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:
You don’t have to cast a very wide net to get a needy Porsche 924. Heck, you don’t need to cast a wide net to get a pristine 924, either! That fact alone makes the requisition of a 924 in need of restoration not only financially irresponsible, but downright ludicrous. But there are reasons which sometimes defy common sense and logic.
Now, if you wanted to grab a tired 924 that would be special, there are plenty to choose from. A few years ago there was a ’88 Special Edition near me for a song. I still regret not going to check it out. But any late 924S offers a budget sports car with a special badge, and the 944 crossover parts mean it’s easy to keep them going. Moving to the early chassis, there are of course Turbo models that are popular, but also a plethora of special editions – the Sebring, the Martini and the Limited Edition being the most notable here.
Today’s car is none of those models. But if anything it’s much more rare, and that’s why it’s worth a closer look. That’s because this car has the very rare M471 Sport Group Package. While often associated with the Turbo, it was also available but seldom chosen on the naturally aspirated model. The M471 package came with 5-bolt hubs, Turbo 4-wheel disc brakes, 15″ ATS mesh wheels, Koni sport shocks, Euro Turbo 23/14mm sway bars, and the Turbo rear spoiler. Early models also came with a special “S” decal on the hood. With only a claimed 100 imported, it’s one of the most rare configurations of the 924:
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: