The May 1982 Car and Driver magazine featured a red 944 on its cover with the headline, “Red-Hot 944! A high-value Porsche from the zealots of Zuffenhausen.” This was one of the first magazine tests of the new 1983 Porsche 944, and they loved it!
“The most seductive combination of economy and performance money can buy.”
The accompanying article talks about the 944’s humble beginnings with the 924, but then applauds Porsche’s transformation from a rough-running underpowered Audi engine to the half-of-a-928 engine 2.5L four. “Porsche engineers built the 944 to be the kind of car that Porsche engineers like to drive.” That says a lot. Let’s look at some more quotes:
- The 944 is great because it responds crisply and decisively to every command, and it builds up to its limits in perfectly linear fashion.
- Yet it’s more than poetry that makes the 944 a great car. First, it’s a great value. While “value” might be a difficult word to wallow in the same breath with a price just on the ar side of $20,000, consider the facts. The price tag buys you a car with everything on it, from sunroof to air conditioning. All that’s lacking is a radio to slot into the dash.
- The thing that really makes the 944 a terrific car, though, is the conviction of the engineers who made it that only performance matters…The result is the best combination of performance and economy that money can buy – a serious car that advances the state of the automotive art.
In the specifications page for the 944, the car was priced as tested at $21,000, comparable to the Corvette. Options included leather sport seats and a digital AM/FM Cassette radio. The engine showed 143 HP and 137 torques at 3,000 rpm – and the article mentions that with peak torque so low, you don’t have to push it to the redline.
As for performance, it was tested at 0-60 in 7.5 seconds – pretty good for the time. It achieved 8.1g on the skidpad, and hovered around 25 mpg. By comparison, the 944 fared equally or better than three other cars of the day – the Chevrolet Corvette, the Alfa Romeo GTV6 and the Toyota Celica Supra.
In all, the article reveals nothing that we don’t know about the 1983 Porsche 944 – a great car in its day, and remaining to be a great car today.
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.