All posts tagged 944

Motorsports Monday: 944 Turbo v. M3

If you were to believe the history of Motorsports as told by some E30 enthusiasts, nothing would have existed before the M3 and nothing can compare since. Sure, the M3 was an impressive car and had a long and illustrious career, and in terms of a single type of racing it won more than any other single model has. But was it more dominant than the Porsche 956/962, for example? 8 overall wins at Le Mans is certainly quite impressive in a life that spanned over a decade. Or how about the all-conquering Lancia Delta, which won the WRC Championship for 6 years straight? Or Ferrari’s successive and evolutionary F2002, F2003GA, and F2004 – one of the most dominant streaks in Formula 1 history – the F2004 won 15 out of 18 races and nearly all of the track records it set that year still stand over a decade later. While I’d agree that it doesn’t diminish from the achievement of the E30, I’d argue that it’s not the most impressive achievement in Motorsports history. Still, that winning heritage paid dividends for BMW in the sales and reputation department, and the E30 M3 has become a rocketship still heading towards its apogee. $90,000 for an E30 used to sound laughable, but suddenly it’s the market reality for the limited and low mileage examples. Even track-dog M3s are experiencing a resurgence in value; which raises the question – would you rather have the legend of the M3 or something of racing pedigree from the same generation but with a much higher performance envelope?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M3 on eBay

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Feature Listing: 1987 Porsche 944S

In the late 1980s, the front-engined Porsche lineup started to get a bit convoluted – especially amongst the 4 cylinder variants. In 1986, you could choose between the the base 944 with the 150 horsepower 2.5 liter inline-4 8 valve motor that had reinvigorated the revised 924 chassis into the 944 for 1982, or if you were gunning for the big boys you could select the 217 horsepower Turbo model. To bridge the gap in performance between the two, Porsche introduced a mid-range model in 1987; the 944S. Based in part on the development of the 924 and 944 GTR Le Mans race cars from a few years earlier, the M44.40 double overhead cam 16 value motor split the difference between the two previous offerings; essentially half the 928S motor, the new “Super” produced 190 horsepower slotting itself almost perfectly in the middle of the other two offerings. Added to the S were a host of Turbo items, including springs and parts of the brake system, as well as some exotic parts such as the use of magnesium in the engine bay to keep weight down. Outside, only discrete “16 Ventiler” badges on the front fender trim differentiated that this was a special model. Coupled with the reintroduction of the 924S model, Porsche now offered four different variants of the 4-cylinder transaxle cars for enthusiasts of differing budgets. The 944S’s base price was around $5,000 more dear than the 924S, but it was considerable $8,000 less than the Turbo model’s base price. Add some options in and these 944Ss could easily crest $30,000, around what it would have cost you to walk out of the dealer with this particular example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 944S on Cleveland Craigslist

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1983 Porsche 944 with 17,000 Miles

I have mixed feelings every time I see a low mileage car. I’m always impressed that someone could resist the desire to drive a car they clearly loved very much. If they’re in good condition, I marvel over the amount of care necessary to sustain quality interior and exterior for, in this case, 32 years. But I also get a little confused; if it’s a high dollar exotic or special edition car being kept as a collectable, I guess I understand. But randomly will appear normal examples of slightly less than ordinary cars with nearly no miles accrued. Why? Why did the owner of this Porsche 944 buy it and then drive it only 500 miles a year? If the 944 is generally an unappreciated car, this is one of the lesser appreciated in the 944 run; an early car with stamped suspension and the same dash found in the 924, it’s one of the 5,500-odd reported imported for the 1983 model year to the U.S.. It’s not the first model year, nor is it a special edition. But the low mileage survivor is presented in pretty impressive condition, and that makes it quite special today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Porsche 944 on eBay

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1988 Porsche 944 Turbo

It may sound strange, but this is – I believe – the first non-S, non-Cup 1988 944 Turbo we’ve written up on this blog. While that may not sound outrageous, the 944 Turbo is a staple of these pages and considering the thousands of cars we’ve written up – virtually with every production year covered – it’s a bit strange to me. But as with 1987, 1988 was a year of change for the 944 Turbo; while the standard model carried over the ABS and airbag changes from the previous model, there were no major changes (the DME chip was changed from 24 to 28 pin; that’s about it). However, the big change was the half year introduction of the “S” model; standard M030 suspension and upgraded power were the highlights. While the power increase wasn’t huge at only 30, the limited run status, additional power, cool Silver Rose colors and upgraded suspension mean that it’s the model that we often concentrate on. Of course, that means we overlook the standard Turbo, and that’s a shame – because like the ’86 and ’87 cars, they were still great performance values and offered significant forced induction street credentials. It was, after all, a Porsche Turbo you were cruising in; select Guards Red from the color pallet and you’d have completed the Yuppie dream coupe recipe:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

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1986 Porsche 944 Turbo with 30,300 Miles

Such is the value of the 944 Turbo, it has become almost a cliche on these pages. I suppose that I could go back and count the number of phenomenal 944s that have rolled across my computer, but I’d say that it’s on par with the amount of overpriced, over-hyped E30 M3s and 911s. It seems that we keep saying the same thing, too – “values are certain to rise”, “finding another in this condition will be hard” and the like. Turbocharged performance with a classic Porsche kick, stunning through corners, capable of high-speed long distance rides with ease and even semi-practical as a daily driver, the 944 is arguable the Jackest of all-trades from classic Porsches. From an aesthetic perspective, there were very few changes to the U.S. bound Turbo models; outwardly, all that changed over the run were the wheels and a few special colors. While that hides some updates like ABS and more power under the skin, early and late Turbos have a decidedly different flare. While I enjoy the performance and look of the later “S” specification cars with the forged Club Sport wheels, there’s always something about a clean Fuchs equipped 1986 model. 1987s wouldn’t have the Fuchs option anymore as ABS meant the offset of the wheels was different. It’s one of the very few applications of black wheels that somehow is just perfect:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

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