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44 Original Miles: 1985 Porsche 944

It’s hard to say what specifically drives someone to put a brand new car away just hours after buying it, never to use it again. Whatever the motivation was behind mothballing this 1985 Porsche 944 with 44 orignal miles on it was, I’m sure the owner wishes they had taken the same approach but purchased a G-body 911 Carrera instead. That car would be worth well into the deep six figure range; this 944? That’s up for debate. Find the brand new 944 here on the GAA Classic Cars website.

Since I wasn’t of the age to be buying a new car in 1985, I can’t tell you whether the car world was abuzz with anticipation about the 944. I can’t imagine it was, because even when new, it had to have been obvious this was still considered the entry level Porsche, with its four-cylinder, front-engined design. The Turbo would come later, and if this car happened to be one of those, we would be looking at a totally different price point for a potential sale price. As a naturally-aspirated example, the final number will be much different.

I often wonder when someone is in the position to buy a brand-new car that isn’t exactly cheap to purchase and then sit on it for a few decades, did they have the means to buy a different model? While it may not have been evident at this point that a turbocharged 944 was waiting in the wings, you had to walk right past the 911 in the showroom to buy this car. Using rough math, the 944 was around $13,500 at the top of the range in 1985, which works out to about $40,000 today in inflation-adjusted dollars. However, a 911 – at its base price of around $30,000 in ’85 – would have cost close to $85,000 in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Obviously, that’s a pretty big gulf in terms of original MSRP, so it begins to make more sense as to why the purchaser may not have made the jump to a 911. Still, given where prices have ended up, one can’t wonder if it would have been a better investment to live with payments for a few years given what an equivalent 911 would sell for today. Regardless of the outcome, it shows you that the idea of using a car as an investment was alive and well in 1985, and the final number here will tell us if mothballing a 944 was a smart move – or simply a missed opportunity to enjoy a fine driver’s car. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Jason Belvedere for the find.

Comments

  1. Real enthusiast “

    Always liked these. Many don’t, and that’s alright. Probably stored as an “investment.” Low ROI compared to other investment opportunities

    Like 5
  2. HoA Howard A Member

    Take 2,,, even someone like me can tell its certainly original. My favorite Porsche, in that, it( finally) had a ,to me, conventional setup. Front engine, trans, rear drive, like Panhard intended way back in 1895. I always wondered how strict Porsche fans felt about the 944. Unconventional in every way. Like Bug fans about the Rabbit, or the TR7, oops, too far, anyway, sat for multitude of reasons, the most plausible, someone, dying perhaps, in denial decided to give ‘er one more fling, and never made it and it sat all these years.
    44 miles, hmm, I wonder what those first 40 miles entailed? Some great lot boy or test drive stories, I bet. Sitting, especially that long, with no prior service, never good. Still, nice enough, it could be done, just make sure that AAA policy is up to date,, Very nice car, what a rush it must be to drive.

    Like 5
    • Danno

      I also have always liked these, I find the LS swaps more appealing these days. The rear transaxle always seemed “exotic” in my mind.

      Like 1
    • Jon.in.Chico

      Sold these in Baton Rouge in the ’80s … nice demo car, but preferred the “S” or Turbo … all 944s are one of the most overlooked sports cars … great bang for the buck … Turbo was driven at 140mph for twenty-four hours and only lost ½ quart oil (dipstick was loose) … definitely not a 911 but a great sports car …

      Like 0
  3. Wademo

    “purple haze, all through my brain!!!”

    Like 3
    • Greg

      The question is, what will it take to get this car road ready? It’s never good to sit any vehicle that long. I’d have a through inspection on this one to know what it may need and to see if it’s operating properly. I know the reserve is probably high because it hasn’t been driven.

      Like 0
  4. luckless pedestrian

    Welcome to the Boomtown…

    Like 2
    • Danno

      Pick a habit, we got plenty to go around…

      Like 1
  5. JD Scott

    @Jeff Lavery. Where are you fact checking the price of a new 1985 944 at $13,500 and a 911 at $30,000? They were much higher than that figure. Please do more research before publishing an article with incorrect intel.

    Like 8
    • luckless pedestrian

      Hmmm… in 1985 Porsche 911 MSRP ranged from $28K to $85K (930 Turbo Coupe). Base price of 1985 944 was $9200 to $13.5K… Easy to verify on the interwebs…

      Like 3
      • mrgreenjeans mrgreenjeans

        you are WAY off on these perspectives.
        WAY off on values….. do your research please

        Like 3
      • luckless pedestrian

        Ha, ha… this is where AI assisted searches can get one into trouble… so although I requested original MSRP values for the 944, the search “hallucinated” the current 2023 “values”… Actual 1985 MSRP was in the range of $21.5K to $25K depending… The original MSRP for the 944 Turbo ranged from $37K to $43.5… but this is not the car being discussed here…

        Like 2
      • FRM

        MSRP for a 1984 944 was about $21k. I bought one new at MSRP in September of 1983. So the 1985 had to be around $24K for the base model. The 19851/2 had the new interior. The 1984 had the 924 interior. The 1986 944 Turbo base was about $29,500. I bought one of those new in January of 1986 and took delivery of it in June 1986 in Stuttgart at the 911/928 factory. 944’s were not assembled there but were assembled by Audi somewhere down the road. I saved $5k taking Euro delivery and Porsche paid the plane fare from Chicago. Base price was within $1000 of a base 911. Test drove both. The 944 Turbo was a better car in my view. But an equivalent 911 is worth far more now. Also IMO the 944 was a nicer, more balance handling car that the 944 Turbo. It was damn near viceless. Almost impossible to get into trouble with. Can’t say that about the 944 Turbo.

        Like 2
    • Sam

      Agreed. My dad bought a 1984 300zx 50th edition and that was around $30k, give or take. I remember the 944 being just slightly under (non turbo, 2 valve). The turbos were more. 911s even more. Tried to get him to make the jump. When you’re a kid, money grows on trees. Now I know his pain.

      Like 2
    • Dave Westerman

      I bought a brand new 1985 944 equipped much like this for in the $25,000.00 price bubble.
      As far as desirability goes Car and Driver magazine called it “the best handling car in the world”.
      It did drive and handle better than any car I had ever driven, but when maintenance and repair time came up it was Porsche expensive. $1,500.00 1991 radiator anyone?????

      Like 1
  6. Mark nathenson

    My 1984 Porsche loaded 928 was just under 50k and my 1988 BMW 535 i was 38k so I question the $13,500 price… just saying…

    Like 3
  7. Elbert Hubbard

    What happens to the inside of the engine, transmission, etc. after sitting around for 39 years? Hopefully I won’t offend the Porsche aficionados by suggesting this is a fancied up Volkswagen. Perhaps it wasn’t stored for future financial gains, maybe the purchaser didn’t understand “Fahrvergnügen: It’s what makes a car a Volkswagen”.

    Like 4
    • bill tebbutt

      Well, that depends a lot on how it was stored. At the extreme, if it hasn’t been started once since it was put away, well half of its valves would have been sitting open all this time with their springs compressed – so, seats and valves may be corroded, and springs could be knackered. Front and rear seals, oil pan gasket, water pump bearing etc may all be in need of renewal. These are just the obvious things. If the motor was properly fogged when stored and started an re-fogged periodically then the internal engine issues probably wouldn’t arise. However, how you could fog a fuel injected motor is beyond me…..

      In terms of the gearbox, front and rear seals may leak, pan gasket may leak. Clutch disc corroded onto the flywheel is a possibility.

      Other things? Hoses are darn near 40 years old now, as are belts. M/c and calipers and brake fluid could be problematic. Coolant system presumably retains its original antifreeze, so who knows what its corrosion-provision capabilities have been in the last 20 years? Tires are not safe at this point

      Dealer site is free of any details other than “serviced recently”. So to me, the value of the car would vary greatly based on what service has been performed……

      Great cars with that great big 4

      bt

      Like 4
  8. Jamie

    Sometimes storing a car for decades has nothing to do with the cars value, an “investment”, or future values. Sometimes life just gets in the way, and if the owner is wealthy? The car sits and ages.. I personally know of two such cars…

    1957 Packard. Loaded. My step grandfather had started a roofing company when he was 16, and it really took off. He was suddenly very rich, so he bought this car, brand new, as a Christmas gift for his mom. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out… She passed away three days before Christmas. He put the car in a detached garage, on his property, and there it sat until he passed away in 2010.

    1967 Chevelle SS….Pete, a distant relative, had just finished his first tour in Vietnam. He was Airborne if I recall correctly. It was 1967, he was 25 yrs old and he’d saved his money. He bought the car brand new. Drove around for a week, then re-upped, and was back in Vietnam. He never made it home. His dad put the car in the barn and left it sit. It was a maroon convertible and to me, a kid, it was the coolest car in the world. It was still in that barn in 2004, but I lost track of it. I’m sure someone got it. It probably had 100 miles on it.

    Like 10
  9. mrgreenjeans mrgreenjeans

    So much erroneous info thus far.
    This is a brand new car. It was bought the following year I bought mine; rather it was ordered in 1983 and because of the extremely attractive price of 18,500 when released in 1982 in Europe first, none in America sold for that. One was put on a wait list with the deposit money usually around 1,000 to 2500 OVER list or Monroney window sticker. They were in huge demand as the factory was making all it could to keep up with demand, initially. I paid 28,500 for my new car I waited a year and a half for. On the list with a 1500 dollar ‘bump sticker’ as profit for the dealer. Road/Track, Car and Driver, AutoWeek, Motor Trend were all giving rave reviews to a world anticipating the greatest handling sports car they had ever known. Rock solid, relatively inexpensive, pretty, great handling, and a nimble trackside participant as 911 owners bought them as their daily driver.
    I still own mine as well as 7 more bought when they reached silly low pricing around 15 years ago. I also own an ’89 turbo (951), a 911 Carrera from ’88, and an early 2.0 liter 914. There really are NO bad Porsches at some point in their life; only neglect and misuse/abuse will take away their performance or desirability. These 2.5 liter four cylinder, Porsche designed engine models were, and still are known, as tremendous athletes and a ‘momentum’ sports car. Not horrifically fast (135 mph) but agile and quick in the corners. They are very durable cars IF properly maintained. To the right collector, THIS very car will be highly appealing and trade hands at a large number. Not everyone puts their socks on the same way ~

    Like 12
  10. JD Scott

    Guess my post wasn’t allowed?

    Like 0
  11. Allgonquin

    Greenjeans is correct. 944’s were introduced about the time I got my first engineering job and I was seriously considering one. At intro, IIRC, the price was like $19,995, and dealers were marking up due to demand. Too much money for a newly minted engineer.

    Like 3
  12. JAB Cars Member

    I think you may have got bad information on what these cars sold for new. Here is a original window sticker of a 1985 944 non turbo and equipped very similar to the car shown here. Coincidencly it was sold within 25 miles of the one shown. It shows a base price of $22,950 and with the options for a total of around $27,000.

    Like 1
  13. Evan

    This is the source I use for original MSRP

    https://www.michigan.gov/sos/vehicle/ownership/vehicle-base-prices

    And according to my source, the 1985 944 5-speed was $22,950 and the 911 started at $31,950.

    Like 1
  14. mrgreenjeans mrgreenjeans

    A few notes on the options in this 944. It has the base wheels which are cast aluminum made by ATS. Way more appealing and desired are the forged alloy made by FUCHS, but were not often seen on the 44s. It has the M404 handling package (sway bars only with upgraded shocks) which is better than a stock set up as it provides a less firm ride than the coveted M456 handling/sport shock (heavy bars and adjustable Konis) group. It does not have the 4 spoke Sport steering wheel which many find superior to the 3 spoke (some of mine have 3 spoke, but most are the Sport wheel and there IS a difference) It is in Guards Red which is a great color, but it seems like over 50% built were in that color. (I love them all). The one option it has which is quite uncommon is the upgraded Blaupunkt Monterey stereo. People are giving their eye teeth for them on the secondary market today, something only purists understand because the sound quality is really quite subpar. But it is an original unit and desired and somewhat rare. The real appeal here is the brand new condition. Lets face it folks, NO one is going to buy this car to drive. It will be a pristine Concours entered car and used to compete with in Porsche Club events. Other than the Factory Museum having zero or low mile cars, this is but a handful around the world that has delivery miles only. The articles in the glove box, hang tags, books, baggie with spare wheel nut, are all items people strive to remain with the car untouched and unused. If one wants a 944 to drive and enjoy on nice summer days, this is not it. It is really on another plane entirely and the final bidding on it will bear out that truth…..

    Like 6
  15. mrgreenjeans mrgreenjeans

    Several other noted options are the rear window wiper/washer system, the front headlight squirter-washers, and sunroof which other than the ’82 and ’83 cars, was electrically operated. The first ones were manual and tipped up only. It also has cruise control. The other details which are immediately apparent are the unworn leather interior trims which appear MINT and the uncracked vinyl dash. Ultraviolet lighting and warm temps absolutely wreaked havoc on any 944 left outside. Best wishes to the owner on the sale of this unit and even more Best wishes to the new owner…… this type of sale is one which never seems to happen in today’s world

    Like 2
  16. justpaul

    I can certainly understand walking past the 911 to buy the 944 if the intent was to drive it. Not sure why someone would see this as a viable long-term, nearly 40 year, investment, but to each their own.

    Even under the best of storage conditions I’d be worried about the electronics being any good. And the seals. Get her hot and she may die, or leak like a sieve.

    Let’s go find out!

    Like 0
  17. Dale

    Possibly one of the lowest mileage mid 80s 944s on the planet. Amusing to see comments about original components on a ultra low mile 80’s car being no good any longer, meanwhile ultra low mileage examples of all makes/models from the 50s, 60s, 70, and 80s sell all the time and are highly desirable by collectors. For perspective, in 2022 two similar red NA 944s both sold for $66k, one with 6,000 miles and the other with 2,500 miles, so I would this one with 00,044 miles will do in the $75k to $95k range.

    Like 2
  18. Dale

    PS: After re-reading the comments I think lots of people don’t look at the photos on the auction site, because if you look at the undercarriage photos it looks assembly-line like-new underneath, and the only why you can achieve that over four decades is with proper storage conditions.

    Like 2
  19. Dale

    My initial post was removed, not sure why, it didn’t violate any rules, just informative. This is possibly the lowest mileage mid 80s 944 on the planet. Ultra low-mile old cars sell all the time and the collectors aren’t worried about original components, on the contrary untouched is often preferred. If similar NA 944s with 2k miles and 6k miles recently sold for $66k at auction, I don’t see why this one wouldn’t bring $75k to $95k.

    Like 1
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      All comments from first timers go into moderation until we can review them.

      Like 0
  20. Dale

    Thanks, not a first time poster, but maybe I used different email in the past, no worries, just ignore my double post.

    Like 0

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