Decide our Cayman’s fate: What should we do with it?

Update by Tom Suddard to the Porsche Cayman project car
Oct 31, 2023 | Porsche, Cayman, Porsche Cayman, Project car

Sponsored by

Fall is in the air, family is making travel plans, and decorations are descending from the attic for the most wonderful time of the year. No, I'm not talking about Christmas: I'm talking about Cayman Transmission Rebuild Day! 

That’s right: After buying this broken 981 Cayman for just $15,000 this summer and then road-tripping it across the country in fourth gear, the time has nearly come to tear it apart and fix it. I’ll cover that process in detail when it happens (theoretically over Thanksgiving break). 

[Live Updates: What happens when we drive a broken Porsche across the country?]

Before I get that far, I have a burning question to answer: What the heck should I do with this car once it’s fixed?

See, I didn’t buy this car because I was Cayman shopping. Instead, I bought it because it was shiny and looked like a good deal and a fun road trip. But now I'm the proverbial dog that (literally) caught the car.

One idea is to fix it and flip it. In theory, this would put some money back into the racing budget, money I could spend competing with our V6 Miata or our LS-swapped 350Z. But I know if I sell this car, I won’t be able to replace it. And many people work their whole life in order to park a Porsche in their garage. 

Another idea is to keep it mostly stock and drive it on weekends. This would be an absolutely fantastic Sunday cruiser, and as I proved it isn’t a bad road-trip car, either. But do I really need another fun car to drive when I'm already tripping over them? And would I really choose the Cayman instead of my Triumph Spitfire or my wife’s AW11 MR2 for a leisurely drive on a twisty road?

Perhaps the Cayman really wants to be a track day build. You know, wide wheels, sticky tires, squealing brakes, a barely streetable suspension, and hopefully some drivetrain upgrades. I’d probably want to put a seat and roll bar in it, too, just to be safe. But do I really need another track day car when I already have a tastefully modded Mk7 GTI that’s as quick as a 997-chassis Porsche 911 on 200tw tires? Not to mention the two race cars with real cages and safety gear parked next to it….

Good point: I seem to turn every fun car into a race car anyway. Why not just skip the middleman and go full nuclear on the Cayman: Sell the interior, throw a cage in, and have some fun with WRL or a similar organization. But then I’d have three gutted, caged race cars that do more or less the same thing, and even for me that’s probably too many.

Hmm, so I’ll build it for a different kind of racing: Stage rally has always been something I’ve wanted to try, and I’d be lying if I said FCP Euro’s Cayman rally build hadn’t caught my attention. But while I could probably afford to build a rally car, I’m not sure I could afford to campaign it, never mind the time commitment required. And wait a second—how did this already escalate to planning a stage rally effort in just a few paragraphs?

Clearly I need some help, so here’s my question: What do you think I should do with this car? Let me know in the comments below.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more project updates.
More like this
Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
10/31/23 2:30 p.m.


What makes a Porsche special?

Feels to me like the two things that stand out are that the car is "nice," and that it's built to a higher standard for putting up with hard-driving shenanigans than more pedestrian cars.

So that's one vote for "keep it a nice 'sport-touring' cruiser" and one for "track car."

How often do you have cause to want to drive a car to a faraway track day? Maybe that's what it can do that so many others can't or can't do as well... To be pleasant all the way there and still be worth having arrived at a track? A vehicle specific to hosting some of the GRM touring events? Oo, have those ever had the potential to become a luxury subset of One Lap?

Now your car questions are giving me event ideas...

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
10/31/23 2:32 p.m.

I think that OEM+ might be a good place to start.

If modifying it is anything like the GTI, it won't ned much to be an absolute weapon.

Tyler H
Tyler H GRM+ Memberand UberDork
10/31/23 2:36 p.m.

It would be too nice for a track rat for me.  I'd say keep it stock-ish.

MyMiatas HalfDork
10/31/23 2:40 p.m.

1. You could moth ball it and "rub it with a diaper" on the rainy weekends. That way it will only go up in value (as long as it's in your own garage). So when out and about you can flash your PCA card stating you own a Porsche.  :0)

2. You could drive it out to me and sell it to me! Out of state out of mind. Lol :0D

Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/31/23 2:53 p.m.

Can you wad it up at the track and walk away from it with no regrets? If it eats the engine can you reasonably afford to fix it? If not, then I wouldn't turn it into a track rat. I will also say, that every car I have enjoyed on the street ended up being less fun of a car when I changed it to work better on the track. Track cars are not fun on the street but street car cans still be fun on the track. 

Do you have the garage space to park it without it constantly being in the way? If not, then you may spend as much time cussing it as you do driving it. Think Bentley. It's in the way more than I drive it. One of my winter projects is to get it out of my shop and into the front garage at the house. 

With all the weekend stuff you seem to end up doing, do you have time for those weekend cruises to the mountains? If not, will just sit and deteriorate or turn into the occasional DD? Think Mustang. I haven't driven it since the last autocross. That was 2 months ago. My weekends are frequently tied up. There's always something parked behind it and I'm always running somewhere so I take what is easiest to get out. My wife has driven it more than I have because of the fuel economy for out-of-state trips. 

Beyond that. Do what you want. If it's a dream car, keep it. It's only money. You can't take it with you and saving it all for old age is a gamble. 


Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
10/31/23 2:53 p.m.

I've been eyeing Caymans for years.  They're beautiful cars.  But I've never pulled the trigger on one for the same reason - I don't have any need or purpose for one (and potential for insane repair bills).  I've got a fleet of other cars and a Cayman wouldn't replace any of them, it'd just be another car that doesn't get driven as much as it should.  Mine would be a 987.2 non-S (to minimize risk of those insane repair bills).  I'm following to see what you do! 

bludroptop UltraDork
10/31/23 3:10 p.m.

Rocket bunny tacked-on flares, giant wang, roof rack, speaker distortion and maybe some neon.  Then troll PCA events.


Hey... it could be an untapped audience for the magazine.

matthewmcl Dork
10/31/23 3:13 p.m.

I agree with OEM+ as a good way to go. Anything worn gets replaced with a step up, if appropriate. Keep it as a benchmark to compare other cars to, and keep the resale high for if/when it needs to move on.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/31/23 3:16 p.m.

As someone who also owns too many cars and doesn't have enough time or space for them, I agree with Toyman. 

Old_Town Reader
10/31/23 3:29 p.m.

Do you still have the Element for soft-roadish adventures? If not, Dakar it, drive for a while and sell for big profits if the trend is still hot? 




You'll need to log in to post.

Sponsored by

GRM Ad Dept

Our Preferred Partners