So What Changed with the 944 in 1985 1/2?

We all know that the 944 came to North America in 1983 and was an instant hit.  We also know that it retained a lot of the earlier 924 aura – including the three-gauge dash and its seemingly-added-on center stack and console.  Then in the middle of the 1985 model year, things changed.  The “new” 944 had an “oval” dash, integrated console, and a few other changes that made it “better.”  The Series II 944 was born.

So what really changed with this mid-year revision?  Okay, aluminum control arms went with the updated interior.  But what else changed?

(The following is from a memo distributed on February 6, 1985, just prior to the release and delivery of the Series II car to dealers in North America.)

Changes on Model 944- 1985 Model Year

Engine

  • Modifications on the crankcase upper and lower sections/crankshaft bearings
  • New balance shafts and balance shaft bearings
  • Modified combustion chamber/piston crown shape
  • New cylinder head gasket
  • New camshaft
  • Modified exhaust valves
  • Ignition timing sensor
  • Larger engine radiator
  • Idle stabilization
  • New fuel collection pipe
  • New air flow sensor/DME control unit
  • New plastic splash guard for engine

Transmission

  • New transmission mounts
  • Modified transmission case
  • Mechanical/electrical speedometer drive

Running Gear

  • Cast aluminum front and rear axle links
  • New parking brake design
  • New die cast 7Jx15 wheel rims

Body

  • Windshield mounted flush
  • Windshield with integrated radio antenna
  • New engine compartment hood with modified braces
  • Heated windshield spray jets
  • Bolted front panel, new lock carrier
  • Modified front spoiler
  • Plastic front wheel house shells
  • New windshield wipers
  • New instrument panel and center console
  • New door trim panels and rear trim planels
  • New fuel tank (80 liters)
  • New seat generation
  • New car jack
  • Modified transmission mounts

Electrical System

  • New alternator, 115 Amp
  • New Electronic heater/air conditioner (Climate Control)
  • New AC Compressor
  • New electric outside mirror
  • New central electric
  • New instruments/wire harnesses
  • New plug connections
  • New radios
  • Modified electric fan circuit

These changes made the 944 a better car to most people, although the simplicity of the Series I 944 between 1983 and the middle of 1985 still make it desirable.  It is a matter of opinion.  However, the 924S shares many of its components with the earlier 944 Series I despite its 1987-88 production window.

So why does the 87-88 924S have the older dash, front suspension and transmission mounts, and also the older style electrical harnesses with the fuse box tucked up under the dash next to the steering column?  Easy answer – the 924S was a European 2.0L 924 into which Porsche stuffed the 944 engine and driveline.  In 1984, VW/Audi informed Porsche that they were not going to continue providing the 2.0 Audi engine for the 924 that they were still building for the European market.  So Porsche decided to continue the line with 944 2.5 engine and call it the “924S.”  It was offered to the North American market as an introductory model.  It was a marketing decision.  However, there were plans to build the 1989 924S with the updated Series II interior and the 2.7L engine.  See more here.

More than a new dash and console, the 1985.5 944 had a lot of changes, and they were for the better.

Author: Kevin Duffy, Author and Chief Geek

Kevin Duffy is a retired Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Daytona State College in Florida and a dedicated car guy. He now spends his time with Porsche 924S, 944's and 968's in his backyard shop. He is active in the Porsche Club of America, and he concentrates on 924S and the 924S Special Editions, doing rescues and restorations.

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