Title: Porsche Boxster and Cayman – The 987 Series 2004–13
Author: Brian Long
Published by: Veloce; www.veloce.co.uk
180 pages; hardback
Price: UK £40.00; US $60
Kieron Fennelly reviews a new title covering Porsche’s well-liked mid-engined modern classics…
The appearance in 1976 of Paul Frère’s definitive 911 Story, now in its ninth edition, started an entire industry of 911 books. By contrast Porsche’s other current sports cars have received dedicated books from only the smallest handful of authors. Frère wrote the first work on the Boxster 986 in 2004, and Brian Long covered similar ground in 2005, a study which he updated in 2010. Now Long returns to the mid-engined Porsche with a significant and very welcome work on the 987, all the more interesting of course because it includes the coupé version launched in 2005, the Cayman.
The author is a prolific Porsche writer and Porsche Boxster & Cayman is another workmanlike and detailed account. It covers the evolution of the 987 Boxster, the conception of the entirely new Cayman and the steady development of both models through to 2012. As ever, Long provides interesting background: For the launch of the Cayman for example, Porsche orchestrated a series of leaks for months before the official presentation, a classic exercise in raising expectations by getting as much media coverage as possible. He goes on to demonstrate how stylistically the Cayman was subtly differentiated from the Boxster and indeed descriptions of specifications and options for both cars are comprehensively covered throughout the book. Long supports his text with much striking photography from the Porsche archive. From an engineering perspective, the work is rather less detailed and the author relies largely on company press releases rather than third party analysis. Although he does quote magazine road tests of 987 models quite extensively, these are usually comments on handling, styling and performance. The author skirts the controversy over the M96/7 engines, saying only that the “IMS had been known to cause problems in service on early M96 units.” The second generation 2.9 engine is wrongly described as having direct injection, when in fact (for cost reasons) Porsche limited introduction of DFI to the 3.4S versions.
The author shows how production of the 987 was entrusted to Valmet in Finland, a significant subcontract for which he says the Finns invested a “small fortune.” It would have been interesting to have found out how much and indeed how Porsche assessed Valmet quality standards at the completion of the contract when outsourcing moved to Karmann, by then part of VW. Since 2002, former designer Harm Lagaaij has reverted to spelling his name with an ‘ij’, no longer just ‘y,’ but to judge from the text’s use of ‘Lagaay,’ neither the author nor publisher has yet realised this. A picture from the Cayman launch in Siena in 2005 clearly shows a frail Paul Frère, though he is not identified in the caption – a pity as this was the venerable Porsche reporter’s final launch before the huge accident which ended his career a year later.
Porsche Boxster & Cayman is imaginatively laid out and illustrated and will undoubtedly appeal to all 987 owners. The author drops sufficient hints that a 981 sequel, a worthwhile further addition to Porsche literature, will follow.