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EricJ17
EricJ17 New Reader
12/1/22 3:28 p.m.
Olemiss540 said:
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:
Olemiss540 said:
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) said:

Tell me you want a Miata without telling me you want a Miata

Agreed. NC miata >>> 986 boxster as an HPDE machine.

If ya gunna drive slow, might as well drive something dead reliable.

He said Boxster S, that's a lot faster than a stock-power Miata.

 

Faster, yes. Not slow, no. :-)

Also cost for an NC right now versus a track prepped 986 Boxster S leaves ample room to make up the speed disparity while maintaining reliability I would presume. 

Boxster S has went up quite a bit in value compared to NC miatas since the pandemic I believe. 

I have no idea what an NC feels like with some suspension mods, but I've driven a stock one and did not care for it. It didn't feel the least bit sporty. It wasn't just the body roll, it just felt like the car was changing directon against its will and it felt lethargic overall. I drove a pretty nice example too. I drove a 986 S and while the experience didn't blow me away, I had none of the complaints I had with the NC. It didn't feel like any part of the car was desperate for mods, unlike the NC. 

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
12/1/22 3:53 p.m.

To compare a miata to a boxster s is laughable.  Other than both being convertibles, that's where the comparison ends.

OP, you're barely doing track days.  Unless you want a fun car for the sake of having a fun car (which I totally support btw) there's no reason to buy a dedicated track car.  Use your E90 as others have said.  It won't make it any less reliable than it already is.  Agree you should be using something else if you want an ultra reliable DD than an E90.

To answer your question, given you already have an E90, I'd get the boxster s.  It requires less prep out of the box, won't cost any more to run than the E46, has a lower buy in cost and is a mid engine, rwd, convertible.  So an entirely different car than the E90, of which is very similar to the E46...

SKJSS (formerly Klayfish)
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) PowerDork
12/1/22 3:55 p.m.

It's all subjective from a "feel" standpoint.  I've owned two NCs and currently own a 986 (it's for sale if you want).  Without a doubt, the 986 is the better sports car.  I don't think there's a lot of argument there.  However, in my experience the NC was a fantastic car.  It's also damn near unbreakable. 

I hope I didn't overstate it.  The N52 is a reliable workhorse.  Yes, it's more maintenance intensive than a Honda, but if you take care of it you'll be in good shape.  What I was trying to say is that as German cars go, the E90 N52 is quite good.  However, just my personal impression of ultra-reliable is a Prius, Accord, Miata, Civic, etc...and the BMW ain't those.

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) Dork
12/1/22 3:59 p.m.
EricJ17 said:
Olemiss540 said:
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:
Olemiss540 said:
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) said:

Tell me you want a Miata without telling me you want a Miata

Agreed. NC miata >>> 986 boxster as an HPDE machine.

If ya gunna drive slow, might as well drive something dead reliable.

He said Boxster S, that's a lot faster than a stock-power Miata.

 

Faster, yes. Not slow, no. :-)

Also cost for an NC right now versus a track prepped 986 Boxster S leaves ample room to make up the speed disparity while maintaining reliability I would presume. 

Boxster S has went up quite a bit in value compared to NC miatas since the pandemic I believe. 

I have no idea what an NC feels like with some suspension mods, but I've driven a stock one and did not care for it. It didn't feel the least bit sporty. It wasn't just the body roll, it just felt like the car was changing directon against its will and it felt lethargic overall. I drove a pretty nice example too. I drove a 986 S and while the experience didn't blow me away, I had none of the complaints I had with the NC. It didn't feel like any part of the car was desperate for mods, unlike the NC. 

Both are getting to be 20 years old, and it will take a certain amount of work to get them up to track spec.  I think it's pretty well accepted that the stock NC suspension sucked, but set of shocks/springs and sway bars make them really good.  Throw in a set of brake pads and there's really not much else they need.  I would expect a 986 to need at least that much work, plus addressing some of the other more exotic/frustrating failure modes for track use.  Leaking coolant pipes, fried ignition coils, oil cooling, lack of camber, etc.  The elephant in the room is the IMS bearing, which is either a non-issue or a calamity depending on who you ask, but everyone I personally know who has a 986 has been through at least one engine.  An NC motor is $600 at the junkyard and an afternoon of work.  A Boxster motor is... not.

I would accept that either a 986 or an E46 would be cooler than an NC, and probably faster.   Some people just don't want a Miata, I dig it.  But they are really good tools for the needs you describe.

As a somewhat relevant comparison- Spec MX-5 cars (NC) do 1:35's at Road Atlanta.  Spec Boxster (986) do 1:40's.  There are a million "yeah but's" in this comparison but the performance is generally pretty similar with similar preparation.  The extra power of a 986S is not going to gain back five whole seconds.

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 HalfDork
12/1/22 4:08 p.m.
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) said:
EricJ17 said:
Olemiss540 said:
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:
Olemiss540 said:
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) said:

Tell me you want a Miata without telling me you want a Miata

Agreed. NC miata >>> 986 boxster as an HPDE machine.

If ya gunna drive slow, might as well drive something dead reliable.

He said Boxster S, that's a lot faster than a stock-power Miata.

 

Faster, yes. Not slow, no. :-)

Also cost for an NC right now versus a track prepped 986 Boxster S leaves ample room to make up the speed disparity while maintaining reliability I would presume. 

Boxster S has went up quite a bit in value compared to NC miatas since the pandemic I believe. 

I have no idea what an NC feels like with some suspension mods, but I've driven a stock one and did not care for it. It didn't feel the least bit sporty. It wasn't just the body roll, it just felt like the car was changing directon against its will and it felt lethargic overall. I drove a pretty nice example too. I drove a 986 S and while the experience didn't blow me away, I had none of the complaints I had with the NC. It didn't feel like any part of the car was desperate for mods, unlike the NC. 

Both are getting to be 20 years old, and it will take a certain amount of work to get them up to track spec.  I think it's pretty well accepted that the stock NC suspension sucked, but set of shocks/springs and sway bars make them really good.  Throw in a set of brake pads and there's really not much else they need.  I would expect a 986 to need at least that much work, plus addressing some of the other more exotic/frustrating failure modes for track use.  Leaking coolant pipes, fried ignition coils, oil cooling, lack of camber, etc.  The elephant in the room is the IMS bearing, which is either a non-issue or a calamity depending on who you ask, but everyone I personally know who has a 986 has been through at least one engine.  An NC motor is $600 at the junkyard and an afternoon of work.  A Boxster motor is... not.

I would accept that either a 986 or an E46 would be "cooler" than an NC, but I think the performance difference is smaller than you would guess and the NC would be just as much fun with a lot less trouble.

Well stated, except that an e46 m3 would smoke both an NC and a 986 if similarly prepped IMO. An e36 M3 is faster than a 986 S in my experience.  

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) Dork
12/1/22 4:12 p.m.
Olemiss540 said:

Well stated, except that an e46 m3 would smoke both an NC and a 986 if similarly prepped IMO. An e36 M3 is faster than a 986 S in my experience.  

No question, an E46 M3 would be way, way faster with similar preparation.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
12/1/22 5:02 p.m.
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) said:

and the BMW ain't those.

98 days at the track on my M3, and I've only had to go home early due to mechanical failures three times.  Throttle position sensor, an exploded aftermarket muffler (car still ran fine but it failed sound), and a cracked vanos hard line.

Maintenance on them is high, but if you keep on top of it then reliability is not a problem.  I now track throttle position sensors on my spreadsheet and replace them proactively. :)

 

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
12/1/22 5:24 p.m.
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) said:

One thing I've wondered with my Boxster, do track day organizers consider the factory rollover protection to be sufficient? I doubt I could pass the broomstick test in mine...

Yes. The 986 is fully legal for SCCA,  including Track Night in America and Time Trials, with the factory rollbars. 

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 HalfDork
12/1/22 5:57 p.m.
Javelin said:
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) said:

One thing I've wondered with my Boxster, do track day organizers consider the factory rollover protection to be sufficient? I doubt I could pass the broomstick test in mine...

Yes. The 986 is fully legal for SCCA,  including Track Night in America and Time Trials, with the factory rollbars. 

Some organizers will not allow ANY convertibles, and most will require aftermarket roll bars passing the broomstick test based on my experience in the midwest. The PCA is one of the more lenient clubs with regards to convertibles (and SUV's for that matter). 

SKJSS (formerly Klayfish)
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) PowerDork
12/2/22 6:15 a.m.
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) said:

and the BMW ain't those.

98 days at the track on my M3, and I've only had to go home early due to mechanical failures three times.  Throttle position sensor, an exploded aftermarket muffler (car still ran fine but it failed sound), and a cracked vanos hard line.

Maintenance on them is high, but if you keep on top of it then reliability is not a problem.  I now track throttle position sensors on my spreadsheet and replace them proactively. :)

 

That is absolutely awesome!!!  Which gen M3?  I'm counting on reliability from my 128i, as I'm going to go down the rabbit hole of track prepping it more.

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
12/2/22 9:52 a.m.

In reply to codrus (Forum Supporter) :

Well, technically speaking any car is reliable as long as you keep on top of the maintenance...  I've had some issues with my M3's, but they've been pretty solid. 

For track use you need to address and upgrade the cooling systems on them.  Add an oil cooler, larger radiator, brakes, suspension, tires.  The M3 along with the Boxster (and any other car) have their particular things to address, oil pump nut for the E36/46 M3, rear subframes, vanos, rod bearings (E46).  Not sure those last three things are any better than dealing with the IMS on a Boxster....

We're all looking at this from the perspective of being track rats.  The OP isn't, he's a novice.  Any of the cars we're talking about will be 100% fine as is, out of the box for him...

dyintorace
dyintorace PowerDork
12/2/22 11:59 a.m.
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) said:
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) said:

and the BMW ain't those.

98 days at the track on my M3, and I've only had to go home early due to mechanical failures three times.  Throttle position sensor, an exploded aftermarket muffler (car still ran fine but it failed sound), and a cracked vanos hard line.

Maintenance on them is high, but if you keep on top of it then reliability is not a problem.  I now track throttle position sensors on my spreadsheet and replace them proactively. :)

 

That is absolutely awesome!!!  Which gen M3?  I'm counting on reliability from my 128i, as I'm going to go down the rabbit hole of track prepping it more.

Almost positive he is referring to an e46 M3. I seem to recall that from previous threads. As for your 128i (I have one too), there have been a series of great articles on The Drive regarding updates to a 128i that one of the editors owns. See here: https://www.thedrive.com/search/128i

SKJSS (formerly Klayfish)
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) PowerDork
12/2/22 12:16 p.m.

In reply to dyintorace :

Thanks!!!!  First thing I need to do is camber plates, I'm killing the front tires.  

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
12/2/22 12:28 p.m.
dyintorace said:

Almost positive he is referring to an e46 M3. I seem to recall that from previous threads. 

Yes, I have an E46.  It's a caged race car with the usual street car stuff gone, so I'm not addressing reliability of things like power windows or other electronics, just the straight mechanicals.

Getting this level of reliability requires coming up with a lifetime for parts and replacing them on that schedule even if they look fine.  Vanos, rod bearings, cooling system components, wheel bearings, other suspension components, etc.  My car also gets regular "nut and bolt" checks from the race shop that built it, which helps stay on top of things before they turn into problems at the track.  In principle a lot of this is stuff I could DIY if I wanted to, but in practice I've decided that they do it better than I can and that I don't want to.

I won't say that it's cheap, but it is possible to have an E46 M3 as a "track appliance".  It just works.

We're pretty far out on a tangent from the original question regarding 2 or 3 track days a year though. :)

 

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 HalfDork
12/2/22 12:55 p.m.

Rod bearing failures are NOT prevalent (once the bearing recall happened) on e46m3's and are only addressed as the car becomes heavily track abused IMO.  IMS bearing and bore scoring issues have killed countless motors that were purely street driven or lightly tracked. Also, you can preventatively upgrade the IMS bearing and STILL have IMS bearing/bore scoring issue. Add in the fact that there are ZERO oiling issues due to the factory dual sump setup on e46 m3, versus having oil scavanging issues on the Pcar.

Just my anecdotal experience that its a known ticking time bomb from that generation Pcar motor (911 and 986/987). That is WHY such wonderful cars depreciated SOOOO heavily SOOOO quickly. Sorry Pcar apologists I will take my monthly beating now. 

LanEvo
LanEvo Dork
12/2/22 2:36 p.m.

I would never, never, ever in a million years drive a convertible on track without a full cage. I've been in a couple of shunts on track. I've had three good friends seriously hurt in rollovers on track. That rules out a Boxster for me.

For where you are in your track driving career right now, the only rational choice is: pick up a second set of wheels to mount up some good track-focused rubber. Buy a set of dedicated track pads. Enjoy the car you have.

 

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
12/2/22 5:17 p.m.

In reply to Olemiss540 :

Can't tell you how many M3's motors have died due to cooling system failures, oil pump nuts falling off, rod bearings (they're still a thing even after the recall, BMW used the same rod bearings!)...  Then the rear subframes cracking/ripping out or vanos failures.  Yeah, IMS for the M96/7 motors but to say the M3 is "better" from a reliability standpoint?  Well, not so much....

My last E36 M3 had a TON of money spent on it to make it reliable for track use....

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
12/2/22 7:16 p.m.

In reply to Olemiss540 :

Wrong. Values took a beating because of the ugly headlights. The M97 engine had exponentially more failures yet the 997/987 didn't depreciate nearly as much.

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 HalfDork
12/2/22 8:01 p.m.
Javelin said:

In reply to Olemiss540 :

Wrong. Values took a beating because of the ugly headlights. The M97 engine had exponentially more failures yet the 997/987 didn't depreciate nearly as much.

Oh yes they did! The early 997 was how many years newer than the oldest 996 yet it was already into the 30s before the pandemic insanity hit. 996s were in the low teens but they were legitimately 9 - 10 years the elder so of course 997s were still valued higher. 987s were worth a bit more than 986s but again the 986s were OLD compared to 987s.

A 987 started in 06 or something, the 986 a decade before that. Blame the headlights all you want but you can't ignore the value difference in the 997.1 versus 997.2. Why is that?

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 HalfDork
12/2/22 8:05 p.m.
There are year plus lines for Porsche engine rebuild programs, the s54 is a reliability dream compared to the early watercooled Porsche engines.
Olemiss540
Olemiss540 HalfDork
12/2/22 9:09 p.m.

An e36 m3 really is a better comp for a 986 S than an e46m3 anyhows.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) UberDork
12/2/22 9:43 p.m.

In reply to docwyte :

This is why a Miata is the answer.  It's hard to find something cheaper to run hard.  
 

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) UberDork
12/2/22 9:46 p.m.

In reply to Olemiss540 :

The 9x7.2 has a bulletproof engine based on internet lore.  An M96 or 9x7.1 has an engine made of the thinnest glass ever based on the internet.  Neither is the truth, but oh well.  And not everyone likes fried egg headlights.  
 

Porsches are great except for the shifters and cables.  They are almost too good.  

Toot
Toot New Reader
12/2/22 9:54 p.m.

This is one situation where I am familiar with...... I can say a any Miata is the perfect car except the NC   I currently have a m4 987 caymans and a 718 cayman 4.0   I prefer to drive my N.A. or nd every time at the track.  You should do a ride along with other drivers to see which suits you best before you buy something you are not happy with.  High horsepower cars are for big egos.  The is a reason guys like Brian and Ryan keep there Miata's forever 

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
12/3/22 11:35 a.m.

You guys can love on Miata's all you want.  They're not all that and a bag of chips.  I'm not a fan

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