It seems a little late to introduce this car as some of you will have read my posts about it already, and others will have seen it in the metal, but for those of you that havenít been introduced Ė meet my Porsche 944 S2.
A few months ago I must have been feeling slightly odd as not only did I sell my Audi RS2, but my 190E also went to a new home. Suddenly I was feeling a little strange, as my V5 pile had been reduced to a lonely looking one, and that was for my much loved (and often broken) Range Rover V8 (but more on that later). So I immediately started scouring the classifieds of PH for another car, but I didnít have a clue what I wanted all I knew was I needed another car, sharpish.
Like many PHers, I have a soft spot for all things Porsche, a deep-rooted love that was established when I first drove a 964 C2 back in 1993. It was many years later that I owned a Boxster S and, while I try and save up for my dream 964RS, I decided that it would be nice to own another old Porsche again, especially after the recently enjoyed Porsche/Audi mix provided by my RS2. I spent ages deliberating over classic 964s and 968s before having a little look in the 944 section to see what they fetch these days.
It was then I spotted a white 1990 944 with 150k miles being advertised within an hours drive from home for a very reasonable price. Reasonable enough, in fact, to be used as a daily driver without worrying too much about the consequences. I just so happened to be passing that way later in the week, so I arranged to view it to see what it was all about, not really with any intentions of buying it. On the day, I rolled into the sellers driveway to see a rather shiny 944 S2 looking especially nice in Ďback in fashioní white, and looking nice and original. Before I even took the test drive or knocked on the sellers door I knew that it wouldnít feel that fast as it only delivered 208bhp when new, but I had driven a 944 S2 cabrio previously and I remember liking the torque provided by the 3.0-litre four and its smooth nature. I also remember how fantastic the seats were and how cosy the cabin felt. Already I had mentally bought the car I came to merely hang my nose over.
Vendor Lee was a trader (and a PHer) and he had been using the í44 as his smoker and, rather than trying to gloss over the faults, he was keen to point them out and be us upfront as possible Ė decent chap that he was. All in all it was a very honest, largely corrosion-free lump of German sports car. It even had a decent history and was very, very original, with freshly refurbished wheels, pinstripe velour interior and a period cassette holder in the centre console. It was strong on the test drive, and belied its age with the feeling of solidity rarely found in modern cars; it even came with spare keys and the original handbook pack. It was now simply down to price, and we agreed on a touch over £3000 with a fresh MOT, oil and filter service and new front brake discs and pads thrown in. The tax was out at the end of September and the CD player was a little dodgy, but I could live with that. †
A week later and Iím driving the car back to London and feeling pretty good about it all. The sun is shining and the car is looking good as Lee had given it a once over before I arrived to collect it. As is usual for a new purchase, I was driving with the radio off to listen for noises and suchlike, a few rattles were obvious but this car had travelled 150,000 miles donít forget. It was on that drive that the usual happened - it went from being a car I would drive until it died to a potentially treasured possession. Already I was thinking of replacing this, updating that and wondering how much a 964RS steering wheel could be bought forÖ.oh dear. The guys at PH always open a book as to how much I will spend on my latest cars, with 100 per cent or more of the purchase price often being about right Iím sad to say, but surely not this time? This is one very solid 944.
Two or three weeks later and Iíve started chatting to the guys at Porsche Byfleet. They used to look after my Boxster S and have looked after this 944 for a large chunk of its life funnily enough, but the maintenance has slipped with the last couple of owners so it needs a health check. I book it in for a thorough going over and a budget in my head. When the call arrives, I am pleasantly surprised as they tell me that it is a very straight car and remarkably solid. Needless to say I am very pleased. The conversation doesnít end there and there are a few bits that they would fix, and I have already given them a list of things I want doing, ranging from a new mirror glass to a new steering rack (it was making an odd noise). In the end I had the following work done to it:
New steering rack, new wipers, new gear lever, new gaiter and knob, sticking passenger door handle sorted, new starter motor, camshafts checked, new cambelt, fuel and oil lines cleaned out and replaced as needed, new oil seals while cambelt removed, new anti-roll bar drop links, brackets and bushes, a new boot switch and a host of other things. I told you I was fussy about my cars.
I was tempted to put original Porsche brake discs and pads back on the car (the newly fitted ones are non-genuine) but in a surprising twist of frugality I decided to wear the new ones out a bit first. The guys at Porsche Byfleet did a great job of keeping me updated and the S2 was looking at its best when I collected it after a full valet. My bill was £2726, and while I could have used an independent, I chose to stick with the guys I know and they didnít disappoint. †
So here I am with a total expenditure of just under £2800. That's not quite 100 per cent of the purchase price, but I have just bought a new CD head unit at £100 and a full set of tyres will be required soon, so yet again the PH team are rightÖ.and I hate them for it! What I have ended up with, though, is a very tight-feeling and fresh-looking 90s Porsche for less that the price of a Fiat Panda. It handles better than many modern cars, it has ample performance and I might be as brave as to suggest that it is a design classic. Yes, it has Group 20 insurance and yes, when it needs parts they might be a little more expensive than a Ďnormalí car, but I bet it wonít lose me much money (maybe) and I absolutely love it. Next time I write about it, Iíll tell you the most important part - how it drives - and Iíll be driving it a lot as this one is a keeperÖÖ.. but where have you heard that before?
PH Staff cars....abandoned Rangie visible.
Talking of keepers, remember the Range Rover V8? Well it soldiers on after overheating in spectacular style when I didnít realise that it didnít have any water in it. The lack of liquid was due to a combination of rotten hoses and worn gaskets and the regal Rangie was rather unceremoniously taken back to PH Towers on the back of a flatbed. The resulting bill to fix the mess was over £500 but after that all was well and it commuted me around London at between 10-15mpg. But true to form good things donít last forever and the alternator expired last week leaving it sitting in the car park waiting for me to fit the new one that sits under my desk. Old cars, you have to love them donít you?