1986 PORSCHE 944 TURBO
I have either done the best thing I have ever done, or the dumbest, and only time will tell.
I have purchased a new(old) Porsche. I had been planning to buy another type of vehicle for sometime, but one day some one parked a red 944 outside my house. I had always loved the look of these classic vehicles and decided to see what they were selling for these days. Well one thing led to another and I now own a very shiny red Porsche 944 turbo. Mine is an Australian delivered model, one of only 110 sold here, over 2 years(we never got the 87 model). Mine was originally bought in early 1987 and so although registered as an 87, it is an 86 spec car. The internal Porsche designation for 944 turbo’s is a 951 but right hand drive versions like mine, are actually a 952.
One of the nice things about these cars is that you get true supercar performance but in a package that is easy to drive around town. It even gets great economy on the open road(around 30 miles/gallon). If you drive it hard though, it will suck juice like there is no tomorrow. To the Porsche purists, it has the engine at the wrong end, but it has perfect 50/50 weight balance, incredible handling, and was a lot faster than the 911 Carrera when it came out. Road and Track magazine rated it as one of the 10 best cars ever built.
I have already put new tires on the car and a new stereo head unit into it. The head unit is an Alpine INA-W900 that has full Iphone integration, Sat Nav, reversing camera, and a lot more. I will review this unit soon.
I have also changed the after market steering wheel the previous owner had fitted, to a Momo Apache wheel, I had from another car. This wheel suits the car far better than the one the car came with. This has since been upgraded to a Club Sport wheel as used in the 911 turbo and 968 club sport.
I am in the process of upgrading the whole stereo system, and have new front speakers (soundstream SST46) ready to be fitted and I am making a custom sub-woofer box at the moment for am MTX 10 inch sub. The SST46 speakers were the only 6″ x 4″ I could find that has silk dome tweeter. Unfortunately all the other speakers available have a cheap polyester tweeter. As a former National Sound Quality Champion, I couldn’t live with that. The system, by my standards is very humble, but should deliver reasonable sound quality.
Originally I had decided to keep the sound system upgrades very minor(just a new head unit) but after seeing what gear was already fitted, an upgrade was in order.
I have one other major expense to go, and that is to get the Air Conditioning working. I have already done several little things, like source a centre console lid. These are easy to find for Left Hand Drive cars, but extremely hard to find for Right Hand Drive cars like mine. Mine is coming from the UK. I have also ordered a new Boot for the shift lever, and replaced a couple of switches.
The to do list has shrunk and is almost gone, and when its gone , I will just drive and polish the car. I will not be modifying the car for greater performance or cosmetically.
Since I have started driving this car, all the other cars I drive, now feel like rubbish, and I think my DNA has changed, as I am all consumed by this Marque. Porsche is now in my blood.
I rate this car as the greatest car ever 😀
***UPDATE*** ***UPDATE*** ***UPDATE***
I have now owned this car for a couple of years and love it even more if that is possible. My to do list is virtually done but I have found there is always a way to spend more on these cars if you desire. I am about to order a hi torque starter, that is lighter but more importantly places less load on electrical system, and cranks it over a lot quicker.
I took the car interstate (Melbourne to Adelaide) a distance of about 800 kilometres, and I only used 64 litres each way, which is amazing economy, and the car was perfect for this type of trip. I got out of the car and couldn’t believe I had driven so far with no discomfort at all.
I have had some expenses since I got the car. The first was the engine management black box, known as a DME, which gave up the ghost. I got a rebuilt unit, and haven’t looked back. I also had my turbo go after hitting a fox and having cooling system problems. This was not a cheap fix, as I had to source a stock turbo and then get it rebuilt and then get it fitted. I went with the stock KKK K26/6 unit as I am happy with my cars performance and want to keep the car as close to stock as possible.
The interior is complete, as I have done all that I want to with it(for
now). I have fitted a new black suede shift boot with a stainless steel shift insert. I also fitted a carbon fibre trim kit to dash and around shifter. You can also see the Alpine double Din head unit. The lead for connection to my iPhone is routed into the centre console. The iPhone also has a bluetooth connection for calls. The lead charges the iPhone and allows me to play music from it.
I now do a fair bit of work on the car myself. I didn’t take on fitting the new turbo, as I don’t have the tools, and you really need a hoist, but I am quite happy doing smaller jobs. This really is a case of it just being to expensive to pay a mechanic and that I am capable of doing it. I recently replaced the fan thermo switch, and have replaced vacuum lines etc. If you are considering one of these cars be aware that finding a good mechanic is half the battle and being prepared to do your own work is essential unless you have deep pockets. Unfortunately many Porsche centres don’t have mechanics with experience on these older front engined cars.
What I have come to realise is that these amazing cars are one of the best kept secrets of the automotive world. Often referred to as a poor mans Porsche, they certainly cost the same to maintain as any other Porsche, and it seems they were dismissed by the purists because you didn’t take your life into your hands every time you drove it, like the 911s of the era. The reality is these cars are beautifully balanced, handle brilliantly and if their only sin is that they are easy to drive, then I am quite happy that most people have no idea just how good they are, and the purists are not interested in them, which would force their prices up faster. As they get rarer, they are starting to rise in price but only for unmolested, well cared for examples.
If you are thinking of buying one, my advise is to do some research and buy the best example you can afford. Cheap cars will always end up costing more in work fixing things, than a well cared for example(which will still probably need some work) that should come with a well documented history of maintenance done. These cars need to maintained properly to avoid potential problems down the track. The other thing is to get in quick, before people wise up and push the price up beyond current levels, as that’s just a matter of time. Like me you sure won’t regret owning one, as they are an amazing car.