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Manhattan 07-24-2004 09:58 AM

Buying a 944... need guidance on what to buy
Every car has its "good years" and "bad years". I know these for Jeeps... but know nothing about Porsches. I'm going to buy a 944. Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

Use: around town usage, partial daily-driver, some track time (autocross, etc.)

$$$: Would like to spend less than $7,000 on the car. But if $7,500 gets me to the "next level", e.g. "S", "Turbo", etc. I could be convinced.

Mechanical Apptitude: Moderate... but not on anything European. Changing a starter in a Jeep is probably simpler than changing a fuse in a Porsche (guess).

I've heard that 1985 1/2 and up is preferred and that the Turbos are worth extra $$$ - that is the extent of my famiarity with the car... beyond driving an 86 and being amazed with the handling and braking.

Again, any guidance would be a huge help - THANKS!

Britwrench 07-24-2004 10:08 AM

Look for a $5k car and then you will have a repair fund. Nearly every 944 needs at least $1k spent on right now, before you drive it.

Looking at your budget, I think that a 951 is out of range.

Soemthing like a 86-89 944 would work. Look for service records, recent clutch replacement ($1500), timing belts and water pump ($1000 and up), suspension ($$$$$) and general condition. Junk 944s will always be that. Make sure you have the time, tools and space to work on the 944 or plan for regular maintenance and repairs. These are now old cars and soem Porsche specialist shops are beginning to not work on them unless they are in good conditon....

Manhattan 07-24-2004 06:33 PM


Miyagikarate 07-24-2004 10:33 PM

I got one you might be interested.. i sent a pm.. email me at

krahm 07-25-2004 11:36 PM

Manhattan, they're not as difficult to work on as you might think. The biggest challenge is getting to know them, what their common problems are, what the best ways are to tackle certain things, etc. That takes some time and effort. The most difficult part of it, I find, is the lack of space--removing stuff to be able to remove stuff in order to remove the bad part. Of course, there are jobs and there are JOBS, but don't let the mystique of "German Engineering" scare you off.

I'm not sure there are any bad years for these cars, really. A few design weaknesses were ironed out by 86/87, as I understand it. Styling may be something of an issue. Pre-86 cars are a bit more of a time-warp to the days of Duran Duran and big hair.

Manhattan 07-26-2004 04:23 AM

This is a big help... there's an 87 near my house - looks great (repainted) asking $4,000... but it's got 211,000 miles on it! I think I'd rather pay $6,000 for a car with under 100k.

Chris_924s 07-26-2004 10:45 AM

Low mileage can indicate a "problem child" vehicle..

You should be able to locate a nice example around 6K, keep the extra grand for a "Porsche Fund". Once you seperate whether you want an "early" vs a "late" car, it gets pretty easy.
Early- Dash, to 85- Wheel offset to 86.
Late - Dash 85 1/2 and up. wheel offset 87 and later.

Each has it's pro's and cons (Want Fuchs wheels, early. Like a modern dash? late) but it's you that has to be happy. Plan on spending 6 months or so to find one you can afford.
Test drive plenty of them. You'll get to know what feels right.

Harpman2 07-26-2004 04:45 PM

For an N/A go with 1988 if possible. Had the timing belt tensioner in it like 87 did, 10 more HP than all prior cars, and slightly better suspension I've heard. Not sure if going to 89 with the 2.7Liter, up from 2.5L , is worth the extra 4 HP. But if I had more $ at the time I'd have gone for an S2 (years available 89 to 91, I think) which upped HP to 208 from 158 on the 1988 N/A. But if you're a turbo guy I can't help you. Of course condition is a factor, so of course, buy a good condition 86 over a rough 88 any day.

gearhead290 07-26-2004 09:06 PM

87 and 88 had the same power, same suspension, same brakes, same wheels. THEY'RE THE SAME THING!

I would like you to meet 2 friends of mine, Google and Search, they are always willing to answer questions so USE THEM!

Makenzie71 07-26-2004 09:19 PM

1st thing...don't budget buy. These are old cars and it's a poor method to use when doing it. Don't go at it thinking "I can only spend $5000"...that's a good way to get you into a $5000 paper weight. Go out to buy either a good, quality, established car or go out to buy a beater to restore. Don't dabble in between because of your "budget." Spending/financing the extra $2000 now will save you that much, if not more, down the road.

2nd thing...learn to work on the car yourself. As mentioned, quality shops are starting to turn them down, and independant no-name mechanics (unless trusted friends) should be avoided. If you break it, at least you know why it's broke and how to go about fixing it.

Taz's Master 07-27-2004 05:35 PM

2 pieces of advice.
#1: There is no best deal. Learn as much as you can about these cars, and find one that fits your budget and meets your maintenance/condition requirements. Take your time, if you let a nice one go, you may need to do some more looking, but there are more nice 944's out there.

#2: Keep reading this board, the knowledge here is tremendous. This place and Clark's Garage keep my 944 on the road. As long as you have alternative transportation wrenching on these cars isn't bad at all.

Pokrajac 07-27-2004 08:19 PM

1984 944 65,000 miles
My friend has a 1984 944 BLK/BLK 5speed with 65,000 miles
$5000 takes it. Car has always been a California car.
Its parked at my house with a new battery in it and it
runs fine. I have been tooling around town in it, FUN car! (Zip 91311)

Harpman2 07-28-2004 05:18 PM

gearhead290, maybe I have it wrong. I got my info from someplace unreliable I guess. Oh well.

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