For $5995, Heinz 51

Back in the ‘80s Porsche's pulled a Mr. Miyagi, and turned the Ralph Macchio 924 into the Karate Kid 944. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe '87 S is race ready, but does its price make sensei?

Phew, after Monday's crack attack, yesterday's '96 Mustang Diesel pulling out (literally) a 74% Nice Price win seems especially sweet. Sure Torquemada had more work to be done to it, but then so does Lindsay Lohan, and you wouldn't kick her out of bed for eating crackers would you?

For $5995, Heinz 51

You don't have to be crackers to appreciate today's track day '87 Porsche 944S, although the German carmaker's first water-cooled, front engine offering never seemed to stir the loins the way the 911 does.

Of course, you all know the 944 story -

1. VW commissions Porsche to design a sportster for Audi.
2. Audi says but I wanted something I could take to the snow!
3. VW tells Porsche that Veruca Salt has changed her mind, and to start pulling the Audi badges off the car.
4. Porsche finally gets a good look at the 914 in daylight and figures that fist full of fug could stand a replacement, so the 924 is born.
5. The 924 is seen by Porsche purists as an abomination before God and too pretty to be a Porsche.
6. People who pronounce it ‘porsh' start buying them, Steve McQueen weeps in his 911S.
7. Porsche says it's time the 924 grow a pair, and creates the 944.
8. Profit!

Okay, some liberties were taken in describing the chain of events, but you get the picture. And by the time this S model was built, Porsche had exorcised much of what had been left over from the 924 when the new car dropped and gave them 20. That included a better looking dash - which seems okay here, but for some reason all the dealer's shots of the interior and engine did like that old Steve Martin bit and got small. The '87 also received anti-lock brakes and airbags, but as this car has been modded for track use, it looks like the latter have gone the way of zany Steve Martin, and have been replaced by a three-spoke alloy and dead cow wheel on the one side, and a kill switch on the other. The rest of the interior is dominated by the highly bolstered sport seats and roll bar/cage.

For $5995, Heinz 51

The DOHC 2,479-cc four, canted over at a jaunty angle, put out 188 horses and by placing the close-ratio five speed in the back, Porsche managed a near 50/50 weight distribution. This one looks particularly clean under the hood, although again the tiny pictures may not tell the complete story. The seller says the car has 112K under its now 17" Kinesis 3-piece rims, and I know many, if not all of you are eyeing that mad fresh 51 on the door and are asking how many of those were freeway, and how many were SCCA. That's a good question, you should be proud of yourself.

For $5995, Heinz 51

You're surely familiar with the old maxim, race on Sunday, sell on Monday, and while this is Wednesday, something about that may still apply. Maybe it's the part about the weekend, as this Porsche is like GQ magazine in that it's just a little racy. The sport seats, roll bar, Konis and springs make this a 944 that you could take to the track, do a few laps in, and then take to Black Angus for ladies night.

For $5995, Heinz 51

Overall, it's nicely outfitted, although the exhaust looks like it should be a JATO, and the catsup and mustard hood stripes on the speckled hood just make me hungry. Those miscues, and a wonky driving light in the front valance seem to be the only dingleberries hanging off the car. At $5,995, you may find its asking price to be about as attractive as those berries that ding, especially in light of the general distrust over the remaining life expectancy of any street car that has been driven in anger.

For $5995, Heinz 51

With all that in mind do you think Mr. Miyagi would approve of this racy Porsche's $5,995 price? Or, is that price a black flag, a DNF, and a karate kick to the nuts all rolled into one?

You decide!


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