Sports Cars On A $20,000 Budget: The Car That Saved Porsche

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This car reestablished what a Porsche should be like, and now it could be yours.

By 1988, Porsche was six years deep into a mission to distinguish itself as separate from the jointly developed Volkswagen-Porsche 924 that purists loved to hate. It wanted to show the world it could still make a legitimate sports car that was all theirs and better than what Volkswagen could come up with. That car was the 944, which originally appeared in 1982 after the company decided that the slow-selling 928 wasn't what it had in mind either.

The 944 Turbo (internally known as the 951) didn't come out until 1985 and lasted until 1988 when the Turbo S was released. 1988, the final year of the 944 Turbo, is when our star was born. Its turbocharged and intercooled 2.5-liter inline four cylinder made 217 horsepower and Road and Track said that the 944 was finally a car worthy of the Porsche marque. Now you have the chance to get your hands on a piece of history with this 160,000-mile example that is selling for only $11,900. Considering that the car has gone from being worth nearly $40,000 when new with options and has ascended into collector car status, this is a bargain. Like almost all 944s, this one has been modified.

It has 993 brakes, a lightweight flywheel and carbon graphite clutch, a Lindsey Racing 4-inch aluminum exhaust, a boost gauge, synchronic waste gate, and of course, a CD player with aux input and Bluetooth. The steering, while communicative, was a source of complaint from 944 owners because of the amount of angle required to make a turn and a dead on-center feel. To remedy this, many owners tried to add a tighter steering rack or even a manual rack, the latter of which this car has. This only serves to increase the stiff and mechanical characteristic of the car, making it so that every move the driver makes has to be deliberate.

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It just so happens that Car and Driver liked this steering and stiff suspension setup, calling the 944 "The Best Handling Production Car In America" for 1984. The 944 Turbo was also improved over the regular 944 with revisions to the engine compartment in order to help with cooling. With a five-speed manual and rear-wheel drive, this car is built to take on racetracks with. Its 5.9-second 0-60 mph acceleration time means that you wont be beating anything this side of the millennium, but who cares when you can have so much fun for relatively cheap. This particular model is painted white, has a well-kept interior, and has some dings on an otherwise well-kept body.

The car resides in San Rafael, California, so if you want your inexpensive track day special with a history and a steadily growing collector status behind it, get your checkbooks out and start writing.

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