The classic boxster is a light, nimble and beautiful car, which debuted in 1993 at the Detroid Auto Show and was launched in 1996, reportedly saving Porsche from bankruptcy. While you’ll often hear that the car, designed by Harm Lagaay, was reminiscent of the 550 Spyder, the fact of the matter is that it was equally inspired by the modest but groundbreaking Mazda Miata, which debuted in 1989 and single-handedly (erm, four-wheeledly?) revived the market of two-seat roadsters. Below you’ll find some wallpaper-size photos of one gorgeous 986 Porsche Boxster in “Guard Red” shot on the banks of Lake Monroe in Indiana. Further down I’ve compiled a brief history of the model along with links and quality photos. I hope you enjoy it!
Brief History of the Porsche Boxster
Given Porsche’s high-flying success today, it’s easy to forget the company was on the verge of bankruptcy back in the early 1990s. In fact, Porsche’s annual sales had fallen from over 50,000 units in 1986 to 14,000 in 1993, and only 3000 of those sales were in the U.S.
To turn things around, Porsche needed a new, affordable model to replace the aging 924/944/968 platform. For inspiration, it looked to the success Mazda was having with the Miata. Introduced in 1989, Mazda’s sports car had proven there was a strong market for two-seat roadsters. So Stuttgart decided to do something similar—but with a Porsche twist. This new car would be a mid-engine roadster recalling the 550 Spyder of the 1950s.
Under the newly-installed head of Porsche design, Harm Lagaay, and studio chief Pinky Lai, the team set about creating a mid-engined, convertible concept to be shown at the 1993 Detroit auto show. Called the Boxster – a portmanteau of ‘boxer’, for the horizontally-opposed engine configurations historically favoured by Porsche for its sports cars; and Speedster, the 356-based convertible sold in the 1950s – the concept was designed to test the waters, to see if buyers would show an interest in a sub-911 two-seat Porsche sports car, along similar, albeit more expensive, lines to the Mazda MX-5 introduced in 1989.
The name chosen was a combination of two elements; it referred to the boxer motor, which is what Europeans call the horizontally opposed engine used by Porsche, and the 356-based Speedster design that was created for American customers in the 1950s.
The remaking of Porsche using Japanese manufacturing techniques was not only salvation for the German auto-maker, but a recipe for success as Porsche received over 10,000 preorders for the 986 Boxster after the Detroit show. The line continued unbroken until 2017 when Porsche announced that it would replace the inline-six engine with a turbo-charged four-cylinder motors.