This 1998 Porsche Boxster Got a Roof To Become a Beta Cayman

There was no 1998 Porsche Cayman, but this is pretty close.

Our dear leader Andrew P. Collins recently happened upon something that kind of looks like a 1998 Porsche Cayman on Facebook Marketplace… except of course there was no 1998 Porsche Cayman. Somebody made an early Boxster into a hardtop and it’s… different. As the resident 986 Boxster guru of Car Bibles, I’m here to share that it’s actually a kit of sorts.

Contrary to what your initial impression might be, this isn’t just a hunk of fiberglass that’s been sanded down in some dude’s garage. It was actually a mass-produced piece that’s meant to be paint-matched and grafted onto a 986.

The ad in question (here’s a link while it’s live):

Porsche Boxster coupe conversion
Image: Wcm Equipmentrepair (Facebook Screenshot)

Often times, body parts that make a car look like something it isn’t are utterly atrocious. Think: Ferrari kit car based on a Fiero (cringe). But I think this 986-to-Cayman vibe actually works, though only if you don’t think of it as imitating a 987 Cayman. Think of it instead as a sort of tribute car; a what if.

The 986 Boxster concept was designed by Grant Larson and Pinky Lai; it debuted at the 1993 Detroit Auto Show as a sort of homage to the 550 Spyder and 356 Cabriolet. It was slick, and very unlike anything the brand had drawn up in quite a long time. Check out this image of the concept sitting next to the production 986, which was finalized and sitting on dealership lots in Europe by late-1996:

This 1998 Porsche Boxster Got a Roof To Become a Beta Cayman
Production: left; Concept: right; Horst Marchart: middle. Image: Porsche

Imagine if during the design process, or even within the first few years of the 986’s production run, Porsche decided to increase the 986’s marketability by selling a hardtop version as well. Ya know, for folks in climates where it rains a lot, or it isn’t terribly warm, or just for people who don’t really dig convertibles. Besides the Boxster and Miata, I’m not crazy about them myself.

Yes, the aura of the Boxster is to be an open-top, fun homage to OG open-top Porsches of yore. But for the same reasons they put a Tiptronic automatic in a fair share of them, imagine a hardtop with insulation and better body lines/aesthetics than a soft top.

That’s what I think of when I see 986s with this kind of hardtop; if they introduced the Cayman a generation earlier.

It looks like the kit itself is ready to buy, too! Apparently it comes ready to paint and assemble per this Indonesian retailer (the first link I could find). I think it’s nice piece when all finished; less the rear end looks like the front end, just reversed, sharp lines, near-factory resembling, and just something different. Plus, if you’re like us at Car Bibles, there’s a special place in your heart for Porsches with runny eggs. Why not have the best of both worlds: runny eggs and 987-gen coupe-ability? Or maybe it’d be called a fastback? Well, unless it’s a 2.5 or 2.7-liter base model; that’d be called a pretty-quick-back (nyuck nyuck nyuck).

986 Boxster owners have utilized this hardtop to create some really neat custom rides, too. Like this:

This 1998 Porsche Boxster Got a Roof To Become a Beta Cayman
Image: Jan Bauer

The lines look great, especially with bigger wheels. Looks like the owner added some other aftermarket bits on there, like the 997-look front bumper and darker headlights.

When done right, and assuming someone could get their hands on this hardtop for a reasonable price, the sky’s the limit for making one’s own 986 Cayman. Queue: me daydreaming about buying a fixer-upper 986 project and doing it myself, with as many clean, OEM+ mods as I could muster.

Would you do the same?

Peter Nelson

Peter NelsonPeter Nelson has been wrenching on and playing with cars since he started driving them quickly between the cones at Chicagoland autocross events in his late teens. Nowadays, he can be found wringing out his Mazda2 at tracks all over California. His writing background includes Winding Road, Donut Media, and Autolist.com. He's also an avid cyclist and '80s/'90s action film connoisseur. Contact the author here.