At $7,499, Is This ‘Imperfect’ 1985.5 Porsche 944 a Perfectly Good Deal?

The seller says the car needs TLC but claims it to be ready for a “new life with a new owner.”

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Nice Price or No Dice 1985.5 Porsche 944
Photo: Craigslist

It’s been said that high tides lift all boats, and in a similar fashion, all Porsche badges mean ever-rising values. Today’s Nice Price or No Dice 944 might be a way to get in while the getting is good. That’s if its price hasn’t already risen too much.

Tell me something — on those dating apps like Tinder do people sometimes present themselves in ways to make them stand out from the crowd? You know, doing things like wearing full clown makeup or posing next to impossibly cute animals that are later revealed not to be theirs?

With its purple people eater wrap and ridiculously big 22-inch wheels, the 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS we looked at yesterday was, by all appearances, such an attempt to stand out. Or maybe it was a cry for help. We don’t know. What we do know is that neither the custom car nor the $12,500 asked for it found much favor here. The end result was a stand-out but not outstanding 91 percent no Dice loss.

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Okay, after yesterday’s crazy amuse-bouche let’s get to our main course which this week means Porsche.

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Photo: Craigslist
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This 1985.5 Porsche 944 represents what is, at present, possibly the least expensive way to get into the venerated marque. Lesser cars like the 924 and 914 have long ago seen attrition and age elevate their remaining numbers in value, leaving the 944 — for the moment — to be the standard bearer for people wanting to experience Porsche ownership but not wanting to go whole hog (and wallet) on the endeavor.

Can you get cheaper cars than this? Sure, but those are more likely to be non-runners or suffer even more visual blight. According to the ad, this car had been sitting for a couple of years and suffered from that neglect. The seller claims to have brought it back to life and drivability, already replacing the fuel pump and injectors and rebuilding all four brake calipers. A new battery is another age-related item that can be checked off the list.

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Image for article titled At $7,499, Is This ‘Imperfect’ 1985.5 Porsche 944 a Perfectly Good Deal?
Photo: Craigslist

Power comes from a 147 horsepower 2.5-liter SOHC four. That’s canted over under the sloping bonnet since it’s really half of the 928's V8. Behind that — way behind since this is a torque tube/transaxle design — is a five speed manual. There’s no word in the ad on the condition of the clutch, but that can be an expensive and unpleasant repair if it’s showing signs of wear.

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Aesthetically, the car is obviously rough around the edges, but it’s not so bad that it should only be driven at night to avoid embarrassment. The major misdeeds include a good bit of scraping evident on the front valance and a sizable dent in the curb-side front fender. That latter damage is right at the compound  curve of the corner meaning it might be cheaper just to buy a good fender than to pay someone to pound it out.

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Photo: Craigslist
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The rest of the body seems to be not too terrible and it does come with both the sunroof and rear wiper. A set of black-center. “Cookie Cutter” alloys underpins but are all missing their pricey center caps.

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Photo: Craigslist
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The cabin is a bit of a mixed bag. The seller makes a note in the ad that the car comes with the optional sport seats. Those have bigger bolsters and here those are showing some wear on the driver’s side. The dash also shows some cracks across the top and the carpet is pulling up around the hatch opening. Hopefully, that’s not a sign of water leaks. An aftermarket head unit sits in the dash. Porsches are among the few makes for which the presence of the original radio can positively impact value.

Image for article titled At $7,499, Is This ‘Imperfect’ 1985.5 Porsche 944 a Perfectly Good Deal?
Photo: Craigslist
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As noted in the ad and our description, this is a 1985.5 model. That’s important since it impacts the car’s performance and maintenance costs. It was the mid-year switchover that saw the 944 get the updated dashboard and a slew of suspension improvements that turned the model from decent handling to outright engaging. The downside is that consumable components such as bearings and ball joints are far more expensive on this later generation, and there’s no sign that any of those have been replaced on this car.

Image for article titled At $7,499, Is This ‘Imperfect’ 1985.5 Porsche 944 a Perfectly Good Deal?
Photo: Craigslist
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Despite all that, this 944 is said to be running and driving and to come with a clean title and just 78,000 miles on the clock. The price tag for this running-driving Porsche is $7,499 which, again, is at the low end for the marque outside of total fright pigs. But, is it enough of a bargain to get a buyer to bite?

What do you say, is this 944 a deal at $7,499 even in its imperfect condition? Or, do the negatives and unknowns outweigh the asking?

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You decide!

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Seattle, Washington, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Jerry C. for the hookup!

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