1989 Porsche 944 Turbo with 36,000 Miles

Where does the 944 Turbo lie in the collector market? That’s a fantastic question. For such a limited model produced over a relatively short span of time, there’s an amazing array of models and changes that occurred over the run that alter the car’s perception, the car’s performance, and – most importantly – the car’s value.

Starting in 1985, the “951” took the idea which had been pioneer with the 924 Turbo and Carrera GT/GTS/GTR and brought it to a much larger audience in a much easier to digest package. Every successive model year saw some changes, from the addition of anti-lock braking in 1987 to the upgraded “S” package in 1988, replete with Cup-inspired Koni suspension and turned-up engine performance for near 250 horsepower. This package carried over, largely unchanged minus the deletion of the S designation, for the entire 1989 model year in the U.S.. Of course, the power, performance and package of the 944 Turbo immediately brings it into comparison with the other two revolutionary small displacement sports cars of the time; the BMW M3 and the Audi Quattro. Each had their own unique character, each has their heavily devoted, mind-can’t-be-changed-that-they-were-the-best-ever fact sheets, and each has their flaws. So how to they stack up in the market today?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

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Litmus Test: 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo S with 37,700 Miles

Following up on Rob’s “presence” post about the 928, here we have the embodiment of presence and speed in the 944 Turbo S. But we have much more than that, too, in this particular example.

As I talked about at length in the last 1988 Turbo S post, there was a lot that made this car more special than the regular Turbo – and, arguably, more special than the 911, too. But the market on 944 Turbos has been all over the map, with nice examples struggling to break $10,000 at times and excellent examples three to four times that. So where does this Turbo S lie?

Well, we have a great combination of factors that make it quite desirable. First, it’s one of the S models. Second, it’s a claimed one owner car that appears to be close to 100% original. Third, it’s got very low mileage, with only 37,700 accrued. But the coup de grâce that beheads the typical unrealistic asks in the Porsche world is that this is a no reserve auction. Rarely do we get to see all of these things combine and get a real feel for the market.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo S on eBay

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1989 Porsche 944 Turbo with 43,000 Miles

Here’s a listing I am genuinely interested in seeing end in a few days. Why? Well, I’ve covered a string of 944 Turbos recently, and we’ve seen some very nice examples trade for quite reasonable amounts. But today’s 944 Turbo is special for a few reasons. First, it is one of the last of the run, S-spec 1989 models. Properly, they’re not called “Turbo S” models, but only because all of the 1989 models came equipped with option code M030 – the Club Sport Package, featuring adjustable Koni suspension, forged Club Sport wheels, upgraded 928 brakes, and 30mm/25.5mm swaybars. It also meant by default you needed to select option code M220 – the 40% limited slip differential. Coupled with the upgraded M44/51 turbo motor producing nearly 250 horsepower, these are the Ninjas of the Porsche lineup in the 1980s – silent supercar killers. Today’s example is especially desirable since it comes from a single owner, is claimed all original, and has only covered 43,000 miles:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

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1988 Porsche 944 Turbo

We’ve talked quite a bit about increasing values on Porsche 944 Turbos, and especially the high market price of the 1988 944 Turbo S and S-specification 1989 models which are highly prized. While in 1989 you could not opt-out of the S trim features (hence no S designation), in 1988 you could. With more power, bigger brakes, and better suspension, why would you? Well, because in 1988 ticking the “M030” option box to get the S-specification cost you a staggering $5,510, and Porsche then declared you “needed” another $2,000 worth of options like cruise control and a nice radio – but, ironically perhaps for Porsche, not a limited-slip differential, which you had to tick option 220 to get, too (*it was a mandatory option in 1989). That brought your already pretty pricey 4-cylinder Porsche from $40,000 to a nose-bleeding $48,000 – around double what you’d pay for a Porsche 924S. So, it was no surprise that while the S specification was popular, it was not chosen by roughly 2/3rds of 944 Turbo buyers in 1988. Still, it feels almost unusual to see a non-S 944 Turbo today as so much attention is focused on the special upgraded model. When you see a 944 Turbo that looks like today’s example does, though, it’s worthwhile choosing the lesser:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

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Feature Listing: 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo

We’ve often lamented on these pages about when enthusiast cars used to be more affordable. Pick your poison; there were days you could buy a pretty sorted E30 M3 for under $10,000, a clean 911 in the teens, a pristine W113 Pagoda for under $20,000. At least for the foreseeable future, those days have left us, and enthusiasts on a modest budget need to pick and choose between the few remnants of a once vibrant sub-$10,000 market. I’ve spent a fair amount of time predicting and watching the ascension of the 944 turbo – the understated, underrated giant killer from Porsche. It’s been no surprise to see soaring values on clean 944 turbos, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that once again another classic has been priced out of sight. But if you’re willing to prioritize driving over shows, there are still some great deals to be had out there:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Porsche 944 Turbo on Omaha Craigslist

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1989 Porsche 944 Turbo with 37,000 Miles

Kicking and screaming, enthusiasts are watching super heros from the 1980s slowly (or not so slowly, depending on the model) move firmly out of affordable price ranges. The last bastion of performance to rise is one of the best available, proving that the market doesn’t always recognize what theoretically should be the best cars. 944 Turbos, just as they did when new, have been rapidly accelerating in value and the top of the heap for road models are the ’88 Turbo S and the S-spec ’89 Turbos (properly, without S – more later). In my time writing for GCFSB, I’ve watched nice examples move from mid-teens to firmly into the 20K range. But Hagerty currently values them even higher, with a sharp spike in 2015. 2016 forecasts have the market cooling slightly, but it’s still at record highs for several models. The current top value on a 1989, at least according to Hagerty, is $36,400. Today’s car is priced at $39,000. Is it better than perfect?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo S

I get it. You want to tell your friends that on the weekends you race a Guards Red Porsche Turbo S. But your bank account tells your friends that a Kia Soul is more your speed. What’s a Porschephile to do? Look to the watercooled transaxle cars, that’s what you do. Though prices of 944 Turbo S models have been soaring, if you’re less interested in a pristine, low mile street worthy example, a track prepared car can provide you with the thrills of boosted ownership at a much more reasonable rate. Today’s example shows us why:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo S on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo

While there are faster cars, cheaper cars, flashier cars and cars that are easier to drive at the limit, few manage to be quite the combination of speed for dollar input as the 944 Turbo. Naturally almost perfectly balanced and with seemingly endless amounts of tunability and tweaking, the 944 Turbo is effectively now a 35 year old design that somehow still seems fresh. Every time I see a new 944 Turbo build I smile, as each time they just seem so naturally suited to the track-biased modifications. Today’s example is no exception and comes from a group who recently have been doing many of the best looking track builds, Motor Werks Racing. They’ve turned up these 944s and then dressed them in period livery that makes for one heck of a great looking package:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo on Racer Connect

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Honorable Mention Roundup

Time for another Honorable Mention Roundup of the cars we just didn’t have a chance to get to this week. In addition to a few reader submissions in this edition, I found a few affordable performance options that caught my eye. Which is the one we should have spent more time on?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi TT 3.2 quattro at Coventry Motorcar

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Honorable Mention Roundup

The “Honorable Mention” post from last week seemed to be a popular choice, so I’m back this week with another selection of cars we didn’t get a chance to get to. We’ve got one from each major manufacturer this time around which makes for an interesting and diverse group. Which is the one that deserved a better look this time around?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Audi Quattro on eBay

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