The Porsche 944 S2 Cabriolet is one of those often forgotten oddities of the automotive world. The recipe was simple: take the best, most powerful, final non-turbo iteration of the Porsche 944, and ruin it by chopping off the roof. Still, I sort of love seeing these things because they’re such rare, odd cars.
MotorWeek host John Davis dons the ultimate 1990s periwinkle windbreaker to drive the then-new 1991 Porsche 944 S2 Cabriolet. It’s still beautifully balanced like any other 944, with the engine up front and the transmission in the rear. The 208 horsepower 3.0-liter engine from the 944 S2 is still the magical chunk I dream about on a regular basis—more power, but with a smoother, more linear delivery than the 944 Turbo.
Yet drop-top technology hadn’t quite caught up with the demand to drive a fancy convertible Porsche. Porsche tried to remedy the inevitable loss of chassis rigidity by welding in an entire separate floor pan at a completely different facility, plus additional structure to stiffen it up.
However, as the gaping hole that I need to fix in my own 944's passenger-side foot well can attest, the 944's floorboards aren’t the strongest. Layering one over another is about like having two slices of Swiss cheese for a floor instead of one.
The 944 S2 Cabriolet’s roof was another piece of trick engineering that only sort of worked. It wasn’t the easiest folding roof to put down, as a lack of head room necessitated the use of a special, separate tool to un-latch it, and the final snaps for the cabrio cover were unreachable unless you opened the trunk. The top stuck up pretty far when it was folded down, too, blocking the lower part of your rear view.
I hate convertibles. I’m not willing to put up with all of these “quirks” in order to have my own hair blown into my mouth as I drive. Yet there’s something about the blocky butt of the 944 S2 Cabriolet that makes me smile. Seeing one still on the road is about like spotting Sasquatch in comparison to the 944's ultra-common fixed-roof version.
You there, the lunatic with the strangest, least talked about iteration of the 944. You, I respect. Grab the most period-correct parachute-material windbreaker from your closet and go enjoy that magical unicorn, you lovable weirdo, you.