P-Car Privileges: 1987 Porsche 944S

1987 Porsche 944S

A few weeks ago, I spotted this car in a news feed for a BMW-centric Facebook page. The poster wanted to see if anyone in the group was interested in trading their 80s-era 3-Series for a shot at owning a 1987 Porsche 944S with unknown history. Needless to say, for people who have already invested blood, sweat and dollars into their cars, taking on a Porsche project without any meaningful ownership history was a tough sell, which is likely why it’s now listed here on eBay, with the reserve unmet and bidding under $2,000. If it stays cheap enough, can you turn a blind eye to the potential risks?

Project Porsche 944S

One thing that stood out to me in the offer for trades was the background: the car looked like it was in a holding yard at either an auction establishment like Copart or a salvage facility. The location of the vehicle – Taunton, MA – regularly hosts insurance auto auctions, so I can’t help but wonder if this car came in as a non-runner after it was bequeathed to a relative or simply dropped off for salvage value when its owner abandoned the project. All speculation, mind you, and not necessarily a bad thing. Plenty of people have snatched up terrific project cars on the cheap from auction sites, provided you’re comfortable with buying a car without much in the way of history.

1987 Porsche 944S Interior

The 944S was a compelling package when first introduced: more power than the stock 944, beefier suspension and an optional limited-slip differential all made for a decent performance buy out of the box. Though it wasn’t as fast as the 944 Turbo, it also provided the simplicity of a naturally-aspirated powerplant, something yours truly tends to have a preference for. It looks like in addition the “S” package upgrades, this particular 944 also has some aftermarket side skirts and color-coordinated phone dial alloy wheels, neither of which completely turn me off. I actually like them – they seem ideal for a car made in the 1980s! The interior looks more dirty than destroyed, but it’s tough to tell the condition of the bodywork unless you can inspect it in person.

Porsche 944S

Personally, I have a hard time separating the original posting of this car on Facebook from what I’m looking at here, which is a vehicle offered unapologetically with lots of unknowns. I realize it can be difficult to give potential buyers more information if you’ve just taken it on off the street, but even some expert opinions on what it will need would show an interest in giving buyers a chance to make an informed decision. But if you’re looking for a spec race car on the cheap, the 944 has plenty of pedigree for making a compelling argument in gaining entry to low-buck P-car ownership – if you can do some of the work yourself. Obviously, I buy cars on occasion without knowing much about them and have lived to tell the tale, but would you do the

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Paul Statham

    That is a real act of neglect to allow a decent Porsche go mouldy inside , try cleaning it its amazing what a decent clean can do

  2. Paul Statham

    My dad used to have a P6 2000 TC similar to this but this is the V8 3500 a real beauty

  3. Woodie Man

    While not my cup of tea, it looks pretty solid and if the seller statement is accurate, it runs. A leak down test and a rack inspection and off you go……slowly. Seems like in a situation like this, the seller would have been better off to expend a little more energy and get some better photos of the frame, engine etc. If it really was in storage, inside storage, then all the better. To expect people to bid blind will necessarily keeps the final bid lower than it might otherwise be. Poor selling strategy. Of course if its an auctioneer, not much diffferent than a bunch of fat guys with clipboards walking back and forth down a row of cars and yelling prices over the car .

  4. RockabillyJay

    944s are way cool, and I’m pretty sure they are at the bottom of how cheap they will get right now. This car may be a good deal, may be a money pit..I would think at the reserve price you could find another 944 with known history. If you are local it may be worth a look…just change the timing belt first thing!

  5. RG jr

    Isn’t this the same “Donation” car that sold on ebay for 1550 3 weeks ago ??

    • Jesse Staff

      Good catch! Looks like it is the same car and the same seller. Perhaps the high bidder backed out? Seems strange that they didn’t mention the “donation” part the second time around though.

      • jim s

        i think it would be an interesting story to track a donated car and the money it generated from start to finish.

  6. John E.

    Pictured is my first Porsche’. When I purchased and sold it a couple of years ago, it came and went with all its repair receipts from the first owner to me, even had the first PO. As this story goes, above, a potential buyer/trader of the Porsche can split the cost or make it a matter of the trade, have a complete B to B check done on both cars. Compression, electrical, suspension, drivetrain, serpentine belt inspection, the works, costs run between $100.00 and $200.00 bucks. If all things test find make the trade. Even though this Porsche is considered a “low-end” Porsche, their repair bills can equal up to a classic 911. So Buyer Beware. This car needs work, interior. I would strip it nearly down to the floorboards, keeping the dash, but restoring it. Have the seats replaced with racing seats, new carpet, etc. Exterior, check for rust, may be invest in a good buffing out process, turn and sell it or keep it for a daily driver. They are neat car’s to have and show, drive and drive fast. Trader could always gut it, turn it into a weekend racer. Many options.

  7. Fred

    Looks like he has lifted the reserve, at the given price it might be worth it. Without an inspection tho it’s probably going to be trouble.

  8. John E.

    Ooops, model shown was a 98 944 Turbo a road hugger for sure. A few years ago 5/7 years I picked it up for 5K which is about where they should be today.

  9. jim s

    the seller wanted $4300, it is on the right side of this page. do a PI, with a very close check for rust, and the reason why it has been parked so long. then make a offer.

  10. Dolphin Member

    Altho I would have a hard time getting used to those battering ram bumpers, this could be an OK car providing it checks out and it’s cheap enough to justify replacing the cracked windshield. The handling gets raves, and the 944 was named the best handling car in the country in ’88 I believe by Car and Driver magazine.

    But….the 18-year no-use time is odd. Like jim s said, Why? It’s a Porsche. Who lets a modern P-car like this sit for 18 years?

    Could be it has a deal-breaker problem in addition to the cracked windshield. Since the seller says somewhere in that giant run-on sentence that it runs and drives, get it running to confirm that, listen for bad noises, and check the oil for bad signs. I could be wrong, but the boy-racer stuff on it would make me add a few thou$and into the mix and keep looking since these are not expensive nowadays.

    If you do buy it flatbed it home and change the timing belt before doing anything else since these are interference engines and a broken belt will make valves crash into pistons. BUT…get it done professionally or get the belt tension setter tool because these are very sensitive to timing belt tension. It has to be set right or it will break.

  11. The Walrus

    With the mold in the interior this car looks like it may have gone for a swim at some point. Perhaps its an off the books flood car…

    • Sea Otter

      Agreed. Many, many Katrina/Sandy cars out there.

  12. waynard

    I agree with The Walrus. This looks like a flood car to me. Look at the water stains on the dashboard and the hard-to-get-rid-of-mold on the seats. You could try to see if you could get a report on it through one of the services, but I’d be extremely careful on this.

  13. Phil

    I would be suspicious about mold as well. Some under the hood shots should have been included.
    If you’re not a purist and if the engine is sick, a GM LS engine is a common transplant.

  14. Jonny the Boy

    Anybody willing to buy a car from a unpunctuated run-on sentence ad in which the seller spells “know” as “no” deserves whatever’s coming to him.

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