Six grand doesn't buy you much, when it comes to Porsches, these days. Sure, there are myriad 924s and 944s available for that money but you're into classic territory there and – truth be told – their performance may leave you disappointed.
It's not much fun, after all, potentially being blown away by anything vaguely resembling a modern hatchback. The 928? Well, it's got a V8 – so there's a plus point – but it's a big GT and most at that price point will be requiring a little TLC. They'll most likely be automatics, too, so not exactly a car you might want to take for a fling around some Highland roads as a result.
While we're at it, let's just skip over the countless sub-£6k Cayennes. Besides being more likely to cause you more financial problems than the Greek government, a cheap Cayenne is about as desirable and as desperate-looking as a gaudy faux Rolex.
So that leaves us with the oft-spurned Boxster. Hold your horses, this is a real Porsche. It's got six cylinders, pancaked and slung low out the back, the rear wheels are driven, and the Boxster as a whole is a remarkably sweet car – and you can get a smart example of the first generation, the 986, for around £6000 these days.
Buying a Boxster of this era is not a risk-free proposition, however. These things are not a paragon of reliability, despite the badge, with a list of common and financially crippling flaws a mile long: busted roof mechanisms, damaged radiators, heavy clutches indicating impending failure, oil leaks from the rear main seals, and more.
What'll really strike the fear of God – rightly or wrongly – into potential Boxster owners, though, is the chance of intermediate shaft bearing failure. The shaft itself is responsible for transmitting drive from the engine's crankshaft to the timing chains, which in turn operate the camshafts.
Failure of the bearing that supports one end of this intermediate shaft isn't unknown, which then results in damage to the shaft and usually notable issues elsewhere. Like bits of valve embedded in pistons. The result, typically, is the need for a complete engine rebuild.
That said, in the grand scheme of things, IMS failures aren't as common as they're perceived to be. Consequently if the car's running well then there's a good chance it's going to soldier on for some time yet. You can also get the IMS upgraded, the rear main seal replaced and a new clutch fitted for around £1600, too; a hefty expenditure but one bit of preventative maintenance that could be well worth it.
Regardless, if you're looking at a Boxster that is quiet, smooth and not haemorrhaging oil or any other fluids or vapours, it's probably good to go. This £5995 2000-plated 2.7-litre Boxster is one such example.
Admittedly it's not the full-fat 3.2-litre S, but it's not the asthmatic 2.5-litre model either. It packs a stout 220bhp and should, all things considered, sprint from 0-60mph in a suitably swift 6.6sec. It looks pin-sharp from the outside and even the interior and hood look to be in fine fettle. The green metallic finish is refreshingly different, too, and is neatly contrasted by the black leather interior.
It's had four previous owners in its 15 years, which isn't unreasonable and suggests that each could afford to maintain it properly. Also, the odometer is showing just 53,000 miles, which is by no means a great deal. More prominently, it comes with a new MOT, is advertised as having a full service history and is offered with six months' warranty – which can be extended if required.
Sweetening the deal further are four new Continental tyres, making this Boxster further look like a great turn-key example that won't need thousands throwing at it in the near future. Keep it in good order and it shouldn't lose a vast amount of its value during your ownership, either, particularly if you choose to sell it in the summer.
So does this inexpensive Porsche have you daydreaming of flat-out, roof-down charges across the North York Moors, or can you only foresee flinch-inducing repair bills? Cast your vote in the comments section below.