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?
Ah, the ’70’s. The decade of plaid pants, platform shoes, ill-fitting floral shirts, and green-on-green Porsches. This Porsche 928 stood out to me for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that quintessentially ’70’s color combination of Oak Green Metallic on Olive Green. That a car could be so monochromatically green is offensive enough, but that the interior and exterior are different shades is just nauseating. It captures the vibe of the decade perfectly.
Then there’s the location. This is the only 928 I’ve ever come across that has lived its entire life in North Dakota. Sold new on February 7th, 1979 by Valley Imports in Fargo, the car remained in the area until at least 2004. I have to wonder if the original owner opted for the $500 “True Coat” option eagerly pushed by famous car salesman Jerry Lundegaard. Anyhow, the color combo and the geographic location of the car are striking, but that’s not all that stood out.
The last 1988 Porsche 924S Special Edition I wrote up in November was an interesting one, as it languished in a second-hand dealer with low miles and recovered seats with a seller who was apparently unaware exactly what it was but was still asking close to top dollar. Well, the secret is out on that particular example, at least to some extent. Just before Christmas, the listing was updated from around $9,000 to just shy of $19,000 in order to account for the new description which listed the car as one of the 500 “Le Mans” edition cars. While the seller’s claim is semantically incorrect, it appears they finally did some research and figured out that this indeed was one of the Special Edition U.S. spec 924S models (as a reminder to those less versed in the 1988 924S model, the “Le Mans” edition was a European equivalent Club Sport model). While that car isn’t really realistically priced anymore, there’s another of these defacto Club Sport models on eBay right now in the same scenario – at least from the listing, the seller is unaware that it’s the Special Edition model:
As we watch 911 and 928 prices from the 1980s soar and the 944 Turbo, long considered the go-to value of the Porsche world, has started the march up the valuation ladder, where is a budget-minded Porsche enthusiast to turn? Without a doubt, the best place to get your low-cost thrills still is the “poor man’s” 924. Spanning just over a decade in production, values on early 931 Turbo models have also started to creep up, but if you look you can still find a good value on the later and arguably better driving 924S models. Reintroduced in 1987 with the underpinnings of the 944, the 924S was a budget Porsche. While the roughly $23,000 entry price certainly wasn’t cheap in 1987 dollars, it wasn’t much more money than a similarly equipped Audi Coupe GT. Dynamically, there aren’t many differences between the 1987 and 1988 models; ’88s got a few more horsepower than the ’87s thanks to a compression bump, but otherwise they’re the same – that is, except for the limited run “SE” model, perhaps the absolute best value in the Porsche world right now: