At $3,500, Could This 1987 Porsche 924S Make You Forget Your 944 Dreams?

Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe 924 is a bit of an anomaly. Being the S it shares the 944’s engine, but not its brute looks. That makes it a bit lighter, and just maybe, a good bit better of a deal.

The kit and component car community is like Cosplay, but for cars. Maybe call it “Carsplay.” The attraction of make-believe motoring is pretty obvious—you get to live out your fantasies of being faster, stronger and better-looking even if part of that trio of brio is just in your imagination.

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Yesterday’s 1957 VW-based LaDawri Sebring was a fine example of old school kit car accomplishment, and with its 140-horse Corvair mill it probably offered decent scoot to boot. All that was seeming worth its $8,000 asking too, at least to the 64 percent of you who voted it a Nice Price win.

The LaDawri was an example of someone taking what was at the time considered a sow’s ear (a VW Beetle) and turning it into the proverbial silk purse (the much slinkier LaDawri). In that not so simple process what was once a dowdy family car became a svelte and sexy sportster. Ingenious!

Imagine however, that a company set out to develop a righteous sports car, but when the result of that work debuted, it was determined by many to be “too pretty” for the brand.

That was the lamentable response to Porsche’s introduction of the 924 back in 1976. The company had been commissioned by Volkswagen to produce a halo car for VW’s Audi brand, and as originally introduced the 924 used an Audi motor up front and that brand’s four-speed transaxle in back. Despite all the Auto Union parts, the Audi edition of the 924 never came to fruition. Instead, it became solely a Porsche product, standing in as entry-level model after the 914 and intermediary 912E had been shown the door.

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Many Porsche purists looked askance at the water-cooled, front-engined, Audi-powered 924, claiming it too crude and slow to adequately represent the marque. Strangely enough, some critics also complained that the 924’s design was too pretty to be a Porsche, apparently being too anodyne for their tastes.

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All of these criticisms were addressed in 1982 with the 944. Fat-fendered and Porsche-powered, the 944 became an instant classic. The 924 however soldiered on, living in the 944’s shadow as Porsche’s cheap seat. That was fine until VW decided to end production of the model’s Audi-based motor in 1984. Porsche decided to make some changes to the 924 as a result. It seems new cars without motors are a tough sell.

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To replace the Audi mill, Porsche went with a slightly detuned version of the 944’s SOHC 2.5-litre inline four, and appended the car’s name with an ‘S’ to keep things clear on the scorecard.

That engine put out 148 horsepower in the car, a good bit down from the 944’s 163, but not quite so noticeable considering the 924S’s lower weight. Other adoptions from the 944 included its five-lug hubs and the disc brakes behind those. The 924S still used the 924’s older and ropier suspension as well as the car’s very ‘70s interior.

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This 1987 924S presents in a home-shot coat of Camaro green over a remarkably tidy black vinyl interior. The seller says it was originally a North Carolina car so don’t let its present Michigan home alarm you regarding road rot, as there seems to be none.

What you will find here is a litany of replaced consumables, including some big ticket items like the clutch and timing belt. There’s a ton of other work that has been done here, which is advantageous as long as it was done correctly. Remember people, half-assed isn’t really half as good as doing it right.

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As noted, the hope here is that all the work done was fully-assed. The car certainly looks good. It rolls on a nice set of factory phone dials and while the painted back bumperettes look to be a less than optimal choice, that’s not too difficult to reverse. Frustratingly, the mileage is not revealed in the ad. That’s despite the fact that an odometer repair is checked off in the car’s completed fix-it list. That is the one outstanding element that might influence our work here today.

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The interior looks good regardless, with a dash that looks to be wearing a toupee to hide some ugliness underneath. The seats show a bit of dye transfer due to wear on the squabs, but it’s nothing some rejuvenator couldn’t address. Gauges have been switched to LED lighting, while a broken clock has been replaced by a volt meter. A sunroof sits atop all that.

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The seller describes the car as “not perfect but quite a nice little driver.” That’s all we can ask for, right? Well, maybe we could ask for it to not be too expensive as well, and you’ll now need to decide if the seller has hit the mark on that aspect.

This Porsche asks $3,500 which gets you, as the seller says a running driver. It also gets you into the exclusive club of Porsche owners, even if your car is prettier than all the others.

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What do you think, could this 924, as presented, be worth that $3,500 asking? Or, is that a “pretty” bad deal?

You decide!

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Southwest MI Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to RevUnlimiter for the hookup!

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

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About the author

Rob Emslie

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