Lotus Evora and Porsche Boxster & Cayman
BOOK IT – WHILE YOU CAN
At one point in my scattered history I have sold Lotus cars (specifically, the Turbo Esprit), but regrettably, never owned a Lotus. Much later, at a point when most of that history had already been written, I owned a pre-owned Porsche – but have no recollection of having ever sold one; that’s until, of course, I sold mine, with proceeds going toward a new Miata. Both points are made to put one of my main reasons for owning a library of automotive books in context. Keeping a fleet of cars is expensive, while keeping those automotive titles which provide information on vehicles you happen to like takes very little money and, in relative terms, very little space.
As a longtime fan of both Lotus and Porsche, Johnny Tipler’s LOTUS EVORA – SPEED AND STYLE and Brian Long’s PORSCHE BOXSTER & CAYMAN – THE 981 SERIES 2012 TO 2016 both provide an in-depth analysis of those respective models. And while both books serve the needs of the owner or prospective owner comprehensively, both are also well suited to the armchair enthusiast with a penchant for the brands, but doesn’t want to be a nuisance in a showroom. (You know the type.)
The Lotus Evora, of course, is less well known than Porsche’s Boxster and Cayman; Lotus, despite its founding in the same postwar period as Porsche, has almost never been on the tip of anyone’s tongue – except, of course, the rabid Lotus enthusiast. Like Enzo Ferrari, Lotus founder Colin Chapman built production cars (in extremely low volume) to subsidize the company’s racing, while Porsche historically raced to better market their sports car production. There’s nothing wrong with either motivation, but the 70+ years of both companies would suggest Porsche constructed the better business model.
That, of course, doesn’t diminish the appeal of the Lotus Evora, introduced at the London Motor Show in 2008 (on, notably, the cusp of the Great Recession) and only recently discontinued. Named after Evora, Portugal, and continuing the ‘E’ theme which has identified almost all Lotus road cars, the Evora was created to provide the Lotus enthusiast with a more Grand Touring experience when compared to its oh-so-immediate predecessor, the Elise. Combining a longer (relative to the Elise) platform with 2+2 accommodation, the Evora is the more adult Lotus. And while Evora sightings are rare, I’ve seen one in which the owner has removed the fitted rear seats and replaced them with booster seats, underscoring – perhaps – the Evora’s appeal to soccer-moms.
While your enjoyment of Johnny Tipler’s LOTUS EVORA – SPEED AND STYLE is enhanced by your Lotus fandom, Tipler’s soup-to-nuts narrative is of equal interest for those curious as to how things get made. In my 40+ years of paying attention to the industry, the people connected with it are often as interesting – if not more interesting – than the finished product. And that can certainly be said at Lotus.
Porsche, of course, provides a similar timeline, but whereas the Lotus business bio is typically played at low volume, in some zip codes Porsches border on the ubiquitous. (Case in point: I discussed cars with a just-out-of-college realtor the other day. She was driving a Macan.) And while most of us have given up on Porsche creating an everyman’s sports car, a pre-owned Boxster or Cayman comes pretty damn close to that particular dreamscape.
If shopping for that Boxster or Cayman, Brian Long’s PORSCHE BOXSTER & CAYMAN – THE 981 SERIES 2012 TO 2016 is a credible guide to the process. And if already owning a Boxster or Cayman, Long’s narrative can serve as a validation for your decision, especially during those cold, wet periods when you’re inevitably driving your Subaru. As you might guess – or know, if you have other titles by Mr. Long – his books can get into the weeds of a specific car’s development, as well as those variations of it offered on a Porsche showroom. And as any dealer rep can tell you, Porsches are offered with more variations than Democratic politicos have constituencies.
If you’re into Porsche’s competition history – or, you’re simply into James Dean – the Boxster was the realization of your Porsche 550 or RS60 dreams, positioning an engine behind the driver where God (and Ferry Porsche) had always intended. Introduced as a concept in 1993, and regarded as a logical follow-up to the discontinued 914, the Boxster made its official production debut at the Paris Salon in the fall of 1996. This book, detailing models built between 2012 and 2016, covers the third generation of the Boxster, as well as the second generation of the Boxster-as-coupe, Porsche’s Cayman.
While the Lotus Evora offers 2+2 accommodation, the Boxster and Cayman provide space for two – and only two. And although the 911 remains at the top of Porsche’s sports car hierarchy, recent offerings in the Cayman and Boxster lineups have narrowed the performance gap, with optional drivetrains that essentially elevate the Porsche 2-seaters to supercar status…along with (almost) supercar price points.
While Long’s approach can seem formulaic, his obsessive attention to detail makes for a good read of a compelling history. At this point I’ll probably not own a Boxster or Cayman, but Brian Long’s examination won’t do anything to minimize those chances; hell, it might even maximize those chances.
Johnny Tipler’s LOTUS EVORA – SPEED AND STYLE and Brian Long’s PORSCHE BOXSTER & CAYMAN – THE 981 SERIES 2012 TO 2016 are available from Veloce Publishing, via your local bookseller. Both are $80 U.S.