely because at this age they may need things like brake boosters and heater cores replaced, usually because the nice ones you find have been sitting the majority of their lives. they are a blast to drive!

968, the few that I have owned were all in really good shape, mainly because they were not daily driven cars. you should be able to find a decent example, area of concern would be the top and like the 944 the timing belt and water pump. as far as driving, the convertible 968 never felt as fun as the S2.

986, I have had several, and I drive them hard (track days, ect.)... and of all the porsches I have owned the base 986's are the ones that I have had to do the least amount of maintenance on. Put a good set of shocks or coilovers on one and they are awesome to drive. There are a lot more 986's out there, finding a pristine example might be hard, but one with a little bit of driver wear should be easy. The tops can be an issue and expensive fix, though I never had to mess with one.

986S, that option is out there too, and yes there is quite a power/torque difference, however its hard to justify higher cost of a 986S when there are so many cheap 996's out there.
Old 08-07-2015, 08:26 AM
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Does it have to be a cab?
I've never seen a functioning (electric) 944 or 968 cab roof. I wouldn't buy one.

But then again, I haven't opened my 944's sunroof in almost 4 years, but sunshine is probably in greater abundance here in S.CA than it is in MI.

Having driven all the variants you're looking at, I'd pick an S2 over a 968 every time. S2 always feels like it just has more low-down power, even though it *shouldn't*. But the 968 is a screamer.

Last edited by v2rocket_aka944; 08-07-2015 at 08:54 AM..
Old 08-07-2015, 08:51 AM
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Knock on a support bow, but my top functions electrically and doesn't leak.

I steady it when it's moving to lessen the load.
Old 08-07-2015, 09:07 AM
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I (we) love drop tops. We've had two drop top Mustangs and I used to have a Miata and years ago a Spitfire. I'm the idiot you see in the middle of winter with snow on the ground and 20F with the top down and heater on full blast. Since I'm coming to terms with the fact that I'm no longer a track rat, the last autocross I did was 3 years ago and the last time I was on a race track was the Nurburgring when I picked up my Volvo, the need for a closed car is greatly reduced. Do I have to have a drop top, no, but I'd like one.

I thought all 944/968 cabs were manual not electric roof, did I misunderstand?

If it was 9 months hence Iíd be all over this.
Porsche 1990 944 S2 Cabriolet It's even local





Text from ad.
1990 944 S2 Cabriolet Black w black top grey interior this 944 is in good condition runs and drives great has low production numbers rare Porsche very affordable open to possible trades.
Has short shift kit and Momo carbon fiber knob this car performs very well weight ratio and 16v motor S2 gives driving experience hard to match for this investment also 1990 is old enough now to be plated and insured as historical. Rick show contact info open to trades I can add cash if you have something of higher value and were looking to keep something fun to drive.
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Old 08-07-2015, 09:21 AM
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A large part of this is driving pleasure. In peoples experience, times, classing and competitive ability aside, which is more fun / rewarding to hustle either through the cones or down your favorite twisting road? Yes a Boxster would certainly be the theoretically better car, but what about the intangible of driving pleasure?

What do people think the long term upkeep would be between them assuming most work done myself.
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Old 08-07-2015, 09:24 AM
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Have my 944 Cab for about 16 years now. 95K miles and very few issues. My top was electric and worked fine but then the canvas was worn so I took it in for a new top. Idiot pinched the cable on one side and snapped not one but both bows! I've got a manual top now.
Old 08-07-2015, 12:33 PM
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The 968 is an electric-driven top, but due to the NLA status of the main bow, their inherent weakness, and the general slowness of the electric-drive operation, most owners have opted to simply follow the service manual and convert them to "manual" mode, which is faster and safer. Mine is in that state currently. Converting them back to electric mode may be a chore, depending on what is required to re-synchronize the motors.
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Old 08-07-2015, 12:44 PM
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Old 08-07-2015, 12:58 PM
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the S2 cabs do have great lines on them, but if i were to actually have one i'd just remove the bagged up roof and make it a speedster.
Old 08-07-2015, 01:32 PM
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The roof is handy if it rains or gets too hot or noisy and you want to close up and crank the AC. It does also make it easier to wash the car. It's not IMO a big deal to keep the electric roof working but manual mode is also pretty easy to live with and if you top is in good condition you might want to put a towel on the window when you close it anyway, therefore you might as well go manual.

I prefer the looks of the S2, the power and torque of the 968. On the street the 6 speed is not particularly better than the 5 IMO. I skip shift the 6 speed a lot. Build quality seems better on the 968. Some people seemed to go pretty nuts about my red S2 cab, I think they thought it was a Ferrari Daytona or something, I am not sure. The 968 gets a fair bit of attention but generally people have no idea what it is. Both are super to drive but it'd be nice to have 987 Boxster S power with no mods.

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Old 08-07-2015, 02:04 PM
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having just gone through the re-syncronisation process, i can attest to the pain the in butt. if i were not selling the car, i would have left it in manual mode.
Old 08-07-2015, 06:19 PM
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The 968's are pretty nice too, and rare. But if you're spending 15K, have you looked at the 996? They're around that price range for convertibles and coupes these days...
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Old 08-07-2015, 10:07 PM
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I've always wanted a 944 S2 Cabrio in guards red but I've never found one in nice shape that I could afford. I would think that the best thing would be to find a nice one, and get all of the routine maintenance done. Timing belt, water pump, drive belts, clutch, etc, and then keep the car and enjoy it. The 986 is too much of a poor man's Porsche for me. They remind me of the entry level 924 in ways. With the engine problems and drops in value I'd opt for the 944 S2 any day. S2's for very decent prices are available if you really search. As far as 944's go I drive one every day and have for 15 years. If you can get their problems and maintenance worked out they really are a very good reliable car. I like the lines of the S2's much more than the 968's though.
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Old 08-07-2015, 10:08 PM
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Here's what looks like a very nice 91 S2 Cab in Guards Red located near Los Angeles (no affiliations with the seller)

1991 Porsche 944 S2 Cab
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Old 08-07-2015, 10:32 PM
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I've owned 968 cabs since 1996 and have never had an issue. Mine have always been in power mode.

If you decide to pursue the 968 further be sure to check out the PCA 968 register web site. Lots of great production details there.

Porsche 968 Register | Porsche Club of America's 968 Register

Did you know 968s were available in 33 different exterior colors and 98 different interiors. With only 2,234 coupes and 2,008 cabs in four years, uniqueness is one of their greatest qualities.
Old 08-09-2015, 06:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v2rocket_aka944 View Post
the S2 cabs do have great lines on them, but if i were to actually have one i'd just remove the bagged up roof and make it a speedster.
Nope, If I get one it will see regular use, and while it would hibernate through the Michigan winter, it would see daily use in the summer. Speedster wouldn’t work for that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mhariush View Post
The 968's are pretty nice too, and rare. But if you're spending 15K, have you looked at the 996? They're around that price range for convertibles and coupes these days...
$15K would be my upper limit to include purchase price, PPI and any ‘do now’ items such as an IMS bearing (and while you’re in there clutch) on a Boxster, or possibly cam belt, cam chain and tensioners on an S2/968 and while you’re in there water pump.

Also I just don’t like the lines of the 996 cab. It looks really fat in the butt compared to the coupe to me. And the 986/996 nose just suits the 986 better in my eyes. Also, short of a turbo or GT3 I’d pick a Boxster or Cayman over any 996/997/981 for the same money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mhariush View Post
Here's what looks like a very nice 91 S2 Cab in Guards Red located near Los Angeles (no affiliations with the seller)
1991 Porsche 944 S2 Cab
Looks nice, but if I were in the market now, I’d be all over the black on I posted up thread rather than this one. Red is my least favorite color for 944 and derivatives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff968 View Post
I've owned 968 cabs since 1996 and have never had an issue. Mine have always been in power mode.

If you decide to pursue the 968 further be sure to check out the PCA 968 register web site. Lots of great production details there.

Porsche 968 Register | Porsche Club of America's 968 Register

Did you know 968s were available in 33 different exterior colors and 98 different interiors. With only 2,234 coupes and 2,008 cabs in four years, uniqueness is one of their greatest qualities.
Was not aware of that site. Thanks.
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Old 08-11-2015, 06:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo12345 View Post
Perfect

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Old 08-11-2015, 06:23 AM
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