Buying the Best: 1978 Porsche 924

924a

Most of the Porsche 924s I see are fairly ratty, a phenomenon you can blame on years of stagnant values. That’s why it makes good sense to either be a wrencher and buy the cheapest, non-rusty example you can find, or spend a bit more to get the best of the breed. This low mileage 924 here on eBay seems to fall in the latter camp, costing a bit more up front but also seeming to be quite nice inside and out. 

924b

Right off the bat, the interior is better than most 924s I have seen in recent memory. The shift knob and gear shift boot look mint, and the OEM-correct VDO gauges are clear and accounted for. It also looks like it retains its stock headunit, a darn near impossible find these days. Tan leather and carpet is hard to keep clean, but this car doesn’t appear to be a victim of cosmetic neglect.

924d

While not nearly as powerful as the later 944, the 924s can still make entertaining drivers. This example has only a tick over 30,000 miles and the seller says it’s good enough to be a daily driver. Still, I would request (and expect) a stack of maintenance paperwork for a claim like that, and a pre-purchase inspection would good sense for a pricier example.

924c

The original 924 wheels are still present and the paint retains good shine and looks consistent across the panels. The seller says that a potential buyer flaked out, so perhaps there is potential to work out a deal if you prove you’re serious with a stack of cash. The 924s have been priced quite low for a while, and I suspect examples like the “S” models will work their way higher. This may never be a particularly valuable car, but it could make for a reliable, fun project. What do you think – buy this one or hold out for project example at a lower price?

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Comments

  1. randy

    I love the “not as powerful” as the 944!
    I am sure by now you folks know how I feel about these “fine fine” “cars”,

    I’d choose a 924 over the 944 any day of the week, but that is not saying much.

  2. Kevin

    This in NOT a 924S. 924S were produced in 1987 only
    (also in 1988 in EU). This is a 924 NA. A very clean one but with the Audi/Porsche 4 cyl engine and not the 944 all Porsche engine.

    • D. King

      I don’t think it’s represented as a 924S. I see it as 924s, as in the plural of the 924.

  3. jim s

    the seller also has a ” the prince regent pen by mont blanc ” for sale for $ 3400.

    • randy

      Now that’s funny!

      $6900.00 for a 924 is outrageous, he’ll never get that kind of money. Maybe you can get them both for an even 10K?

      • Dave Wright

        I saw several nice 924’s in Europe for 12-15,000 euros. Last fall. There were even some parked in the Porsche Factory worker parking structure.

      • randy

        I bet parts are cheaper there too, working in a Porsche factory. Weren’t these marketed as Audis over there? I know they had the Audi 4 circles on the engines.

      • Dave Wright

        No…..I don t remember them ever marketed as Audi…….but they were a product of the German Auto Confederation that included all the German manufacturers except BMW so there were similarities in engineering if nothing else. I was never a big fan of them but I think they had an undeserved bad reputation for quality. In the old days……we didn’t really welcome them into the Porsche circles. The 914’s were marketed as Volkswagens.

  4. Dave Wright

    I took a photo of one last November parked at a promenant location in front of a famous casino in Baden Baden.

  5. randy

    A Porsche is “air cooled”! imo

    I drove a 928S-4, and I was almost impressed. They have a sweet engine tone though.

    • Dave Wright

      VW’s were air cooled until they couldn’t squeeze any more horsepower out of them. I have driven many 928’s, owned a couple, and like them a lot. They are big cruisers that are easy and comfortable at speed unlike the 911 cars that you have to pay attention to. I am looking for a 996 for my wife right now. Another water cooled Porsche. The early water cooled Porsche’s came about when an American….Schmitz….I think ran the company. He had been the CEO of Cummins diesel and had to learn German after he got the job……I used to tease my German buddies about an American being in charge.

    • MikeG

      I haven’t met anybody that wasn’t impressed after driving an S4! One of the great sport touring cars.

      • randy

        Now you have! The 928 is/was way too heavy, and the engine not durable enough for my taste. The 928’s could not keep up with many of the muscle cars of the 60’s in a straight line. There are probably some 60’s era cars that could out perform it on a track as well. Very expensive to maintain, and if something broke, fugitaboutit. I realize that some guys don’t have any money issues, but most people do.

        The emperor has no clothes. Still

      • Dave Wright

        Not everyone can afford the best……….I have driven mine at 150 MPH + for hours on the autobahn in total air conditioned comfort with all (13?) stereo speakers churning. It is a wonderful experiance. They were never intended to be a dragster or track car. That was what the 930 was built for.

    • MikeG

      The 928S4 was the fastest non turbo production car for 1987 at 171 mph on the Bonneville flats. It was designed as a sport luxury car not a drag racer.

      I can’t imagine any 60’s production car that could stay up with that car on a track, that’s a crazy comment! 1960’s cars, (especially American cars) had very primitive suspensions compared to that of an 80’s Porsche.

  6. Bill

    I almost traded in my 76 Chevy Monza coupe for one of these. Until I drove it. Slow and unresponsive. They also had a tendency to overheat. Glad I kept the Chevy. Wound up putting over 120k on it. It thrived on neglect

  7. alphil

    Hey Randy,I have never driven a 924 or 944 and know nothing about them,so why the preference of a 924?

  8. randy

    The 944 uses a 4L engine with counter balance shafts, because a 4 litre 4 cylinder engine vibrates badly. The optimum displacement for a 4 cyl. inline engine is 2 litres. The 944 utilizes two timing belts, one for the cam, and the other for the balance shafts. It is a very costly “routine” maintenance issue.

    • MikeG

      The largest 944 engine was the S2 at 3.0L, the others were 2.5L & 2.7L!

      • randy

        I was misinformed, I stand corrected. My reasons remain the same though.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Pretty strong opinions for someone ill informed.

      ;)

  9. Dolphin Member

    The 924 was originally going to be a joint VW-Porsche project, presumably with each company selling them. But the 1973 oil crisis and changes in VW’s leadership led to VW using the Scirocco as its sporty model, leaving Porsche with the 924 as its new generation sports coupe. Porsche bought the design from VW and then contracted VW to build the cars.

    The engine was also used in both a VW van and in the Audi 100, and in some AMC cars like the Gremlin and Concord/Spirit. I knew someone who owned an Audi 100 and hated it because it needed fixing so often. I haven’t heard that being the case so much with the Porsche 924.

    The 924 sold fairly well (150K cars) from 1977-on. The 944 didn’t come along till 1983, so wasn’t competition for the 924 for quite a few years.

    I see the $6,900 asking as very high, even if this car is in nice condition. Lots of other more desirable cars available at that number.

  10. Michael Rogers

    I’VE A 87 928 AND AM VERY HAPPY WITH THE QUALITY, TRUE THE AUTOMATIC AND HIGH GEARING DAMPENS ACCELERATION BUT AT 140, IT’S LIKE 55 FOR MOST! I COMPARE IT TO THE JAGUAR XJS, IT’S INTENDED AS A LUXURY GT.
    iF YOU WANT THE SAME IN PRACTICALITY BUY THE JENSEN INTERCEPTOR, SAME PERFORMANCE WITH PARTS AT KRAGENS. AND DIY SERVICING POSSIBLE!

  11. AMCFAN

    The 924 of choice would be the 1986-1988 924S. I had one new with a 5 speed in 87 and really enjoyed it. Had the 944 engine and suspension without all the gaudiness. Great power/handling and sounded great In my opinion way under the radar brand new and even now. Sadly the earlier versions like the 78 above overshadowed the later S and is mistaken for all the ill of the earlier cars. Traded it for a Mustang GT. The 5.0 would out run it but the Porsche would out handle it. Sold the GT and bought an M3 and all turned into a perfect world! Ahhha young and single!

  12. Jason Houston

    “…years of stagnant values…” That explain the white one I found abandoned on the edge of Death Valley last year. Finally a Pooch nobody wants?

  13. Steven C

    The 924 engine is an Audi block, but has it’s own Porsche designed crossflow cylinder head. It is not the same as the Audi 100 or VW truck engine.

    • Dolphin Member

      Yes, now that you mention that, I think you are right that some development went into the engine to make it more of a sports / GT engine and less of a sedan / truck engine.

      Porsche was in tough shape at that time and needed a cheaper car to sell in numbers since the mid-’70s 911 was expensive and wasn’t exactly burning up dealers showrooms or the Autobahn either. So Porsche would have wanted to make sure that the 924 had decent performance so it would sell, hence the extra development of the 924 engine. Whether Porsche did that during the development that was being done with VW before VW withdrew, or after VW withdrew and it became Porsche’s car is a question.

  14. bobhess Bob Hess Member

    Had a ’77 maroon over black 924 with the European ’78 special edition engine as a daily driver from ’78 through ’84. Put a complete semi competition suspension under it and cleaned house on PCA’s regional autocross series. Drove the car from Oklahoma to Oregon and back mid winter one year and quite honestly haven’t had too many cars since that were that comfortable on long runs. Tinkering with the fuel and ignition systems produced a car with a great amount of power for it’s size.

  15. Tom Hall

    As the owner of a “years of stagnant value” 82 924 Turbo, I’ll be darn happy if they get $2500 for it.

    At the end of the day, despite their shortcomings, these are neat cars and it’s pretty well documented that the 924 saved Porsche from extinction. Just imagine how much crazier the prices would be if that had happened!

    I wonder if Rodney Dangerfield owned one………..every time I think about it, I see him pulling on his collar.

  16. Matt C

    My favorite 924 is the ’77 Championship edition in refrigerator white with Martini stickers. If anyone knows of one that is looking for a new owner let me know!

  17. Thorsten Krüger

    @Dave Wright.
    What a bull you wrote about German car Manufacturer. If one don’t know about history of those, keep your fingers off the buttons…..
    The four rings from the former “Auto Union” represent the 4 brands of “Audi”, “Horch”, “DKW” and “Wanderer”. The “Auto Union” was a construct from pre-WW2. Audi hold after the war the 4 Rings. On a later stage Audi was bought by VW.
    So, first think abd investigate, then write or talk.
    If any more information is requested don’t hesitate to ask… ;-)
    Thorsten

    • Dave Wright

      I know all that history……..what did I say to set you off? Nothing was wrong. The menutia about the early origins of small German manufacturers was never discussed and has little to do with the subject being explored. I think you might need to revisit your English-German dictionary.

      • Thorsten Krüger

        Dave. Sorry to make you unhappy. But not all german car manufacturers had been under the brand “Auto Union except BMW”. That is wrong. How about Mercedes Benz, How about Opel? How about hundreds other? …. . And it seems that my English is better than your German….. ;-) so and now let us all be happy and have a sunny weekend

      • Dave Wright

        I never said they were under Audi or Auto Union……..they were under the German Auto Confederation……with Mercedes, VW, Porsche and Audi…….your English makes me not to have to learn much German. Eisenhower helped with that……….

  18. Bobsmyuncle
  19. Thorsten Krüger

    Dave Wright.

    Thanks for the kind reply.

    Please don’t talk to me again.

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