The 1980s were a time of flash, cash and excess. If you wanted people to know, or at least think you were doing well in the world, you needed to have the garb to show it. Big watches, red braces and a Filofax full of contacts ready and waiting to ‘do lunch’ were all prerequisites. And so too was a suitably flash car.
The ultimate 1980s choices from which to blast Blondie from the stereo were cars like the DeLorean, the Renault GTA and of course, the Porsche 911. But what if you hadn’t traded enough stocks and shares? What if your budget simply couldn’t get all the way to a 911? Well, Porsche had you covered with the car we have here, the Porsche 944.
The 944 was the perfect choice for many. It had the all important badge on the nose, but more importantly, it was also a very good car. A 2.5 engine, transaxle, perfect weight distribution, flared arches and of course, pop-up headlights. It was ‘80s to the core, especially if ordered in brilliant white with a red interior. Which, happily, is exactly what we have here.
Unfairly, the 944 was snubbed for a while, despite a strong start. It simply wasn’t a 911, and as such, purists walked on by. Now though, the tables have turned and the 944 is recognised as being a true, red blooded Porsche. A machine to be bought, cherished and enjoyed, and a machine that is most definitely deserving of the badge.
What is it?
What we have here is a 1985 Porsche 944 finished in Alpine White and sitting on a rather fetching set of Fuchs alloys wheels. It’s a 2.5 straight-four, naturally aspirated, and fitted with a five-speed manual transmission. It might not have the drama and bark of the Turbo, but it’s still going to be good fun to drive. Plus, it’s not Turbo money. This car is a mere five grand.
Look at the pictures, the 944 seems to be in remarkably good condition. White is an unforgiving colour when it comes to rust, as even the smallest bit will show. However, this car looks bright and clean, which is a reassuring start. The wheels look to be in order, all the glass is present and correct, as is the all important rear spoiler.
Inside, the red and white striped interior seem, from what we can see, to be in good order. Also, this is an oval dashboard model, which is a bit more pleasing to the eye. The carpets look good, the dash doesn’t appear to be cracked or warmed (a common problem) and other than some remedial work, seems to be ready to go.
Why is it a project?
It seems this Porsche 944 has had a lazy few years, as it’s not been on the road since 2018. However, having had a look through the MOT history, we’re happy to report that it’s impressively clean. There is no mention of any corrosion issues, and where it has failed in the past, the mileage would suggest it was repaired on site before passing. Any fails seem to have been minor, like wipers, ball joints, that kind of thing.
The last MOT simply expired, and then the car was put into storage. However, there may be a bit of work to do before it gets a fresh test. The vendor states that the car is solid and shows no sign of any past welding. However, the rear brakes are binding and the car will need a full service and inspection before it sees the road again. But it looks to all be the kind of stuff anyone half decent on the spanners can do from home.
Once all that’s done, you could just enjoy it as is. There seems to be nothing fundamentally wrong with it, which is good. The steering wheel needs some love, as does the gear gaiter, and there is no radio. But that’s all that is obvious. It could be a very easy car to restore back to its former glory. And you should. It’s got full history, it’s only got 188k on the clock and it looks to be in excellent condition already. An easy winter project, perhaps?
Five things to look for:
The car seems pretty straight and honest, as does the MOT history. However, it won’t hurt to have a look underneath it for any corrosion. Check the sills, inner arches, A pillars and bulkhead in particular.
It looks to be in good order. The steering wheel needs some restoration, as does the gaitor, but that seems to be it. They’re easy to sort, too. However, the seats are not. Fabric is hard to find, so double check it’s all in good order.
The car looks good in the pictures, but while white is keen to show rust, it is just as keen to hide defects like dents, ripples and runs. You’ll need to inspect it in person to make sure it’s as good as the pictures make it look.
Just for peace of mind if nothing else, but have a look at the paperwork. This 944 seems to have been cared for, so have a look through, see what’s been done and have a look at dates to get an idea of what might need doing soon, if anything.
Those Fuchs alloys are, make no mistake, beautiful. But if they’re damaged, they are also expensive. Check the condition, both inner and outer. Look for any cracks, buckles or bends.
What should you do with it?
This 1985 Porsche 944 seems to have been exceptionally well cared for over the course of its life, and it’s simply fallen on hard times. For our money, we’d get it back on the road and then sort out those minor interior issues and then call it a day. This could be a very special car with a little bit of love, and one that will only go up in value if you look after it in the right way.