With its water-cooled, front-mounted engine, today’s Nice Price or No Dice 944 S2 is a model that some traditional Porschephiles might give the side-eye. Let’s see if it’s priced to be liked by us less judgmental types.
I have to say I was shocked — shocked I tell you! — that, to a person all of you hated the red wheels on yesterday’s 2011 Jaguar XJ. Not a single comment came to the defense of that bold choice of style and color and that obviously clouded any consideration of the car’s $17,500 price. In the end, the XJ fell in a massive 94 percent No Dice loss, giving the Jag one more thing about which to be ashamed.
Think a moment about your habits. Would you consider yourself an early adopter, always seeking the latest ad greatest the second it arrives? Or, are you a member of the late majority, the type who waits until the dust settles and the kinks have been worked out before making your move?
Today’s 1990 Porsche 944 S2 cabriolet is evidence that playing the waiting game might be the smartest move. This is, after all, the ultimate expression of the 924/944 model line save for its slightly brawnier turbo sibling. The later 968 model was derived from the 944 but it was more a styling overhaul and a stop-gap until Porsche could get the Boxster out the door.
One of the most amazing things about the 944 S2 is its enormous four-cylinder engine. That’s fully three liters of displacement — the same as an eight-cylinder Ferrari 308 — with a Grand Canyon of a bore that’s more than four inches across.
With the 16-valve head atop those gaping maws of mischief, the engine makes a healthy 208 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. A set of revised gear ratios intended to make use of the 3 liter’s ample output helped push the 3,100-pound Porsche to sixty from a standstill in a hair under 7 seconds.
The cabriolet version of the S2 was the first open-top model of the 944 line and was converted to soft top duty by American Specialty Cars (ASC) at its plant in Weinsberg, Germany. The conversion required the application of special strengthening gussets in the body and an entirely new rear cap and boot lid along with model-specific window glass. The result might not be considered beautiful with the top up or down, but then it’s not awful either. The Turbo nose and rear valance help give the car some beefier proportions. The S2 also gained the Turbo’s bigger brakes to keep the ponies corralled.
This one, in triple black, wears a handsome set of D90 alloys with black Porsche crests on the caps. According to the ad, it has done a modest 100,000 miles over the course of its life. The bodywork still appears straight and without issue after those years and miles, however, in the ad’s pics, the paint looks dull as dishwater and appears to be in serious need of a cut and polish. The interior comes across similarly, with a somewhat gritty appearance in the photos and some obvious flaws.
Most notable among those flaws is a broken center console lid that seems at risk of being blown straight out of the car. Other issues include worn leather on the shift knob and a small seam split in the passenger seat squab. An aftermarket stereo with a period-appropriate graphic equalizer takes center stage on the dash.
On the plus side, the top seems intact and the seller claims to have already replaced the plastic rear window in that. Other recent updates noted in the ad include a replaced heater valve control, spark plugs, and the fuel filter. Per the ad, the car “runs great” and is presently being used by the seller as a commuter. Work still to be done, according to the seller, includes engine mounts and an air filter. The reason given for the sale is the old “I’ve got too many cars and not enough time” situation. Boy, do I know that one. In the Flickr video linked in the ad, you can see what are apparently some more of the seller’s collection.
The title is clean and, somewhat surprisingly, the car carries Virginia antique vehicle plates. Geez, get that car some Geritol, will ya?
Antique or not, Porsches command crazy prices these days. This S2 asks $13,500 and it’s now up to you to decide how crazy that might be or might not be. What do you say, is this nice but somewhat needy 944 worth that $13,500 asking as it sits? Or, for that much, would you expect better condition and shinier paint?
H/T to Tom Mason for the hookup!
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