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1988 Porsche 944S

Recently I took at look at the underrated 944S2. Well, the even more underrated example in the 944 lineup must be the short-lived 1987-8 944S. Porsche introduction of the “Super” 944 was perhaps obscured by other developments in the lineup, including the Turbo, Silver Anniversary model, and revisions to the base model in ’87. 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 at all, but a Guards Red example popped up on eBay this week:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 944S on eBay

Year: 1988
Model: 944S
VIN: WP0AA2945JN465381
Engine: 2.5 liter inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 85,800 mi
Location: Paulsboro, New Jersey
Price: $17,000 Buy It Now

Gateway Classic Cars of Philadelphia is presenting a 1988 Porsche 944 S for sale. This 1988 Porsche is still dressed in the factory Red with Tan interior. With 85,000 original actual miles it is an excellent example of the classic Porsche that has turned many an owner into an enthusiast. The 944 is a great introduction to a line of road cars that is respected as one of the best in the world. This 944 is Powered by a 2.5 L 16 valve 4 cylinder motor with a 5 speed manual transmission. The 944 was introduced in 1982 as an improvement on the 924. It was slightly faster was better equipped and more refined than the 924; it had better handling and stopping power and was more comfortable to drive. Needless to say, the 944 was a big hit. This 944 still has plenty of Sunday afternoons left in her for your enjoyment. [ omitted ]. [ omitted ].

There’s a lot to like here, from the Guards Red exterior matched with the tan interior to the good overall condition. The wheels should be Phone Dials or forged Gullideckels, but I doubt anyone will complain about the addition of the updated S2-spec Design 90s. But there are reasons for pause; I find the dealer’s description (or, lack of any real description thereof) a bit disappointing – especially when you factor in that the 944S cost nearly double what the 924S retailed for in 1988. That’s right, you could have TWO 924Ss in 1988 for about the same price as his car. Today? The same holds true. $17,000 is a lot of scratch for an undocumented example. There aren’t a lot of comps, but BaT has recently sold a few in the 5k range. Parts for this specific engine can be fussy to find and it doesn’t offer any real advantages over an S2 or an early Turbo, both of which are more collectable. It’s a shame to say, but this one is a hard pass at anything but 40% of the asking price you see here today.



  1. grumblepunch
    grumblepunch May 4, 2020

    Great analysis. Cool car but I definitely agree that you can but a better Porsche for less.

  2. Christian
    Christian May 6, 2020

    I had an ’87 944S back in the early 2000s. Fun car, but don’t let the 16 Ventlier badge fool you. The car was a dog off the line, and the power would eventually pay you a visit waaaay up high like a sluggish Vtech. My buddy’s 8V 944 of the same vintage would walk me off the line despite my 37hp advantage. Once I got moving and in the upper rev range, the engine would finally come to life and I would catch up.

    Mine was metallic black and boring looking until I added 17″ twist wheels. Then the looks and handling of the car vastly improved.

    Funny, I recall mine coming with the original window sticker…the Ventlier badges were an option upwards of $200. That is a lot of money for a piece of plastic in 1987.

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