The Porsche 944 Turbo, known internally at Porsche and amongst enthusiasts as the 951, is a performance bargain. Stunning examples can be had for the same kind of money as a well looked after BMW e36 M3’s. But suddenly I’m seeing prices lower than I’ve seen the past few years. Naturally it’s re-sparked my interest.
I have been a fan of the design and potential of the 944 series since high school. Stunning looks and genuinely German details combine with a perfectly balanced platform, 200+ hp, and final performance numbers that nearly rivaled even the mighty 911 Turbo of it’s day. Someone remind me again why I haven’t owned one of these?
For starters, they’re not exactly plentiful with only about 15,000 examples sold in the U.S. (though this could be good for U.S. investors willing to export as only 10,000 more were sold worldwide.) Couple that with the generous aftermarket offerings and the amazing potential for these cars to easily exceed 300whp with bolt on upgrades, and you may be hard pressed to find a well cared for example in the neighborhood. The easy numbers and low entry price have resulted in many cars falling into the hands of owners who weren’t prepared for the total price of ownership. And the market reflects it with a range of asking prices going as low as $6000ish for well used examples with high miles, to beyond $15k for low mileage and even more rare ‘S’ models with 247hp, upgraded suspension and other rarities standard. But somewhere in between lies a serious performance, racing pedigree’d, prestige bargain.
For what it’s worth, Excellence has updated values for the 944 Turbo in their April 2008 issue: 1986 models range from $7892 for a so-so car, to $12k for an excellent car. The last model year, 1989, as $11k – $16.9k.
Online Resources for Researching the 944 Turbo
- The 944 FAQ – A current and very comprehensive FAQ for the Porsche 924/944/968 series.
- The Water Cooler – An enthusiast created one-stop-shop for everything 924/944/968.
- Bill Underwood’s 944 World – A great enthusiast site with personal ownership experiences, buying guides, 944 FAQ, and even more links.
- Rennlist – Always a good place to stop when considering any Porsche. They feature technical articles, classifieds, and forums.
- Porsche Club of America (PCA) page on the 944 Turbo
- European Car Magazine has many of the 944 Turbo project car articles online. The first few parts are especially useful in understanding the potential of this model.
- A nicely written 16 page article on the 924/944/968 series on How Stuff Works
- Porsche 944 and 944 Turbo information at the Official Porsche Website
- The Wikipedia entry on the Porsche 944
Porsche 944 Turbo Aftermarket Vendors
- Lindsey Racing – Manufacturing proven and surprisingly affordable aftermarket products for the 944 Turbo and other Porsche models. They have a 270whp kit for under $1500!
Online Communities Supporting 944 Turbo Enthusiasts
- Pelican Parts – This link should be listed in all the link categories shown here really. But I’m listing them here because not just because Pelican considered the best, but because of the community that has grown up with them as a result of their long standing online presence.
- 944online.com Forums
- Roadfly’s 944 Forum
Porsche 944 Turbo’s For Sale Right Now
In the cheap but has potential category, this 944 Turbo out of San Diego for $7200:
This car deserves a look due to it’s recent maintenance and spendy upgraded rim combination. If most everything else checks out with a few thousand required to make it right, could be a very good buy.
The next car has more reasonable mileage for an enthusiast who is looking for what appears to be a well looked after example:
Black 1986 944 Turbo on Autotrader for $13.5k:
If you’re new to the 944 Turbo, I hope this post was helpful. If you’re 951 experienced, please leave your comments below on how I could improve this post and your story with the car. And if you have a 944 Turbo for sale within a half day of zip code 97330, I’d love to examine your car in person for feature in it’s own post with a DSLR photos, interview and short video. Email me for details.
Great article, although it’s worth noting that a 944 Turbo can cost you a lot of money in repairs. They’re very high maintenance vehicles, so it’s prudent to find a good example (as opposed to buying a bargain car). The old adage applies, I think: “there is no such thing as a cheap Porsche.”
Personally, I’d always go the route you describe. But I might consider a cheaper example if I was more mechanically inclined.
And btw, I’m looking forward to reading up on your 951! Thanks for the comment,
Certainly! I would also go the cheaper route if I were more mechanically inclined. Also, these cars are very easy to convert into track monsters, so all the more reason to look for a cheaper model if one were planning to go that route.
And thanks for checking out my site. I must say I’m going to keep an eye on your blog – my friend is looking at E46 M3s (actually two friends are). Maybe you’ll come across some nice examples!
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