Being a transaxle car, replacing the worn clutch on today’s Nice Price or No Dice 924 may be a daunting task for many. Let’s see if its price and condition make up for that.
While reading through the comments on last Friday’s heavily customized 2001 Honda Civic, I started to get a sense of how Doctor Frankenstein must have felt when he confronted the torch and pitchfork-wielding mob. Fortunately for us, the Honda hadn’t thrown any little girls down a well. Not that we know of, at least. What we do know is that the seller asked $10,500 for the tired custom, and practically none of you were having any of that. The result was a massive 96 percent No Dice loss for the car and the end of our week.
Now it’s a new week and we have a car with a totally different set of issues to consider. At least the problems on today’s 1978 Porsche 924 are from age and wear and not from someone attempting to make it look faster and more furious.
Looking at the market these days, the 924 will likely be the cheapest way to get into the Porsche Club, and that’s typically by a long shot. These cars were originally designed by Porsche for Volkswagen as a halo model for the latter marque’s Audi brand. When the deal fell through, Porsche picked up the ball and ran with it, slotting the 924 into its lineup as an entry-level model in replacement of the 914 and short-lived 912E. The rest, as people with short attention spans say, is history.
The thing is, being a child of the 1970s and still using the VW motor that was originally intended when the car would have been an Audi, straight-line performance was never the 924’s strong suit. Given time and a lack of proper maintenance over the years, handling too can become dulled and even clunky. Regardless, the 924 has the Porsche name and some cool styling that still makes it an attraction today.
This one seems to have had its share of abuse over the years and is presently in non-driving condition due to a failed clutch. The seller claims to have all the replacement parts to repair the clutch as well as three manuals to guide the project. That seems to be as far as they have come with the work, deciding instead to pass the car along to a new steward who may be more capable of doing the job. Why is changing a clutch such a daunting task on a 924? Well, as I noted at the outset, it’s because these are transaxle cars and replacing the clutch requires either removing the entire transaxle and torque tube assembly, or the engine. Neither of those tasks is particularly simple or a one-man-band activity.
A bad clutch isn’t this 924’s only misadventure. Externally, there are issues with the paint, some missing badges (which are very expensive to replace), and rubber bumper caps that have inexplicably gone AWOL. Inside, things are a little better with a dash that is amazingly crack-free, and a shifter and steering wheel that don’t look too bad. The seats are obviously in need of new upholstery and the passenger side door needs a crank for the window winder. The pièce de résistance in the cabin is a headliner that’s totally missing.
On the plus side, the car looks reasonably straight and rust-free. It also has its original ‘70s factory alloy wheels and a sunroof. A clean title is another spiff.
All this 924 really needs is some love. Oh, and $1,500 to take over possession. What’s your take on this project Porsche and that $1,500 price? Does that seem like a fair deal to get your hands dirty? Or, is this car too far gone and of too little value to dive into such work at that cost?
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