I bought my first Porsche in 1982. It was a copper-colored ’78 924, four-speed air conditioned, with a funky cloth sunroof a la VW Beetle, and it was lovely.
That started a long-term affair with the front-engine Porsche, but I didn’t join the Porsche Club of America until the mid-1990’s because my 924 wasn’t a real Porsche. How did I know? They told me so. Come back when you get a real Porsche. But when I did get into the club, I found the folks there to be wonderful, welcoming and friendly – with a restored 1969 912 to go with my 924S.
With the exception of the 912 and a year with a Boxster S, I have always owned 924, 924S and 944 Porsches. I have a deep passion for them, even though they are simple, underpowered, and now getting a little old. They handle well, easy to drive, and at 6’2″ they are the only car I have ever owned that requires me to pull the seat forward to get in the right driving position. Plenty of headroom, legroom, etc., and room for the groceries make them pretty perfect. And I have lots of parts from over three decades of ownership, as well as lots of experience working on them.
The shame of ownership related to the 924, 924S, and 944 and the Porsche Club has all but disappeared, as it did with the 914 – they were also not welcomed for a long time in the “club.” Our front-engine water-cooled Porsches have finally been accepted as practical, fun and drive-able Porsches within PCA. Even though over a hundred thousand were brought into the United States, good clean examples are getting harder and harder to find. Mechanical parts are generally available, although trim pieces are “NLA” in more and more searches. Used parts are becoming more and more valuable as the cars get more and more valuable.
Will our cars ever get to the classic level that the 930 or 89 911 Speedster has attained? Probably not, but if you browse the national auction sites, you will find that these cars are bringing higher and higher prices on the block. At the Mecum Auctions in Kissimmee this January, a nice 1982 Porsche Turbo brought $23,100; a 1983 944 in like-new condition brought $19,800. A 1983 944 automatic did not sell at a high bid of $10,000. A very clean but highly-modified, low mileage 1986 944 Turbo listed at 380 HP hammered at $12,100. These are great prices, and they are trending up. Note, though, that the prices are higher for stock cars rather then modified cars.
If you are not a member of your local Porsche Club, you need to look into it and get involved. Most regions have great events where you can get out and enjoy your car with other like-minded enthusiasts, and now there is no shame in owning and driving a front-engine water-cooled Porsche. Just get out there.
Kevin Duffy is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Daytona State College in Florida and a dedicated car guy. He divides his time between teaching criminal justice topics in the online environment and working on/driving cars, particularly Porsches. Kevin is one of the principals in InspiringLifeOver50.com.