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911 Alternative? 1981 Porsche 924 Turbo

There was a time, not long ago, where I was damn sick and tired of turbocharging. It’s become fairly commonplace, offered as means of replacing actual displacement and turning once-glorious engines into timid, four-cylinder versions of their former selves. Lately, though, I’ve been loving the idea of an 80s coupe or sedan with a factory-built turbo engine under the hood, mainly for the novelty factor given relatively few automakers were equipping vehicles in that manner. Take this 1981 Porsche 924 Turbo here on eBay, for example, which actually offered up performance that made a formidable effort to change the minds of 911 shoppers.

Now, let’s be honest: those were very different cars, and it was mainly the Euro-spec examples that offered the more compelling driving experience and the potential to spook a 911 driver. That said, the 924 was a relatively homely car using left-overs from the VW and Audi parts bins, so slapping a turbocharger on it actually gave it something of a personality. The NACA duct on the hood helped too, as do the mesh wheels and “Porsche” heckblende on the rear tail panel.

This example is in Massachusetts at the moment, but is claimed California car with what looks like a very nice body. The engine is equipped with a KKK K26 turbocharger, good for just shy of 150 b.h.p. It’s shame that we didn’t get the European-market version, as those cars made far more power and weren’t saddled with safety bumpers and fun-sucking emissions equipment. Still, it was a major step up for 924 buyers hungry for better performance without having to buy a 944.

The seller notes the 924 benefits from a decent amount of recent maintenance, including a new timing belt, tie rods, coolant flush, and more, totaling $2K in maintenance in the past year. The interior looks quite nice with plenty of “Turbo” branding to remind you you’re not driving the plebian’s 924. The bids are quite low right now, still under $3K with the reserve unmet. Will this boosted 924 clear $5,000?


  1. Avatar photo Coventrycat

    They looked cheap then, and they look cheap now. The 944 styling is only marginally better.

    Like 1
  2. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    Belt cam and interference engine, better have a good Porsche mechanic and deep pockets. It’s as if Porsche said, “our fan cooled cars are lasting too long, we need to jump on the belt bandwagon for more service”.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Alex Willis

      Or how about “this old rear engined designed really does have terrible and dangerous handling, and air cooled engines are difficult to keep developing and still meet emissions standards, and we really could do with a cheaper alternative in our product range.”

      Yeah I know, sounds boring.

      Like 0
  3. Avatar photo Greg

    Since when is 80k “low miles”?

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Alex Willis

      When it’s nearly 40 years old. That’s only 2000 miles per year. Most 924’s and 944’s have gone around the clock at least once. (only 5 digit odometer)

      Like 0
  4. Avatar photo mrobin

    I thought the 924 wasn’t a interference engine. The 924S I know was because it used the 944 engine. I could be wrong, i’m a brit car guy not a P car expert.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Dean

      2.0 litre Audi engine is non interference. 924S used the 2.5 litre Porsche engine and it is. This looks like a decent deal

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo Alex Willis

        The 2.0 n/a is non interference, but the redesigned head on the 2.0 turbo engines made it interference.

        Like 0
  5. Avatar photo bobhess Member

    Colors make a huge difference in these cars. This color was on every 4 door Chevy those years and takes the sport out of the sports car. Audi engine was a good one. Wife’s grocery cart for several years was a deep metalic maroon ’77 with gold wheels and accent trim with a ’78 European special edition engine. What a difference that made!

    Like 1
  6. Avatar photo Wayne

    I was able to drive one of the first 924 Porsche cars in the country. It was a test car sent over from Germany. I told my Porsche rep. buddy, “That I was glad that I bought a new Scirocco”. I liked the handling and driver comfort. I was not impressed with the power. I have never driven one of the Turbo 924s. But do like the 944 but it could still use a little more HP and torque for my tastes.

    Like 0
  7. Avatar photo chris

    Bidding on it to match the same car I already have and drive!

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Rob Leiser

    I paid $150 bucks for one many years ago. Used a Junk Yard head to replace the cracked one. I Can say I owned a Porsche.

    Like 0
  9. Avatar photo thomas m ohalloran

    I was prowling the streets of Burlington, Vt in my 77 924 when a girl pulled up along side of me in her Datsun 240Z and asked me if I wanted to run it. Shamefully I declined. I too preferred my Sciroccos to that car. .I had a 75, a 77, a 78, a 79 and an 82.

    Like 0

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