In 1977, Porsche introduced the 924. They had made arrangements with Volkswagen to produce a sports car who, in the end, decided to back out on the deal. Porsche took the opportunity to buy the car back from Volkswagen and called it the 924. It was a huge change for the company. A Volkswagen on the inside, Porsche on the outside? A front, water-cooled engine? Porsche on a budget? Sound backwards? This was the Porsche 924.
Although it had Porsche badges, this was a mix of different cars. It had an Audi engine and parts from a Volkswagen van! But it was a rear-wheel drive hatchback, it was stylish and was a fun little car to drive and it still is. Porsche introduced the 924 just before they launched the more beefy Porsche 928 and just a few years later, the 944.
The 928 was introduced a year later than the 924. Porsche doubled the cylinders, widened the stance, added some of the coolest pop-up lights, to make a powerful 220 horsepower V8 that was nicknamed "the land shark" from its distinctive front end. Porsche later added 'S', 'GT', and 'GTS' models to the line-up. The 928 cost about as much as a house when it was first introduced.
The 944 was a great midpoint between the 924 and 928. Porsche took the 924 platform and built a brand new car on it. They planned to replace the 911 but 911 fanatics protested. The 944 came in naturally aspirated, turbocharged, and cabriolet models. It came standard with a 2.5L 4-cylinder, powerful yet efficient engine and an optional limited-slip differential which is now a rare find. In prime conditions you can get upwards of 34mpg. In mid 1985 the 944 was updated with a modern dash and door panels, a radio antenna embedded in the windshield, and phone dial wheels. In 1989 it was upgraded to a 2.7L engine. There was also a 944 S with slightly more horsepower and the turbo (also called the 951) was inter cooled and produced 220 horsepower to achieve a 0-60mph time of 5.5 seconds. The 944 was given optional wider fenders, more Porsche parts and more power than the previous 924. Optional equipment included a club sport package, limited slip differential, headlight washers, automatic speed control, central locking system, power windows, power mirrors, power seats, alarm system, airbags, leather interior, power sunroof and plenty more.
The 944 was and still is a great little car. Although naturally aspirated models only have 150 horsepower, there is plenty of torque and thanks to great Porsche engineers, the weight distribution is next to perfect making the handling amazing around corners. It is now considered a classic Porsche and has a huge consumer base with plenty of followers, online forums, and part suppliers making it a great and somewhat affordable classic car to own.