Increasingly as some of our childhood (or, adulthood) heroes get priced out of sensibility for weekend warrior on a budget status, there are still some bastions of hope for the shoestring enthusiast. One of the best must undoubtedly be the underrated Porsche 924. As Sciroccos, GTIs, 944 Turbos, Quattros and the like take off in value, here lies a plethora of well-cared for, well-built and fun-to-drive cars that have good parts accessibility, reasonable repair costs and surprising amounts of practicality. Sure, it’s ‘just’ a 924, and Porschephiles will probably poo-poo your choice. So, too, will most of the rest of the automotive world. Their loss is your gain. Try as they might, outside of some very special 924 Carreras, these models that helped to keep Porsche afloat in the 1970s and 1980s still haven’t caught on with collectors.
So today I have two special 924s to consider once again. The first is a lofty Turbo model; finicky even in period, they’ve developed a reputation for lack of reliability and expensive repairs, but then have you ever seen the bill on a proper flat-6 rebuild? I’m going to compare it to the end-of-the-run 924S, and this one is the lightweight Special Edition model, too. Both are quite affordable and both appear to be in great condition, so which one is the winner?
The 7-series never really developed the cult following of some of its countrymen or the rest of the BMW lineup. It wasn’t as luxurious as either the W126 or W140 Mercedes-Benz competition. It wasn’t as clever as the Audi V8 quattro. It wasn’t as good a driver as the E30 or E34. There was never a Motorsports division version, and it wasn’t quite as good-looking as its successor, the already legendary E38. As a result, the E32 was – in many ways – a disposable luxury car, much like some of the Audis of the period. They’re mostly gone and forgotten, but every once in a while a really neat one pops up and is worth a look.
I grew up in my formative driving years with a 5-speed 735i E32 in the family stable, and it was a wonderful car. It rode well, it was comfortable, the 3.5 liter M30 was turned up over 200 horsepower and so it was plenty quick. Generally speaking, the U.S. spec 5-speeds are the most highly sought E32s here and it’s easy to understand why. But this particular E32 turns the desirability up a few notches:
While Andrew and Craig have been the typical purveyors of all-things Mercedes-Benz over the past few months, I’m always drawn to the clean, simple and classic look of the 70s and 80s MB products offered in the rest of the world. Today’s 1982 280SE is a perfect example of this. A W126.026, this European specification S-Class is powered by the M110 double-overhead cam inline-6 which was never offered to U.S. customers. Admittedly, the engine looks a bit lost in the bay you’re used to seeing V8s in, but it’s a proven unit with adequate power – 185 raging ponies, to be exact. However, the 280SE is the short wheelbase model and with European bumpers and missing some of the heavy luxuries, performance should be on par with some of the U.S. spec early V8s, if not better. Even if buying the short wheel base, six-cylinder model may sound a bit ego-deflating, these Euro-spec cars always get my attention:
Why the enthusiast world hasn’t thoroughly warmed up to the Porsche 924S is a bit beyond me, and that’s especially true of the 1988 model year. Not only was compression slightly up resulting in 160 horsepower channeled through the rear wheels, but Porsche also signed the model out with a fantastic lightweight special. The 924S Special Edition was also marketed in Europe as the 924S Le Mans; limited to 500 copies in each market, the U.S. models were black only. In classic Porsche “add lightness” style, the 924S SE had manual windows, no air conditioning or sunroof, and they even dropped the passenger mirror off the car. While power didn’t increase, the car did get more suspension in the M030 factory Koni suspension and wider Phone Dials in the back with integrated mud flaps. Also lightweight was the interior fabric, which was so thin it doesn’t seem to be able to actually cover the seats even on a low mileage example like this:
I don’t like this car. Volkswagen just had to go ahead and build a fat Passat for US customers, instead of carrying on with the existing European Passat, didn’t they? There are two things, however, that I like about this 2015 Passat we see here. First, it’s a diesel. Second, it’s equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox. Turns out a visit to VW.com revealed that you can’t specify a manual gearbox in a new Passat anymore. In the wake of the diesel emissions scandal, you can’t opt for a diesel engine, either. So thanks loads again, Volkswagen, for neutering your product range even further for 2016. If it’s a diesel Passat you want, at least there are a few more leftovers hanging around out there, such as this one for sale in Pennsylvania.
Pablo from flüssig magazine is back to highlight this late model, one of 500 1988 Porsche 924S Special Edition.
I have a thing for women with wide hips.
The cars that I have in my collection reflect this. The 993, 944, and 968; each of them sensually wide at the flanks giving them a sort of feminine muscularity you seldom see on other marques.
I also have a thing for narrow hips on the fairer sex…not taking a preference for one or the other is a testament to the dual personality that’s typical of all Geminis.
You see, even though the wide hips suggest strength, power if you like, the narrow ones speak of nimbleness, agility; a sort of lightness that gives her edge in all things calling for performance. This is precisely why I fell in love with this 924S.
This is not just any old 924S, however; no, no…this one is a very special version of which only 500 were made for the US market and they’re all clothed in black. In fact, very few Porschephiles know that such a version exists, yet here is one that’s got the numbers to prove it. First let me give you a little primer on the S before getting a bit more intimate with SN450529.
Porsche must be the king of obscure special models; it seems nearly every week there’s some limited edition model virtually no one has heard of comes up for sale, generally with some premium attached to the asking price because of their rarity. But while many of these limited edition cars didn’t make it to the United States, one that did was the special edition of the 924S. Sure, the 924S wasn’t the most popular car in the Porsche lineup and still isn’t, but it was a competent performer and sold reasonably well. 1988 saw the 924S bump up compression with a touch more horsepower, so if you’re in the market look for one of the already more rare to find 1988 editions. But if you want really rare, to celebrate its Le Mans victories Porsche launched a special edition of the 1988 model; dubbed the “924S SE” in the U.S. and “924S Le Mans” everywhere else, these were effectively 924S Club Sports:
A few months ago was the last time we featured a nice Porsche 924S. That particular 1988 Porsche 924 Special Edition was the same model that I’m writing up today, but unlike that car this particular model has the original staggered phone dials and shows off that neat model-specific interior a little more. The 924S remains a solid value with clean looks, great performance and low ownership costs. Today’s example looks quite stealthy dressed in black, and kitted out with most of Porsche’s “go faster” bag of tricks from the 1980s these last of the run were the fastest normally aspirated 924s produced:
Model: 924S Special Edition
Engine: 2.5 liter inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 99,400 mi
Price: Reserve Auction
Selling our 1998 Porsche 924SE
This was the last year Porsche made the 924 & this is a true “real” special edition “SE” model
In 1988, the 924S’ final year of production, power increased to 160 bhp (119 kW; 162 PS) matching that of the previous year’s Le Mans spec cars and the base model 944 (itself detuned by 3 bhp (2 kW; 3 PS) for 1988). This was achieved using different pistons which raised the S’ compression ratio from 9.7:1 to 10.2:1, the knock-on effect being an increase in the octane rating, up from 91 RON to 95. This made the 924S slightly faster than the base 944 due to its lighter weight and more aerodynamic body.
(Copied from wikipedia under “special models” -) US market SE:
Black only paint scheme with optional SE Edition decal. Equipped with manual steering, manual windows and door locks, sunroof delete, radio delete, AC delete, cruise delete, passenger side door mirror delete, wider 15×7 phone dial alloys for the rear while retaining 15×6 in front, and the M030 package which included stiffer springs and Koni shocks.