Double Take: 1981 and 1982 Porsche 924 Turbos

Recently I looked at the Porsche 924S. For $5,000, it was a ridiculous deal. A decent chunk of 924s appear in good shape from loving homes and that particular 924S looked no different. Lower miles and Euro bumpers only added to its appeal. But not all 924s are created alike. The early Turbo model has been on the rise in value as collectors have begun the hunt for the next deal. That means there’s been speculation among asks on the 931, and prices are all over the market. In January I looked at a solid 1980 that sold for just over $4,000, while a later ’82 I looked at last year sold at nearly triple that amount.

Today we get to see both ends of the spectrum from this duo of ’81 and ’82 931s. And there is more that is interesting beside just the asking prices:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Porsche 924 Turbo on eBay

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1982 Porsche 924 Turbo

Edit 9/30/2017 – The asking price has dropped to $11,995.

Back in June and into early July, I spent some time covering the various iterations of the 924. In each case, there was something unique or interesting about each variation of the model generally overlooked in Porsche history, but nonetheless important to the survival and success of Porsche as a company. Paving the way for the 944 model, the 924 was an efficient, reliable and (reasonably) affordable premium sports car that lived through an economic and resource crisis period. Without it and the subsequent 944/968, Porsche may well have been forced to close its doors a few times.

I looked at a 924 Turbo a little over a month ago. 931s are broken into two periods – Series 1 (launch in ’79 -late ’80) and Series 2 (’81-’82). Series 2 cars all had the 5-lug, 4-wheel disc upgrade that only some of the Series 1 were equipped with. Additionally, they had a revised ignition system, improved intake, higher compression pistons but a smaller turbocharger. The transmission was shared with the B2 Audi inline-5s. They were mostly loaded examples, so like this one they have power windows, locks, mirrors, air conditioning, rear wiper and sunroof. Outside of the wheels, these changes were mostly invisible to the eye, and generally speaking don’t make a difference in the value of the vehicle. What does is condition, and when you’re looking at a 924 Turbo you want to buy the best one that you can afford. Is this the one?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Porsche 924 Turbo on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo Holbert Racing

It’s always a little interesting to find something rare in the German world. The 924 Turbo does qualify as a bit rare; only about 6,800 of the early turbocharged models made it to the U.S., and the 1980 model year represents about half of that total. But teething problems, low residual values, higher cost of ownership and maintenance and the some 36 years that have passed since this car was produced mean there aren’t a huge glut of nice 924 models out there. But this car has something a little more unique than the already unusual 931. This particular car appears to have been modified in period utilizing Al Holbert’s D-Production body kit and magnesium BBS wheels. Rare? You betcha.

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1980 Porsche 924 Turbo

It’s easy to overlook the importance to Porsche of the 924 model, but it was a significant and successful model – purists be damned. Not only did it make Porsche a viable company so that those precious air-cooled dinosaurs could be produced, but it laid the platform for many enthusiast favorites down the road both inside and outside of Germany. Of course, the most tangible benefit was the later 944 and 944 Turbo spawned from the bones of the 924, but highly prized models from other manufacturers were also influenced; the Mazda RX-7 was a blatant copy for example, but you can also see aspects of the 924 seep in to the Toyota Supra and Nissan 300ZX designs later in the 1980s.

Like its similarly revolutionary big brother 928, for some time the market did not recognize the importance or the significance of these designs. But while the 928’s needle has begun to head up the tach, the lowly 924 remains an absolute budget bargain for classic Porsche fans. One model that has gained some appreciation of late is the 924 Turbo. Though the technology was relatively primitive compared to more recent turbocharged mills, the 931 packed a potent punch in the early 1980s. Even in detuned American-market form, the 924 Turbo had nearly 150 horsepower from the pedestrian but heavily revised Volkswagen 2.0 liter at the same time that a 5.0 liter Corvette hit the market with 180 lazy horses. The Turbo was upgraded over its relatively short life span too, and models like this 1980 came equipped with a sport package that included 16″ forged wheels, upgraded 4-wheel disc brakes and a sport suspension:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo on eBay

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1982 Porsche 924 Turbo

There are still a few cars that have a niche collector status but are generally unappreciated, even by those who love the marque. Until recently, it was the Audi Quattro that was the complicated, turbocharged wonder from Germany; while it redefined the marketplace and racing, it was largely dismissed as a flash in the pan that was too expensive and difficult to keep running. Three decades on, though, and even Audi has finally accepted that it was both an important and influential car and slowly the larger automotive enthusiast community is, as well. But there’s still an automotive icon, an influential leader who brought turbocharging to the “masses” in the early 1980s; an unappreciated car who I’m sure its time will come before long – the Porsche 924 Turbo. Already the market has begun to awaken to this model, though mostly good examples are still dirt cheap on the collector scale – and especially compared to other early 1980s Porsche Turbo models.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Porsche 924 Turbo on eBay

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Poor Man’s Dilemma: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo v. 1988 Porsche 924S

As we’ve charted the demise of the 996’s residual value, it may no longer be accurate to say that the Porsche 924 is the best value for your money if you just want a Porsche crest. But with the rising prices of 911s, 944 Turbos and 928s, if you want a Porsche from the 1980s, there’s simply no contest – 924s represent the gateway into Stuttgart’s finest without obliterating your retirement fund. In fact, many nice Porsche 924s can be had for a song – even though we’ve also recently seen the elite 924 Carreras push well into 6-figure territory. As a lover of the Audi Coupe GT, which share a shocking amount of parts with it’s much more highly sought bulging brother Quattro but not the value, I can identify with the plight of the 924 enthusiast. Indeed, I consider the 924 to be a great design and love both the early, simple cars from the 1970s for the clean purity of purpose right through the upgraded 924Ss, one of which resides in my family and I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in, under and around. So it should come as no surprise, being a fan of the underdogs, that I ponder 924 ownership on a semi-regular basis. The question is, which 924 do I like more – the early, vented turbo models that were the homologation of much of Porsche’s racing technology, or the “real Porsche” 924S, replete with the underpinnings of the 944? I’ve found two pretty comparable models, so let’s take a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo on eBay

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10K Friday “80s Classic” Edition: 924 Turbo v. 5000CS Quattro Avant v. Golf Rallye v. 535i v. 300CE

One thing I really love about writing up these 10K posts is a odd combinations pricing allows me to come up with. For today’s post, I decided to do something a little different. Instead of maximizing the budget, I decided to look at it from the perspective of what was a classic 1980s car that you could buy and maintain well under $10,000. Obviously, if you’re willing to shill out much more, there are countless classics you can jump in to turn-key; but under $10,000 means with almost certainty that the car you’ll be getting in to today will be at least in part a bit of a project. Is there anything wrong with that? No, I think there’s an inherent appeal to trying to save and resuscitate a car that was in part neglected or just needs attention. Certainly I’ve tried to do that several times with 1980s cars – with mixed results. Today, I grabbed one classic from the 1980s (give or take, we’ll see…) from each of the major manufacturers – which is the one you’d like to save?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo on eBay

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1980 Porsche 924 Turbo

Pablo from flüssig magazine has checked in with us once again, evaluating this 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo for sale in Denver that was sent to us from our reader Duncan.

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Porsche’s plan in 1980 was to keep the 924 Turbo’s price under twenty grand. Now if I were to tell you that in the face of a weakening dollar against a strong Deutsch Mark that USD $20,000 has the same buying power today as USD $57,115, you’d not only have to pick your jaw up off the floor, you’d wonder why the hell Stuttgart decided it a savvy move to wipe the 5-stud hubs and rear disc brakes clean off the build sheet replacing them with four lugs and a pair of drums for Turbos destined to the US to stay under that price. Let me explain.

Porsche was still a small company 35 years ago compared to, say, their neighbors at Daimler–Benz. And when you’re a David, you do what have to in order to keep that needle millimeters away from the red lest A: you get consumed by Goliath, or B: you close up shop. Simple as that. So in order for Stuttgart to continue selling its relatively new entry level product at a far from entry level price in a market that was allotted 50% of its Fahrzeug (incoming CEO Peter Schutz would change that in 1981 to lessen dependence on the US market), costs had to be cut somewhere. Unfortunately, the rear binders were it. The way they saw it, if the 50 states version was detuned to put out 143bhp @5500 RPM and 147 lb-ft of torque at 3000 RPM further crippled by a smaller turbo, catalytic converter, and oxygen sensors, a front disc/rear drum set-up like that found on the normally aspirated 924 would be more than adequate.

The 924 Turbo made its appearance on our shores in July of 1979 as a 1980 model (easily distinguished by an exposed fuel filler cap) in a limited batch of 600 cars in an effort to keep dealers and journalists from screaming like spoiled little brats since Porsche had already started production of the 1979 model year in the summer of ’78. When you figure in that the European/ROW version got 170bhp, 180 lb-ft of torque, a larger KKK K26 turbocharger with a wastegate, and disc brakes all around, who can blame anyone for throwing a tantrum? Matter of course.

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Let’s shift the subject to a more positive note and discuss more noteworthy attributes of the US spec 931. Labeled engine version M31.02, these lumps were built in Zuffenhausen and not at VW’s Salzgitter plant sporting a completely redesigned head with inlet valves that were 3mm larger (36mm) than the 924 normal allowing the engine to suck a combustible mixture of larger volume while platinum tipped spark plugs were moved closer to the inlet valves as opposed to the exhaust valves as in the 924 normal. It must noted that the normally aspirated 924 used a head of Heron design meaning that the underside of cylinder head was machined flat since the combustion chamber was recessed in the piston crown providing a “swirl effect” to the fuel/air mixture on the upstroke whereas the turbo would have the combustion chamber in the head itself. Compression ratio remained the same on all versions at 7,5:1 that increased geometrically to 10,8:1 when the turbo was spooled up to full song at 0,7 bar (9.87 lbs) beginning at around 2800 RPM. The bottom end remained the same for both the blown and unblown version, save for the new Mahle pistons, as it was robust enough to cope with the power increase.

The clutch size increased from 215mm to 225mm control hydraulically this time, cable operation was left to the normally aspirated group. Power went through a larger 25mm diameter driveshaft spinning on three bearings mating to a Porsche designed G31.02 gearbox with a revised final drive ratio of 4,71:1 used in the normally aspirated European 924 while the 0,706 5th gear was swapped out for 0,60:1, this in the name of better compatibility for our roads. While all of this may not matter one whit to one of little technical aptitude, the driver will most certainly find the Turbo’s appeal a fortiori when engaging the dog-leg first borne of racing pedigree.

Now that I’ve lain before your feet a small primer on what the 924 Turbo was about, I’d like focus your attention to this superb little brick draped in L90E Alpinweiß. The toolkit, that’s when I knew this 931 would be worth a bother…perhaps a flight in from somewhere farther. Universal pliers, rim wrench, spark plug wrench, operating rod for rim wrench, operating lever for spark plug wrench, handle and Philips/Flat head insert, and a double-ended 10mm/13mm spanner in the original tool roll pouch speaks volumes of what to expect in terms of completeness and originality with this example.

Click for details: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo on Denver’s Craigslist

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Rare Wasser Porsches: 1982 924 Turbo and 1988 924SE

If for some time the Porsche 944 is one of the most under appreciated cars in the 1980s German car world, the 924 is even the more red-headed stepchild. But get past the stigma of the 924 as the “poor man’s Porsche”, and the details are quite good. They’re nice looking, aerodynamic coupes that are rear drive for enthusiasts. Like the rest of the Porsche lineup from the late 1970s and 1980s, they had great build quality overall and were solid products. Many of the “big brother” 944 items work on the 924, too – especially true in the later 924S models, so they can be updated and modified just like the 944s. They enjoyed a rich racing history in both naturally aspirated and turbocharged variants, with the first “Carrera GT” being a 924 model. Plus, the 924 was the development model which resulted in the much more prized 944 and 944 Turbo. And within the lineup, there are really some great hidden gems of classic cars that can be had on a budget. Today I have two nice examples of some of the rarer models of the 924; a late run 924 Turbo and a last of the breed 924S Special Edition:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Porsche 924 Turbo on eBay

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1980 Porsche 924 Turbo

Two events transpired yesterday that, for me, relate to this car. First, I was watching some of the Mecum auction action, and a low mile Porsche 993 Turbo in Arena Red came across the block. I watch in semi-horror as this modern Porsche crested $170,000 quickly. Now, I’m sure to someone that car is worth $170,000 – and speculation will probably continue to drive prices on the last of the air-cooled cars higher – but to me, that market is just absolutely insane and in need of a serious correction. The second event was that I took my very much not-perfect, not low mile and fairly compromised Audi for a drive down the road. The suspension is set to punish, the heat is stuck on, there’s no radio, and it smells vaguely of mold; I smiled all the way. Do you need a perfect car to just enjoy a drive? No, I don’t think you do. Would I have felt better if my car was an absolute pristine 100 point Sport Quattro? No, I think I’d be afraid to drive it, honestly. That’s what makes second-tier cars so appealing. The values aren’t high enough that you’re afraid to purchase or drive them, but they’re still special enough to give you a smile when you take them out. Driving down the road, not many people know what my Audi GT is anymore, and I’m okay with that. I imagine the same feeling occurs for Porsche 924 Turbo owners:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo on eBay

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