Back in 2020 I looked at a late ’80 924 from the end of Series 1 production.
1980 Porsche 924 Turbo
A nice example, it had a rolled odometer but was in nice shape overall and had an asking price of just under $12k. That probably seems like a lot for a 924, and indeed – it is; you can get later and arguably better (in some ways) 944 models for the same price. But put it up against some of its contemporaries in the same price category; the Scirocco, the GTI, the BMW 320i, and the late Mercedes-Benz C107 models, and to me the 931 compares pretty favorably. If you’re looking for a fun package for not a ton of money, they seem like a worthy option. Today I found a late Series 2 car in a rare shade, so let’s take a look:
Back in October I took a look at a very nice 931 over in Europe for sale; one of the best examples I’ve seen on the market recently:
1979 Porsche 924 Turbo
931s are broken into two periods – Series 1 (launch in ’79 -late ’80) and Series 2 (’81-’82). Series 2 cars all had the 5-lug, 4-wheel disc upgrade that only some of the Series 1 were equipped with. Additionally, they had a revised ignition system, improved intake, higher compression pistons but a smaller turbocharger, and the transaxle was shared with the B2 Audi inline-5s. Today’s example is loaded like most and comes from the end of the first series, so it has power windows, locks, mirrors, air conditioning, rear wiper and sunroof. It also has the M471 package, which added Koni shocks, 5-bolt forged 16″ wheels, 928 calipers with 911SC vented discs, larger swap bars, a quicker steering rack, and a small-diameter four-spoke leather covered steering wheel. Outside of the wheels, these changes were mostly invisible to the eye, and generally speaking don’t make a difference in the value of the vehicle. What does is condition, and when you’re looking at a 924 Turbo you want to buy the best one that you can afford. Is this the one?
Because it’s an early 1980s Porsche and the model ends with “Turbo”, it must be automatically unaffordable, right? Not so fast. While the air-cooled market has lost some of its forced-induction steam as of late, few would consider the 930s out there “cheap”. But there is still plenty of value in the transaxle marketplace; and from early 928s to the fledgling 924 Turbo, automotive journalists are pegging these cars as the ones to buy before they, too, head upwards.
The 924 Turbo, or 931 internally, was a huge upgrade from the standard 2.0 924. The addition of a KKK K26 turbocharger and 6.5 lbs of boost did the best part of double the power in Europe – even in U.S. trim, an impressive 140 horsepower was available. Yet they developed a reputation as expensive to run and finicky; when later, equally powerful normally aspirated 944s and even more potent 944 Turbos came along with fewer drawbacks, the 924 Turbo fell into relative obscurity. Today, find a good one though, and it’s a recipe for an instant classic collectable:
The major problem with yesterday’s 924 is as I noted the number of other 924s that are out there. So while the $2,000 asking price for a rare bit of Porsche history sounds like a steal on paper, when it comes to the 924 it is a completely different scenario.
Take today’s 1981 924 Turbo, for example. Like yesterday’s, its a survivor rather than a show piece. Also like the M471-equipped ’80, this ’81 931 sports the upgraded brakes, suspension, forged 16″ wheels, mudflaps and rear spoiler. Unlike yesterday’s car, though, this one has some serious advantages. First off, it’s a Turbo, and while the M471 924 is much more rare to find, the forced-induction model is substantially more desirable and valuable right now. Second, this one is in better shape than the Diamond Silver Metallic example. And, of course, it’s got an automatic advantage of being in running and driving condition. So how much extra does this all cost you? A lot less than you’d think:
Recently I looked at the Porsche 924S. For $5,000, it was a ridiculous deal. A decent chunk of 924s appear in good shape from loving homes and that particular 924S looked no different. Lower miles and Euro bumpers only added to its appeal. But not all 924s are created alike. The early Turbo model has been on the rise in value as collectors have begun the hunt for the next deal. That means there’s been speculation among asks on the 931, and prices are all over the market. In January I looked at a solid 1980 that sold for just over $4,000, while a later ’82 I looked at last year sold at nearly triple that amount.
Today we get to see both ends of the spectrum from this duo of ’81 and ’82 931s. And there is more that is interesting beside just the asking prices:
Edit 9/30/2017 – The asking price has dropped to $11,995.
Back in June and into early July, I spent some time covering the various iterations of the 924. In each case, there was something unique or interesting about each variation of the model generally overlooked in Porsche history, but nonetheless important to the survival and success of Porsche as a company. Paving the way for the 944 model, the 924 was an efficient, reliable and (reasonably) affordable premium sports car that lived through an economic and resource crisis period. Without it and the subsequent 944/968, Porsche may well have been forced to close its doors a few times.
I looked at a 924 Turbo a little over a month ago. 931s are broken into two periods – Series 1 (launch in ’79 -late ’80) and Series 2 (’81-’82). Series 2 cars all had the 5-lug, 4-wheel disc upgrade that only some of the Series 1 were equipped with. Additionally, they had a revised ignition system, improved intake, higher compression pistons but a smaller turbocharger. The transmission was shared with the B2 Audi inline-5s. They were mostly loaded examples, so like this one they have power windows, locks, mirrors, air conditioning, rear wiper and sunroof. Outside of the wheels, these changes were mostly invisible to the eye, and generally speaking don’t make a difference in the value of the vehicle. What does is condition, and when you’re looking at a 924 Turbo you want to buy the best one that you can afford. Is this the one?
It’s always a little interesting to find something rare in the German world. The 924 Turbo does qualify as a bit rare; only about 6,800 of the early turbocharged models made it to the U.S., and the 1980 model year represents about half of that total. But teething problems, low residual values, higher cost of ownership and maintenance and the some 36 years that have passed since this car was produced mean there aren’t a huge glut of nice 924 models out there. But this car has something a little more unique than the already unusual 931. This particular car appears to have been modified in period utilizing Al Holbert’s D-Production body kit and magnesium BBS wheels. Rare? You betcha.
It’s easy to overlook the importance to Porsche of the 924 model, but it was a significant and successful model – purists be damned. Not only did it make Porsche a viable company so that those precious air-cooled dinosaurs could be produced, but it laid the platform for many enthusiast favorites down the road both inside and outside of Germany. Of course, the most tangible benefit was the later 944 and 944 Turbo spawned from the bones of the 924, but highly prized models from other manufacturers were also influenced; the Mazda RX-7 was a blatant copy for example, but you can also see aspects of the 924 seep in to the Toyota Supra and Nissan 300ZX designs later in the 1980s.
Like its similarly revolutionary big brother 928, for some time the market did not recognize the importance or the significance of these designs. But while the 928’s needle has begun to head up the tach, the lowly 924 remains an absolute budget bargain for classic Porsche fans. One model that has gained some appreciation of late is the 924 Turbo. Though the technology was relatively primitive compared to more recent turbocharged mills, the 931 packed a potent punch in the early 1980s. Even in detuned American-market form, the 924 Turbo had nearly 150 horsepower from the pedestrian but heavily revised Volkswagen 2.0 liter at the same time that a 5.0 liter Corvette hit the market with 180 lazy horses. The Turbo was upgraded over its relatively short life span too, and models like this 1980 came equipped with a sport package that included 16″ forged wheels, upgraded 4-wheel disc brakes and a sport suspension:
There are still a few cars that have a niche collector status but are generally unappreciated, even by those who love the marque. Until recently, it was the Audi Quattro that was the complicated, turbocharged wonder from Germany; while it redefined the marketplace and racing, it was largely dismissed as a flash in the pan that was too expensive and difficult to keep running. Three decades on, though, and even Audi has finally accepted that it was both an important and influential car and slowly the larger automotive enthusiast community is, as well. But there’s still an automotive icon, an influential leader who brought turbocharging to the “masses” in the early 1980s; an unappreciated car who I’m sure its time will come before long – the Porsche 924 Turbo. Already the market has begun to awaken to this model, though mostly good examples are still dirt cheap on the collector scale – and especially compared to other early 1980s Porsche Turbo models.
As we’ve charted the demise of the 996’s residual value, it may no longer be accurate to say that the Porsche 924 is the best value for your money if you just want a Porsche crest. But with the rising prices of 911s, 944 Turbos and 928s, if you want a Porsche from the 1980s, there’s simply no contest – 924s represent the gateway into Stuttgart’s finest without obliterating your retirement fund. In fact, many nice Porsche 924s can be had for a song – even though we’ve also recently seen the elite 924 Carreras push well into 6-figure territory. As a lover of the Audi Coupe GT, which share a shocking amount of parts with it’s much more highly sought bulging brother Quattro but not the value, I can identify with the plight of the 924 enthusiast. Indeed, I consider the 924 to be a great design and love both the early, simple cars from the 1970s for the clean purity of purpose right through the upgraded 924Ss, one of which resides in my family and I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in, under and around. So it should come as no surprise, being a fan of the underdogs, that I ponder 924 ownership on a semi-regular basis. The question is, which 924 do I like more – the early, vented turbo models that were the homologation of much of Porsche’s racing technology, or the “real Porsche” 924S, replete with the underpinnings of the 944? I’ve found two pretty comparable models, so let’s take a look: