1981 Porsche 924 Turbo

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 15″ 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:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Porsche 924 Turbo 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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1988 Porsche 944 ‘Celebration’ Special Edition

Update 3/9/18 – The asking price has dropped from $19,900 to $18,500.

In my recent double Porsche 924 post, the rhetorical and problematic question posing entry-level Porsches arose – ‘why not just get a 944’?

It’s a very valid question. Indeed, why would you choose a 924 – even a very nice, limited production one – over a 944? The answer is simple. Price.

When the 924S Special Edition was last on the market in 1988, you could stroll down to your dealer and pick one up for around $23,000. If you wanted to step up to the 944 – which offered no practical improvement in performance, mind you, as it was actually slower than the 924S – you’d have to shell out an additional $10,000. In many ways, that gulf of value perception remains today; it’s possible to find deals on 944s, but equal 944s to the two 924s I looked at? They don’t come cheap, at least not in asking price.

Yet while I’ve spent considerable time talking about the 924S Special Edition and what a cool package it offered you on the cheap, we never really look at its 944 equivalent. Often referred to as the ‘Celebration Edition’, just like the 911 and 924S the 944 received a Special Edition package in 1988. Built to commemorate the 250,000th 911 produced but coinciding with 100,000 944s made, too, Porsche officially referred to the 944’s trim as the “Special Edition Package”. What did you get?

For $2,437, Porsche equipped your car with option code M757. This gave the car “a unique leatherette/gray-plaid cloth interior, silver velour carpeting, and a commemorative plaque which may be personalized with the owner’s name” according to Porsche. You also had to select metallic paint, a $645 charge, in one of two colors; Satin Black Metallic or Zermatt Silver Metallic. Otherwise these cars were pretty well loaded; the antithesis of the lightweight, stripped-down 924S SE. They came with split-folding rear seats, electric sunroof, rear window wiper, and 15″ ‘Phone Dial’ wheels, along with standard fog lights, central locking, electric mirrors, power windows, power steering, and automatic climate control. Like pretty much every special edition Porsche, these cars were seemingly earmarked for collectors:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 944 Special Edition on eBay

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Summer Dreaming: 1987 Porsche 944 Turbo

I’m guessing that if you’re a fan of the 944 Turbo, you’re reading this with a slight tinge of regret that you didn’t bid on the two no reserve 944 Turbos I posted the other day. Both were unique in their own ways, but the condition and pricing made them compelling options. The Nougat Brown car traded for a staggeringly low, “why the hell didn’t I jump in on that auction” $8,100. The Alpine White car, with a bit better presentation and neat options, has just broken $10,000 with a few hours remaining. The 944 Turbo is one of those cars that keeps me thinking, wondering when they too will be out of reach for most enthusiasts. Today I have another interesting configuration, low mile Turbo to consider – is this one worth the plunge?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

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1987 Porsche 924S with 3,700 Miles

Earlier this month, I wrote up a 1988 944 Turbo S in Silver Rose with a scant 7,000 miles covered since new. As with all Porsches, the “S” models have enjoyed a long history of being…well, “Super”. But it took a fair amount of discipline, vision and means to buy an example new and project that it was going to be a collector in the future; especially considering that in 1988 the market on collector Porsches was very, very different. It has only been very recently that watercooled examples have started to appreciate, and even then not all examples have trended upwards. Even with that Turbo model, factoring in inflation the seller would actually be losing money having held onto and not driven that example more than 250 miles a year. How about something more strange – a car that isn’t really considered a collector by many? A great example is today’s 924S – long forlorn by the Porsche community, a greater appreciation for them is only now growing. So what would you pay for an example that has only covered a even more outrageous 125 miles each year since new?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 924S on eBay

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Feature Listing: 1987 Porsche 944S

In the late 1980s, the front-engined Porsche lineup started to get a bit convoluted – especially amongst the 4 cylinder variants. In 1986, you could choose between the the base 944 with the 150 horsepower 2.5 liter inline-4 8 valve motor that had reinvigorated the revised 924 chassis into the 944 for 1982, or if you were gunning for the big boys you could select the 217 horsepower Turbo model. To bridge the gap in performance between the two, Porsche introduced a mid-range model in 1987; the 944S. Based in part on the development of the 924 and 944 GTR Le Mans race cars from a few years earlier, the M44.40 double overhead cam 16 value motor split the difference between the two previous offerings; essentially half the 928S motor, the new “Super” produced 190 horsepower slotting itself almost perfectly in the middle of the other two offerings. Added to the S were a host of Turbo items, including springs and parts of the brake system, as well as some exotic parts such as the use of magnesium in the engine bay to keep weight down. Outside, only discrete “16 Ventiler” badges on the front fender trim differentiated that this was a special model. Coupled with the reintroduction of the 924S model, Porsche now offered four different variants of the 4-cylinder transaxle cars for enthusiasts of differing budgets. The 944S’s base price was around $5,000 more dear than the 924S, but it was considerable $8,000 less than the Turbo model’s base price. Add some options in and these 944Ss could easily crest $30,000, around what it would have cost you to walk out of the dealer with this particular example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 944S on Cleveland Craigslist

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