If you didn’t see, I had an AMA yesterday about my 2 years with my Cayman S. I got exactly 10 questions (as of writing this) so that’s cool! And, what’s great is they’re good questions too mostly so thanks for showing some interest. I’m going to go down the list and just answer everyone. I might get carried away, actually I will, but I’ve wanted to talk about all this anyway.
If you’re doing autocross and track days, I’m going to go ahead and assume you’re turning the wrench yourself on most things.
Have you needed to employ and inde or dealer for anything?
Have you owned, wrenched on any other performance oriented Germans?
What are the caveats of mid-engine ownership only to be realized after becoming an owner?
I have been wrenching myself mostly! Before this car I had only done some audio and lighting, a cold air intake, an axle-back exhaust, and swapped wheels. Based on mostly a desire to do more but also LOTS of savings ($$) I’ve done my own oil changes, brake flush and bleed, brake pad replacements, air filter replacements, lots of wheel swaps, and I’ve got... plans.
I have an inde that I use for my track stuff mostly. They offer free track inspections (following the PCA document) due to an agreement with PCA. I’ve also had them do my first brake flush when I wasn’t ready before my first track day, and they did my track alignment last year. I will definitely go back to them once my CPO Warranty is up but for now I will do another track alignment and inspection if track days happen this year. I’ve used the dealer a LOT which is mostly due to bad luck which I’ll explain later, but also a few warranty items got replaced which was really nice. I get great courtesy cars, and the mechanics even suggest warranty fixes they notice that I didn’t!
I have not owned or wrenched on any other performance oriented German. Though I did help replace my friend’s headlight assemblies in high school on his MB C320. His parents owned a car dealership.
Ooh mid-engine caveats ok... Pros: cool rare factor especially when people see you open the frunk, frunk and trunk actually have a LOT of space for this size 2-seater car, intake noises behind your head are teh sex, barely any tubes/wires/etc to get damaged under the car for 2/3 the length, balance around turns is crazy until you go too far
Cons: when you go too far you can’t recover. I’m sure some people can but I’ve had a few more full pirouette spins at AutoX than in the 14' Mustang GT I had before lol. Can’t quickly access the engine, engine work is INSIDE the car so you have to remove and take care of aesthetic pieces you want to keep nice like carpeting and seats. That being said, the videos I’ve watched and wrenching I’ve done myself consistently surprises me with how every aspect of the engineering was thought out. It’s not always easy, but it’s always possible and a lot of times way easier than I thought with “mid engine Porsche” in my inexperienced mind.
Any common faults to be aware of when shopping for 981s? At this point from what I’ve seen, they seem rather stout.
What’s your favorite thing about it?
Least favorite or biggest annoyance?
If you could do it again, would you still get the S, or would you go for the base, or up to a GTS or GT4?
I don’t know if there’s anything as big as the IMS, but (and this may be the 987 as well) I’ve heard the interior headliner can start to fall down. The door panels tend to unstick over time but mine were replaced under my CPO warranty. Otherwise they seem very reliable mechanically.
My absolute favorite thing about this car is how I feel driving it aggressively. It’s an adrenaline rush every time. It’s not chaos like my Mustang was, it’s refined of course, but it just feels like the physical embodiment of driving enthusiasm. A heel-toe downshift into a tight corner then accelerating out, a hard charge redlining a few gears, or just adding more and more power (POWERRRRRRRR) on a long sweeper and feeling the grip increase, the seats grabbing you, virtually no roll.... hnggg
Least favorite is a bit unfair and is basically just that it’s been so unlucky for me. Mechanically sound but the scratches and other things I’ll get into later is like 10x more than any car I’ve owned even in only 2 years. Some of this is likely it’s shape and sportiness though so I guess it’s par for the course dailying a sports car.
If I could do it again in the same situation, I’d get the same car. I wrote a 10 page research paper deciding what car to get and I test drove the base and the S and decided I absolutely had to have the S. Now though, with my house and my Miata and wanting to track a lot more? I’d get a base 981 and spend the difference on track time and tires :)
We hear all kinds of complaints about the manual with the long gearing.....how is it DD vs on the track? Do you ever wish it was geared shorter when driving around town?
I’ve driven many 987/981 S models but never long enough to have a valid opinion (I have a 986 5-sp).
DD it’s great actually if you want to just commute. Starting in first is easy enough, I actually love the heavy clutch like my Mustang had (but more actually). Then once you’re in second it doesn’t end until you’re over EVERY SPEED LIMIT IN 49 STATES. So if you just try to get to the speed you need then comfortably shift to the gear you can cruise in, easy. However, after getting the 5spd Miata I really have a lot more fun shifting more often and blasting around everywhere just to get to the speed limit lol So, if I couldn’t afford a second car then yes it was starting to get boring driving around Rhode Island with this gearing. Find the right roads, it’ll treat you right.
On the track? It’s interesting. It’s great for learning because there’s not much shifting. I shift up twice at Thompson and down once (skip), at Palmer I shift up twice and down twice. At AutoX I shift once then drive an automatic car the rest of the time lol though I get into 3rd on the long straights now. Still, the long gearing itself isn’t the big problem it’s actually the dip in the power around 3500 rpm or so. That just so happens to align with when you drop to second and try to power up a hill while watching Macans and Panameras catch up to you. You really have to try to maintain higher RPMs but then you don’t have the short gearing to really dial that in.
As someone who has been tempted by Caymans over the years, I guess my biggest question would be related to total cost of ownership - how bad have the repairs been over the past few years?
Ok this is where I’ll get into the issues I’ve had, the bad luck. For a short answer though it’s been very low cost overall when you think of Porsche but this is due to 2 big caveats namely 1) It had 6 months left of the original warranty then 2 years of CPO which ends this September so even though nothing has come up that actually was necessary to fix it all is expensive when you don’t have a warranty. 2) I do my own maintenance which according to recent numbers saves me about $270 per oil change.
The long answer is that I’ve spent $2700 on repairs, could spend a lot more if I was trying to maintain some garage queen appearance (but that’s actually another caveat to cost is that I treat it as a car not a piece of art). First, the warranty repairs were replacing the stock amplifier which was cutting out when I bought it, replaced both door panels, and replaced a windshield washer hose that broke at a bend. Second, the non warranty repairs were caused by a nail in a newish rear tire so I had to get a pair quickly ($700), I have no idea how but a massive scratch on the driver side rocker appeared one day and my deductible would have been close enough that I covered out of pocket ($700), once I adjusted my insurance I had to replace a cracked windshield ($100), I had to get another driver side rocker (the same one) scratch fixed after a shopping cart hit it in the wind ($100), and recently a bunch of small scratch fixes and replacements from a deer running into me after it had already crossed the road ($100), then in between all this the first time I tried to bleed my brakes I snapped a bleeder nipple off which luckily broke closed but couldn’t be drilled out and the dealership just replaced the WHOLE CALIPER ($1000). Thirdly there’s all the stuff I haven’t fixed. There’s little scratches and stuff all over the front from road work, track debris, etc though luckily I have a clear wrap on most of it but scratches have gone through a lot too. I scratched the hatch when it was open and I accidentally closed my garage door while it was on my lift.
BTW I’m single, an engineer, and have awful priorities so I spend most of my spare money on this hobby. I go to the track, I get track insurance, I bought a jack, jack stands (now recalled), then a Quickjack system which is AMAZING, a motive power bleeder for brakes, replacement OEM brake pads, track pads, RBF 600 brake fluid, a set of winter wheels and tires, specific wrenches, torque wrenches, power tools, tire pressure and tread gauges, brake pad thickness gauges, oh and a full compliment of middling car wash stuff. Probably a lot more. I have a problem. So if you want to do exactly what I do with this car, it’s very expensive.
*** If you just want to daily a Cayman, it’s not exorbitant at all for what you get and what you pay. ***
ItalianJobR53 etc etc etc
Anything you would change on the car from a design perspective that improves the driving experience? Any mods on the car, any planned?
But most importantly, MOAR ASTON PICS PLEASE!!!
If I could eliminate that power dip mid-band it would be perfect. Maybe hydraulic steering but the electric system is really really good. Porsche sports exhaust should be mandatory rather than an option lol
I have track pads I use for track and autox, I’m getting better tires soon, and replaced my brake fluid with RBF 600. I got a track alignment last year and will again this year. Upcoming though is a valved Fabspeed performance exhaust that I bought stupidly but will install after I get an inspection next month :p then in the future my plan is for this to be my track-only car eventually so I’ll start with headers, Cobb tuning maybe, suspension upgrade, seats with harnesses with a roll bar, then who knows?
Is there anyone ahead of me in line for when you eventually sell it?
I’m guessing you’ll autox the Miata at some point. Curious how they compare
I’m hoping to never sell it. If I can keep it financially then I want it eventually to be a track-only car until it dies, or I die.
I won’t ever autox the miata as-is, I just don’t trust the suspension and components in that environment. HOWEVER I do plan to turn it into an Exocet once it’s too unreliable to daily. I can’t wait for my first big project!
Captain of the Enterprise
Is it good for tall people. I’m 6’3” with a tall torso and like them a lot. I’d have to buy one in like the sub $15000 range though.
I can’t tell you exactly, but here’s my experience and some anecdotal evidence. I’m 6'0" and I fit easily with my racing helmet on so I think you will fit. Anecdotally I’ve read a lot about the Porsche seating position which basically is possible because you don’t have an engine up front and they don’t try to make the top shaped like a hypercar. It creates sort of a bubble where you can see over the hood really well and feel spacious but while being able to touch the passenger door without leaning and sitting more like an F1 position than an F150 position. If you get a good example, do a PPI, and can do some basic maintenance it will be an amazing car for you. My advice is don’t test drive one if you can’t buy it that day. It wrecked my Mustang for me.
Chan - Mid-engine with cabin fever
Congrats on the anniversary! Did you make any mods for the track, i.e. brakes?
Touched on this earlier but I’ll go chronologically. 1st track weekend (Fri, Sat, and Sun) all I had was a brake flush done which is required each year by PCA and a track alignment maxing out my negative camber front and back with 0 toe foreward and very slight toe in rearward. Otherwise stock everything else. My tires all season were mismatched though because the nail made me get Nitto NT555 rears while I have Michelin PS4S fronts. For my 4th track day I just had another brake flush lol but it was included in the deal for the track day by Porsche Norwell, I brought them the RBF 600. Then for my 5th and 6th track days (Sat and Sun) I replaced my stock brake pads with Ferodos. After realizing I’d swap pads often and need to replace the front caliper bolts each time ($16 total) I swapped the bolts for stainless studs so I can slide the caliper off and on easily. This year I did my flush with RBF 600, will keep using the Ferodos, will redo the alignment, and HOPEFULLY will get RE71R tires at all 4 corners.
Oh and I got Harry’s Laptimer and a bluetooth OBDII reader for my 5th and 6th track days last year which is awesome.
Since you DD & track this car, how is the exterior and interior holding up?
Exterior not perfect lol there’s scratches around the front but most on the clear wrap. There are dings right behind my wheel wells. Some rubber marks I keep as battle wounds. Everybody says it looks great though so if you don’t go over it too closely it’s still a sexy beast! The interior is basically mint other than the driver seat has damage that was somewhat repaired before I bought it just based on sliding in and out of a low car. I try to avoid it but I know it’ll rip again in my ownership. Still, I don’t treat this like a garage queen so while I detest the scratches I make stupidly or other people make I honestly kind of like the battle wounds. It proves I track it, and autox it, and road trip it, and drive in the winter. It’s supposed to be used like that I think. Resale value be damned, I’m gonna own this thing till it’s worth as much as my Miata!
Do you ever feel like you should have bought a 911?
Fuck no. lol Ok so there’s 2 answers here. 1) My comparisons when buying were an M2, GT350, C7, F-Type, and ATS-V. All of those would have been 2-3 years old for the price I paid for this (then 4 years old) Cayman S and for a 911 of the same price? It would have been 11 YEARS OLD. This was my new daily, I was fine with practicality being thrown out the window but I wasn’t going to pay that much for a car that old. 2) I never grew up lusting after a Porsche. It meant money. I didn’t have anyone as into cars around as I am now. A 911 didn’t mean that much to me. In fact, I only found the Cayman in my price range and performance requirements after expanding my search just for fun on Cars.com one day during writing my 10 page research paper on the above cars lol So really the 911 was never an option, and I’ll never regret it for what I wanted.
However I will add this, after joining the Porsche community and participating in the wonderful Porsche world (if you’re not a stuffy asshole) I love the 911. I love Porsche. And I would LOVE to drive every single one. I want another one though I doubt I’ll ever be in the same financial standing as when I was able to buy this. So should I have bought a 911? No. But I’d like to. Manual, naturally aspirated, not too many modern safety assistants, and RWD.
Thanks again to all of you! I wanted to talk about all this stuff and even more but if I just wrote that it would turn into another 10 page research paper. Hell, I wouldn’t expect most of you to read this whole thing even. Feel free to ask more, all the time. Even with the bad luck I love this car, I love what this car has done for my life (PCA, Oppo, friends and events), and I enjoy sharing with everyone who I think would enjoy being shared with. It’s just my car but I know it’s still a special Porsche, so letting friends test drive it, or giving people rides, or just showing up sometimes.... it’s nice.