From Munich to Stuttgart - part 1
Updated: May 22, 2020
Originally Published - September 2016
The desire to be better.
For 10 years I've been striving to be a better driver, starting with Friday's at the Track @ Summit Point, 24 Hours of Lemons, BMW Club Racing, BMW NCC Instructor Academy, High Speed laps of the Nurburgring, Rented seats in other race cars, hours on iRacing.
Early in 2016 I sold the E36 M3 that had been my daily driver / HPDE car and started to look for something different, a car that would push me to be better.
I had planned on an E92 M3 but the timing didn't work out, then along the same lines (Front Engine - RWD) I loved the idea of an Aston Martin Vantage (too expensive) and then started looking around. What would give a very different driving experience, be available in a manual shift and yet work with the fact that I would be guaranteed to want to make changes to the car ?
There are lots of interesting "new" options at the moment, Focus RS (didn't want AWD), Mazda Miata (convertible that makes it ineligible for some track days), BMW 228i with Track Pack (lots of fun), and then I test drove a 2016 Cayman.
Apart from the Porsche 959 on my wall as a kid, I've not been a Porsche guy, the 911 was always too expensive, and not my thing. However mid engined sports car could be just the ticket.
So I did some digging and started looking at things like the Acura NSX (good ones are $$$, affordable ones will need $$ maintenance), the 3 generations of Cayman, Lotus Elise (few & far between at my price point) and kept coming back to the Cayman. Lots of very impressive reviews, a friend that owned one and general reading made it seem like an ideal "learning opportunity".
Looking at the 3 generations, the latest (718) was too new & expensive and turbo charged. Now I've nothing against turbos per-se (I've owned several) but I really wanted to stick with a Normally Aspirated car. So the 981, again too expensive at this point.
So 987 - Gen 1 (2006-2008) vs Gen 2 (2009-2012) ? Cayman vs Cayman S ?
While I was looking for a car I discovered the PCA Spec Cayman class and as I have said, before you buy a car and start modifying it, have a class in mind. This discovery pointed me very specifically to the 2006/2008 Gen 1 987 Cayman S. Gen 1 cars were available around the US, but nothing in the DC area. Yikes - buying a car i know very little about long distance!!! So inspection was called for - I used the folks at LemonSquad and opted for the optional Oil Analysis. After a couple of false starts with cars being sold prior to inspection, I found a Black 2007 with 65k miles in Austin TX. It was successfully inspected with a detailed report and an additional 100 pictures. The car was definitely NOT a garage queen but had a clean carfax and the inspection issues (rotors / pads / tires) would be dealt with during a good service
So I open an email negotiation with the folks at TAC Auto Group and made a deal - sealed with a plane ticket. Yes in a weeks time, I was going to fly down with a friend, pick up the car and drive it back to DC without stopping.