The 911 GT3RS. The 959. The Carrera GT. People usually associate the name "Porsche" with incredibly fast sports cars with wild handling and lively steering. And then there's the 924. It was originally a Volkswagen. It barely had 100 horsepower. It had a van engine. And it sold like hotcakes.

With over 150,000 built from 1977 to 1988, surely the 924 can't be all bad, despite its reputation. And it wasn't, at least not for the standards of the day. Okay, yes, if you bought one now you would potentially be a hazard on the highway while desperately waiting for your "Porsche" to reach anything like cruising speed. But it's got tight handling, power comparable to any contemporary muscle car, and you can get one now for less than five grand. Surely having that badge up front should help you on dates (it will not).

Part of the reason the 924 is met with such derision among Porsche enthusiasts is its origins. Like a few Porsches before and since, it started out as a project from Volkswagen. Unfortunately, VW decided they would throw in their EA831 four-cylinder engine, which came from a van. And with only 110 horsepower on tap, and mated to a three-speed, yes three-speed, automatic transmission, it wasn't exactly quick.

Which may explain Porsche's marketing campaign here. You can't really sell it on speed, but hey, it got pretty good gas mileage. So when somebody now complains about the Porsche Cayenne diesel not being a "true Porsche," whatever that is, just remind them that over 30 years ago, Porsche made a front-engined, four-cylinder, drum-braked, three-speeded car.


And you can still call it a Porsche.