Here at 924S944.com, we are big fans of the rare 924S Special Edition released in 1988. It has all the things we love about these cars and it’s just unique enough to be special. We have a few of them here, so it is well past time to talk about these special cars, their history, and especially how to know if you found a good one.
Many Porsche models have had a “Club Sport” edition sometime in their life. These models were lighter, lower, and even faster than the stock car upon which they were based. The 2.0L 924 had several special editions, but since the 924S was only around for a couple of years, the 924S Special Edition was truly unique. There were 980 examples built worldwide, and 500 of so were sent to North America. It is one of the rarest production Porsches ever built, and it was produced for owners to go racing in Showroom Stock classes – and many were.
The 924S was the “entry level” Porsche in the mid-80’s. Advertised at $19,995, this “Under $20,000 Porsche” brought people into the showrooms around the country. Of course, the actual sticker price was closer to $25,000 with options, but Porsche sold a bunch of them in 1987 and into 1988 – almost 17,000, with a little over 9,000 to the U.S. (By comparison, a new 1988 Toyota Corolla would have set you back about ten grand.)
As for the 980 Club Sport cars produced, 500 with the option code M-756 came to the US in black only; 200 black and 50 white stayed in Germany; and the rest of the world got 113 black and 117 white cars with the M755 code.
The US cars were branded as “Special Edition” and spec’d out with manual steering, manual windows and locks, sunroof delete, passenger side mirror delete, power mirror delete, air conditioning delete, cruise control delete and radio delete. The standard 924S had 15×6″ wheels, but the SE’s got 15×6 front and 15×7 rear wheels with rear mud guards from the 924 Turbo. The front sway bar was 21.5mm and the rear was 20.0mm with stiffer front coils. They all had lightweight grey cloth upholstery on the seats and door panels and maroon carpets. Most North American cars were delivered with power steering, air conditioning and a Blaupunkt cassette radio added back in. A power sunroof and passenger mirror were offered as options.
For the rest of the world (ROW), black and white were the only colors available. Alpine White cars had grey/ochre interiors while the black cars had grey/turquoise flannel upholstery with turquoise piping. For the UK, right hand driver versions were produced – 37 black and 37 white for a total of 74 cars. UK cars got the “LeMans” side stripes.
The Special Edition: Today
In the past few years, the 944/924S series has shown a rise in popularity. There have been many articles saying that if you are going to buy a 924S, the Special Edition is the one to have. We agree, and we currently have six of them – Moe (above) and five others that are in the queue to be restored back to stock. So here are some things to think about if you are looking at finding and purchasing a rare SE. Remember that the value in these cars is originality and respect for original design and equipment – to have high value, which can be two or three times higher than a “regular” 924S, it has to be complete and original.
The thin grey and maroon cloth interiors did not do well in the past thirty-plus years. The cloth is thin and wore out from both use and sunlight in a rather short time. Even a well kept low miles interior did not last. So most of the SE’s that you will find out there have 1) covers on the seats, 2) different (black) seats or 3) reupholstery in a different cloth or vinyl. The interior is important to these cars, and having the proper grey cloth is important to the value and aesthetic of the car. A company in Germany, Werk924, periodically produces this cloth to reupholster the seats and door panels. It is, however, expensive – about a hundred euros per meter, and you need at least 5-6 meters to do one car. Then you have to get an upholstery shop to take on the job, which can be a bit tricky given the stripes and required angles in the seat. Plan on spending $1,600 or more to make the interior right.
Dashboards on almost every 924S are cracked. The SE is no exception. The common fix is a plastic dash cover, but if you want to go all-out, Werk924 will sell you a really nice new replacement without the cracks for…wait for it…about 1,800 euros. See Werk924.eu for more info on cloth and dashboards. Porsche also has NEW dashboards, but also in the US$1800 range. (Internet tip: Use Google Chrome to access these German sites and Chrome will translate the content!)
As Henry Ford said about the Model T: “You can have any color as long as it’s black.” That is true for our North American SE’s. If it has been repainted to a different color, it ruins the value. North American SE’s have to be black. The body has to be straight, and if the paint has been damaged, repainting is needed to preserve the value. The top and hood take the brunt of the damage from the sun, trees, birds and cheap car covers.
Look for aftermarket or non-Porsche parts like mirrors and wheels. SE’s should have 15 by 6″ and 7″ phone dials. They also have plastic cable-adjustable outside mirrors, although the passenger side mirror was an option that unfortunately many did not have. Anything else isn’t right. (Tires were originally 195-65/15. Wider tires are okay as long as you are not doing a scored concours.)
Make sure that the engine compartment is complete and to spec as delivered in 1988. Aftermarket air filters, colored plug wires and vacuum hoses, as well as other “enhancements” have no place in an original SE. Check the engine designation – it should be a M44/09 for a manual transmission car or a M44/10 for an automatic. Anything else is non-original and unacceptable. There were no “matching numbers” on these cars, but the engine model is important to ensure that you have the right 158 hp high compression engine. And yes, they did produce an unknown number of automatic Special Edition cars. We have one in the queue for restoration.
Does everything work? Drive, turn, stop, go all have to function as designed. Look for “deferred maintenance,” to include belts, fluids, brake service, clutch replacement, and air conditioning. These repairs can add thousands to the purchase price. These cars came with a rubber clutch disc that may be ready to fail. Clutch replacement is labor intensive and can be expensive.
So what is a good price for an SE? We see in some of these articles that prices of $20,000 to $25,000 are here. Right now in 2022, a nice, straight SE with less than 100,000 miles, good paint, and complete with mostly original equipment but needing interior work will be a good buy at between $10,000 and $15,000. Deferred maintenance, high mileage, non-standard parts and other problems subtract from that number.
We bought Moe in 2018 with 24,000 miles, decent original paint, torn/worn original interior but in good running condition. We did the belts, water pump, and brakes to be sure about everything. The interior needed the seats redone, which we did in the original/reproduction cloth. The door panels needed nothing, so we left them alone. The four speakers for the Blau were shot and were replaced, and the headlights were upgraded to Halogens. We also replaced a failed original rubber clutch with a new Sachs spring clutch kit. We had the hood, nose, front bumper and roof repainted due to rock chips and bird damage.
Moe will be for sale soon, but probably worth somewhere between $20K and $25K, with the value creeping up. Low miles, mostly original paintwork and interior with completely stock spec make it a pretty special car.
We recently sold a 60,000 mile original 924S Special Edition for $24,500. And at this writing (July 2022) there is one on BringATrailer. Check it here.
A Special Edition is great to drive and as we have found out it is a great conversation starter at club events and shows. Most people don’t even know they exist. They are struck by the interior design and the simple lines.
If you are looking for a “driver,” the SE may not be for you. They are rare enough that putting a few thousand miles a month on one may not be a good idea – just get a regular 944 or 924S and drive the wheels off it. (Our daily driver named “Sparky” is our rebuilt-title, 66K miles 87 924S.) But if you want a nice rare Porsche for club events and weekends, the SE may be for you. They are rare, increasing in value and a lot of fun for the money.
We had Moe out to a Dakotas Region PCA weekend in Rapid City, South Dakota last summer. Of the other 39 drivers there, only one or two had ever seen a 924S up close – no one had any idea that these Special Edition cars even existed. It was a big hit!
Questions about these great rare cars? Let us know – email at KRDuffy@924S944.com.
Information on the 1988 Porsche 924S Le Mans and the 1988 924S SE (US)
The 1988 924S SE (US) option code M756 and “Le Mans” (ROW) M755 were Club Sport editions aimed at autocross (US term for autotests to UK readers) and club racers. The final 924S RHD ‘run-out’ versions in 1988 for the UK (just 37 white and 37 black vehicles) had “Le Mans” logos with stripes on their flanks. Officially known at Porsche as the “Sportliches Sondermodell” (loosely translates as Sporting Special Model) their options package list M-755 was more complete than the Special Edition M-756 for the US.
Only 980 Club Sport option cars were built in total. 500 units M-756 for US black only, 250 GER 200 black and 50 white cars, 230 ROW 113 black and 117 white; totalling 480 units M-755.
ROW “Le Mans” Edition M-755:
Only on the final 74, Great Britian, RHD cars were the exterior side stripes broken by scripted ‘Le Mans’ logos on the lower part of the door, while the rims of the holes in each wheel were either in the Ochre (white cars) or Turquoise (black cars). Inside, all the cars featured cloth-upholstered “Turbo” sports seats, with the cloth door panels also colour-coded. They had the 360 mm (14.2 in) steering wheel and all the 74 British M-755 cars came with a 160 bhp (119 kW) engine plus an electric tilt/removable sunroof fitted as standard. They were lowered 10 mm (0.39 in) at the front and 15 mm (0.59 in) at the rear, and fitted with stiffer springs and gas-filled shock absorbers all round. They also had ‘Sport’ anti-roll bars with diameters of 21.5 mm (0.85 in) at the front but 20 mm (0.79 in), (rather than 14 mm (0.55 in)), at the rear. Wheels were ‘telephone dial’ cast alloy 6J x 15s at the front and 7J x 15s (at the rear).
ROW M-755 Paint finishes and interiors were also only offered in two colour choices – Alpine White with Ochre/Grey detailing and upholstery – or Black with Turquoise detailing and grey/turquoise upholstery. On ROW cars there was no Le Mans logo, nor striping and the phone dial wheels didn’t have colored outer rims of respectively ochre or turquoise. ROW Upholstery was the grey/ochre striped flannel cloth with ochre piping for Alpine White cars, or grey/turquoise flannel with turquoise piping for Black cars.
US market only 1988 924S SE, option code M756:
Black only paint scheme with optional SE Edition decal. Equipped with manual steering, manual windows and door locks, sunroof delete, radio delete, AC delete, cruise delete, passenger side door mirror delete, wider 15×7 phone dial alloys for the rear while retaining 15×6 in front, and the M030 package which included stiffer springs and Koni shocks. The cars had a unique lightweight gray knit cloth upholstery (same colour upholstered doors), (no sports seats) with maroon pinstriping, and maroon carpeting. The sunroof, A/C, cruise, power steering, passenger door mirror, and radio could be added back optionally.
In addition to the already upgraded standard equipment for model year ’88 (for example, electric mirrors, rear wiper, 160 hp engine with higher compression), the exclusive models were also delivered with the following extras:
Side protection strips in body color (M418); Rims painted in body color, wheel rim in turquoise or ocher (Great Britain and Japanese cars only), sport seats stock (M989), door panels in fabric (M526), removable electr. Targa roof (M650), sports suspension (M030), 4-spoke leather steering wheel 360mm (M431), splash guard corners (M360)
The M030 suspension includes Koni adjustable sports shocks, thicker torsion bars and stabilizers, adjustable springs and harder rubber mounts. The body was thus placed 10mm lower.
For England, the “924S Le Mans” was provided with a “Le Mans” lettering. celebrating the 12th LeMans victory of Porsche in 1987)
In Spain, this special model was christened “SPIRIT”. Spain received 15 black and 15 white specimen.
In Germany they were called “Exclusiv”.
Less then 15 1988 Porsche 924S Le Mans came to Canada. I have a black 5 speed 1988 Porsche 924S Le Mans in Victoria B.C.
The 20 copies for Japan were called: “Porsche 924CS” … “924 S Club Sport”
This Japanese limited model had some equipment different from world models, eg “bee sting” roof antenna. different front fenders, etc..
If you can find one of these cars, buy it, a great appreciating investment and fantastic driving experience.