Following up on Rob’s “presence” post about the 928, here we have the embodiment of presence and speed in the 944 Turbo S. But we have much more than that, too, in this particular example.
As I talked about at length in the last 1988 Turbo S post, there was a lot that made this car more special than the regular Turbo – and, arguably, more special than the 911, too. But the market on 944 Turbos has been all over the map, with nice examples struggling to break $10,000 at times and excellent examples three to four times that. So where does this Turbo S lie?
Well, we have a great combination of factors that make it quite desirable. First, it’s one of the S models. Second, it’s a claimed one owner car that appears to be close to 100% original. Third, it’s got very low mileage, with only 37,700 accrued. But the coup de grâce that beheads the typical unrealistic asks in the Porsche world is that this is a no reserve auction. Rarely do we get to see all of these things combine and get a real feel for the market.
Porsche is famous for launching a special edition just about every six minutes, and in the late 1980s they launched quite a few for 1988. First off, they created a special edition of the 944 Turbo. The new option M758 “Turbo S” included a new turbocharger with redesigned vanes and a remapped DME which increased boost to a max of 1.82 bar. The resulting M44/52 had 30 more horsepower and 15 lb.ft torque to a max of 247 and 258, respectively. But the “S” package was far more than just more boost, as the cooling system was revised, the clutch and transmission were beefed up with hardened first and second gears.
Brakes were borrowed from the 928 S4 and now measured 12″ in front with four piston aluminum calipers. Wheels were Club Sport 16″ forged, polished and anodized units measuring 7 inches in front and 9 in the rear. Suspension was also beefed up with the M030 package; this included adjustable rebound Koni shocks and adjustable perch coilovers in front. Limited slip differentials (Code 220) were not standard, but a must-select option.
Within the already limited edition S (of which about 1,900 were shipped to the US), there was another special edition. The “Silver Rose” launch cars took all of the special aspects of the M758 S package and added a unique color (Silver Rose Metallic, LM3Z) and a very unique Burgundy Studio Check interior. Outside of the Turbo Cup cars, these very limited original models have become the most desirable of the 944 Turbos:
It should come as no surprise that Porsche 944 Turbo prices are on the rise. In fact, in atypical Porsche form it’s quite late to the party. Considering the stratospheric rise of its ostensible competition from BMW and Audi, the 944 Turbo has remained quite affordable for a very long time. That has resulted in a glut of mediocre to poor condition examples; let’s not forget, after all, that this is a Porsche, and servicing a complicated 30 year old example can be beyond the budget of some available to leap over the entry price hurdle. However, one of the Turbo models that have traditionally retained greater value is the later run 1988 S models and 1989 S-spec models. Properly, 1989 models are not referred to as S models, but as they carry all of the same upgrades as the 1988 model many add the suffix to the name. Considering how limited they were in the U.S., at only a reported 1,874 1988s and 1,385 1989s with a handful of 89 spec cars shifted in 1990, it’s not as much of a surprise that they’re prized possessions for many and generally speaking they come to the market in better condition than the earlier ’86/87 models. But not many these days come to market having traveled only 28,500 miles since new: