The genesis of the 944 is convoluted and serpentine, and it all begins with a mooted joint project between Porsche and Volkswagen. The front-engined, water-cooled 924 of 1976 was originally a product of the VW-Porsche merger team set up to develop the 1969 914; when the idea to sell the 924 as a VW, Porsche or Audi in various different markets collapsed, Porsche purchased the designs outright, continued development, and pushed it to market with an Audi-derived 2.0-litre engine. It drew praise and criticism in equal measure – some loved its poise and tactility, others felt that the humble origins of certain parts did much to dilute the brand – and Porsche sought to silence the naysayers in 1979 with the 924 Turbo.
This was a capable but prohibitively expensive car, but rather than scrap the whole idea Porsche soldiered on and evolved the model into the 944 – a sturdier-looking prospect featuring a new all-alloy 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine which, to an extent, can be viewed as the 5.0-litre V8 from the 928 that’s simply been chopped in half. (Although naturally it’s a bit more complex than that.) The 944 featured wider arches, akin to the homologation-special 924 Carrera GT, along with a fresh new interior and thoroughly revised suspension and braking systems. Any criticisms levelled at the 924 for ‘not being a proper Porsche’ were rendered wholly redundant by this radical evolution of the breed. And it was a bona fide success too – production ran from 1982-92, with a grand total of 163,192 examples being sold. The people who grumbled that Porsches should always be rear-engined and air-cooled were silenced pretty quickly. The 944 is a proper, honest, full-fat Porsche – and a thoroughly desirable one at that.
Over the course of its nine-year production run, a number distinct variants of the 944 were produced. The car we’re looking at here is an S2; the original 2.5-litre 944 was upgraded to 944 S spec in 1987, with a little more power and revised suspension, but the S2 of 1989 was a more substantial evolution. Building on the base of the S, the S2 sported a 3.0-litre version of the DOHC 16v motor (a truly mighty displacement for a four-cylinder engine) – the gear ratios were revised to suit and, of course, the option of a cabriolet version arrived in the model line-up.
The current keeper has owned this car since March 2017. It was in excellent condition; the 944 had enjoyed a major valet inside and out when he bought it and it’s been kept garaged under-cover ever since so the aesthetics have never been an issue. The car had just received a full service, and the owner’s been keen to keep on top of the correct servicing schedule since, despite it only receiving gentle and leisurely use. Indeed, it’s been a car simply for weekend fun, and only when the weather is fine – the 944 has covered just 3,500 miles in the last three-and-a-half years or so, being kept on a trickle-charger when not in use for extended periods. The intention was very much to keep the car long-term, although with various financial implications of Covid, the seller is reluctantly having to let his pampered pride-and-joy go.
The 944 comes with a full and complete service history, between Porsche main dealers and independent specialists. All of the correct original books are available too, including the guarantee and maintenance manual, driver’s manual, Porsche Assistance manual, service manual, and the all-important spare key. There’s also an extensive history file, with receipts and invoices dating back to 1997, and MOTs back to ’96.
The 944’s interior is trimmed in Classic Grey leather, all in superb condition with very little wear. A little minor patination to the driver’s seat bolster and elsewhere could easily be treated with a feed, there’s no holes or separating stitching. All of the correct switchgear is present and correct, with just a little surface wear to a couple of the dash switches. The instruments all work correctly, although a few bulbs in the instrument cluster require replacement. The car is currently fitted with a modern Kenwood CD player, but the seller does also have the original Blaupunkt Symphony radio-cassette which will be supplied.
The body is finished in Grand Prix White, with the paint in excellent condition and the body panels suffering no dents, dings or corrosion. The light lenses are in good condition and the bumpers are free from scuffs. The panels all sit straight and true, the pop-up headlights are operational, and the correct S2-spec trim is in place. The wheels are the correct and original items, all in excellent condition and shod with quality Bridgestone tyres with plenty of tread. A pre-MOT check in August of this year confirmed that the underside of the car is pleasingly solid; it was all cleaned and any surface corrosion eradicated, before being undersealed and stone-chipped. There’s a little slight wear and tear on the fuel pump cover/protector, and some minor marking underneath the rear passenger side sill, but other than that it’s just as tidy underneath as it is on top.
The seller highlights that there is evidence that the passenger side front wing has been repaired or treated at some point, as it’s evident that the bolts have been loosened and tightened. He also has an estimate to rectify corrosion in the sill panel which is dated November 2011; there’s no evidence in the history file that this garage carried out this particular work, but nevertheless the work has been done and there’s no rust in this panel whatsoever. The electric roof is in perfect working order, and is in excellent condition having been replaced with a quality item in April 2013.
944 engines that have received the correct servicing are proven to be impressively reliable, and that’s very much the case with this car – the service book is brimming with stamps, and this car has always been carefully maintained. When the seller bought the car back in 2017 it had just received a full service at 86,520 miles, and in February of this year it received a service and oil change at 89,305 miles. The battery was replaced in February 2018, and it’s very reassuring to note that the cam-belt and balance shaft drive belt were replaced at 81,903 miles.
The owner reports that the 944 is mechanically very sound and an absolute joy to drive – it starts easily every time, idles evenly as it should, pulls strongly through the rev range, and drives beautifully. There are no known issues with the transmission, steering or suspension; the only minor issue highlighted is that there’s an occasional noise coming from a driver’s side front brake pad when on full-lock – the owner’s intention was to replace the brake pads when it was time to renew the discs.
The 944 is looking like a very smart buy these days – an affordable entry point into Porsche ownership when compared with, say, 911s of similar vintage, but of course offering an entirely different proposition. Front-engined Porsches of this era represent an extremely desirable niche, with beautifully balanced chassis and engagingly lusty engines, and the 944 S2 in particular is a joy with its eager 3.0-litre engine.
The appeal of any 944 is strong, but this particular one is near-irresistible: finished in the supremely desirable combination of Grand Prix White with Classic Grey trim, it certainly cuts a dash on the high street. And when matters turn to country lanes, there’s plenty of fun to be had with that magnificent engine/chassis combo. The fact that you can drop the roof makes it all the more alluring, allowing the driver to enjoy the sounds of that mighty powertrain for a fully immersive sensory experience – and given that this car is beautifully presented inside, outside and underneath, with strong mechanicals and proven history, it may well be one of the best and most complete S2s out there.
**The photos in this listing have been provided to us by the seller**
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