While Porsche 944s are no stranger to these pages, early models rarely appear here. There were many variants of the 944 over its life cycle, and in many ways the improvements over that time make the 1982-early 1985 models the least appealing. Launched in early 1982, the 944 sported essentially most of a 924 with Carrera GT-inspired flares and half of a 928 motor. In mid 1985, Porsche heavily revised the model with a refreshed interior, air condition system, larger fuel tank, relocated windshield antenna, and new cast aluminum control arms among a host of other small changes. 928-esque “Phone Dial” wheels replaced the original “Cookie Cutter” alloys, though Fuchs forged alloys remained an option. Obviously, there were then the multitude of upgraded models that followed; the 944S, the 2.7, the S2, and of course the Turbo. The result is that it has to be a pretty special early 944 to draw much attention, and today’s early 1985 is just such a car:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Porsche 944 on eBay
Engine: 2.5 liter inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 39,944 mi
Price: $25,000 Buy It Now
When it comes to proper German sports cars Porsche is undoubtedly in the conversation, more specifically the 911. Its designed has proved timeless, having changed very little since its genesis in 1964, leaving its mark on the heart of petrol heads across the globe. However, this piece you are reading revolves around a Porsche that is much less talked about. The Porsche 944, the evolution of Porsche’s front engine, water cooled, 4-cylinder production car, the 924. The 924 was a joint venture between Porsche and Volkswagen to provide a small two seater sports car with an engine up front and drive going to the rear. Volkswagen ended up pulling out of further development of the 924 but Porsche saw potential in the design and decided to pursue it. They purchased the rights to the design of the car and continued refining the car until it made its first appearance in 1975 at La Grande Motte, Camargue. The car went over well, people liked the look of the car but not its 2.0L Audi power plant. The Porsche enthusiast scolded the car for having sourced an engine from Audi, saying that it was not a genuine Porsche. It was also thought to be too small of a displacement for the car. Porsche took this into consideration as they continued developing the car into its next evolution, the 944. They ditched the 2.0L straight 4-cylinder, replacing it with a 2.5L 4-cylinder derived from the 5.0L V8 Porsche was building for the 928. The fuel injection system was more refined, the wheel arches were widened, as well as the suspension and brake systems improved. In combination with those items, the 944 was much better equipped and more comfortable to drive than its 924 predecessor. In 1985, the 944 underwent further refinement which resulted in a new dash, upgraded alternator, cast alloy control arms, and larger fuel tank. This brings us to the example on offer.
Available for purchase is a 1985 Porsche 944 chassis number WP0AA0948FN474622, special ordered in graphite metallic (color code LB7V), having travelled only 39,994 miles from new. This example comes equipped with a host of rare options including factory leather sport seats (409), limited slip differential (220), light weight Fuchs metal wheels (401), sport shock absorbers & stabilizers (456), electric sunroof (650), and it also happens to be an interim model (715). This car was bought new by the original owner in New York where it resided from 1985 until sometime during the late 90’s where the owner appeared to have relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina. Then the owner at the time seemed to have relocated once more to the Ohio area where the car stayed with him until 2010 when there was a change in ownership. The 2nd owner purchased the car in November, 2010 whom ended up moving to Arizona. From there, it was then discovered by LBI Limited and inducted into the LBI Stable.
From the exterior it is blatantly apparent that this example was well cared for. The original graphite metallic paint has been artfully preserved, with a deep shine free of any significant flaws. The front bumper has been resprayed in 2003 and is the on the only exterior portion of the car that does not possess its original paint, as far as our inspection tells us. There are a couple minute areas that have been touched up that would only be noticed under close inspection. The panel gaps are spot on and do not raise any quarrels whatsoever. Located on the front nose, directly to the right of the Porsche hood emblem is a small dent from closing the hood, but it would be a very simple repair (PDR). The original Fuchs wheels are in spectacular condition, free of curb rash or flaws. The trim items, headlamps, tail lamps, and rubber bumperettes show like-new from the factory, reflecting the superior quality of this 944, as these are some of the first items to be found inadequate on most of these cars. The glass on the car is also free of any issues and appears to be the original glass throughout.
The interior of this example is finished in a chocolate brown and a lighter brown/gray color, adding to the car’s unique features. The door jams reflect the originality of the car with no blemishes and remarkably excellent. The factory sport seats give the interior a unique character, complimented by the brown piping which matches the dash, optional on 944’s. The seats have developed a slight patina on the side bolsters, which is a common area of ware, but consistent with the mileage. The rear seats most likely have never been sat in and show as such, free of any tears, cracking, or wrinkling of the leather. The rugs and door panels have been well cared for and would have most enthusiasts impressed. The dash, which houses the clean and fully operational gauges, is in great shape with one small crack near one of the air vents being the only blemish to note. A peak down at the center console reveals that it is in line with the marvelous condition of the remainder of the car with no issues to report.
The trunk of this example shows much of the same attributes of a collector quality car. The trunk lining is reminiscent of the condition it was in when the car rolled of the production line with the original spare wheel present and it great shape. The engine bay shows very well possessing many original factory markings. It is evident that the car was well maintained with all hoses looking supple, wiring fresh, engine components relatively clean, and no evidence of sloppy work. An inspection of the undercarriage will reveal various factory markings, similar to the engine bay, and boasts a consistency in terms of quality, matching the great condition of the remainder of the car. It is absent of any rust and evidence of damage with no abnormalities or inconsistencies to note.
The driveability of this car is one unique to the 944 with this example properly dialed in. Since 2003, about $10,000 worth of service receipts have been invested into the mechanics of this car, leaving no system unattended. The timing belt, engine mounts, brakes, injectors, water pump, thermostat, miscellaneous seals, fuel filter, radiator, hoses, and AC compressor have all been either been replaced, repaired, bleed, and or serviced which translates to a 944 that is completely turn-key. The engine starts easily and quickly settles down to a comfortable idle. The steering is precise and feels solid giving the user the confidence to engage in some more spirited driving and really get into the corners. The gear changes are crisp and sharp with the only item to note being a clutch that can be a bit sticky at times. It most likely need adjustment to correct it or some thorough use. Aside from that small issue, all remaining systems perform flawlessly, the brakes biting nicely with any fade absent and the engine reading proper oil pressure as well as water temperature.
As a whole, this 944 is certainly one example that would be difficult to trump. It retains a variety of unique qualities and features that are not only rare for Porsche’s of the era but especially a 944. The special ordered graphite metallic paint is absolutely stunning to admire especially in its original condition. The interior, preserved in its original state adds to the cool factor of this car with the sport seats being the cherry on top. Its history has been well documented with an extensive amount of service records that show this example has been well kept since new. This is an investment grade low mileage example to welcome into any collection. The 944 is a Porsche that offers a much different and invigorating driving experience as opposed to the 911. It is a Porsche that is very distinct in its appearance and performance, leaving this truly exceptional example difficult for any enthusiast to pass up. Offered with the sale of this car are the original books, tools, spare, jack, compressor, clean Carfax, and records from nearly new.
What originally drew me to this car was the color combination; the Graphite Metallic is less frequently seen than the other silvers and grays available that year, and coupled with the two tone interior it looks quite special. That’s helped by the fantastic Fuchs alloys, perfectly matching the exterior color. It’s one of the very few applications of black wheels that are spot on. Inside and out, the condition is top and commensurate with the sub-40,000 miles this car has covered. On top of the supremely excellent condition is the recent maintenance to bring it up to date and interesting options, including a limit-slip differential. It’s about as nice as one of these early 944s comes, frankly. Now, that said, then there’s the price – $25,000, or about ten times what a normal early 944 comes to market at. Is this ten times the average example in condition and presentation? Yes, but that doesn’t translate into a sale price, necessarily. I would think that for the right collector who really wanted a pre-refresh model, this car could get into the mid-teens. But over that, most will be looking at the much more desirable and likely long-term better investment in the Turbo model.