At $3,000, Could This 1979 Porsche 924 Be Your Next Project?

Nice Price or No Dice; 1979 Porsche 924
Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or No DiceIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

In the ad for today’s Nice Price or No Dice Porsche 924, the seller says it could be your next project car. It certainly looks like it needs some work. Let’s see if it’s worth its price or the effort.

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Apple co-founder Steve Jobs gained a reputation for frequently delighting audiences with unexpected “one more thing” reveals that he would drop near the end of a presentation. By contrast, many people trying to sell cars try to minimize any negatives by similarly dropping the bad news at the end of the ad, having first played up all the positive attributes.

That seemed to be the case with Friday’s 2012 Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG wagon, which tossed a past (and transient) malfunction light in the ad almost as an afterthought. Many of you caught that, however. And like an angry pimple on a lap-dancers butt, it became the focal point of discussion. In the end, the car’s $34,999 price tag was seen as a bit too dear for a car with so mysterious a past, and the E 63 fell in a 69 percent No Dice loss.

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Photo: Craigslist

With vaccinations becoming more available, and there being a bit less controversy about masking up and going, you may be finding yourself with less free time on your hands than you had as recently as a month or so ago. That doesn’t mean that you can slack off on your personal projects, though. Come on, people dive back into the Duolingo app and learn that Koshian. Get back on that unicycle, and this time master it!

What’s that you say? You’ve already done those things and so much more? Well then, it may be time for a new project. How about the restoration of this 1979 Porsche 924?

It’s well known that the 924 was a car that Porsche adopted after midwifing its birth and then encountering rejection from its intended parent, Audi. It still carried an Audi engine and stood out in Porsche’s lineup as one of only two liquid-cooled, front-engine cars among the company’s traditional offerings, all air-cooled with mid or rear engine placement. A red-headed stepchild it may have been, but that doesn’t make it any less significant a part of the company’s history, especially considering that it evolved into the iconic fat-fendered 944 and eventually the odd and largely forgotten 968.

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Photo: Craigslist

This one is rough, and the seller describes it upfront as a project that needs “a little (or a lot) of everything.” That is countered, however, by the assertion that this car is a solid base for any and all work you might throw its way. It’s claimed to be all original and without any red menace save for some surface rust popping through what’s left of its paint. There are also a number of dents and sections of side trim missing that give the car a real hard-knock life look.

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Photo: Craigslist

That could all be pounded out, sanded off and then repainted to look like new. Or, it could just be cleaned thoroughly, and then clear coated as-is to be shown off as some sort of rat-rod child of war. You see? We’re already coming up with ideas for this 924.

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Things aren’t quite as bad in the cabin. Sure, there are cracks galore on the dash, but I don’t think there is a 924 out there that hasn’t had a cracked dash at one point or another. A tear in the shifter boot adds to the run-down appearance.

Everything else looks surprisingly clean and in reasonably good shape. There is some splitting of the seat upholstery, but it’s between sections, not across, so it seems fixable. The air-conditioner is not working, but everything else is said to be functioning, even the little clock in the center stack.

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Photo: Craigslist

There doesn’t seem to be anything weird going on in the engine bay. The 110 horsepower SOHC Audi four is in residence and looks to still have all its bits intact. This being a ’79 makes it notable for a couple of reasons. This was the first year that a five-speed manual was offered in the 924. That “Snail Shell” transmission was engineered from the 901 and had that box’s famous dog-leg first. This is also the last year that the 924 ran without catalytic convertors and had the exposed fuel cap, a feature shared with the VW Rabbit.

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Photo: Craigslist

Mileage is said to read 137,000 but the seller says the car probably has about 10,000 miles more than that. Those went unrecorded, the ad notes because the “odometer has had two episodes of not working.”

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As explained, everything else, save for the air-conditioner, seems to work. Considering the unknown history of the car and the strong likelihood of everything suddenly not working, it might make good sense to undertake as a first project a thorough mechanical inspection and replacement of all the consumables and worn elements. That’s something you could do on your own. Should the car need a clutch at some point, you’ll probably want some help since that’s a terrible job that requires either pulling the engine or the entire driveline. Yuk.

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Photo: Craigslist
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Before we can get into cataloging what to do and what your vision is for this Porsche’s future, we need to discuss its purchase price. The seller is asking $3,000 for the car and says that the price is “only somewhat negotiable.”

Would you negotiate that considering the car’s current state and the work it likely needs? Or, for even anywhere near that is this a project that you would avoid?

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You decide!

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Boston, Massachusetts, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to FauzShizzle for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.

DISCUSSION

A reluctant no dice. Five years ago I bought one of these for $1000 sight unseen and drive it home from Wyoming in January. Similar condition, but the A/C worked and the heater didn’t. Would have traded the A/C for the heater on the drive home.

These have gone up in price, and the price may even be market correct (market, or are least asking price, is in fact all over the place).

I like the cars, having gone from owning old British cars that were slow and rusty, the Porsche being slow and galvanized seemed like a step in the right direction.  

These look a lot more like a Porsche and less like a VW Audi with the later snowflake or spiderweb wheels, which look really good on the car. Mine below after repaint and a lot of little fixes.