Cheap PCA Entry: 1985 Porsche 944

A few days ago, I was convinced a Porsche 944 was going to become my next project car. After all, it hails from the era of Radwood-friendly vehicles that I love so much, and for the moment, they are still relatively affordable. But that’s beginning to change, as suddenly prices for a clean 944 Turbo are creeping up into the 20s and higher, making me wonder if time is running out on owning one of these four-cylinder Porsches for the price of a new Civic. This example listed here on craigslist in Pennsylvania for $5,000 is a project that was a runner up until the last few years, and the seller claims needs a gas tank leak resolved and new battery before it can fire up again.

The dealer emblem on the left side of the hatch suggests that this 944 was a trade in at an Acura dealer when it was still conceivable that someone was driving it like any other late model car, perhaps swapped for a Legend coupe with the rare manual gearbox. Whatever the story is, the 944 looks like an honest example that hasn’t been modified and fortunately been stored in the garage while it awaits an owner willing to tackle either the repair or replacement of the leaking fuel tank. It could have been one fix too far for a weary owner, who then left the car sit in the garage, allowing the battery to go flat and die. It could be the lighting, but the paint on the hatch appears off from the quarter panels by a few degrees.

The interior is good, not great, with a tired shifter boot, torn up floormats, and a wrap on the steering wheel that was likely installed to cover up ripped or deteriorating surfaces. The dash doesn’t appear to be cracked, lending further support for this example having been garage stored, and the leather bucket seats are in good shape, too. The seller doesn’t say much about the interior, such as whether the A/C still works or if any of the power controls were still functional before the battery went dead. The color isn’t the preferred black for a white car, but maroon was a seemingly popular interior color scheme for these front-engined, watercooled Porsches.

Mileage is an impressive 175,237, indicating this Porsche saw plenty of daily use before being sidelined by the gas tank leak. The tricky thing with gas tanks is they sometimes need to be removed to be repaired, if not replaced entirely. If nothing else, it’s a pain for anyone to sort out, from the owner to a specialist shop, and I’m guessing the aggravation factory outweighed the desire to get it fixed.

One final thought about 944s that my brother, a Porsche fan, pointed out: it may be cheap to buy, but the parts still retail like any other Porsche-made component, so it’s not necessarily as cheap of an ownership experience as you might expect. Still, if the only major repair needed is a new tank to get this one to run again, it could be worthy of a fair offer.

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  1. ILoveCarz

    Great find, I love the 944. Actually one of my favorite Porsches. I wish I had the time (and moolah) to take on this project, but I don’t. I’ll just sit here and drool over the photos then, I guess.

  2. 914Shifter Member

    I still think these are really great cars…a bargain still, as they are solid, fast and get good gas mileage. I have had 3 or 4 of them over the years, and if you can do your own work, there are plenty of used parts on CL and Ebay to keep you going without breaking the bank. I would drive one again, but its a bit hard to get my big dog in the back seat, and she always wants to go for a ride!!

    Like 4
  3. A.J.

    Thinking about this one if my bike sells soon. Just checked the fuel tank cost at Pelican parts. $2100! Maybe I’m not a Porsche guy after all.

    Like 5
    • ron

      Pull the tank,find the leak….and braze it! Brazing is easy, and any mechanic can do….if not bring it to me and I will do it in my sleep A.J.When the brazing is done…use a gas tank liquid liner ( used these for years on model a gas tanks………your total investment if you pull the tank and replace it when done……maybe 250.00 – 300.00, don’t know for sure….been retired for a while now and missing it so much! Don’t let the car go for lack of repair, it’s probably good for another 175 K miles with good maintance

      Like 5
      • moosie moosie Member

        Thats an art to do, not many present day “technicians” would attempt doing but an old time mechanic thrives on doing repairs like that, just make sure the tank is thoroughly cleared of gas and gas fumes or it might pop and scare a few people. And yeah like ron said, liquid sealer rolled around will save you a lot of possible headaches

        Like 3
      • Jaker76

        wow, I haven’t brazed anything in years, great point, got me thinking about this one now!!!

  4. Sonny Paine

    Got to drop the transaxle to drop the gas tank. While at it replace the clutch because they use a rubber disk (for lack of a better term) instead of springs in the clutch plate and that often deteriorates before the lining wears out. Then there’s the matter of the timing belt and balance shaft belt. Were they ever changed and how long ago. Doesn’t say how long it’s been sitting; bet on flushing the lines and maybe replacing the fuel pump if it’s gummed up.

    Like 2
  5. TMC 914-6

    That’s not an 85 Model. It’s what’s known as an 85 1/2. Different interior, and has climate control instead of manual AC. Earlier models were simpler and easier to repair.

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