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944 Rescue Mission

A couple of weeks ago 924S944.com acquired a 1984 944 NA – they were all “NA” in ’84 – that was in okay shape, but needed some love.  We call these “rescue puppies.”  They are not parts cars, but they are not in good enough shape to go play with the other dogs…they need some help.  I will describe this one:

  • IMG_0660Paint – not too bad, although it looks like someone’s large dog (dare I say coyote?) worked on the plastic air dam in front of each front wheel.  “Porsche Chew Toy”
  • Engine – strange and occasional “no start” reported, although the car started when I got there and has started each time ever since.  (The starter sounds a little tired, though)
  • Transaxle – seems to shift well with no noises.  Clutch seems good
  • Brakes – pads look a little threadbare, although the rotors are good
  • Fluids – fresh
  • Tires – 2016 manufacture with plenty of tread
  • Interior – strange faded colors, looks like it may have been black at one time.  Seats dirty but okay otherwise
  • Special problems:
    • Hatch does not open
    • No key for hatch lock
    • Looks like someone tried to paint the top of the rear spoiler with no real success
    • Battery box leak, wet passenger floor back to the rear seat
    • Runners on passenger front seat rusted in place, halfway between all the way up and all the way back, hiding all the mounting bolts
    • Odometer not working (what a surprise!)
    • Driver’s door window shattered, in the door, held together by tint film
    • Sunroof inoperative
    • Steering wheel center missing
    • Sun visors look like empty plastic bags – floppy
    • No inside rear view mirror
    • Seat belts scary – frayed on the edges
    • Horrible faded, cracked, nasty “PORSCHE” center tail light insert
  • Good news
    • Fuel pressure regulator and fuel damper new
    • Water pump and belts, etc. are recent
    • New reference sensors
    • Good battery
    • Good oil pressure, running conditionIMG_0658

So we brought it home to diagnose and repair.  Here at 924S944.com, we don’t “restore” cars, but instead we try to bring them back to good, solid running condition where everything works as designed.  We try to make them into good daily drivers with no excuses, but not “show cars.”  (That said, we don’t spend a lot of time on the rear window defrosters, rear window wipers or cruise control.  They just take too much money and time to diagnose and repair, if we can repair them at all.  You know – we have failed too  many times!)

So here is what we have done so far:

  • Replace the broken door glass with a used glass
  • Strip the tint from the passenger window so that it matches the untainted window we just installed
  • Removed the horrible rear center tail light thing
  • Sealed the leaky battery box (steel wasn’t compromised – a crack developed, and we treated the whole box with a couple of coats of Flex-Seal
  • Removed both front seats, replaced the track that was rusted
  • Dyed the carpet to a single shade of black.  The carpet is actually in good shape, just several shades of fade
  • Purchased a new hatch lock, installed it after getting the hatch open
  • Aligned the hatch so that it would open with the key
  • Replaced the visors and the header, put in a new dome light
  • New hatch seal
  • New rear hatch shocks
  • New sunroof seals, blew out the drains
  • Had the speedo/odometer repaired
  • Cleaned the interior
  • Replaced the rear hatch wiper delete plug
  • New brake pads
  • Charge the AC
  • Repaired the sunroof mechanisms
  • Ordered new front Lloyd’s floor mats
  • Replaced the windshield washer motor and the wiper relay
  • Wax
  • Clean and polish the Cookie Cutter wheels, repainted the alloy lug nuts
  • New door speakers
  • New aftermarket replacement seat belts

All of this added about $1300 to the cost of the car, plus about 60 hours of work.  But our finished product is a pretty good 1984 944 that will be posted for sale at NortNortham.com in Winter Park sometime after March 1.  We still have a few things on the list, and there are bound to be a couple of little hiccups that we just have not yet discovered.  But that is part of the process.  We also have to figure out why the sunroof does not work – but we have a lot of luck with them, so…


This is a typical rescue of an old 944 – it was actually in pretty good shape when we got it from a run-go-stop-turn standpoint, but needed cosmetic and operational help to make it a nice car.  Yes, there are still chew marks in front of the front wheels, but everything works well.  It will make someone a nice Series I 944.

The determining factors in this rescue talk about things like mechanical condition, availability of used parts (we have plenty) and NOT having to hire people to work on it.  Here at 924S944.com, we are uniquely positioned to take advantage of these downhill-sliding-cars and hopefully bring them back from the edge.  A car with body damage or rust, bad paint or serious mechanical issues can be too far gone – and you have to remember that when thinking about taking on a project.

Our next rescue is a 1987 944S with a horrid rod knock, bad interior and some issues with the paint.  The rest of the driveline is okay, and the car is complete.  We will pull the engine and rebuild it in our shop, clean it up, do some magic in the interior and we may even attempt a vinyl wrap – never done that before, but in the words of Jeremy Clarkson, “How hard can it be?”  We may find out.  And this rescue will stay in the 924S944.com stable for a while so that we can keep Sparky, our insurance-totaled-and-rescued low-miles 924S from accumulating too many miles.

Watch for updates!

Kevin Duffy, Author and Chief Geek View All

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.

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