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No Reserve: Mint 1981 Porsche 924 Turbo

The 924 was the replacement for Porsches more budget-friendly 914. It was a serious departure from the 914 in a number of ways but proved to be quite popular. Being an entry-level Porsche meant it lacked the kind of performance that the 911 provided, but complaints from the press and consumers pushed Porsche to offer a more powerful version. With a turbo strapped to the 2.0 liter 4-cylinder, the 924 was nearly as fast as the 911 SC! Unfortunately, the turbo required more maintenance, so many of these turbo-equipped cars died years ago. And that makes this example a rather rare find. You can take a closer look at this 924 Turbo here on eBay in Flanders, New Jersey with a current bid of $6,600 and no reserve!

The seller states that this Porsche is in mint condition. It definitely appears to be in very nice shape throughout. With 75k miles on the clock (possibly 85k), it seems unlikely that it’s perfect, but it has clearly been well maintained its entire life. The Audi sourced 2.0-liter engine was typically durable, but the addition of the turbo and the increase in power put more strain on the engine and required more frequent service, more on that in a moment. Since it was cheaper than a 911, the bulk of buyers were first time Porsche owners and probably weren’t prepared for the cost of Porsche ownership. This one likely went to an enthusiast that kept it up to date on service and repairs.

Having looked at many of these and their 944 siblings, it seems the interiors don’t typically age well. This one appears to have survived quite well. The dash is free of cracks, the upholstery doesn’t show signs of wear and the original stereo is present. The biggest issue I see is the faded carpet, but kits are available to remedy that. Other than that, this interior looks ready to go!

Turbocharging the EA831 engine wasn’t quite as simple as slapping a turbo on it and sending it out the door. Porsche designed and built a unique cylinder head that would take advantage of the unique flow characteristics of a turbo. They also lowered the engine compression and had a special K-26 turbocharger built for it. Unfortunately, the turbo was oil-cooled, which meant the oil needed to be replaced frequently, even then, the turbo and engine were prone to failure due to poor lubrication. For ’81, Porsche tried to remedy the issue by switching to a smaller turbo that runs at a higher boost. It helped with durability and had the added benefit of increased power to 154 hp. It’s possible that this is an early ’81 and features a carry over 143 horsepower engine, while the added power and durability would be welcome, it looks to be very tidy and well sorted.

For a long time, these cars were underappreciated. Since the engine is water-cooled, sourced from Audi/VW, and mounted up front, Porsche purists tended to view these as not being real Porsches. That seems to be changing with specialty models like this one garnering more attention and a dedicated following. I for one would love to have this example! How about you?


  1. Avatar photo alphasud Member

    The Audi truck engine is pretty crude when compared to the later 2.5 with it’s it’s balance shafts. I think on a maintenance level the Audi engine is cheaper to maintain. One could add an intercooler and increase the boost level to wake the car up. Like all early oil cooled only turbo’s the key to long life is synthetic oil and allowing the engine to idle down for a minute after driving.
    I like the body lines of the 924. Very clean design. These also suffer a lot more than other Porsches with its Rabbit electrics and a weak base/relay box. The rest of the car is pretty durable.

    Like 7
  2. Avatar photo Bakyrdhero Member

    I’m a sucker for these cars. This one is gorgeous with the white on brown leather. Something about brown paint and brown leather that looks right at home on German cars.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Mike

      I too like the basic eggish shape. My dad bought one new in ’78 and we still have it. Dad is in his 80’s, but us “kids” still drive it around every once in a while.

      Like 4
  3. Avatar photo Bret Stephan

    This car was released in 76 and changed the automotive world. It was the benchmark for handling was used my many tire companies to test tires, as it had nearly 50/50 weight distribution. It was originally designed for VW but a change in management canceled it because thry thought nobody would buy a vehicle at its price point with the VW name on it. Porsche bought back the design for a fraction of what they were paid for the work with the deal to use a VW assembly line.

    Like 0
  4. Avatar photo David Gilbertson

    This was the first car I bought when I got out of college and went to work. My boss co-signed for me so I could get the loan. I bought a ’79 in early 1982 and loved it. Drove it until 1987 when I traded it in to get something with a back seat and seat-belts for kids. Loved that car. I have had Supras, Vettes, XLRs since then but it still hold a special place in my heart as my first sports car.

    Like 1
  5. Avatar photo Rod

    Looks like a good buy, but I owned a 1987 Porsche 924S, and prefer the Porsche 944 drive train in that car. Not much difference in power. Really enjoyed the ’87 924S, and it was a blast to drive with the manual tranny.

    Like 0
  6. Avatar photo Joe

    I had one, and it was an absolute joy to drive. But, I ultimately had to give it up because of the maintenance costs. Besides regular maintenance, I basically had to count on replacing the turbo every 50K miles, the speedometer and the O2 sensor had to be replaced twice each.

    Like 1
  7. Avatar photo Howie Mueler

    This is mint?

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Tom

    Wow! Bidding is up to $7800! That’s encouraging.
    My ’82 is no where near mint but if it is now worth even $3,500, I’d feel better about sorting it out and spending some money on it.
    Up til now, it’s been hard to get motivated

    Like 1

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