This is part nine of a ten part series about 10 Porsches that are currently within a reasonable budget, but that may become very valuable in the future. In part one we covered the Porsche 911 SC, in part two we covered the 911 Carrera 3.2, in part three we covered the 911 (993), in part four we covered the 911 (964), in part five we covered the 912, in part six we covered the 914, in part seven we covered the 928 and in part eight we covered the 968. In this post we will cover the Porsche 944.
Below is the list of Porsches that will be covered in other posts. Please note that the order of the Porsches in the below list is the order that they will be covered, but not necessarily the order of what is more likely to become valuable.
- Porsche 911 SC
- Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2
- Porsche 911 (993)
- Porsche 911 (964)
- Porsche 912
- Porsche 914
- Porsche 928
- Porsche 968
- Porsche 944
- Porsche 924
When the Porsche 944 was released to the U.S. market for the 1983 model year, it was praised by all of the automotive magazines. The car was on Car and Driver’s first 10 Best List. At the time it was even refered to as the best of the best by the magazine and the they thought that it would change Porsche enthusiasts aditudes toward the front engined sports cars.
While that last part never fully happened (although now a days many 911, Boxster and Cayman owners once owned a 944), it was a very good car in its own right. The earliest cars only offered 143 horsepower, but managed to go from 0 to 50 mph (remember this was the early ’80s) in 5.9 seconds versus 5.8 seconds for the 911SC of the time. Weight makes a big difference in the early cars as Road and Track was able to go from 0 to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds with a base 1983 944, but in a test in 1984 they managed only a 0 to 60 mph of 9 seconds (The cars as tested were about 400 pounds in weight difference due to option differences).
The earliest car has esentially the same interior as the 924 that it replaced. In the middle of 1985 the interior was updated and the 1985.5 and later cars have a much more modern interior. In 1986 the 944’s performance took a real leap with the Turbo model. Depending on the year the Turbo car could rocked from 0 to 60mph in just 5.7 seconds. In 1987 the 944 S was released and offered more power over the standard car. Unfortunately, most of the extra power could only be felt at higher speeds and in normally driving the S model felt pretty much the same as the standard 944.
In 1989 the S2 model was released. This was powered by a 3.0 liter engine that provided nearly the same performance as the early turbocharged models, but without the turbo lag. The car was also later available as a convertible. The S2 is perhaps the best overall 944 available in stock form for everyday driving.
1988 was a big year for the Turbo model as the Turbo S model was released for just the one year. The car offered 250 horsepower and great performance and better handling. In 1989 the changes for the S model were put into the regular 944 Turbo.
The Porsche 944 has an image problem as it is often seen as the cheapest Porsche you can find. This is for good reason as early 944’s can be had in good condition for as little as $3,000. Later cars comand a bit more, but if you have about $10,000 you can even find a well maintained early 944 Turbo.
A 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo S is probably the most likely model variant to become really valuable. These cars can often fetch $30,000 or more depending on condition. About a year ago one sold at auction for over $70,000, but this is the exception (and this high price may have been partly due to the millions of dollars that some of the other Porsches were fetching). After that you would have to put the ’89 Turbo as it has the same performance, but usually fetches a bit less that the Turbo S model.
Beyond these two models the most likely models to go up in value would be the 944 Turbo, S2 Cabriolet, S2 and S models. The standard 944 N/A cars are currently the cheapest and due to their larger production numbers they are the least likely to become very valuable.
Of these most people advise you to stay away from the early cars as the later cars have the better interior. Partly because of this if the standard cars go up in value it is very possible that the earlier cars would become more valuable than the later cars. Especially since the earlier cars go for very little money and are often bought by young drivers that are more likely to destroy the cars in an accident. Many more of these cars get the race treatment which makes finding a well maintained clean and original early car very difficult today. If these cars start to go up in popularity then prices for good original early cars could start to rise quite a bit.
The key in buying any 944 is to get a well maintained car. While the entry prices of one of these cars is relatively low, the cost to keep it on the road can be quite expensive for one with needs and depending on what needs to be fixed (just look into how much replacing the clutch costs). If well-maintained these cars are very reliable and because of their front-engine rear transaxle design they handle very well. All of these are a lot of fun on a windy road and the higher performance cars can keep up with all but the fastest new cars. As with any Porsche make sure to get a Pre-Purchase Inspection as it can save you a lot of money down the road.
If you are looking to buy one in the hopes that it will gain value, keep an eye out for a 944 Turbo S or an S2 Cabriolet. These two cars are rare enough that they are the most likely to go up in value. Many of these cars have leveled out in price, so as time goes on you can expect that they are all likely to go up in value, but for all but the higher performance models it is likely to be a very gradual change.
No matter if these cars go up in value or not, you will be driving a great fun car that, if maintained well, will stay on the road for as long as you keep it.
Let us know what you think of the Porsche 944 in the comments below.
Picture Source: Daniel J. Leivick