Welcome to Down On The Street, where we admire old vehicles found parked on the streets of the Island That Rust Forgot: Alameda, California. We've seen our share of Porsches in this series, mostly 911s and 912s but with a handful of water-cooled jobs thrown in. So far I've been unable to find any 924s, but today we'll add another 944 to the lone '87 we've already got. I found this '85 parked on the same block as the '80 Volvo 244 and just around the corner from the silver '67 Porsche 912.
It's plenty rough, with sun-bleached paint and lots of dents, and it never seems to move from this spot. Did the dreaded $1,000 timing belt let go? Is it unable to pass the smog test? The tags expire on Halloween, so action will need to be taken soon.
This was the most affordable Porsche you could get in 1985, its $21,440 price tag less than half the size of the 928's and ten grand lower than the cheapest 911. That still wasn't cheap; you could have bought a top-of-the-line '85 Mazda RX-7 GSL-SE for $15,095, giving you 135 horsepower in a 2,345-pound car (versus the Porsche's 143 horses and 2,675 pounds). The Mazda had a slight power-to-weight edge, the Porsche had more torque and (arguably) better handling… but an RX-7 plus six grand in hop-up goodies would likely have eaten the 944 alive. Which would you take?