1987 Porsche 944S with 15,000 Miles

It’s no great revelation that values of the transaxle Porsches are all over the place. I looked at two of the most expensive you could buy recently with the twin low-mileage Turbo S Silver Rose examples:

Double Take – 25,000 Miles Total: 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo S Silver Rose

In impeccable condition, it was no surprise that the asks were out-of-reach for nearly all enthusiasts. On the other end of the spectrum sits the lowly 924; you recently had your choice of either of these very clean examples for about $4,000, both special in their own way:

Face Off: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo v. 1988 Porsche 924S Special Edition

But I have to say, the one I covered recently that bothered me the most was the $20,000 ask for the 1988 944 Special Edition, or “Celebration”, model. Sure, it had one of the coolest interiors offered by Porsche in the period, though it’s soundly outdone by the Silver Rose.

1988 Porsche 944 ‘Celebration’ Special Edition

But I just can’t wrap my head around why you’d want to pay a premium for one. For the 924S Special Edition, it makes sense, in a way. The delta between normal and SE values is small and there are tangible performance gains for the Special Edition. But the Celebration was effectively just a loaded 944 with a neat interior. Surely, there must be a better option?

There was.

Alongside the appearance package offered on the regular 944, Porsche introduced the “Super” 944. The new M44/40 double overhead cam motor upped power output substantially to nearly 190, but outside of the subtle “S” badge on the rear and the embossed “16 Ventlier” on the side trim, there were no signs of the performance gains under the hood. There was a substantial change, however, to the base price, which cut the middle ground between the ~$32,000 944 and ~$40,000 Turbo at around $37,000. I always felt like Porsche’s pricing versus power gains on these models seemed a little too convenient; you got the impression that they could do more with the model, but didn’t want to tread on the 911’s toes. Apparently, so did buyers at the time. The 944S failed to sell as well as the normal 944 or the Turbo, with about 8,800 imported over the short two year production cycle before it was replaced by the even more potent and better looking S2. Few appear today like this 15,000 mile Zermatt Silver Metallic one does:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 944S 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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