(This ownership and experience from approximately 2008-2011, my age 31-34).
I purchased this car in 2008 as a Porsche Approved Used car from the Newcastle Porsche Centre, following three years ownership of my Boxster (which will feature in a future article). I really liked the 987 design and wanted a change from the Boxster, so the Cayman was the logical option. I test drove a Cayman and a 996 C4S, but found that even with less power, the experience of the Cayman was much better. Being a mid-engine, I loved how it drove and the newness of the cabin, with its modern design was better suited to my tastes. The search began and I looked at a couple in different colours, but I really wanted a red one, ideally with the 18” S alloys. The colour of a car is something I really don’t like to compromise on. This red one came up for sale at Porsche Newcastle and so I enquired and spoke to their salesman Andy, who was very helpful and had no hint of sales push about him. My girlfriend (now wife) and I made an appointment and drove up to see the car that weekend.
There it was, sat in all its glory, in the showroom. As soon as my wife saw it, she turned to me with a beaming smile of excitement and said “This is it, this is the one you should buy”. Under the bright lights of the showroom, it was absolutely gleaming, and despite having the standard 17” alloys, I didn’t mind them too much and was easy to overlook when I sat inside and the car looked and smelled absolutely good as new, with just 10,000 miles on the clock. Optional extras were heated leather seats, cruise control and Bose stereo.
Despite buying what was probably the cheapest car in the showroom, there was no hint of elitism and was treated with the same courtesy as everyone else. We agreed a price after several hours and off I went. Andy also recommended a fantastic local pub for some dinner on our way home which both me and the lady thoroughly enjoyed before the long journey back home.
On collection, one week later I handed in the forms and was taken to the car. I was shown all the documentation and how to operate all the functions of the car. I was asked to inspect the condition of the car and the valet and confirm that I was happy with the presentation of the vehicle.
Whilst I was there, a guy came in with his son looking at the various cars. They spied a 996 near where I was sat and the lad was excitedly looking at it. One of the sales reps went over. I overheard the Dad saying to the salesman “I’m not a rich man, I don’t have lots of money to buy these but this is … fantastic. This would be it for me. I imagine everyone buying one of your cars just hands over a pile of money and on they go”. The salesman told him that lots of different people buy Porsches and proceeded to show the man around the car and let his kid sit in it etc before they went on their way – child beaming from ear to ear. It was great to see that the salesmen indulged in their enthusiasm. Who knows, maybe that boy is now ready to buy his own Porsche, just based on that memorable experience?
On a reflective moment, this reminded me that owning a Porsche is indeed something very special, and many people really do aspire to own one. It was also a good example of the mystique of the marque in terms of affordability; the assumption being that Porsche equals ‘man with lots of cash’. Quite the contrary in my case! I’m a regular chap with a regular job which pays quite well. I was lucky enough to be able spend my disposable income on these great cars and felt very fortunate to be sat in the “deal signing” seat that day.
On the long journey home from Newcastle, I had a grin attached to my face pretty much the whole way home. I was in my new car, it was the model I wanted and the purchase had been a great experience. Glancing in the rear-view mirror I could see my Boxster following – piloted by my lovely lady. Does life get much better than this?! We overtook a 911 who was tootling along in the middle lane. As we passed him, he picked up the pace and joined our little convoy! For about 5 miles, we had a Porsche trail. Cayman, Boxster, 911 – all in different colours.
I eventually purchased the 18” S alloys and ran these during the summer time. The ride was noticeably harsher with these wheels on, and I liked the comfort of the 17” ones, so it became a 50/50 split.
The seat bolsters weren’t as hard wearing in the 987 as they were on the 986 leather, they seemed softer and more prone to damage but otherwise the interior held up really well over the years.
The Cayman had to go back for the front bumper re-spraying due to a fault in the lacquer top coat, but Porsche Newcastle handled this excellently. They were very apologetic and loaned me a new Cayman S PDK model (a future update), filled with fuel, and filled mine also upon collection.
When I went to collect the car, the dealership had put a “sold” sign next to my car. It had been in the showroom since the work had been done, was fully valeted and it had attracted quite a bit of sales interest. In essence I got to do the purchase experience several times over. What a bonus!
A couple of other things were also resolved under warranty during my ownership – the RMS was sweating so this (and the IMS seal) was replaced. There was a leak in the steering rack which was resolved and some play in one of the rod-ends fixed. Later in my ownership a few other minor things were fixed to keep it tip-top, including the coolant temperature sensor and the solenoid behind the clutch to stop the “Depress Clutch” message when starting the car.
Sadly, this car was involved in a minor shunt on the motorway towards the end of our ownership. A woman in a Mini, which she had borrowed from the car dealership where her husband worked(!) ran into the back of my wife whilst in stop-start traffic, pretty sure she was on her phone. My wife was pregnant at the time and very shuck up. The highways agency must have seen it on the cameras, and came to the scene and called for an ambulance, she was taken to hospital to check her over. It was a very worrying morning, but thankfully got the all-clear.
The woman’s husband called me and wanted to pay for the repairs directly (I suspect to avoid the dealership having to pay the insurance – and him having to have that rather awkward conversation with his boss), to which I refused and said it would be going directly to Porsche. Knowing the likely cost of a full Porsche approved repair I wanted it through the insurers. The cars cosmetic damage was all fixed, good as new, within the space of a month and I had an Audi S5 Cabriolet as a loan car, which I had to keep in the garage when not in use after a neighbour chased off some scumbags who were looking for cars to steal one night.
But it was time to sell shortly after the car was returned to us anyway. The accident meant my wife completely fell out of love with the car but add to that, the Cayman was a two-seater and with the arrival of our daughter just a few months later it was time to try something else. We’d had the car for three years and, as good as it was, I was itching to try something new!
Aside from routine maintenance, including a detail from my local specialist the car was largely fault free and was a great three-year ownership experience. Buying from a main dealer felt extremely special and overall both my wife and I really enjoyed this car – although we did miss the convertibleness of the Boxster, and returned to this in the 911 that followed.
New Openings … and that 911 Turbo.
The Cayman opened new doors for me, leading to a new business venture and well as making some life-long friends in the process, which we’ll talk about in more detail in Chapter 9 (the Ferrari 360 picture), but for the purpose of this photograph, two friends to note in particular; photographer Dom, and Mark – the then owner of the 911 Turbo.
I wrote an article comparing the un-comparable (the Turbo and my Cayman). Being both red, they made for great photography and my article became a cover star!
Returning to the subject of my photo collage, this picture represents all of those memories thrown together in one beautifully crafted image; Buying a car from a Porsche showroom, the whole ownership experience, the new opportunities it presented and having magazine quality images of a car of mine for first time ever. Plus getting to drive a 911 Turbo! All the stuff of childhood dreams.