Never Drove It: 1985 Porsche 944

This 1985 Porsche 944 gives me some trepidations, not because of its value as a worthy project car but because of its current state of affairs: the seller bought it and left it with his mechanic, where it has remained with no work happening since he acquired it. This is a scenario I know all too well, due to my propensity for bringing home projects without much of a plan afterwards. Regardless, this one will require some sorting out as a leaky windshield seal has necessitated the replacement of the wiring harness, which led to the seller never getting any actual time behind the wheel. Find the non-running 944 here on Facebook Marketplace for $2,225.

Coincidentally, a neighbor of mine has had a 944 in his driveway since I moved in that has never moved. Just the other day, all the doors were open and the windows were down, and I was hoping he was going to begin reviving it. Sadly, no – it left with a new owner. This 944 is in a similar way, having been bought with likely the best of intentions, but now likely more trouble than it’s worth (literally) if the entire engine harness has to be replaced. The 944 looks otherwise complete, with an intact interior, straight body panels, and all glass accounted for, but who knows what’s hiding beneath those sheepskin seat covers.

The 944 is one of those cars that’s very easy to acquire, thanks to low prices when offered up as a project car. However, as I found out when briefly considering buying one of these as a project, the parts are still sold like any other Porsche component, meaning they’re far from cheap. Yes, they’re not overly complex to maintain and if you buy one without issues, you’ll likely do fine. But to buy a project-grade 944 means you won’t spend much right out of the gate, but you’ll quickly make that up in parts costs and finding a Porsche specialist to work on it if DIY projects aren’t your bag. I can almost guarantee the mechanic in question asked the owner if he really wanted to go down this path for a car you can buy as a runner for $5,000.

The leaky windshield can lead to big problems, as we see here. It may seem innocuous, especially if it doesn’t lead to major rust issues (it almost always will, and usually in some hard-to-fix areas.) But with the engine harness getting soaked and presumably fried, there’s really no going back with this 944 aside from becoming a valuable parts car. Now, the seller does note there’s a healthy paper trail of maintenance records leading up to the car’s last service at 50,000 miles, which is right around what it currently shows on the odometer – so there’s a good chance the rest of this car is quite healthy, let down by a random water leak. Should it be fixed or used as a parts car?

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Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    It’s located in Lincoln City,Oregon.

  2. Steve R

    The seller is more than likely willing to take offers, there is a good possibility it can be bought at a price where it can be parted out if it can’t be fixed economically. The location is out of the way, he’ll likely be sitting on it for a while, otherwise.

    Steve R

    Like 2
  3. Ben McLaughlin

    Says he is willing to take 1500 in the ad. If the mileage is accurate there is a lot of miles left in her.

    Like 1
    • William

      At that price, it would be a great buy for an experience P-mechanic. If you are not familiar with these cars, I would run away.

      Like 1
  4. William

    You know, changed my mind. I looked at the actual ad, this car has been in some goofus’ lair. Carpet around the shifter? Who treats a Porsche like this? Some kid maybe? Speakers cut into the doors. Not any signs of ever being waxed. Top it off, the ad says it is an auto, but obviously a 5 speed. 50K miles? Wouldn’t count on that either. If you understand how to fix on these, fine, but get her ultra cheap and inspect it closely in person. Besides, Facebook? Who really buys a car from there?

    Like 3
    • CJinSD

      I hate to say this, but the carpet around the shifter is stock. Look for images of 1984 944 interiors. That’s how they were until the new dashboard was fitted in the 1985.5 facelift. The door speakers? They’re just like the ones in the 1987 924S that my Mom bought new in 1986. The car had fantastic sound quality with four 4×6 speakers: two in the doors and two in the rear seat side-panels. The door speakers looked much less obtrusive in cars with black interiors, which also made the carpet seem less Germanically tasteless.

      Like 6
  5. AMCFAN

    I doubt it was a kid who did the speaker hack job. It was a thing in the 80’s to take your car to a stereo shop and upfit. No one thought of the collectability or damage done. It was about now and that was “in” I still remember seeing all the ads in the Sunday edition of the big city paper for stereo shops.

    Had a friend who owned a detail shop and would install universal sunroofs. Thank him and those like him when you have to replace a roof section. Again, those were in style too at the time.

    I see this as a very adventurous project. This isn’t an entry level car although priced as one. It’s a Porsche but not the one everyone wants. Parts are expensive. The motor is an interfeeing valve engine. Many cars died for that reason. That doesn’t explain the wiring harness or the black mold problem not mentioned because of the car leaking water. If you know them and have the time. The shipping will be more than the cost of the car. Hopefully it finds a home. Guys are taking them and adding Honda/Nissan swaps. They make a great drift platform.

    I buy vehicles on FB all the time.

    Beats eBay and the scam bidders with zero feedback running things up. Very few private sellers now. Ebay Motors caters to dealers. Have to be a dealer for their nearly free classified ad.

    In fact the whole platform is pushing out the little guy all together. I quit selling.
    Icollect247.com is a great original car collectible platform. They do not allow fake or reproductions and there is also car parts. As a seller it’s up to you on how you want to be paid. Not having ebay hold your money. Check it out.

    Like 6
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Good to know that FB Marketplace works for selling cars. I’ve sold other items on there, and they tend to sell very fast.

      Despite comments to the contrary, I have sold several vehicles successfully on Craig’s List, including getting my asking price for a ’70 Corvette Convertible. Maybe it’s me, but I never get time wasters or low ballers.

      Like 2
  6. Maestro1 Member

    I am not on any kind of social media and never will be, so i guess unless Barn Finders had come up with this I would of missed it. At $1500. it may be a buy if you are close to a Porsche mechanic or are familiar with the cars yourself.

    Like 2
  7. Karl

    Questions and more questions on this one. The first thing I think of and I read it on this site is there is nothing more expensive than a cheap Lamborghini!
    If you had your local Porsche dealer do a complete wire harness in this car that could be 10k and then the question is that all that is wrong???

  8. Karl

    Questions and more questions on this one. The first thing I think of and I read it on this site is there is nothing more expensive than a cheap Lamborghini

  9. djjerme

    I figured this had to be in Oregon. There is a ton of those around here. There used to be a lot converted to SPEC 944/PRO44, but that series has aged like milk.

    It’ll be interesting to see if anyone drags it home.

  10. Jef Fowler

    One of my dream engine swaps is the Audi S4 V8 in a 944. Something like this car could be a decent starting point.

  11. jeffro

    SBC anyone?

  12. Karl

    I like where you guys are going with these comments! If a guy were to put in a decent LS in here what HP do you feel the drive train could safely handle? Could it take 350 to 400 HP or would all that need to be changed also?

    Like 1
  13. Daniel Gavin

    What you have here is a “parts” car for around $2,000.00 and I’m thinking that’s probably not a bad deal……you gotta be able to find $2,000.00 worth of Porsche parts in this thing.

    Like 1
  14. bull

    Buying this car will be the cheapest part of the restoration back to running/driving condition given the price to buy a nice 944 done.

    This 944 FREE and DELIVERED to your door is probably not a good enough deal!

    Like 3
    • sirlurxalot

      “This 944 FREE and DELIVERED to your door is probably not a good enough deal!”

      Bravo, sir. You must be a former 944 owner like me.

      To all others: Run from this car! Porsche has.

      Like 1
  15. AMCFAN

    I had a 1987 924S many years ago. Fun car when new.

    Like 1
  16. Stephen Coe

    I have a 83 944 April will be 4 years, found on eBay & barnfinds it was a divorce sale, 20 miles from my place guy was asking $2500. I got it for 1050. Tires smooth as glass,had been at shop 15 years prior, bad water pump & timing belt fuel pump & tank full of goo,coil missing crank sensors missing, brakes needed replace needed new clutch master & slave and hydraulic lines. So if you have an extra $6000 and lots of time go for it.🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑,

    Like 1

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