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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

1987 Porsche 944

With a winter storm heading into the Northeast this evening, I thought it would be nice to end the day with a bit of sunshine and thoughts of warmer temperatures. Enter this 1987 Porsche 944. In the rest of the world, the color of this car was “Lemon Yellow”. But, of course, launching a car in the United States with any hint of the word “Lemon” would result in sales about as good as the urban legend of the Chevrolet Nova (“Doesn’t Go”) in Mexico. So, Porsche called the color “Summer Yellow” here. It was reportedly available only in 1987, which is verified by at least one site. And, at least in my eyes, it looks lovely and is a nice departure from the usual black, red, and silver these sporty coupes appeared in:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 944 on eBay

Continue reading

Feature Listing: 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo

I recently read an article on Hagerty’s site which indicated that they were expecting values on some of the German performance cars from the 1980s to continue to increase in value. Certainly, we’ve seen this first hand from the explosion of values in the 911 and M3 market through the continuing appreciation of models like the M5, M6, Quattro and GTi. In the middle of all of those vehicles lies the no longer secret 944 Turbo. Faster than most of the equivalent competition yet comfortable, relatively easy to maintain and economical, the 944 Turbo has long been considered a massive value on the used market. For about 1/3 of the investment even a average Quattro or M3, you get the best performance, a still fairly modern looking interior and classic lines outside. But days of affordability in the 951 market appear to be numbered, as Hagerty has recorded sharply increasing values in the Turbo lineup. While condition 3 and 4 cars – the most common – have been slowly increasing, there’s been a Alp-esque rise to the best examples. Condition 2 cars now peak at around $18,000 – about double what they were 3 years ago. Move to the best condition examples, and you’re looking at a projected market price in excess of $30,000. That’s for the early cars, too – keep in mind, if you move to the later “S” or 1989 models, add a few thousand to the value right off the bat. But not everyone needs a show car, and the 944 Turbo remains a fantastic value as a classic driver if you look for an unmolested and clean example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo on Cleveland Craigslist

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

Porsche 924 Roundup

The Porsche 924 represents some of the best aspects of automobile enthusiasts, while simultaneously embodying two distinct and very different decades. From the 1970s comes the upright, modernist and simple dashboard, but while it nods to the decade that bore it, the exterior is immediately identifiable as the 1980s signature silhouette with a low-slung, long hood, pronounced bumpers and flip-up headlights. Quite a few cars in the late 1970s and 1980s attempted to mimic the design of the 924, including the notable RX-7 and you could even argue the 280/300ZX. You can even see influence of the groundbreaking 924 design in the Miata of the late 1980s as well as such modern GT cars at the AMG GT-S. For enthusiasts, though, it was the near perfect weight distribution, the torquey inline-4, the manual gearbox and the all-important Porsche badge of engineering and build quality that led to the 924 being a hit. It didn’t hurt that it was the most affordable Porsche, either, and arguably still is so today. I’ve rounded up a group of 3 distinct and neat 924S models from late in the run to see which offers the most bang for your buck:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 924S “GT” on eBay

Continue reading

1987 Porsche 944 Turbo

The last few transaxles I’ve looked at have been a bit eclectic; the 944S was a well priced, good looking driver candidate, but the Turbo S and 924S were both high dollar, ultra-low mileage examples. Is there still a mid-ground? Absolutely, because if you’re willing to look just north of the asking price of many of the normally aspirated models from the 1980s, you can look at the lovely and high performance version of the breed, the 944 Turbo. Introduced in 1986 and upgraded virtually every year, each Turbo model has impressive driving dynamics, are capable of triple digit cruising and are capable and reasonable reliable exotics. Today’s example is presented in more rare to find Nougat Brown with brown Porsche Script interior:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

Continue reading

1988 Porsche 944 Turbo with 9,200 Miles

Well, from zero to two in a week, here’s the second non-S, non race car 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo I’ve written up. Like the last one, this one appears quite pristine and mostly stock. It’s in a pleasing color combination, and even has low miles. Really, really low miles. At a shown 9,223 miles covered, it’s also one of the lowest mileage 944 Turbo I’ve seen since new – but amazingly, not as low as the 5,000 Mile 1987 Paul wrote about in February. That car sold for $30,000; is this car the match for that example, and will it make it to that price?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

Continue reading

Poor Man’s Dilemma: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo v. 1988 Porsche 924S

As we’ve charted the demise of the 996’s residual value, it may no longer be accurate to say that the Porsche 924 is the best value for your money if you just want a Porsche crest. But with the rising prices of 911s, 944 Turbos and 928s, if you want a Porsche from the 1980s, there’s simply no contest – 924s represent the gateway into Stuttgart’s finest without obliterating your retirement fund. In fact, many nice Porsche 924s can be had for a song – even though we’ve also recently seen the elite 924 Carreras push well into 6-figure territory. As a lover of the Audi Coupe GT, which share a shocking amount of parts with it’s much more highly sought bulging brother Quattro but not the value, I can identify with the plight of the 924 enthusiast. Indeed, I consider the 924 to be a great design and love both the early, simple cars from the 1970s for the clean purity of purpose right through the upgraded 924Ss, one of which resides in my family and I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in, under and around. So it should come as no surprise, being a fan of the underdogs, that I ponder 924 ownership on a semi-regular basis. The question is, which 924 do I like more – the early, vented turbo models that were the homologation of much of Porsche’s racing technology, or the “real Porsche” 924S, replete with the underpinnings of the 944? I’ve found two pretty comparable models, so let’s take a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo on eBay

Continue reading

1986 Porsche 944 Turbo

Why hasn’t the enthusiast community for classic German cars jumped all over the Porsche 944 Turbo? While this question doesn’t keep me awake at night, I still find it baffling. Take the E36 M3, for example – not only was the U.S. press ablaze when it was launched with a staggering 240 horsepower back in the day, but the enthusiastic base that supports the M models still finds them an awesome deal in the teens. Yet the Porsche 944 Turbo offered all of the performance and handling of the M3 a generation prior, and with some simple tuning they can easily outpace the Munich missiles. Is there a comparable from Audi? Sure, if you could find one of the ’85 Quattros around – or the lone ’86 that was imported – they’re similar in many ways, but you can’t touch them for the price of the 944 Turbo and frankly in terms of performance they’re not a match. Even the unappreciated Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16V seems to have stronger support, and drive one back to back with a sorted 944 Turbo and you’ll wonder why people are willing to pay the same amount for them. Why, then, does most of the world pass them by? Because they’re not a 911? Seems silly to me:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

Continue reading