Driving a black Porsche on Southern California's Pacific Coast Highway helps the owner of this 2010 Porsche 987.2 Cayman S achieve his dreams of Californication.
Everyone who has watched the hit cable TV show Californication on Showtime or Netflix will remember frequent scenes where the protagonist, Hank Moody (played by David Duchovny), drives a black Porsche through the streets of Santa Monica, Venice, and Hollywood, living the Hollywood fairy tail life of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. Although David Rahemi, the owner of this Cayman S, doesn't exactly live that same lifestyle, he does live and work in the same general area that his idol, Hank Moody frequents on the show—and he does drive a black Porsche.
David is a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur with a more than passing familiarity with cars and car culture. As a former Advertising Director for DSPORT Magazine and an automotive enthusiast for over 20 years, during which he has also been a Time Attack and NASA endurance driver, he has gained quite a bit of automotive knowledge. In fact, in his own words, he has “built cars across the spectrum from full blown race cars to mild street cars.” Therefore, you can rest assured that when someone like David says the 2010 Cayman S is, “Definitely one of the best ‘driver's cars’ I’ve ever owned,” he knows exactly what that means.
When David was shopping for his first Porsche, he decided to purchase this 2010 Cayman S in 2015 because of his love for its classic lines and performance profile. He debated on whether or not he should buy an older 911, like a 996 or 997, but decided on the 987.2 Cayman S because he felt it would be the more financially responsible option, as an entrepreneur juggling the responsibilities of two budding businesses. Since the 987.2 was a newer car, he explained, "I knew that I wouldn't have to spend too much money on fixing things and repairing the car. I could just spend my money on fun stuff like wheels and suspension. Also, as a driver's car, this thing is amazing. I think this Cayman S has better racetrack handling and acceleration than the 996 or 997 models that I was looking at."
Looking at the 987.2 from the rear, it is clear to see why this car has become an automotive icon. The muscular lines and sprint-worthy stance, coupled with the artistry of the center-mounted dual exhaust, speak for themselves.
What may be less apparent is just how instrumental the Boxster/Cayman lineage was in saving Porsche from being dissolved or acquired back in the early 90s. The design expertise of Pinky Lai and Grant Larson, with homage to the 356 Cabriolet and 550 Spyder, enabled the resurgence of Porsche as a force to be reckoned with in the luxury/performance space.
There is a reason that icons and symbols exist. Oftentimes, it is to remind us of what we can become or attain. Sometimes, as in the case of Hank Moody of the television show Californication, it is to represent the contrast between what the symbol signifies and what we truly are. The Cayman S is clearly in the former category.
The cockpit of the 987.2 is not shy in announcing to us what it represents. It is the distillation of power and elegance into an efficient and easily accessible package. It is a minimalist take on luxury and performance and that message is simply a continuation of what every line of this car is communicating.
Even the gauge cluster is a driver-centric paean to minimalism. All of the tactical information a driver needs is centered in these three gauges which have been rendered in high-contrast, uncluttered simplicity. So, it’s no wonder that, when asked about what enhancements he made to the 987.2, David’s response was, “The build was minimalist.” There’s just not much that one has to do to “enhance” automotive perfection.
The 987 series was the last to employ hydraulic steering. Where electronic systems create a buffer between driver and steering system which anticipates the driver’s needs through sensory inputs, hydraulics maintain a continuous analog feedback loop that puts the driver in direct control. For the average driver, the difference is negligible if not undetectable. However, for the professional or purist, it makes a noticeable difference. David made that point to us. “The 987/997 generation of manual Porsches, in my opinion, were the last water cooled cars that still felt like Porsches. The newer ones, while amazing cars, feel a little disconnected as they rely on so many electronic systems to function.”
Despite the iconic and minimalist nature of the car, it is not without its own issues. “It has had its quirks, as most German cars do, like a few mystery CEL (Check Engine) lights that pop up from time to time. If you don’t drive it for more than a week, it almost seems to get mad and stops responding to the key remote. Once you open the door using the actual key, the car responds again. I’d say the car requires a minimum level of attention.” She's a minimalist...but not a Spartan.
The interior of the 987.2 still looks futuristic despite being a ten year old design. One could imagine that, once we attain the ability to take quick jaunts to the nearest galaxy and back, our space-faring vehicles will have such well-designed interiors. One could imagine, and one can only hope.
There were approximately 1300 2010 Caymans sold in the US, and a large portion of those were the base model. A few had the six-speed manual gearbox—fewer still had these hard-to-find manual seats which appear to have been lifted from an X-wing fighter.
What futuristic, minimalist vehicle would be complete without an immersive sound system? There's no more of a household name in sound than Bose, and in the 987.2 Cayman, nothing sounds better.
Again, the “less is more” ethos flows throughout the interior design of the 987.2. This center console tells you everything you need to know - clearly and concisely. From CD player to Bluetooth to AC, everything is clearly centered and intuitively positioned.
The 2010 987 series came standard with the 7-speed Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK)
This picture is so eloquently continuing the minimalist conversation that the entire car has been having thus far. Accelerator, brake, clutch, dead pedal…and absolutely no frills. You’re here to drive, and, by drive, we mean drive! You will feel everything through these inputs—every curve, chicane, irregularity, and pebble of a canyon road—and you will love it! However, you can also commute to work or tool about in it and still enjoy the feel of actual driving.
The 987.2 employs the MA1.21 engine. Essentially it is a bulletproof, water-cooled, 3.4L, flat six-cylinder engine with a caged 320 horses. The Boxster/Cayman was also Porsche’s first mid-engine car. Putting all of the weight of the engine directly behind the driver, relatively at the center of mass, made for the sort of center of gravity and weight distribution that creates a near-perfect driving experience. David told us that, “It’s one of the best handling cars I’ve ever driven.” High-praise coming from someone of his experience.
Though the engine itself is hard to reach because of its orientation behind the driver’s seat, the oil fill and fluid access port make these aspects of the vehicle a bit easier to maintain. Despite the amazing advantages of a mid-engine car, there is also the psychological effect of almost literally sitting atop 320 screaming horses.
Though the 987.1 and 987.2 exhaust systems share these dual exhaust tips as a design flourish, they are not interchangeable. The primary and secondary catalytic converters are located inside the manifolds as opposed to being in the exhausts themselves. Also, the cats themselves only have 400 cpsi (cells per sq in) as opposed to 700-800.
The brake calipers are Porsche Big Reds. The significance of Porsche brake caliper colors can be somewhat correlated with stopping power/sophistication. The standard Porsche brake package is painted black, the next step up is silver or red where sports cars are typically red while larger vehicles like the Panamera or Cayenne are painted silver. Hybrids (often with regenerative braking) calipers are painted acid green, while the super performers (like the GT2) are painted yellow and get carbon ceramic discs. David chose the Porsche calipers and pads while sourcing Girodisc for their floating, two-piece rotors with a curved vane design which forces cooling air through the disc during hard usage.
David’s aftermarket wheel choice for the 987.2 was the forged, one-piece Titan-7 T-S5s in Satin Titanium (Front 18x9 +49, Rear 18x10 +35). His tires are Yokohama AVS (front 245/40/18, rear 285/35/18). The choice of such an open-faced, ten-spoke wheel is not only an aesthetically pleasing one but also a practical one as it allows more air to cool the discs. For aftermarket suspension components, he chose APEXi N1 dampers and pillow ball mounts.
As an entrepreneur and car enthusiast, David finds himself straddling the line between multiple worlds. As such, it makes sense that these worlds would intersect in some way with logos on his cars.
In this case, legendary Japanese suspension and exhaust manufacturer APEX'i happens to be a client of his Eleventh & Flower Media Agency, while the blue sticker represents Tikifish Seafood Concept, the restaurant chain he co-owns with partners. His restaurant has locations in both Culver City and West Hollywood.
The retractable rear wing is a form of adaptive/active aero that can be traced as far back as the 60s in Porsche’s race car experimentation. It appeared independently in production cars in the late 80s, arguably first in the VW Corrado, followed almost immediately by the 964 generation Porsche 911. Basically, the rear wing remains flush until the vehicle reaches a speed (typically 60mph or higher) where downforce can be used to aid in traction. Then the wing automatically deploys without the need of driver intervention, seamlessly enhancing performance.
The owner, David Rahemi, is pictured here looking very pleased with this iconic tribute to minimalism. His perspective on car modification should be presented as an axiom for all prospective builders. “I carefully chose the parts to only accentuate what the car already was…By keeping the mods balanced and vehicle appropriate, you’ll have a much more rewarding drive than if you force a car to do something it wasn’t intended to do.” Words to live by.
David finds that he’s always receiving compliments when driving this car because the design has aged so well. In his words he wanted “A clean, perfectly street-able car that you could drive to work in the morning, hit a canyon road in the afternoon, and still be good looking enough that valet drivers leave it parked out front of whichever restaurant you’re going to that evening.”
We think he has achieved his goal. Californication never looked this good.
Story by Avon Bellamy
Photos by Antonio Alvendia
If you like this Porsche, you can find additional Porsche-related content at porsche.fcpeuro.com, as well as more build features like this one, here. If there's anything specific you would like to see, or if you have any questions/comments, leave them in the comments section below.
Antonio Alvendia is an aficionado of cameras, rare wheels, 90s hip hop, and obscure aftermarket car accessories. He bought his first E39 Touring after seeing M5 Estates on photo trips to several racetracks and automotive museums in Europe. He is currently devising a plan to return to the Nurburgring to shoot the N24 race and drive the Nordschleife again. ••• Instagram : @MOTORMAVENS