Spotted: Porsche 944
Park the 911-based snobbery, it's time to wake up to the 944
into the classifieds when I got home.
Now, the 944 is one of the cars I vividly recall from my earliest days reading car magazines. No idea why I was more struck by these than 911s but, along with Sierra Cosworths and the like, the 944 seemed like an attainable kind of performance car. A dream within reach as it were.
So it proves today still.
It’s easy to be blinkered by 911s and, sure, if you’ve got the funds who’s to say you shouldn’t. But that moment where a car goes from being a mere abstract memory to something more vivid and real may, I think, have just happened with the 944. This one I saw, it was nothing too special. Nice but there are better. But it just struck me as so compact and purposeful compared with all the seemingly vast modern cars around. It’s an old car and it looks it now but that’s what makes it more charming. Having spent a while looking simply outdated enough time has passed and it’s now taking on a pleasingly classic feel.
944 Turbo S, complete with the desirable S2/Turbo bumper, 250hp, M030 suspension and LSD is the driver’s choice for a smidge under £5K. Or if going quickly really is your thing Porsche specialist RPM has a much more expensive but sorted ‘Clubsport’ of its own specification for £10K.
Nah. I want a proper 80s one though. It’d mean forgoing the turbo for the separate bumper Lux look. This white one, complete with bulging history file, is pricey at £5,750. But if the reality is even close to the description it’s the 944 imagined by my teenage mind and though down on power has the nice 928-style dash, oval-centred wheel and later aluminium suspension components.
So, basically, what we have here is one of the older, slower and more expensive 944s in the PH classifieds. You can do it cheaper – a lot cheaper. You can do it faster. But this one, with a set of black Fuchs, is the one I’d have.
PORSCHE 944 LUX
Engine: 2,479cc 4-cyl
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Power (hp): 165hp@5,800rpm
Torque (lb ft): 151lb ft@5,000rpm
MPG: 21.4 (overall figure, as tested by Autocar 1985)
First registered: 1985
Recorded mileage: 75,000
Price new: £18,354
Yours for: £5,750
See the original advert here.
They do rust, so check the sills (inside). Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty with maintenance theres tonnes of help and guides out there. http://www.clarks-garage.com is top notch.
Moving on... According to the old Autocar roadtest I had the Lux kerbweight was 1,274kg.
I mean, just look at it. It’s so pretty.
Over the years I’ve made a habit of embarrassing 911 drivers on PH runs and around racetracks. It’s been an amazing car.
For that money I'd be looking for the stunning 3.0 S2 or a well sorted 2.7
Many happy miles were covered in my old S2.......... Hmm, trip to the classifieds methinks.
They can be money pits, mine has rafts of bills, I havent spent much (£200 on a new battery, coolant elbow, blower knob, Lambda sensor and a couple of other minor things) but it is due belts (£300), an MOT and the rust that is appearing needs dealing with, luckily its the ends of the sills, a snake cam into the main box reveals all is well, also there is a spot on one wing which will get cut out and new metal let in, you need to be fairly hands on.
They do handle well, have only driven the cab which to be honest can suffer from scuttle shake on poorly surfaced roads but it still handles way better than my previous Saab 9-3 Aero (later shape on Hirsch springs), god only knows what a well fettled Coupe on coilovers, new bushes and uprate ARB's is like, suspect not much modern stuff is any better. They are fairly forgiving but I think once you have lost one, two big weights, one either end, you are along for the ride, dont let the reputation for being a pussycat get you into trouble, it is still a 200 plus bhp, fairly light rwd with no driver aids.
The interior and features are fairly "rustic" by modern standards but perfectly usable as a daily I reckon, I cycle to work most days but quite happy in the 944, good in traffic, clutch isnt too heavy, steering despite being assisted isnt light but very manageable.
The engine is nice, very tractable, not particularly tuneful but can produce a nice bark, it does pull, been driving a V8 Mustang in the States (Manual) and came back to the 944 expecting, having half the power it would feel dog slow, it didnt, ok it isnt as fast but it wasnt the gulf I was expecting, I think really big engines mask the performance a bit, some prefer the S2, think the turbo is more effective but cruder in its delivery, only based on reading as have never had the pleasure, basically I think the choice is usually down to power and tunability but the S2 has virtues that the turbo doesnt as well.
It does early twenties MPG, improved after replacing the Lambda sensor, I suspect owners who do more miles may get better economy, I dont drive it for economy, if I am using it I am in it for fun, use the C1 for mundane jobs.
Brakes are ok, they need some heat in to give their best.
Most parts are fairly cheap in the scheme of things, a lot is available off Ebay, some stuff can be difficult to get hold of, frotn wings for the later cars for example, the forums are exclellent soures of advice, Tipec and Porsche Club GB to name but two.
I paid £4250 for mine, there are lots about at that money, a couple cheaper, you need to keep a float to deal with things as they arise, worth seeking out a good one, or at least one that isnt just a hulk needing thouands spending on it, mine had six grand spent in its last ownership. I think prices will rise a bit, trouble is the 968 acts as a buffer and they will always be overshadowed by the 911, strange how 2.8i Capris are going for more than a 944, I love the Capri but the 944 was always the better car, it cost more than double new.
It is the first car I have had where I am not hankering for the next thing, sure it has its faults, its a bit wobbly, a bit whiffy but I have driven other stuff since and I am in no rush to change, also, spoke to a 911 owner who sold his 944 and regreted it, hates the late eighties 911 he has and has bought another 944.
I can’t imagine a better car per pound is out there right now. I think the 944 has overtaken the MX-5 as Pistonheads’ favourite.