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931 Project Car: 1981 Porsche 924 Turbo

The Porsche 924 Turbo is a real-deal limited production model that has flown under the radar for years. Otherwise known by its internal chassis code 931, the turbocharged four-cylinder helped improve the humble performance of the naturally-aspirated model, which made do with a thrashy Volkswagen-derived four-cylinder. The car shown here is a 1981 model that made seven additional horsepower over the first year of 931’s, and the seller appears to be a mechanic’s shop that is offering the 924 as a project. You’ll find the turbocharged coupe listed here on craigslist for $5,500.

The 924 is one of the cheapest Porsches you can buy, and for obvious reasons. But what does it take to make an ordinary car special? For the turbocharged 924, the factory installed various upgrades to set this model apart from its naturally-aspirated siblings. This work started with the fuel system, incorporating larger fuel hoses and a second fuel pump. The suspension was also revised, incorporating stiffer springs, a thicker front sway bar, beefier torsion bars at the rear, rear wheel spacers, upgraded wheel bearings, a quicker ratio steering box, and wider alloy wheels. And that’s just the suspension!

Four-wheel disc brakes were added with parts harvested from the 911 and 928. But of course, the most dramatic changes came under the hood, and that NACA duct is your first clue that this isn’t a base model 924. The engine’s bottom end was virtually unchanged but the top end was substantially reworked. A single KKK K26 turbo was added while the Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection was carried over. An entirely new gearbox was designed for the turbo 924, incorporating a dogleg shift pattern, while a hydraulic clutch replaced the standard cable-operated unit. With all of these enhancements, the top speed rose to 140 miles per hour and 0-60 dropped to a very quick seven seconds.

Image courtesy of Super Car Nostalgia

The bodywork was also revised, with the grates in the front nose panel feeding air into the engine; the NACA duct providing cool air to the turbocharger; and additional vents in the lower front valence pushing air over the brakes. A rear spoiler was also installed that appears to be missing on this example. The subtle lip below the back glass looks like a standard 924 hatch to me, which may indicate the back glass was replaced at one point with a piece from a non-turbo 924 and the specific rear spoiler was lost. All of this is to say, the 924 Turbo is a very special car and one that delivers a memorable driving experience once the proper maintenance has been showered upon it. This example will likely need a lot, but it’s at a price point that makes it seem feasible as a budget-minded restoration candidate.


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    The crunched front valence and spoiler might require a closer look at the rest of the chassis. Fun cars if not all beat up.

    Like 1
  2. alphasud Member

    I think the seller is looking through rose colored glasses. His good condition looks like fair to poor condition. Reviving a K-jetronic car is never cheap. Reviving a beat up Porsche with K-jetronic is a serious investment. These are pretty rare cars but it still might be better to find a nice running example or maybe a 944 turbo which is twice the car in the 15K range.

    Like 5
  3. Hank R.

    Hi Guys,
    Be careful on this one. There are quite a few parts on these that are NLA, which mainly have to do with the running of the car. This is a mechanic shop that apparently can’t make it run. By the way, some of those parts can be rather expensive. Besides, it was merely the precursor to the 944 which can deliver the equivalent performance on an N/A platform without the angst.

    Like 4
    • Grant

      Couldn’t agree more. No matter how rare it is, a 944 is such a better buy, not to mention better car. This Auto Union leftover stuff is not worth your time or money. If it was all it is supposed to be cracked up to be, why hasn’t the repair shop fixed it for a nice profit? Just looking to unload it to some foolish person, just like trying to unload Bitcoin. A fool and his money are soon parted.

      Like 2
  4. Hank R.

    Just an FYI, that IS the standard hatch for the 931 with the abbreviated spoiler as opposed to the 944 which is much larger.

    Like 1
  5. steve

    VW engine? Umm..Audi…100LS. This was originally, as I understand, going to be a “Audi Super” or some such thing. That engine was also the base unit in the VW LT. Really ALL the liquid cooled “VW” engines were Audi. The Rabbit/Jetta inline first was used in the Audi Super 90 in about 1969. So..nothing really WRONG with the engine but then, nothing really RIGHT about it either. Beefing it up and installing a turbo? Ahh..OK…Buying a used one that doesn’t RUN? No..I’ll hold out for a later model 944 thanks…

    Like 2
    • alphasud Member

      The Audi 100LS used a pushrod engine even more crude than the 2 liter overhead camshaft engine.

  6. Hank R.

    The block goes back even further than the AUDI with it’s origins in a MBZ transporter of some kind. A word of caution here is that if you are in need of a crankshaft, there are two different main bearing sizes, ( just an example of how weird parts hunting can be for these, with the Porsche one having a steel crank. I could go on, and on…..and on with this. If there is no spark, and the mag sensor is bad (they are unique to the 931 only)…and most of them are bad……and on, and on…etc….lol

    Like 1
  7. chrlsful

    came for the 924/928 pricing and frnt engine. Like these cars for both. Never any other (well, OK a 911 too – if the i6).

    Here’s something to get interested in. Never a bath tub guy (or air cooled). Will wait for the particular 928 B4 thinking any deeper. I DO learn w/each one tho, so thnx yet again Jeff’n co.

  8. Mophil

    The cheapest Porsche you can buy is the most expensive Porsche you can buy.

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