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Roock Autosport Upgrades A Disstressed Boxster

By: Kevin Sims

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Michael Johnson's converted 3.4 liter Boxster is an example of turning adversity into opportunity. While tracking his car at a PCA Driver's Education event, a known Boxster deficiency presented its ugly head. Michael was navigating a particularly high G, long duration left hand turn when the engine became starved for oil. After taking the turn, he heard a piercing “clicking” sound from behind him. The result was not pretty. The engine, in effect, became a German paper weight. The scenario is an enthusiast's ultimate heartbreaker.


Having bought a Boxster due to its affordability, Michael was interested in finding a way to repair the car without breaking the bank. After an exhaustive search, he came upon a white light in the darkness; Fabien Roock and his Roock Autosport shop in Atlanta , GA. It appeared that Michael's impaired engine created the perfect occasion to upgrade his car.


Fabien presented Michael with an idea of replacing his stock 2.7 liter engine with a boisterous 3.4 liter engine from an early 996 model. The shocking part was that Fabien's suggestion was not outrageously more costly than simply installing a stock unit. Moreover, the conversation would surely make the car a more potent road warrior. The decision was a no brainer. He had Roock Autosport perform the work and is amazingly satisfied with the results. Michael's car is now a 300HP, mid-engined reason to go to the track or to tear up some curvy back roads. We are thrilled to have a chat with Fabien Roock about Michael's Boxster 3.4.


Tell us a little about Roock Autosport?


Fabien Roock: I started Roock Motorsport in Europe in 1990 as a company that prepared Porsche customer racing teams. Sometime later, we established Roock Autosport in the United States with an east coast shop in Atlanta , GA and a west coast operation in Los Angeles , CA . Since our beginning, we have had international racing success by winning victories at the 24 hours of LeMans and the 24 hours of Daytona. In addition, we achieved a FIA GT World Championship. We have also raced in the American LeMans Series and finished second in the points in 2000 and 2001. Our team has had more than 150 race starts since 1990. From our racing experience we have the background to build reliable street cars for the performance minded Porsche driver. Our shops in America are dedicated to this function. So, when Michael called us about his misfortune we were in the position to help out.


Michael mentioned to us that he was actually presented with more than one option. What were they?


Yes that is correct. We offered him three possible normally aspirated engine solutions which included the Porsche factory 3.4 liter, 3.6 liter, and 3.8 liter engines. The most powerful was naturally the 3.8; however, it is a very expensive undertaking. Since Michael's Boxster had the 5-speed gearbox, we recommended him to choose the 3.4 liter route. The base 5 speed gearbox is a particular limiting factor because it is a weaker unit. We usually advise that customers only employ the 3.6 liter or 3.8 liter engines if they have the 6-speed gearbox. Financially the 3.4 liter is the best way to go since it is an easier conversion and the engine is less expensive. He took our advice and opted for the 3.4 liter engine. Once he had made the engine decision we informed him that he had two different source options. He could either buy a new 3.4 liter engine from us via Porsche or search for a used 3.4 liter unit that he would buy separately. He decided to go with the used engine option. In this situation, he provided us with the used unit and we charged him for the labor of the conversion. He was fortunate enough to locate and buy a used 3.4 liter engine for around $5K. We thought this was an outstanding price. Bargains can be found on Ebay and other online resources. The biggest price problem that customers are faced with in purchasing a new 3.4 liter engine from Porsche is that they are not reimbursed for the core charge. Porsche does not accept a 2.7 liter engine as a core in exchange for a 3.4 liter. This adds about $3K to the new engine's cost. Michael's complete conversion was below $15K.


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