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Porsche Possibilities: Pay More Now or Later?

Porsche Possibilities

There’s a common conundrum among those of us who like to own project cars: should I buy a cheap project and gradually fix it up, or save all my pennies (this never works) and buy the best example I can find? I try to end up somewhere in the middle, but these two Porsches spell out the decision quite clearly: a 1982 Porsche 928 with a 5-speed for $2,150 or a 1986 944 with 28,000 original miles for $17,500?

928 Project

This 928 is an early model, but the limited photos show it at least has the later alloys. It doesn’t run currently, and there’s lots of unknowns – however, the seller says the body is straight and the engine is original. If this is an numbers-matching car suffering from lots of deferred maintenance, I could be game. The presence of the factory 5-speed is a big plus, too, since so many were ordered with the automatic. The storage area appears dry so this at least warrants a closer look.


On the other end of the spectrum is this survivor-grade 944 in stunning condition. You’ll pay more up front but it’s coming from long-term ownership and the seller says maintenance is up to par with no odd noises or issues to report. The factory Fuchs alloys are definitely desirable, as is the color combination (the burgundy interior may even qualify as rare?). Still, you’ll need a much larger pile of cash to take this one home. The upside? You can start driving it immediately.

944 Interior

There are other benefits to buying the best you can find; such as plopping down in a clean, dry interior with no rips, tears or mildew to worry about. For a car like the 944, you’re merely a caretaker – an important role, but that’s the primary concern. The 928 requires a compassionate, handy owner who can tackle a lot of the maintenance themselves, which is a tall order on a complex beast like the 928. Which one would you choose though?


  1. jim s

    the 928 does not have a title so i would pass on it. the 944 is interesting and might be a fun driver, but all porsche parts/service is very costly so i would need to think about it.

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  2. Mark S

    I’d take the yellow pickup in the back ground.

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  3. randy

    there is no 944 on the road anywhere worth 17K.

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  4. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    I’ve had so many project cars over the years, but the P-marque and the MB-marque remind me of a saying that my buddy has: “If you wanna ride in class, you gotta pay out the a**!”. Parts for these cars will be very spendy.

    By contrast, my latest project car, a larger and slower (and OK not as sexy) 65 Skylark, cost me all of $150 total to re-do the brakes on all 4 corners. Even more amazing is that all parts were IN STOCK at NAPA. No lie…I walk in there and ask for wheel cylinders and brake shoes and hardware kit and hoses for a 50-year-old car, and the guy comes out of the back room with the parts like it’s 1970. It’s wacky.

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    • Horse Radish

      A good thing for you, but for everybody else NOT.
      That means these same brake parts have been put in much newer cars since then (1965 0r 70ies). Maybe even in today’s cars ??

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    • Buck Neccid

      I NEED your Skylark Rex, please, please? lol

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  5. Bobsmyuncle

    That 928 is a financial disaster in the making!

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  6. Mr. TKD

    I have a soft spot for the 928, but the lack of a title is a concern.

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  7. DJ

    The lack of title is no problem here. But it sitting since 1993 in storage bothers me. I’d take the plunge at half that. But I agree with Randy, there is no 944 worth $17k. I don’t care who you are. Also, look at the back bumper. The off color makes me think it was replaced with a solid black one and they painted the white to match.

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  8. Bobsmyuncle

    Hate to tell ya folks but 944 values have gone up. There are MANY examples in this price range and higher.

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  9. Bobsmyuncle

    Wow I missed the mileage on that 944! Man its clean, value is probably right on the money.

    Anyone interested in determining value might search for a blog about German Car’s. That’s as direct as I can be without putting the address down (is Barn Finds okay with that?)

    Some really prefer the turbo and some later models but this is one nice car with a rare interior colour, which Porsche guys really gravitate to.

    I’m in a holding pattern for anything but the best deals because of the Canadian dollar. I just refuse to lose money at the point the of sale. Terrible timing too as I was ready to flip my collection all at once. Otherwise I’d be all over this!

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  10. 64 bonneville

    There is something about the feel and smell of the leather seats in a Porsche that just gets the testosterone boiling over.

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  11. randy

    I see almost all of you guys “drank the Coolaid”!

    I love the smell of leather in the morning.

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  12. Claus Graf

    I would love to have a 928 with a five speed!

    But I got to finish my 914 first!

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  13. Horse Radish

    A 1986 Porsche with 28 000 miles is still a 1986 Porsche. That means all the rubber is 30 years old in a couple months time.
    Things will fall of that fancy $17k – car within a couple of weeks !

    The only thing worse is a 33 year old Porsche that has sat a decade or two.
    All gunked up fuel system, old rubber and a ton of electronics to check and wiring connection that are corroded.
    It would be a nice long-term full-time project if You have nothing else to do……

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      Not only is that just silly, compared to the other cars we see here on Barn Finds THIS is the one that concerns you?! LOL!

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      • Horse Radish

        I guess you’re the expert on ‘silly’ ?

        I have no idea what that comment of yours is supposed to mean.

        IF YOU DIDN’T “get ” my post., let me clarify just for you since you don’t get subtleties.
        It ‘s the bloated price that I found ridiculous.
        That car is worth $17k ONLY, if he changed all vital rubber parts.
        All belts hoses, mounts, tie rod ends and all bushings.
        Only then will it be reliable like the insinuated 28 000 miles

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  14. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    Hey Radish, I don’t understand your post. Should I not use NAPA parts? Should I not re-build my drum brakes and go out and drive the car? What’s your point? I just went through the entire brake system on my 50-year-old Skylark, using all new parts. I am more than confident that the thing will stop just fine, even with 4-wheel drums. My post was only to illustrate the relative low cost of Detroit’s parts as opposed to the German marques. Having owned Mercedes and Fords and everything in between, I know from whence I speak.

    I don’t feel like I’m posing a hazard to others on the road, but more importantly, I’m not posing a hazard to myself. If you’re concerned about people stopping in time, try crusading against texting instead of busting my chops.

    My freshly-restored 69 Volvo 1800 was totaled when a Text Ritter slammed into me in June 2014. My brakes were working perfectly. His were too, probably, if he’d been watching the road.

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    • Horse Radish

      I was merely saying that it scares me to find these parts on the shelf.
      That only means to me that there are a lot of newer cars out there running on 50 year old brake designs, that these parts will fit.

      As for your car, obviously do what you want.
      I seriously doubt that you’ll use that car as a DD, but the car next to you in traffic will accelerate and go faster than yours with possibly 50 year old brake design on them.

      You’re being overly defensive.
      Nowhere did I “bust your chops” unless you read between the lines, what I did NOT write

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  15. michael

    I’ve had 3 928, they are the one car I loved hating the most. You’d sink plenty of money in a good one (these cars come with a 7ft timing belt, not a chain). I once bought a 81 Euro 928 with 5 speed without title for $700 and that’s all this one is worth. No title – no coin

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  16. randy

    The late 928’s with 4 cams had an even longer timing belt. With an “interfering” engine, ouch.

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  17. PRA4SNW

    The choice depends on which model you like. I have always liked the 928 over the 944, but would never buy a sad one like this. How about a $17k 928? That’s probably what you should have compared with the 944.

    But, this 928 will sell fast, those parts are worth way more than the ask.

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