1 of 250: 1988 Porsche 944 Celebration Edition

UPDATE – The seller has relisted this one here on eBay with no reserve!

FROM 11/6/18 – The seller of this 1988 Porsche 944 Celebration Edition makes a good point: is there a better bargain in limited-production classic Porsches than this, one of only 250 built and offered at only $8,500? Naturally, such a low price doesn’t come without caveats, but it’s mechanically fairly fresh and overall very complete. Find it here on craigslist in Westheimer, Texas—and then try finding another. Yes, when they’re this rare, finding one for sale is something to celebrate!

Okay, bring on the sad trombone: The biggest, and easily the coolest, distinguishing factor of a Celebration Edition car is missing from this one. That would be the “Studio” cloth interior, a gray or burgundy plaid with matching carpets and leatherette trim; it’s not the hardest-wearing stuff in the world, and this car was said to have been stored outdoors for several years by a previous owner, which probably necessitated the reupholstery job, but it’s a bummer to lose such a distinctive part of what makes this special edition, well, special.

Otherwise, the Celebration Edition is basically a standard-issue 944 with a few nice extras like foglamps, an electric sunroof, and “phone dial” alloy wheels thrown in. And yes, that’s 944—not 944S or 944 Turbo. The big, balance shafted 2.5-liter inline four was upgraded for 1988 to produce 158 horsepower, 11 more than the year before, and it’s mated to a proper five-speed manual in this example. The seller provides a long list of repairs that have been made to this car to bring it back from its neglect under previous ownership, including the all-important timing belt service; the only items still outstanding are a power steering fluid leak and old tires. While $8,500 is on the higher side for a garden-variety 944 (Celebration Edition provenance notwithstanding), the list of repairs and maintenance done make a solid argument in favor of this car’s value proposition.

While it may not be as fast as an S or Turbo, the basic 944 was still one of the most celebrated sports car packages of its time, with near-perfect weight distribution and stellar handling. The Celebration in question for this special edition was to mark the production of 100,000 924s and 944s at the Neckarsulm factory, and this neat example shows why they were worthy of such popularity. Now, if only it had that plaid interior…

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  1. Billy007

    This is so much nicer and by far better priced then any old rotten 356. Save money, buy this car, and DRIVE…not invest, not show off how much money you have, not spend years waiting to drive. This is the kind of car you could take on a nice trip with your wife in comfort and reliability, plus have luggage space to spare. Don’t be caught floating in the bubble when it suddenly bursts and lets you fall great distances to a hard hard floor. You CAN have a Porsche and still be fiscally prudent and look sharp doing it.

    • exbenzo tech

      I had no idea that Porsches were known for comfort and reliability.
      “fiscally prudent” got me really laughing hard.
      Since I used have a shop, fixing them provided much COMFORT in my life.

      • Billy007

        You don’t say.

      • Billy007

        Come on, we are talking 10K vs 100K+, how can it not be a better buy?

  2. graham line

    Routine scheduled maintenance on a 944 can be expensive. I don’t remember them being particularly unreliable. Very comfortable for a long drive.

  3. JD

    Car is in Houston, TX. Westheimer is a major road on the west side of Houston. There is no town in Texas named Westheimer.

    • Chen Lee

      Probably a hurricane (submurged) survivor that they’ve held onto for a year, so that people with a short memory have forgotten about.

  4. Wrong Way Member

    I started a serious search for a 911 about a year ago, and I have to admit my eyes keep turning towards the 944? Something about the long front end and overall style of the 944 just might win!

  5. Robert Mitchell

    Being a service advisor at Carrera Porsche-Audi in the 1980’s in El Paso was a great job for me. I was in my early 30’s and had the keys to many, many Porsche’s handed to me. The 944 was a huge improvement over the 924. It handled well and felt good at whatever speed you found yourself at. I also really liked the 944 styling compared to the 924. If you could find yourself a nice 944 today, buy it!

    • Billy007

      You betcha! Best value in a P Car going, by far. Of course it doesn’t have the snob appeal that so many crave and demand, hence the silly prices for the older models. A non turbo is the way to go, too. These are drivers cars and for a small fraction of a 911 or ratty 356, you can have a real driving car. Plus it won’t make your wife a widow as the goofy rear engine models often do.

  6. Louis

    Agreed. I am very tempted to buy this 944. The 944 can be a great buy. It’s pretty much depreciated. Find one with service records and the lower the mileage the better. I have found that once you hit 100k-120k miles you could be in for expensive engine work (top end and/or bottom end). Unless it was driven very carefully or someone else has put in the money before you. I have had two 944s (a base and a turbo) and an 88 924S (same engine as this 88 944). The 944 S2 is different. Reliability is very good with higher mileage. Make sure the belts were done. Having said all that, the absolute best buy for around $10k is by far the modern, yet analog, Boxster 986 (base or S). Mid-engine, super reliable (monitor the IMS bearing with a magnetic plug and open the filter element after each oil change) up to 200K miles and higher. I have owned three 986 and currently have a 2002 Boxster S. If you have $20k, then the 996 first generation is a must. skip the boxsters and the 944s. Again, maintenance records and monitoring the IMS bearing is key. The whole thing is totally exaggerated. It won’t just explode on you (see the 4 pca videos online on the IMS bearing issue). You are better off to buy a car in perfect condition and not had the IMS bearing replaced, because you just don’t know if the guy before you already had engine damage. If he has the filter elements to prove then fine. Otherwise, buy one well maintained and get the IMS done, if you really have to for peace of mind. But the magnetic plug and the filter inspection will give you the early warning you need. Don’t over react. The 911s are really in a league of their own. Drive one and you will understand. It is the ultimate Porsche. The 996 is longer, wider, lower, faster and cheaper to maintain that the 993s (and 964s and 911s).

  7. Chris

    I have a 29k mole barn find that I’ve gone through extensively. Only needs new shocks and a couple minor trim items to be completed. No leaks, freezing cold A/C and drives like a dream ITV anyone is looking for a Celeb. And yes has correct interior!

  8. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    Great cars, I miss my ‘86 and ‘88 lots. I think fondly of them.
    Great driving position and all round fun thing.

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