Motor Build Setback: 1990 Porsche 944 S2 Cabriolet

We do love it when an owner of a classic car grenades the original motor, finds a replacement to hold him over and then sets about rebuilding the original. The seller of this 1990 944 S2 cabriolet had a bad day when the original S2 motor suffered timing chain failure but he put it on the stand for a rebuild; sadly, that day never came and it’s up for sale here on eBay with an opening bid of $4,200.

In place of the original S2 motor resides a plain-jane 2.5L 8 valve engine, which must be a severe let down after driving the free-revving, 16V 3.0L engine that the S2 received. At one time, it was the largest four-cylinder engine for sale in a U.S. car and it certainly found many followers, given the popularity of the 944. The seller did it the right way – keeping the car on the road while waiting for time to rebuild the numbers-matching engine – but that day won’t come.

So, far better to let the car go then to let it continue sitting in the garage. The more time passes, the more likely it is the original components to the S2 engine will get lost. The car wears an awkward-fitting rear spoiler, but the spats beneath the rear quarter panel are pretty typical of the era. I’m sure that paint code is somewhat rare having seen similar colors be in high demand among Porschephiles due to limited production of a certain shade.

The interior looks quite tidy as well, but the seller notes that the cable for the convertible top broke last year. He also says the car needs a general “going through” but that with the original 3L rebuilt and those other issues remedied, this is “…a $25K car.” I’m of the mindset that price is a little optimistic, but not by much. This garage-find 944 S2 Cabriolet needs rescuing and rebuilding, and for the current opening bid, this is a potential steal.


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  1. Blyndgesser

    About one zero too many.

  2. Dolphin Member

    As much as I like P-cars, especially ones with lots of needs like this one, I can’t agree that this will be a $25,000+ car when it’s done. That’s because the SCM Guide says that these have sold recently, in excellent condition, for a median price of $17,600 at auction.

    Factor in the engine rebuild needed because the timing chain broke (probably bent valves, etc, etc), dealing with what looks like tired, faded paint, and all the other things the car needs, and it’s not surprising that nobody has opened the bidding at the suggested $4,200.

  3. Scot Douglas

    Chain or belt?
    I remember working on older 944’s and changing every wear item in the vicinity when doing either a timing belt or waterpump because they were such a bear to get to.


    Perfect candidate for a LS engine. :)

  4. TriPowerVette

    My sister-in-law dubbed those worthless rear deck spoilers; “shopping basket handles”. The term couldn’t be more appropriate.

    The only thing they are good for is making waxing the car properly nearly impossible. No matter how much time you take, it never looks right underneath them.

  5. Wagon master Member

    This guy’s been watching too many BAT and BJ auctions which blow real world reality out the window.

  6. Dean

    One would want to know the belt and roller history on the replacement “temp” engine before pursuing this one. If it’s recent, you’d certainly have some time to work with. From what I understand, LS swaps get pricey

  7. Maestro1

    I agree with Dolphin; the car will never be a $25,000. car. By the time one gets it to show condition the new owner will be north of $50,000.

  8. David Miraglia

    Eh… never cared for the 944….

  9. bull

    Here’s a Porsche looking for a Chevy LS conversion!

  10. wes

    Under the best of conditions, not a good example of the Doctors best work..

  11. Classix Steel

    Joel, this is what happens when you borrow your dads car to impresss a girl and let a Porsche roll into the lake .

    You will need Princeton to cover pay for a nom Porsche !

    Lil “risky business” humor !
    The car though is overpriced though !

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