Welcome to Little Car in the Big City, where I highlight fascinating cars I found walking around a town that is known for being bigger than everything else, but where every car is fighting to stand out: New York, New York.
The front-engined Porsche coupes can be odd ducks for many people. Porsche is famous for its 356, 550 Spyder, and (of course) the 911, all cars with the motor behind the driver. That's why finding one, especially in New York, is a bit of a rare treat. If you're going to get a Porsche, might as well just spring for the 997 911 Turbo, obviously.
The 924 shall not be mentioned.
The Porsche 944, like this one found just north of Union Square, is a great mix of fun and practicality. Few cars in the 1980s actually had the right mix of that, especially in a straight line. Think about it, just for a second. If you were looking for a relatively inexpensive European car with a four cylinder engine that could take a corner, your choices were pretty limited. Sure, you could get a Bertone X1/9, I suppose, but that couldn't even muster 100 horses when the base 944 in 1982 was pushing out 150.
That's why you'll see a lot of beat up old Porsche 944s around. They gave a great bang for your buck, and that rear hatch is still pretty practical, as you can see with those boxes in the back. It also helps that on eBay you can pick up a fixer upper for as low as $2,000, but even in mint condition they rarely go above $15,000.
So what say you – in a purely hypothetical situation, given a budget of $6,000 and the opportunity to buy a Porsche 944 in fine mechanical order but with a few bangs and bruises, would you buy for you daily driver?