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SlickDizzy
SlickDizzy SuperDork
2/13/10 3:05 p.m.

All of a sudden, the craigslists of my region seem to have cheap 924's everywhere; really clean, low-mile examples that need seemingly minor work for well under $1000. I remember hearing that the cylinder heads flow like poo, so it's hard to get more power out of them, but what's the general consensus on the rest of the car as far as aftermarket support and performance potential go? I'm looking for a cheap car to set up and flog around at HPDE's and autocrosses to prep myself for Lemons this fall.

M030
M030 Reader
2/13/10 3:39 p.m.

I like them, but I think I may be one of the perhaps four people on the planet who does.

From experience, they handle really well and they respond well to a good set of shocks.

Parts interchangability with the now-cheap 944s makes junkyard tuning cheap and easy.

Go-fast = side draft carburetors and a mild cam

There are rumors that the head was intentionally designed to flow poorly so as not to compete with the 911. This is nonsense. The head design is really OK, it's the intake manifold that makes a 180-degree bend in the middle that is the bottleneck.

petegossett
petegossett SuperDork
2/13/10 9:48 p.m.

They are a well-balanced, if not a bit heavy, chassis. They have enough parts-bin engineering to open up some interesting & budget-minded improvements...but stock-for-stock they're about as slow as an air-cooled Beetle. Not that they can't be fun.

GI_Drewsifer
GI_Drewsifer Reader
2/13/10 9:54 p.m.

It's the 944's older, slow, less comfortable, brother. Just saying.

However there is a pretty big following for the plucky 924.

Luke
Luke SuperDork
2/14/10 3:08 a.m.
petegossett wrote: ..but stock-for-stock they're about as slow as an air-cooled Beetle. Not that they can't be fun.

Dunno if they're quite that slow. I drove a bog standard 924 with a dog-leg g'box, and it felt pretty lively.

There's also the 924S, (if you can find one), which has the better, more powerful 944 engine.

mad_machine
mad_machine SuperDork
2/14/10 4:22 a.m.

I had a lot of fun in my aircooled beetles...

the 924 is the 944's scrawny sister, nothing a makeover can't fix

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy New Reader
2/14/10 7:55 a.m.

Not bad looking if you remove the pie plate side marker lights.

They had the same quality of fusebox and wiring the early Rabbits had, which is always an invitation to disaster.

ea_sport
ea_sport Reader
2/14/10 8:36 a.m.

Not much too add other than I like the Wheeler Dealers episode when they fixed up a 924, I may still have it on my DVR...

P71
P71 SuperDork
2/14/10 9:12 a.m.

The 924S is a completely different animal. It's all 944 in a 924 wrapper so it's light and fast. One pulled a second at Nationals last year in E-Stock that happens to be for sale...

924guy
924guy Dork
2/14/10 9:20 a.m.

i may be a bit biased, but imo the 924 is one of the best performance bargains you can find. they are not for everyone, but if your willing to look at them from the engineering point of view, you will be amazed.

these cars were 30 years ahead of their time, and though their performance stats arent impressive today on paper, they are a blast to drive because of there 48/52 weight balance, easily upgradeable suspension that is great even in stock form, and zippy enough to have fun with. get the turbo version and youve got a car thats faster than a 944 and many 911's, and with a bit of work, they are downright rocket ships.

  • electrics- the stock electrics are actually excellent, the only issues are bad grounds because they haven't been cleaned in 30 years in most cases. fuel pump relays are also a common issue, again because their 30 years old, just like the fuse panels, if their in good shape, they rarely let you down...

  • body: Galvanized at the factory after 1978! designed to with stand a 55 mile and hour impact, yes 55 (crash standards in the us were expected to be severely tightened, the 924 was designed to be compliant. i have seen a few flipped on their roof and not even bend a pillar. one of mine was run over by a cherokee (tire track on hood) and didnt even break the windshield. heavy? not really.. 2300-2600 pounds depending on year. not feather weight, but no big bertha either.

  • top end: yep, the head was intentionally restricted to keep it from being faster than the rest of the Porsche line up. there are a few who have built big valve heads with good results, it aint easy or cheap though. but dont forget, the gts were making over 400 hp on the 2.0 block in some cases, reliably, so there is potential. Also the CIS is a GOOD setup IF you learn it. if you dont want to, Mega Squirt it for great results. Id recommend against side drafts for the 924, the result aint all the rumor. cis cars do better in most case, unless its purely a track car. My friend has webers on his, its horrible to drive and slow as a pig (dont tell him though!) under 4500 revs..above 4500 revs its MUCH better.

  • the block is bullet proof, add a crank scrapper to free up a few more revs. Bearings are hard to find in standard size because even 25-30 year old rebuilds are not needing to machine the crank on well cared for engines, std. bearing are always in demand rather than over sized.

  • the interiors didnt hold up as well as the rest cracked dashes and split seams at the seats are common. but you also have allot of choices to fix those issues with.

  • interchangeable parts! you have not only the 924, but the 924s, 944, 968, and even some 911, 928 parts you can upgrade with. suspension, brakes, interior, ect... plus the interchange parts between vw and audi on allot of the hard parts and electrics. also on parts, some are definitely hard to find, BUT, the crew over at 924.org is taking care of that a little at a time. we've already done rod bolts, bearing, cometic head gaskets, and a bunch of other stuff. we've got a consortium developing head improvements, and all sorts of exciting stuff going on!

slow? maybe... my 78 with the 4 speed has great "pep" but above 85 or so gets buzzy and doesnt respond well, its awesome under 85 though. Five speeds will get you better top end, but you loose a bit of low end grunt. and yes you can swap out a four speed for a five speed, but you also have to change some other stuff (still a one day job, unless your converting from a snail shell to an audi (merc) set up. ) In any configuration you make up the lack of grunt on the corners... with a turbo , no lack of grunt or corners.. But as for the 924 being "beetle" slow, total myth bugs have trouble doing highway speed, the 924 even in the 77 95 hp version, is way faster :)

With a poorly maintained 924, there will be allot to address, and some parts will be hard to find, others may cost more than your used to (fuel pumps requiring 100psi + =cost.)

id recommend and 81 or 82 in the 2.0 n/a or turbo versions (turbos will be more work, but also MUCH faster). the 79-80 my had snail shell transaxles, lighter, but prone to 1st gear issues and a different mounting setup. 76-77.5 my had lower output, 78's are a decent choice, 81-82 are better... 87-88 had the 2.5 944 engines, slightly detuned, 88s had suspension improvements and are the better choice of the late models.

ALL that being said, there may be better choices, but ive really enjoyed mine. I'ive had my 78 924 since 1995, and my 82 924 turbo (931) since 2000, and enjoyed them both tremendously, even when their in pieces (my decision to tinker, not the cars issues for the most part.) I turn cars often, but have never gotten bored with my 924s...

M030
M030 Reader
2/14/10 10:15 a.m.
924guy wrote: - top end: yep, the head was intentionally restricted to keep it from being faster than the rest of the Porsche line up.

This is a myth.

maroon92
maroon92 SuperDork
2/14/10 10:23 a.m.

one word (and a couple letters)

Carrera GT

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed HalfDork
2/14/10 10:28 a.m.

I had a friend who put 400K miles on a 924S before it died. That's not a misprint, I am talking 400 thousand miles. So they may be slow but they sure can last.

924guy
924guy Dork
2/14/10 9:34 p.m.

In reply to M030:

my info comes directly from a factory mechanic who worked in Germany, for Porsche in the late 70's, whom i met at a pca event in the mid 90's... if it is indeed a myth, it started in Stuttgart, so its a really good one!

66healey
66healey New Reader
2/14/10 9:41 p.m.

They share a fair number of parts with vw rabbits of the same vintage. Front a-arms,ball joints, door handles and a lot of the switch gear come to mind. If you know what parts are common with the vw you can save quite a bit of cash on repairs. It is a porsche and parts are not cheap. I have a 944 not the 924, but i like it. I think a lot of folks do not like the 924 because it lacks the flares the 944 has. I wouldn't let that stop me from buying one though. Its porsche ownership at its cheapest.

SlickDizzy
SlickDizzy SuperDork
2/14/10 10:05 p.m.

Good info to have y'all, thanks a bunch. I basically want a car I can run at Road America and local auto-x for dirt cheap and have a lot of fun. It's looking like one of these will definitely fit the bill. As they always say, it's more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow...now I just have to see how well I fit into one! I loved my '83 RX-7, fit me perfectly, and I've lost 40lbs since then.

Salanis
Salanis SuperDork
2/15/10 12:03 a.m.

Try to find a 924S. Great car and most sellers don't know the difference. Essentially it's a 944, less box flares (I know) and a couple hundred pounds. The 8-valve SOHC engine it and the 944 share isn't terribly impressive but gets the job done well enough. Really, it's not short on power, so much as the chassis is so nice it just feels like it aught to have more. They sound really mean too.

The base 924 is a slightly different animal. As I recall, those got a pretty anemic Volvo engine, but the rest of the underpinnings are the same.

If you can find a 924S, you will have the option of converting it into a 944 Spec racer. That isn't too difficult or expensive to do, either.

SlickDizzy
SlickDizzy SuperDork
2/15/10 12:18 a.m.
Salanis wrote: As I recall, those got a pretty anemic Volvo engine, but the rest of the underpinnings are the same.

...what? Err...

My main issue with the 924S is the expensive maintenance associated with the 944-spec parts, and the generally higher buy-in (924's aren't for sale daily in WI, 924S's seem to command a $1000+ premium). If a non-S shares more parts with a VW, all the better, means it's cheaper to run!

M030
M030 Reader
2/15/10 8:55 a.m.

In reply to 924guy:

The 924 was intended to be sold as an Audi and was desgined and engineered by Porsche for the VW group as a parts-bin special. In the end, VW cancelled the project but Porsche was in too deep and decided to produce the car and market it themselves as a Porsche. The engine was lifted, in tact, from the 90hp Audi 100. Porsche didn't develop the 90hp 2.0 because they didn't have to. The car was supposed to be a VW.

There is a reason (actually, many good ones) that the 944 had an all-new engine when it debuted in late 1982.

I've also personally spent thousands of dollars trying to hop up a 924 (I had an 81 from 1994-2000) and the only thing that worked was side-draft carbs. I had the head ported and polished, installed bigger valves, a mild cam, etc. The dyno doesn't lie. All that head work and I got 0 extra hp. None. However, I saw a 22hp gain by ditching the CIS and going to Webers.

When I sold the 924, I replaced it with an 86 944 Turbo that cost a little more than all of my engine mods and, even in stock form, was a much faster car.

joepaluch
joepaluch Reader
2/15/10 9:35 a.m.

A 924S = 944 with narrow fenders.

I have 2 924S parts cars and other than the narrow body these area really a 944.

The 924 however is different. From the start of production in 76 until it was stopped in 81 the cars evolved alot. Many changes were made over the years. Some parts cross over to the 944 family, but many don't.

I have always felt that the 924 is not a good car to work with. The problem is you can put the same effort into 944 (or 924S if you want that look) for the same money. Some 944 parts are more expensive, but many are not due to volume. The are alot of 944's out there and fewer 924. Still your choice.

pres589
pres589 Reader
2/15/10 10:21 a.m.

All I know is that this thread made me find this on my standing Craiglook.com tab here in Firefox; http://denver.craigslist.org/ctd/1579969886.html

Now I wonder about a Megasquirt and ITB's...

turboswede
turboswede SuperDork
2/15/10 12:38 p.m.
M030 wrote:
924guy wrote: - top end: yep, the head was intentionally restricted to keep it from being faster than the rest of the Porsche line up.
This is a myth.

Confirmed by a Porsche Engineer. A 924 vendor overseas spoke with a Porsche engineer, who was involved in the project's engine development, and confirmed this.

pres589
pres589 Reader
2/15/10 12:41 p.m.
M030 wrote: When I sold the 924, I replaced it with an 86 944 Turbo that cost a little more than all of my engine mods and, even in stock form, was a much faster car.

Which would be an easier car to live with every day though, a 924 or a 944? It always sounds like maintenance on the 944 is a higher cost & more involved prospect, what's your take on that?

turboswede
turboswede SuperDork
2/15/10 12:46 p.m.
pres589 wrote: All I know is that this thread made me find this on my standing Craiglook.com tab here in Firefox; http://denver.craigslist.org/ctd/1579969886.html Now I wonder about a Megasquirt and ITB's...

Way ahead of you on that:

M030, who did you have do the port work on your head? Did they provide you any flow numbers for the ports? Did you do any tuning on the fuel/ignition systems? Any changes in compression? How about the camshaft? Just curious.

turboswede
turboswede SuperDork
2/15/10 1:12 p.m.
pres589 wrote:
M030 wrote: When I sold the 924, I replaced it with an 86 944 Turbo that cost a little more than all of my engine mods and, even in stock form, was a much faster car.
Which would be an easier car to live with every day though, a 924 or a 944? It always sounds like maintenance on the 944 is a higher cost & more involved prospect, what's your take on that?

The 944 is a more comfy driver, but the 924 is more of a driver's car.

The maintenance on the 944 is annoying, but over time the costs have dropped slightly and the tools have become slightly more prevalent so it isn't quite the freak out that it once was.

Otherwise they share most of the underpinnings, so maintenance is fairly similar. Upgrades for the 924 is as close as the next wrecked 944.

The 924 is just a cheap, sporty car that doesn't have enough power. Talking to a friend of mine who has a 944 and a 924, he told me the 944 was nicer to drive everyday, but the 924 is more fun to drive because it is more communicative. Coming from someone who restored his own Ducati, I tend to listen a little closer to it.

Get thee over to 924.org and 924board.org for more 924, 924S and 924 Turbo (931) information.

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