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Pandemic Project Porsche 944

Pandemic Project Porsche 944



"Portia"

This all came about very suddenly. I'd never owned a Porsche, but I always fancied the 944, and moderately powered, balanced sports cars. In fact, when I purchased my BRZ in January 2018, I was also looking at an '06 Cayman S. Same price point, new versus used, but I ended up going with the Suby. Entry point, sure. Ownership cost, ooph! I thought then that it'd be quite a while before I set foot in my own Porsche. After all, the BRZ is, in effect, a modern 944. Right? (Flame-suit on!)

For a little background, Subaru had been my proper entry into the auto hobby. In 2002, I found myself in my first brand new car, a 5-speed WRX. Being a relatively new manual driver and completely green wrench, I broke parts, replaced them poorly, broke them again, and learned a bit along the way with my friends. By 2005 I'd built a serious WRX (JDM RA-spec C swapped, big front-mount intercooler, Brembos, etc). After rolling it - yeah, I know, I was a kid - and selling that setup on to a friend, I had a few more WRX, Saabaru, and Legacy GT variants along the way. By then, I'd learned more about cars, driving, and life, and the AWD Subaru game was getting a bit old. Which brought me to the BRZ platform. Brave departure, I know!

So, fast forward to the pandemic. I was quite happy with my little BRZ, and was planning a few more upgrades to the exhaust and suspension. I also had eyes on my Volvo turbo wagon project, which needs a full reseal. Further, I'd picked up a low mile, but cosmetically rough '97 Lexus ES300 to flip, so I had my hands full with projects.

But, Craigslist strikes again... and I wound up driving up to MA with a friend (thanks Joe!) to check out a newly-posted Porsche 944. We made good time along the way, too. After checking out the car, and going for an unwitting hatch-up test-drive, I was sold, and drove home that morning in a smooth running '84 with $8,500 in good service records (in the last year!), for less than half that amount. Paint? Awful. Interior? Hah. But it didn't burn oil, or overheat, didn't leak, and had great, straight bones. Thank you to the previous owner, Colin, for taking care of this 944 so that it was worth restoring to glory!

Since I'm about half way along now, I'll be updating quickly to get current, and then as I progress with this project.

OK, enough talk, lots of pics to upload

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1984 Porsche 944 (Project 1)
1992 Mazda MX-3 GS (Project 1.5)
1992 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon (Project 2)
2005 BMW 330xi
2017 Subaru BRZ PP
Old 08-24-2020, 04:29 PM
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Part 1: Evaluation, Cleaning, Planning

1984 Porsche 944 - 332 (5MT)
Gemini Grey Metallic - LZ7Z (Gemini Grau)
Option Codes: C02 - Catalytic Converter
H59 - ?
158 - Radio: Monterey Stereo w/ Cassette
404 - Stabilizers: Front & Rear
454 - Automatic Speed Control
526 - Door Panels w/ Cloth

Added OEM options
Body colored side moldings

Here's what we've got:















That back window filth
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1984 Porsche 944 (Project 1)
1992 Mazda MX-3 GS (Project 1.5)
1992 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon (Project 2)
2005 BMW 330xi
2017 Subaru BRZ PP
Old 08-24-2020, 04:33 PM
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Welcome and thanks for starting this thread.

No such thing as a cheap a Porsche, as we all know, so good move buying one that has already had so much invested mechanically ... Id be interested to see a list of what was done prior to your ownership. My only word to the wise is, before anything else, to be sure that the fuel system is fresh and safe... it only takes one hose bursting.

Are you a New Englander?

As said, welcome.

John
Old 08-24-2020, 04:37 PM
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The interior is obviously just as sun-baked as the exterior. Not a lick of body or frame rust, though

Records show it lived most of it's life in the PNW, then the last 10 years out on Cape Cod. I don't think the car has seen much salt, but there is some corrosion in the engine bay, and undercarriage.

















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1984 Porsche 944 (Project 1)
1992 Mazda MX-3 GS (Project 1.5)
1992 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon (Project 2)
2005 BMW 330xi
2017 Subaru BRZ PP
Old 08-24-2020, 04:38 PM
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1984 Porsche 944 (Project 1)
1992 Mazda MX-3 GS (Project 1.5)
1992 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon (Project 2)
2005 BMW 330xi
2017 Subaru BRZ PP
Old 08-24-2020, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeffries View Post
Welcome and thanks for starting this thread.

No such thing as a cheap a Porsche, as we all know, so good move buying one that has already had so much invested mechanically ... I’d be interested to see a list of what was done prior to your ownership. My only word to the wise is, before anything else, to be sure that the fuel system is fresh and safe... it only takes one hose bursting.

Are you a New Englander?

As said, welcome.

John
Hello, John. Thanks for the welcome! I'm not a New Englander, but do live in "upstate" New York (anything north of Westchester is upstate, apparently).

As you'll see from the above pics, the engine bay needed some attention. While many systems were touched, there was more work to go. And, as you mention, take a look at that old fuel drip near the FPR and damper! Not to worry, it's been addressed. I'll be posting up quite a bit in the next few days, so please do stay tuned
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1984 Porsche 944 (Project 1)
1992 Mazda MX-3 GS (Project 1.5)
1992 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon (Project 2)
2005 BMW 330xi
2017 Subaru BRZ PP

Last edited by SilverLined; 08-24-2020 at 05:07 PM..
Old 08-24-2020, 04:43 PM
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This first round of cleaning was hasty, but yielded good results. I also removed the broken 944 badge, which had nestled it's gluey self well into the paint surface. Oh well, soon to be a non-issue!
After transferring over a set of plates, I took the car for another good drive (fire extinguisher at the ready, though that fuel leak looked old and didn't smell) to continue shaking things down. The 3h trip home from MA had been uneventful, but it was 99% highway cruising. I wanted to put the car through it's paces a bit on the lovely back roads around Putnam county.



















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1984 Porsche 944 (Project 1)
1992 Mazda MX-3 GS (Project 1.5)
1992 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon (Project 2)
2005 BMW 330xi
2017 Subaru BRZ PP
Old 08-24-2020, 05:50 PM
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After catching a whiff of gas, I pulled over to find that the rail was dripping slowly from the connection to the fuel damper. That will need fixing!



Also did another quick light check, and took pics so I'd remember needed replacing. Fog and rear side running light, added to the list...







Also wiped down the engine bay, and took a ride up to Lee, MA, for a set of early offset 951 phone dials. Thanks to Erich at EuroMotors for making it happen. Cruised up the Taconic alongside a ludicrously loud rat rod, too. Respect!











Refinished the 3 caps that came with the wheels, and put in an eBay offer for the fourth. Accepted and en route!
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1984 Porsche 944 (Project 1)
1992 Mazda MX-3 GS (Project 1.5)
1992 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon (Project 2)
2005 BMW 330xi
2017 Subaru BRZ PP

Last edited by SilverLined; 08-24-2020 at 06:38 PM..
Old 08-24-2020, 06:35 PM
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Parts started to arrive from eBay, in the form of a nice used airbox, and a period-correct badge.





At this point, I enlisted my friend and neighbor, Jet. He's a seasoned painter, and was running with the VW/Audi crowd back when I was messing with WRX's. Rival turned teammate! The plan was to begin teardown the next morning...

So I put the car to bed for the night. Honeymoon: over. Big day ahead! (Yeah, I had to throw on those Turbo phone dials, rotted tires be-damned!)

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1984 Porsche 944 (Project 1)
1992 Mazda MX-3 GS (Project 1.5)
1992 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon (Project 2)
2005 BMW 330xi
2017 Subaru BRZ PP

Last edited by SilverLined; 08-26-2020 at 10:17 AM..
Old 08-24-2020, 06:45 PM
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Part 2 of the rebirth began bright and early the next morning. It's tear-down day!

A 10,000 mile journey begins with a single step:







Porsche-bombed the garage:





Phew, much cleaner. Now to tackle the bodywork...
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1984 Porsche 944 (Project 1)
1992 Mazda MX-3 GS (Project 1.5)
1992 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon (Project 2)
2005 BMW 330xi
2017 Subaru BRZ PP
Old 08-24-2020, 06:51 PM
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Bondo bondo bondo! The car was actually pretty good, aside from some very light acorn or hail damage on the hood. Jet worked out that dent in the rear, and pulled the front masterfully.











The choice to remove the stock antenna was an easy one for me. Without a welder at hand, and knowing that Porsche factory-brazed some of the body on the 944, we gave brazing the fender our best shot. After struggling to get the right amount of heat in the fender, we got it done.

Apologies to the purists for removing the antenna. I just couldn't look at it





I had my hand at fixing up the original bumper. Channeled out grooves for the zips to lay flush, and epoxied over. Hoping it holds!

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1984 Porsche 944 (Project 1)
1992 Mazda MX-3 GS (Project 1.5)
1992 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon (Project 2)
2005 BMW 330xi
2017 Subaru BRZ PP
Old 08-24-2020, 07:01 PM
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One day in and a thoroughly engrossing story. Sanded and prepped for paint ... this is more exciting than the naughty magazines in sealed bags at the bodega. Great writing; you have our attention.

John
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82 911SC coupe, 3 seasons near-daily use; 87 924S, project ... see my thread http://forums.pelicanparts.com/porsche-924-944-968-technical-forum/1046846-johnjs-87-924s-rehabilitation.html Past: 6x Alfas; 01 V70 2.4T; 95 Accord CD555; 89 944S2; 89 FJ62 Landcruiser; 82 Celica; 77 CJ5; 74 Beetle; 67 TR4A; 62 Midget; ?Year Lambretta Li 150 (my brother's actually); 76 Fiat 126 (Mum's); ?Year Isetta 300 (Dad's)
Old 08-24-2020, 08:30 PM
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Welcome aboard ...SilverLined....I also did owne an early 944 for over 20 years long time ago I really enjoyed driving & working on it for many years ,hope it will be the same for you,you could go to my.... Garage....& take a look at it,it migth give you some idea for future projrct on your car,take care Ernie
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Old 08-25-2020, 05:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeffries View Post
One day in and a thoroughly engrossing story. Sanded and prepped for paint ... this is more exciting than the naughty magazines in sealed bags at the bodega. Great writing; you have our attention.

John
Thanks again, John... Much more to come! I'll post up "prime-time" later today, but paint will have to wait. Gotta keep 'em wanting more! I'm also putting together a quick and dirty P.O. maintenance list, as per your request.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernie944 View Post
Welcome aboard ...SilverLined....I also did owne an early 944 for over 20 years long time ago I really enjoyed driving & working on it for many years ,hope it will be the same for you,you could go to my.... Garage....& take a look at it,it migth give you some idea for future projrct on your car,take care Ernie
Ernie, thanks for the welcome, and for popping into my little thread here. 20 years with any car is something of a rarity these days. Like a 50 year marriage. There was clearly love there! Do you plan to get another? Nothing wrong with rekindling the flame...

I've only had the pleasure of driving my 944 a handful of times, but I already know that it fits like a glove. Balance is impeccable: the car literally rotates around your arse. The steering communicates in whatever language you choose to hear. Everything is what, and where, it should be. Can't wait to add some proper miles once she's finished (and after replacing the speedo gear!). I'm headed over to your garage now to peruse
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1984 Porsche 944 (Project 1)
1992 Mazda MX-3 GS (Project 1.5)
1992 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon (Project 2)
2005 BMW 330xi
2017 Subaru BRZ PP
Old 08-25-2020, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverLined View Post
Thanks again, John... Much more to come! I'll post up "prime-time" later today, but paint will have to wait. Gotta keep 'em wanting more! I'm also putting together a quick and dirty P.O. maintenance list, as per your request.



Ernie, thanks for the welcome, and for popping into my little thread here. 20 years with any car is something of a rarity these days. Like a 50 year marriage. There was clearly love there! Do you plan to get another? Nothing wrong with rekindling the flame...

I've only had the pleasure of driving my 944 a handful of times, but I already know that it fits like a glove. Balance is impeccable: the car literally rotates around your arse. The steering communicates in whatever language you choose to hear. Everything is what, and where, it should be. Can't wait to add some proper miles once she's finished (and after replacing the speedo gear!). I'm headed over to your garage now to peruse
Also had a 968 for quiet a while ,which was one of the best Porsche I've ever own.BTW was looking at your streering wheel which seem to be in very good shape.FYI that steering is very desirable ,not all 944 was fit with it,originaly it's from a 911-911SC & 930 Turbo.Evan Ruf a German Porsche tweaker had one fit in his BTR slant nose but with the Ruf logo .see pics,
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Old 08-25-2020, 05:38 PM
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I do love this steering wheel! I'd seen it on a few 930's, as you mention, but didn't know it was so hard to come by. eBay says you're right... $600?!?!

Regarding the 968, that's on my short list of cars to experience. The one in your garage is a stunning color combo

I've been fortunate in that department (my list is pretty short!), having driven everything from vintage Ferraris to modern McLarens. After working in finance for a few years out of school, I sold cars for an exotic car dealer for about as long as I could stomach that industry. Loved the test drives, though
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1984 Porsche 944 (Project 1)
1992 Mazda MX-3 GS (Project 1.5)
1992 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon (Project 2)
2005 BMW 330xi
2017 Subaru BRZ PP
Old 08-25-2020, 07:41 PM
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As promised, it's prime-time! While it's a quick step, it's a big one. Laying that first coat puts all the hard work on display. Luckily, Jet is a savant with a sanding block...

First, the loose parts. The bumper came out alright

















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1984 Porsche 944 (Project 1)
1992 Mazda MX-3 GS (Project 1.5)
1992 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon (Project 2)
2005 BMW 330xi
2017 Subaru BRZ PP
Old 08-25-2020, 07:52 PM
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Those with a keen eye will notice that this car - namely the nose, hood, and fenders - has been repainted. Seems like it was done about 20 years ago, and the job wasn't great. I'll bet that 996 badge was current when it was put on. Further, the bumpers, sunroof, and mirror show black paint underneath. Every car has a story... looks like we have a couple of stories intersecting, here.

When I bought the car, it had OEM side moldings, but nothing listed on the trunk tag. So they'd been added, at some point. Our best guess goes back to that stumblebum paint job. Didn't get those door lines quite right? No matter, cover 'em up with some side moldings! Bumper, mirrors, and sunroof need hours of sanding? Donor parts! I bet if I sanded these moldings, they'd be black underneath. Though the car's steel is fantastic, a few shortcuts were definitely taken during the last go-round.

Not today. We decided to keep the moldings on the shelf and show off those pretty lines (still rock my khakis with a cuff and a crease).
More work, but worth the effort; and, more importantly, how the car rolled off the line in February of '84.

So, primer went on the doors, and a then big day of sanding ensued. Jet got a little silly with the guide-coat spraypaint, too

















After all the work, I pulled the tape, hosed her off, and tucked her in. All the other cars backed away, sensing what was coming the next morning...

Ready for paint.
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1984 Porsche 944 (Project 1)
1992 Mazda MX-3 GS (Project 1.5)
1992 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon (Project 2)
2005 BMW 330xi
2017 Subaru BRZ PP
Old 08-25-2020, 08:21 PM
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What brand of paint products did you use?
What grit sandpaper did you use on final primer/sealer blocking?
Were you using an pneumatic DA or a 110V sander?
Did your neighbors complain?
John
Old 08-25-2020, 09:19 PM
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Have 944, will restore
 
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I'm absolutely in love that that car!!! There's no way I could have resusted buying it either. My very first 944 was an 85.1 in Stone Grey and it was a great car. I honestly regret getting rid of the car. Seeing your car brings back so many good memories. Youve done an awesome job with the car thus far and I'm looking forward to seeing more updates on the car!

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Old 08-26-2020, 03:54 AM
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