When we last saw Project Boxster R (ec, 08/02), it was essentially an S with a few less horsepower. The crew at Performance Products did a fantastic job in developing bolt-on upgrades for the 986 chassis, giving considerably more performance than I thought possible. We were so taken with our Boxster R, we made a video to celebrate its newfound capabilities. Check it out at www.headcheese.com.
A year has passed since that shoot, and much has since transpired. To be honest, we almost sold the car. It seemed a shame to leave such a brilliant machine parked for such long periods. We simply did not drive it enough--perhaps someone else would. Well, the market for used Boxsters is in the toilet. You can find a low-mileage Boxster S for a mere $25k, and 1997 Boxsters are considerably less. There was no way I was letting this car go for less than 25 grand; it ran in the automotive classifieds for several weeks and did not draw a single bite.
Although there are worse things than being "stuck" with a Boxster, we did feel its lack of balls was perhaps the reason it remained parked. The Boxster R is by no means a slow car. The GIAC ECU, Performance intake, and Dansk exhaust conspired to give the car 186 whp (more than 20 whp over stock) and a healthy serving of torque...we simply wanted more beans.
Power programs for the Boxster are fairly limited. Turbo Performance Center was the only company that offered a supercharger for the Boxster. It's an Eaton-based system with a piggy-backed Split Second ECU. I figured the TPC program should provide another 50 whp and give the R a considerable edge over the new Boxster S. So, we bought one.
The jury is still out on this one. Despite the best efforts Fabryce Kutyba at Hartmann Motorsport, the Boxster ain't a happy camper. There are clearance issues, fueling problems and serious pinging if the car is placed under load. Rather than saying anything bad, we are giving it another shot, trying to sort out these gremlins. Keep your fingers crossed. Hell hath no fury like an editor scorned.
The good news is we hooked up with LLTEK and acquired its gorgeous Styling Projekt GT-3 aerodynamic kit. Although I am not a big fan of most non-O.E. body mods, LLTEK got it right with this one. The appearance is that of a turbo-style Porsche with pronounced vent work in the front airdam. Like the current 996 biturbo, the top of the front bumper has been equipped with vents, in this case the individual slats are made from carbon-fiber. The modest side skirts flow into a rear bumper that features a gorgeous carbon-fiber bottom diffuser.
I am not a body man, but I can tell the parts are well made, wrought from hand-laid glass fiber and finished in a stout primer base coat that covers both sides of the kit. The LLTEK Styling Projekt aerodynamics will fit both the Boxster and 996 and appears to be a remove and replace program. We will once again visit the folks at Wet Works to install and paint this fine LLTEK styling package. I cannot think of a better shop to do the work, nor would I trust most anyone else.
Michael Mansouri of By Design fitted several components to the interior that leave the Boxster looking like something from Porsche's Special Wish Program. The airbag steering wheel features carbon-fiber inlays with a matching silver Porsche crest, and the center console, vents and door pulls were fabricated from the same carbon-fiber stock. This is the real Porsche Motorsport stuff, featuring a jewel-like finish and perfect fit. It makes the Boxster R look very, very special, pretty much like all the cars that come from By Design.
By the time it's finished, I guarantee this Porsche will be the best-looking Boxster ever seen. We're still working on the "run" part.
By Design, Hartmann Motorsports, Wet Works Garage
Estimated Time Supercharger installation at Hartmann Motorsport: 23 hours @ $85/hour: $1,955
Carbon-fiber interior components at By Design: 2 hours @ $90/hour: $180
Turbo Performance Center Supercharger Kit: $5,900
LLTEK Boxster aero kit: $3,800
By Design Boxster interior package: Three-spoke Motorsport steering wheel w/silver crest: $1,500
Carbon-fiber center console: $1,000
Carbon fiber door-pull trim: $700