Posted on 10th February 2022 at 15:12
The 944, is like the forgotten stepchild of the Porsche stable.
The hype of the 911 and the obsessive reverence of this model above all others has contributed to the ‘it’s not a 911’ dismissal of this outstanding machine
Born from the super aggressive 924 GT which ironically is now worth as much as the sought after and revered air-cooled.911 models.
The aggressive 924 GT was the racing version of the somewhat lack lustre 924 (The Audi/Porsche). The popularity of the shape and design was quick jumped on by the Porsche engine erring and design department, and the beautiful 944 was born.
The engine in this 944 was a Porsche-developed 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, fitted with balancer shafts for smoothness, produced 161bhp, while its rear-mounted transaxle (made by Audi) helped achieve a near-perfect weight balance. The 944 was provided with two gearboxes to choose from namely a standard five-speed manual gearbox or a three-speed automatic. The automatic was not as popular but certainly a refined bit of equipment. Three years later the 944 Turbo was introduced, with largely the same engine but now with 217bhp.
A limited-edition, 247bhp Turbo S arrived in 1988. The Turbo is indeed Today the Turbo is the rarest and most sought-after 944.
Both standard models – called Lux – and Turbo models were a great success, inspiring Porsche to roll out a raft of improvements for the 1986 model year. They included revised suspension, a new, flush-mounted windscreen and new ‘phone-dial’ alloys. Inside, the interior gained a curvier fascia and seats from the 911.
The 944 S was introduced in 1987 with a 2.7-litre 16-valve engine producing 187bhp (look for the optional ‘16 Ventiler’ badge behind the indicator repeaters). Unlike the 2.5, which relied on torque, this engine was had high rev limits that liked hard work but which most drivers didn’t rate. These days, with good examples of all 944s thin on the ground, buyers can’t afford to be so sniffy.
A detuned version of this engine replaced the 2.5 in 1989. It produced 163bhp but more mid-range torque than the 2.5.
That same year the S2 arrived, displacing the 944 S and almost elbowing aside the Turbo thanks to its 3.0-litre, 16-valve four that produced 205bhp. It even looked like the Turbo but for that car’s rear wing, which it would eventually gain in 1991. Two models were offered: cabriolet and coupé forms.
As the S2 was posing a threat to the flagship Turbo, Porsche replaced the Turbo’s 217bhp engine with the 247bhp unit from the Turbo S. Soon thereafter the 944 line was discontinued.
Referring the worship of the 911, this model was largely then judges as non-rear engine, hence a heresy and best forgotten. This has resulted in owners who recognised the 944 as the perfect daily, with near perfect handling and bullet proof reliability, cherishing their cars which today, those cars fetch a heady premium. Sadly, however many owners offloaded the ‘non 911’ and as a result bargain hunters and those who didn’t have the pockets to maintain these cars but wanting a little Porsche panache, accounted for a sadly a majority of 944’s on the road today. As a direct result, prices today fluctuate wildly: from £ 3000 all the way to £ 60 000 for the Turbo’s.
Thankfully sanity is beginning to prevail and the 944 is now seen as the saviour of the ailing Porsche back in the 1980’s and has its own status and place in the Porsche Hall of fame.
For additional reading please go to: Porsche 944 - Porsche AG
Banner image courtesy Porsche AG
Tagged as: Automotive
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