The Porsche 924 doesn’t have
the greatest reputation among
enthusiasts. We admit, it’s not
the sexiest, fastest, most exciting thing
to come out of Stuttgart. But when is a
Porsche 924 not a Porsche 924? When it’s a
924S. That single letter represents redemption
for this otherwise ho-hum model line.
Despite today’s panning of the original
924, this car represents an important chapter
in Porsche history. When the 924 replaced
the 914 for the 1976 model year, not only
did it offer buyers an updated, low-cost alternative
to the 911, but it broke ground, too.
The 924 was the company’s first production
car to carry its engine up front.
More technologic advancement: Its engine
featured water cooling, a new idea for
Porsche at the time. Then there was the
basic layout and bodywork–stunning and
totally contemporary, from the flip-up
headlights to the giant glass hatchback.
Okay, so a few parts came from the VW
bin, like the Rabbit lower control arms and
Super Beetle rear suspension pieces. Still, the
924 filled a niche and, according to Porsche
historians Jürgen Barth and Gustav Büsing,
became the bestselling sports car of 1977.
The 924 left America after the 1982
model year, passing the role of Porsche’s
entry-level sportster to the 944. While
similar in appearance to the 924, the 944
received a host upgrades, with the biggest
lurking under the hood. The old 100-or-sohorsepower
VW- and Audi-sourced engine
was replaced with a genuine Porsche piece,
bumping output by some 50 percent.
Fender flares allowed the 944 to accept
bigger wheels and tires, while the suspension
and brakes received an overhaul. The
944 simply outran its predecessor.
Porsche kept the 924 alive for other
markets, although eventually the engine
supply dried up. Porsche’s solution: Install
the 944’s engine, along with the latter’s
vented disc brakes and aluminum trailing
arms. At the same time, the wheels grew
to 15x16-inch alloys.
This new creation, dubbed the 924S,
was basically the narrow 924 shell fitted
with 944 parts. It came stateside for just
the 1987 and 1988 model years. One more
bonus: That narrow 924 body cuts a smaller
hole through the air than the 944’s.
What’s not to love? Well, the 924S
is based on the 924, meaning it didn’t
receive the updated interior given to the
944 partway through 1985. And since the
924S doesn’t have the 944’s fender flares,
tire size can be a bit limited–even 7-inch
wheels up front can be a little tight.
In the Porsche world, something different
usually means something with a giant
price tag. In the case of the 924S, we’re
still seeing nice examples going for around
$5000–give or a take a few bucks, even.
Shopping and Ownership
Jason Burkett knows what it takes to keep a 924S on the
road. Not only does he own Porsche parts supply house
Paragon Products, but he also used to own one of these cars.
I think a primo, low-mileage,
924S could be a decent
investment. You may not get
rich, but you won’t get hurt,
either. These cars have great
a/c, ride quietly, get great gas
mileage, and still look modern
after all these years.
The original clutch features
a rubber-center disc. The
rubber eventually rots and
falls apart, so most cars have
been upgraded to a springcenter
clutch disc. Since the
clutch is such a pain to do,
we normally recommend
that folks use our $83 clutch
Every 924S/944 should have
periodic belt and roller maintenance.
If you buy a car and
it doesn’t have any records of
this job being done, do it now.
People often ask if
they can just do the
belts because the
rollers “look okay.”
I wouldn’t take a
chance, because if a
roller seizes or your
belt breaks, you’ve
your car. Belt and
roller kits are not
either, at $219.52.
Konis make a
particularly if the car
still has the stock
shocks or someone
has installed something
Lowering the car a bit is
very common. Two popular
avenues for dropping the
front are Weltmeister springs
or our $265 Adjustable Ride
Height Kit. Just like the 944,
the 924S came from the factory
with a rear that could be
Anti-roll bars can be
upgraded, too, with units from
Weltmeister, Tarett Engineering
and even some factory sources.
Not a ton you can do for
horsepower, but one easyto-
install item that seems to
make driving more enjoyable
is our $28.50 Throttle
Response Cam. It won’t
add any more power, but it
will give you much quicker
throttle response that
makes the car feel
Parts and Service
Next Level European
View comments on the GRM forums
Nice try but you missed the first 924S. Check your history, Porsche did the S option in 1979 to make a basis for the D production racers. No sunroof, manual windows, limited slip and humongous brakes. I was lucky enough to find one of these in the late 90's and it was a sick track car.
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