The year is 1993, and Porsche is on the verge of bankruptcy. While the 964 911 is Porsche’s best-selling vehicle, the aging 928 and newly released 968 continue to fail to capture the eye of would-be sports car owners and are consistently falling short of Porsche’s targeted sales numbers. Porsche knew they needed something new to boost sales, and at the 1993 Detroit Auto Show, Porsche unveiled an already greenlit concept car, the Boxster. A car whose name highlighted what it was about. “Box” referring to the flat 6 engines, and “ster” referring to its roadster body style. For the last 25 years the Porsche Boxster has been a mainstay for the brand and has been most enthusiasts’ first taste of the Porsche lifestyle.
How The Boxster Was Born
Porsche was in trouble, their 40-year-old practices, aging product line and the incoming recession, combined with the fact the sports car market was becoming more populated than ever, with M cars from BMW, and the surge of cheaper and faster Japanese models, Porsche had seen their market share plummet. Porsche knew they had to find a way to cut costs and redesign the brand.
One brand had been successful at cutting costs by sharing parts among different models, Toyota. Porsche’s new CEO, Wendelin Wiedeking, knew the way Toyota was operating was the way forward, and brought in a new wave of automotive and manufacturing engineers, many of which were formerly of Toyota. Seemingly overnight shelves and shelves of surplus parts were replaced with a production line, where parts were only made as they were needed.
While the 968 was still new, it’s poor sales numbers, and Porshces new manufacturing process meant that it would be axed and would need a replacement. Weideking knew why the 911 was so successful. It was undeniably a Porsche. It looked like a Porsche, drove like a Porsche and sounded like a Porsche, something the 944 and 968 did not.
Harm Lagaay was put in charge of designing an all-new car that was going to share parts not with the incoming 993 911, but rather the still in development 996 water-cooled 911. Designing an all-new car that was still undeniably a Porsche but didn’t step on the 911’s toes was always going to be a challenge, and Lagaay knew what he had to do. The new car was going to pick up where the 550 Spyder left off. A convertible mid-engined sports car, and as luck would have it, the new group of engineers also brought expertise from working on the MR2, Toyota’s mid engined sports car.
Grant Laarson was part of Lagaay’s design team, and while Porsche’s marketing team would draw connections between the Boxster and 550 and James Dean, Laarson credits the Boxsters design to another car.
“My inspiration was the 718 RSK, which is to me the ultimate. There was this one key photo I took at the Oldtimer Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, and that 718 RSK, it was the business. Everything about it was just for me. It was the perfect, ultimate mid-engine open car.”
Celebrating The Porsche Boxster
To celebrate 25 years of the Boxster, Porsche has announced a special edition of the 718 Boxster known as the Boxster 25. Under the skin of the Boxster 25 is a 718 Boxster GTS 4.0, to keep true to the 6 cylinders in the original Boxster. The Boxster 25 draws inspiration from the original Boxster prototype, with its rims, side air pods and front bumper trim painted in a special color, Neodyme, which is not quite gold, but not quite copper.
The Boxster prototype continues to influence the Boxster 25, as it comes standard in GT Silver Metallic with a Bordeaux Red leather interior with a matching red convertible top. If that color scheme isn’t quite to your liking, the Boxster 25 will also be available with Jet Black or Carrera White Metallic paint options, and a full black leather interior with black top.