Unveiled in 1982 to fit between the 924 and 928 in Porsche’s transaxle model range, the 944 was based largely upon the 924 in terms of running gear, but boasted upgraded brakes, enhanced suspension, a more luxurious and well-equipped cabin, and a ‘proper’ Porsche-designed, all-alloy 2.5-litre inline-four engine.
Alongside its Porsche-engineered engine (which, in the most basic sense, was essentially a 928 V8 engine cut in two) the 944 also boasted near-perfect 50:50 weight distribution (50.7 front 49.3% rear) and respectable performance for a mid-range vehicle, capable of completing the 0-62 sprint in under 10 seconds.
Specifically, the ’S’ model was introduced in 1987, boasting a DOHC version of the 2.5-litre engine, a redesigned cam drive, numerous magnesium parts including the valve cover and intake tract, larger oil sump and revised exhaust system. 0-62 took just 6.5s seconds, and a top speed of 144 mph was possible.
This particular early-model example of the 944 S - denoting ‘super’ - was first registered in 1987 in California, finished in the desirable and timeless combination of Guards Red bodywork over a tan leather interior.
Interestingly a vast majority of 944 S production - 8,815 of the 12,936 made - were exported to the US, making US cars far more common than UK/EU equivalents.
Not a great deal - in fact, virtually nothing - is known about the car’s history whilst in the states, other than it is supplied with a clean California title, suggesting it’s had an accident-free lifetime during its 131,000 miles of use and enjoyment.
According to the vendor, the nose cone/front bumper assembly has been painted at some point in its lifetime - likely due to stone chips, as all cars of this type suffer from - but otherwise retains its original paintwork, and has “zero rust” to worry about.
With all its NOVA duties paid, this example is ready to register, recommission and enjoy.
The only documentation included with the car is the clean California title.
Inside, the tan leather interior has stood the test of time well, and boasts a newly-fitted dash-top cover, as the original item - like most other 944s and transaxle Porsches - had cracked due to years spent in the hot American sun.
The seats have fared very well indeed over the years, with no signs of any major wear, rips or tears that we can see, showing only some light creasing, minor bolster scuffs and the usual patina to the leather, as expected from a near 35-year-old vehicle.
Naturally, the high-traffic areas and touch-points of the vehicle such as the door cards, inner door covers, switchgear and various controls wear some light-to-moderate usage marks and patina, but there are no reported faults with the electrical systems or switchgear within the cabin.
An upgraded stereo system has been fitted, but otherwise the cabin remains in its original condition.
Interestingly, the carpets, mats and transmission tunnel remain in excellent condition for their age, and - like the rest of the cabin - are ready to use as they sit, though perhaps a deep valet would bring them up in even better condition.
At the rear, the expansive load bay is in decent condition, though there are a few notable stains and some carpet trim which needs addressing on the nearside rear edge of the compartment.
As we’ve already mentioned, the paintwork remains largely in its original state, other than the re-sprayed nose cone. Despite its age, it presents well overall, with some light blemishes and marks noted, and perhaps a thorough detailing / machine polishing would help to improve further the level of lustre and ‘depth’ on the paintwork.
Elsewhere, there are some marks, scratches and scuffs expected from a vehicle of this age and mileage, along with some damaged graphics, old sticker residue and some scuffs and scrapes to the black ‘impact’ bumpers.
As far as we can see, all trims, badges and details are present and correct, and the vendor reports no issues with the pop-up headlight system, nor any waterproofing issues with the various seals and windows.
All four wheels are in good condition, though there are some kerb rash marks, chips and wear visible.
Under the bonnet, the 2.5-litre inline-four engine presents in well-used condition, and would benefit from an extensive detailing and visual restoration, though there are no obvious issues, missing parts or noteworthy leaks or fluid misting.
The vendor reports that the car starts, runs, drives, turns and stops exactly as it should do, though it is recommended that a through recommissioning - including belts, water pump, fluid change and a major service - is carried out, owing to its extended period of being laid-up.
Underneath, the vendor reports there is “zero rust” on the vehicle, and no reported structural issues.
Finished in an iconic specification, boasting the desirable ’S’ model upgrades and presented in good order, this early-model, California-imported 1987 Porsche 944 S is ready for the next owner to register and enjoy as they see fit.
Whether that’s as a full-on restoration project, sympathetic (mechanical-only) restoration or as an excellent first ‘big’ project.
Go on, you know you want to!
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1987 Porsche 944S
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