Storage Unit Find? 1988 Porsche 944

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The Porsche 944 remains one of the more attainable 1980s European sports cars you can buy, and if you find one in a storage unit with no keys, it will be quite cheap indeed. While the hot ticket is undoubtedly the turbocharged variant, a naturally-aspirated 944 like this one here on eBay will still be a compelling driver that can be used for both backroads cruising or righteous track day abuse, should you so choose. The seller’s car comes with a variety of question marks, but it’s going cheap with bids to $730 with no reserve.

Rust was never a huge issue with the 944, but the fact that this example resides in Texas certainly helps eliminate at least one unknown from this garage-find project car. The seller’s description indicates to me that it was rescued from abandonment in a storage unit, as he notes that it comes with “….a storage lien packet for title,” and that the lien has been paid off. This is a scenario that I imagine plays out quite often, especially if the owner passes away or moves out of state, wherein a non-running project car is left behind and no one quite knows what to do with it. Fortunately, this 944 appears to have gone into a storage as a complete car that wasn’t left in pieces as a partially-started project.

The 1988 model featured a few changes from the prior years, with the most notable being an updated Motronic DME and the introduction of ABS brakes. Airbags also became optional and were made standard on the 944 Turbo. This particular car remains very nearly bone-stock inside, with a factory steering wheel, floor mats, seats, and gauges all still presents, which are fairly typical upgrade items should someone decide to outfit one of these front-engined coupes for track day usage. An aftermarket radio is the only major deviation from stock. Of course, since this is a Texas car, you’ll have to contend with a cracked dash and dry leather seats.

The seller mentions in the headline that the 944 comes with a limited-slip differential, which would make this 944 desirable for that feature alone. In fact, when you look at this car’s value, it may be more useful as a parts car, with the differential, wheels, clean body panels, and transmission all being potential money makers. The N/A 944 in 1988 made right around 158 horsepower from its 2.5L inline-four, and the big question here is whether the timing belt is in one piece. These are interference engines, and if the belt isn’t done on time, catastrophe can occur. If the engine appears to be healthy, get that belt job done ASAP and then see what you’re working with. Would you use this 944 for a project car or for parts?

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  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    I’d like to see a logical reason for turning a complete running car with no big faults into a parts car. These cars are fun to drive, reliable when serviced properly, and not that hard on the wallet to purchase.

    Like 21
    • rudy b

      Confession: I grew up riding in Beetles and therefore have little regard for Porsche in general but these always seemed pretty cool.

      Like 2
      • Mark RuggieroMember

        I grew up driving and fixing Beetles and grew to have a strong respect and affinity for Stuttgart-made cars of any stripe. I’m with Hess re parting this one out. And look no further than the Sleeper Beetle in this email for reasons to love them all.

        Like 5
      • jwaltb

        No similarity to Beetles in this car.

        Like 3
  2. GuernseyPagoda

    Ad says “no key”. Good luck!

    Like 2
  3. CCFisher

    Parts car? Jeff, if this is your idea of a parts car, you must shop for project cars at a Concours d’Elegance. This car has the makings of an awesome driver. Worried about engine health? Pull it, rebuild it, reinstall it, and head for the nearest twisty road. These cars were excellent handlers.

    Like 9
  4. ABMember

    Just info for prospective owners….Carfax indicates it’s been an Oklahoma car most of its life…no Texas ownership listed. More important, it’s lists “fire damage” on 1/7/2020..pretty recent. No judgement, just info to consider.

    Like 9
    • JimZMember

      AB, due to the fire damage the insurance company may have re-branded the title as “certificate of destruction” and I can attest first-hand that this vehicle will never be legally titled or driven. A few years ago I went round and round with an insurance company on a pristine ’91 XJS Jaguar convertible with only 24k miles that had minimal fire damage under the hood. Best looking car I ever parted!

      Like 1
  5. Jasper

    Gives me hope. I struggle to think my running, driving ‘88 with keys and a shinier hood would bring much more than where this is currently.

    Like 0
  6. Azul

    I owned one new, at the time, the turbo model was competitive with the famed 928. 20 years earlier I owned 435 hp Corvettes, so I have some knowledge of sportcars. But I sure do not understand today’s classic car market, this is a nice vehicle. Neither as expensive nor as complicated to maintain as other imports of the era selling for ten times as much; but what do I know? I drive a 3/4 ton pickup.

    Like 0
  7. Mitch

    I looked into restoring a local 944, but the cost of parts put a halt on that. $988 for a rebuilt alternator was the tip of the iceberg. Nice car but too costly for me.

    Like 1
  8. Jasper

    I wouldn’t trust this seller or buy this car. They cut the picture off where the significant rear body damage starts, show no straight on shots of said damage nor make any mention of it.

    Like 3
    • Frank Barrett

      Good eye.

      Like 0
    • Jim in FLMember

      Jasper, agree with you wholeheartedly.
      Crooked and/or incomplete pictures nauseate me.
      Add to that not disclosing damage noted in CarFax, AND the “Zero” feedback….Beware, Folks!

      Like 1

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