1987 Porsche 924S with 17,500 Miles

‘The Poor Man’s Porsche’

Not that one would consider the 924 very affordable by the end of the run, mind you – but, then, it was cheap by Porsche standards. In 1986, the Scirocco had grown 8 more valves and was a competent performer – more than the match for most of the competition. Base price had also grown to almost $14,000, and equip one with power options to match its more luxurious Audi and Porsche cousins and suddenly you were close to $16,000 out the door. But it was still a big leap to the Special Build Coupe GT, which crested $21,000 with a few options. While it offered a bit more luxury than the 16V, there wasn’t any improvement in performance from the 130 horsepower NG 2.3 10V. To get more grunt, you had to turn to Porsche.

Porsche’s “budget” 944 had also grown in price, and by ’87 you were looking at – no surprise – a $5,000 increase over the Audi to get a more prestigious badge. The new 16V 944S was even more expensive though it looked no different. So to bring the 944 back to its sub-$20,000 base price roots, Porsche brought back the 924. The car that was originally suppose to be the Scirocco and was, for some time, the bread and butter of Porsche’s sales was a 924 in body only as it now had 944 underpinnings. The Super 924 was therefore a bit of a sleeper, offering slightly better performance than the base 944 due to better aerodynamics of the pure design and lighter weight. Base price was briefly $19,900, so in dealerships that sold both Audi and Porsche products, this was a heads-up competitor to the late GTs. And though they ostensibly had similar missions, they were remarkably different cars. As we’ve recently looked at the Scirocco and Audi, let’s take another gander at what you’re missing with the 924S:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 924S on eBay

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1986 Porsche 944 Turbo Cup

Update 3/1/19: This 944 Turbo Cup has a huge price drop for March, lowering from the original $149,995 ask to $109,900 today.

While Rob has left us, that doesn’t mean Porsche coverage will be! So I’d like to start the year with the counterpoint to Rob’s 911 Club Sport. I recently looked at a 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo S, the details of which were sussed out by Porsche in the Turbo Cup race series. While the Club Sport purported to be track-ready, the Turbo Cup was a turn-key racer straight out of the factory.

Porsche built a limited group of 944 chassis each year which were heavily upgraded with lightweight parts, roll cages and turned up engines. Weight was dropped thanks to extensive use of magnesium for the intake and sump, along with deletion of most luxuries. Manual windows, no door pockets, no air conditioning or sunroof here! The engine was upgraded with more boost and a revised turbocharger, along with a strengthened gearbox. Inside a Matter cage reinforced the structure, a Recaro seat cradled the driver and of course the suspension was upgraded as well. Later Turbo Cup cars also featured magnesium Phone Dial wheels, alone saving on the order of 18 lbs, though early models were delivered with forged Fuchs. These cars were not only raced in the one-make Turbo Cup series around the world, but also utilized by Porsche and privateers in race series such as the SCCA Escort Endurance Championship in “Showroom Stock”. Each year only a handful were produced, making these cars some of the most sought transaxles out there:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo Cup on eBay

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1987 Porsche 924S

Update 8/28/18: This clean 924S sold for $5,000. What a steal!

Rounding out my trio of affordable VAG 2-doors is, of course, the Porsche 924. Not that one would consider the 924 very affordable by the end of the run, mind you – but, then, it was cheap by Porsche standards. In 1987, the Scirocco had grown 8 more valves and was a competent performer – more than the match for most of the competition. Base price had also grown to almost $14,000, and equip one with power options to match its more luxurious Audi and Porsche cousins and suddenly you were close to $16,000 out the door. But it was still a big leap to the Special Build Coupe GT, which crested $21,000 with a few options. While it offered a bit more luxury than the 16V, there wasn’t any improvement in performance from the 130 horsepower NG 2.3 10V. To get more grunt, you had to turn to Porsche.

Porsche’s “budget” 944 had also grown in price, and by ’87 you were looking at – no surprise – a $5,000 increase over the Audi to get a more prestigious badge. So to bring the 944 back to its sub-$20,000 base price roots, Porsche brought back the 924. The car that was originally suppose to be the Scirocco and was, for some time, the bread and butter of Porsche’s sales was a 924 in body only as it now had 944 underpinnings. The Super 924 was therefore a bit of a sleeper, offering slightly better performance than the base 944 due to better aerodynamics of the pure design and lighter weight. Base price was briefly $19,900, so in dealerships that sold both Audi and Porsche products, this was a heads-up competitor to the late GTs. And though they ostensibly had similar missions, they were remarkably different cars. Today, little has changed but that the two remain in the same price bracket:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 924S on eBay

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1989 Porsche 944S2 ROW

Although the United States is one of the most important market for its sales, the 944S2 is a case where a majority of the cars sold were “Rest of World” examples. Total S2 production was 19,945 units, and of those about 6,036 came to North America. When you compare that to the 944 Turbo, 25,107 were built with 14,235 sold in the United States alone. Typically, the European versions of the 80s cars we look at had more power, but that was not the case for the S2. The M44.41 was a world engine, meaning it was only available with catalyst and rated at 207 horsepower (211 according to Porsche, although that’s the motor’s PS rating rather than HP). So what did a “ROW” 944S2 get you? Well, the shorter and lighter rear bumper treatment for one, side indicators just ahead of the rub strips, and in front you got integrated dual fog lights/driving lights rather than the fog/dummy setup on U.S. cars. In the case of this particular ’89, you also got the option for a really neat Studio cloth interior:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 944S2 on eBay

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1987 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V

How can you talk about 1980s Volkswagens and not mention the Scirocco? Karmann’s lift of the Giugiaro Asso di Picche, Asso di Quadri and Asso di Fiori designs was plainly evident, but that they were borrowed really should come as a surprise. After all, the reception to the master Italian designer’s other pens – the Golf, first generation Scirocco, Audi 80 (4000) and Coupe GT firmly established both companies in the public limelight. In the case of Volkswagen, it defined a company emerging from the shadow of the air-cooled generation; for Audi, it modernized designs and capitalized on the success of the 100 lineup in the 1970s. But Karmann had been integral in the production of the first two as well, making an easy transition from ItalDesign to Volkswagen’s go-to special production for the second generation Scirocco.

But while the design was all grown up and modern for the 1980s, the underpinnings were the same; little changed dynamically between the 1981 and 1982 model year, and though upgrades came over the next few years with higher-spec trim and a bit more power, it wasn’t until 1986 that VW coupe fans finally got to rejoice as the addition of the PL 1.8 liter dual-cam inline-4 finally joined the lineup. Now with 123 high-revving horsepower, the Scirocco went a bit more like the wind it was named after. The wide-ratio, economy-minded gearbox of yore was gone too, replaced by a close-ratio gearbox. Like the GTI and GLI, 14″ ‘Teardrop’ wheels and a new bodykit heightened the boy-racer appearance, and the 16V models got all matchy-matchy before the Golf and Jetta, too, with body-colored painted bumpers.

Perhaps this was a shot across the bow of the other Giugiaro-designed, sporty 2-door coupe on the market – the Isuzu Impulse Turbo. Because as much of a VW nut as I am, let’s be honest – the Impulse was cooler. It had much better integrated bumpers, for example, and looked even MORE modern than the Scirocco. And it had cooler wheels. And it had a turbo, and as neat as having dual cams was, having a turbo got you into pants in the 1980s. While it only had one cam, the intercooled 4ZCI was good for 140 horsepower in 1985. That power was channeled through the back wheels, too, with near perfect weight distribution. To top all of that off, in 1987 you could get the “RS” model which was painted all white – yes, even the wheels. My ‘87.5 Coupe GT Special Build was even jealous. They came fully loaded with electronic gizmos, and mostly unlike the VW, they worked. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, GM links created the “Lotus Tuned Suspension” package for the 1988 model year. If one of these rolled up to the party you and your Scirocco were at, you were going home lonely (and, slower).

But this isn’t “low-production Japanese cars for sale blog”, so we’ll look at the Scirocco.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Volkswagen Scirocco on eBay

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1986 Porsche 944 Turbo

The world of collector cars is full of hyperbole. Yesterday’s Quattro is a great example of this; take a legendary car and start pontificating about how it’s a collector model, and reason, objectivity and affordability fly out the window. Certainly we’ve seen this most in the Porsche world; the whiff of air-cooled over the past half decade has translated into moving the decimal point one position (or more, in some cases) to the right.

But that doesn’t mean automatically that all cars that come to market are fakers. Some are the real deal – good values in the marketplace and a collector car that should be both a good return on investment and enjoyable to own. They can be quite eye-catching, too, so while you’re rolling down the street looking like a million bucks your smile will be all the wider.

So which scenario is this 1986 944 Turbo – the real deal, or more fluff for the nutter market?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

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Feature Listing: 2006 Porsche Cayman S

I sometimes feel I am neglectful of the Porsche Cayman. I write almost exclusively about Porsches and it turns out equally exclusively about the 911. This is by choice, not necessarily by design. The Cayman is (in relative terms) the new kid on the block for Porsche so it doesn’t always possess the sort of historicity that remains rooted in my brain. In simpler terms: these were not the Porsches that captivated me as a kid; not the Porsches that I saw on posters and dreamed about. All of this may be to my loss.

The Cayman is a fantastic car possessing inherently better dynamic balance than its much more well known sibling, the 911. Porsche has been oft criticized for holding the Cayman back, portrayed as fearful that it would overtake their beloved 911, but that doesn’t make the Cayman a family sedan. Impeccable balance, impeccable feel, and still plenty of power for everyday use characterize the chassis. In S specification with a 6-speed manual transmission you’re getting nearly 300 horses propelling a car weighing just over 3,000 pounds. That’s good for 0-60 in around 5 seconds and should you so desire you’ll top out north of 170 mph – not too shabby. There really is a lot to love with these cars and here we have one that comes from the very beginning: an Indischrot 2006 Porsche Cayman S with Sand Beige leather interior and just 31,000 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Porsche Cayman S at Eurowerkz

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Triple Take: 1987 Porsche 924S

If you wanted to dip into the Stuttgart catalog in 1987, Porsche offered you a slightly less expensive option with the reintroduction of the budget-friendly 924S. For about $2,000 more than a loaded Audi Coupe GT, you could treat yourself to a real Porsche! And unlike the original 924, the “S” designation really did add some substance to the bargain offering. Though the basic shape and dashboard were retained from the 2.0 version of the late 1970s and early 1980s, little else was. The 924S instead was effectively a 944 underneath; minus the flares, but with the important upgraded suspension, brakes and 2.5 liter Porsche motor installed.

While the 924S was a sales success in general, it was particularly so in the United States; over half (9,137) of the 16,669 924Ss produced were sold here despite it only being available for two of the three production years! Yet the 924S has never really been accepted by the Porsche world, and few aspire to save up enough to buy one. That means, generally speaking, they’ve remained the most affordable way into a true Porsche. Despite that, it’s not uncommon to find well loved, lower mile and very clean examples up for sale today. For your consideration, I have three Guards Red with Porsche script examples from the 1987 model year to compare – which one is the best bargain Stuttgarter?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 924S on eBay

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1989 Porsche 944S2

The Porsche 944S2 took the twin-cam out which had debuted in the short-lived 944S for the 1987 model year to the next level. Bumped from 2.5 liters out to 3.0, the new motor crested 200 horsepower, producing nearly as much twist as the standard 944 Turbo had only a few years before but with no turbo lag. Beefed up too were the looks, which mimicked the Turbo’s design with smoothly integrated bumpers, brake ducts and fog lights as well as a rear diffuser. Wheels looked visually like the Club Sport, but were a different offset. The new “Design 90” style was also seen on the 928 and 911 model and became the signature Porsche look for a half decade. Though many point to the 968 as the ultimate development of the transaxle 4-cylinder, the 944S2 offers most of that package with the chunkier looks of the 951. Few come to market looking as nice as this example does:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 944S2 on eBay

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1979 Porsche 924 Sebring Edition

Porsche has never been one to shy away from special editions. You could probably populate the pages of this blog daily with the veritable cornucopia of limited-run models Stuttgart thinks up at every board meeting. So it comes as no surprise that Porsche’s tried and true formula of “Add Limited Edition” immediately found its way into their new 924 chassis as soon as it was released. I covered these special models last year over at The Truth About Cars, but you’re probably already familiar with a few as we’ve seen them before on these pages.

The first to hit was the Championship Edition (Martini) 924 in 1976-7. It was primarily an appearance package with the signature red/blue Martini stripes over a body in white with a unique interior, though the model also got sway bars for some performance gain. About 3,000 were produced. In 1978 that was followed by the Limited Edition; again, a special color with special Pascha interior, sway bars and the addition of fog lights. In 1979, to celebrate the 1978 victory of Porsche 935s at Sebring, Porsche introduced a new limited model. Dubbed ‘Sebring ’79’, the new model took aspects of both the Martini and Limited models and combined them. You got sway bars and fog lights (Sebring takes place partially during the night, after all!), and the model was presented in bright Guards Red paintwork with a Tartan interior inserts. Porsche upped the race decal quotient from the Martini car; not only were there yellow race stripes that flowed down the sides, those stripes encircled the car now. Giant “Sebring ’79’ decals adorned the front fenders and the tail, as well. And if you forgot what you were driving, Porsche slapped a huge ‘924’ white decal in the middle of the headlight filler panel. As 924 special editions went, it was the closest to a full-sized Matchbox car you could buy. This was option M429, but there was a further option to upgrade to the Turbo-spec 5-bolt hubs and ATS mesh wheels that is very rarely seen, as most have the black painted wheels with chrome trim rings that came standard, just as this example does:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Porsche 924 Sebring Edition on eBay

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