By on July 12, 2021

1987 Porsche 924S in California junkyard, LH side view - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWhile Porsche provided the (relatively) inexpensive 914 and 924 to American buyers during the 1970s and into the early 1980s, the debut of the 944 here in the 1983 model year resulted in the price tag on the cheapest possible Porsche starting at $18,980 (about $52,240 in 2021 dollars). While the white-powder-dusted 928S listed at $43,000 that year (about $118,360 today), it must have pained the suits in Stuttgart to have nothing to compete for sales with the likes of the affordable Mitsubishi Starion and Nissan 280ZX. So, for the 1987 and 1988 model years, American Porsche shoppers could buy a 924 with a detuned version of the 944’s engine, keeping the cheap(-ish) price tag of the 924 while ditching the VW engine that— humiliatingly— went into American Motors economy cars and even DJ-5 mail Jeeps. This car was known as the 924S, and I’ve found this one in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard.

The MSRP on this car came to $19,900, or about $48,175 now. That was still quite a bit more than the $15,469 Starion in 1987, but it was a real Porsche and it cost a lot less than the closely-related $25,500 ($61,730 today) 944.

1987 Porsche 924S in California junkyard, engine - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars147 horses from this 2.5-liter four, which didn’t come all that close to the 944S’s 188 horsepower but beat the Starion’s Turbo Astron engine by three ponies.

1987 Porsche 924S in California junkyard, automatic gearshift - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsOf course, if you’re going to get a three-speed automatic transmission in your Porsche, why spend the extra for wider fenders and a few dozen more horsepower? That must have been the logic behind the original purchase of this car.

1987 Porsche 924S in California junkyard, Los Angeles parking permit - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsIt appears to have spent some time in Southern California prior to migrating 400 miles north to the Bay Area.

1987 Porsche 924S in California junkyard, RH rear view - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsA minor footnote in Porsche history, the 924S, but this is the sort of story your local U-Wrench yard excels in telling us.


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22 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1987 Porsche 924S...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Lest anyone doubt we are in a golden age of performance, check the performance stats of the manual-equipped version of this car.

    https://bringatrailer.com/2020/08/27/road-and-track-comparison-test-porsche-924s-944-944s-and-951/

    Today, if Joe Cool rolled up next to a Corolla in one of these, he’d get his butt handed to him.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    That’s a curious modification over the right strut tower.

    As I recall, the 924 was never very good even then – it was easily eclipsed by the more muscular 944.

    But this was also the era when it was heresy to call anything besides a rear-engine air-cooled flat 6 a “Porsche”, so the 928, 924, and 944 had to earn their right to the name. Lately, the Cayenne, Macan, Panamera, and Taycan continue that struggle, while Porsche prints money with them.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The 924 and base 944 had the same engine for that year and performed almost identically – see the link above. The 944 would have the handling edge because it had wider, higher-performance tires.

      In that sense, given the context of early-’80s performance, the base 924 was actually something of a bargain. You had to step up to the 944S to get more power.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      That’s a curious modification over the right strut tower.

      Some kind of bracket? Doesn’t look structural…the car isn’t rotted out being in Calif…but yeah wtf?

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Yeah, that is weird. It doesn’t look like it could handle the forces of the strut compressing, so it must be holding the top of the strut mount together.

      • 0 avatar
        CoastieLenn

        @dukeisduke unless my eyes are tricking me, there appears to be no attachment. It looks like it was just haphazardly thrown in there and thats where it landed. The two bolts present are plate attachments, not connected to anything.

        Could be wrong though.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @SCE you remember correctly. There were some independent Porsche specialists (and Porsche owners) who refused to accept these vehicles as real Porsches. Which is probably one reason why they could be purchased relatively inexpensively for a number of years. While the air cooled Porsches have reached astronomical heights.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Detuned Porsche is no Porsche at all.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Quite the contrary, the 924S I owned, essentially bone stock with manual, was a very good, very enjoyable car and I remember it fondly as the best car I ever owned. Unfortunately, after burying my second wife, I was full of that “you don’t necessarily have all that much time left, so you better quit putting off all those promises” angst, so I traded it in on a Pontiac Solstice.

    And was regretting the move within six months. The Solstice was gone in 18. Still kinda looking for another 924S.

  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    Right after high school, I wanted one of these badly. I had never driven one, but I knew a 944 was out of my price range so the 924 had to make due. I found a nice one (non-S trim) with a manual, black/black, and very close to my house, but I don’t remember what year it was. I had spent almost three years saving my money (high school kid, part time minimum wage job) for a car that I wanted, and this *had* to be it… until I drove it. What a whomp whomp on four wheels. It felt only marginally better than my 1988 Celica GT thru the turns, and felt like it would get destroyed by the Celica in the straights. I couldn’t believe it. I was so disappointed.

    I ended up saving for another couple months and bought a 1991 Talon ESi and loved every second of it.

    I’ve never been more disappointed in an automotive encounter in my life.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Can’t speak for the 924, but the 944S was a pretty sweet ride (learned how to drive a stick on that) for attacking corners.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    I had an ’84 944 with a dogleg five-speed. ‘Dog’ was appropriate, as I was killed by a sixteen year-old girl in her Dad’s Bonneville SSEi, light to light. I ran that tach right past the mustard and deep into the ketchup but it was no use. She gloated at the next lights then left me for dead. Again. It was the first car I’d owned that could actually corner, though, so I kept it until it needed a distributor.

  • avatar
    t_odd_k

    I currently have one of these: about 160 HP. Not fast off line at all, but lots of top end to 140. The engine is there to get it to the top of the mountain. Nothing will beat it on a downhill course. Sticks to the track as if on rails.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    Doesn’t anyone remember for self destructing 924 turbos fiasco? I think that put the entire automotive industry off turbos for a decade.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    Doesn’t anyone remember for self destructing 924 turbos fiasco? I think that put the entire automotive industry off turbos for a decade.

  • avatar
    clintg60-16v

    There was no ‘self-destructing’ turbo issue with the 924 Turbo. It’s an oil-cooled turbo, and a lot of owners simply didn’t let the turbo cool with a short idle before shutdown.

    The 80’s had no shortage of turbo cars, that’s for sure.

    It’s a different Porsche, but a genuine Porsche.

  • avatar
    cjengine

    I have had a 87 924S from when i was in 9th grade to today. In High school and college my dad and I did spec 944 racing and had to add ballast to the car to make it “fair” against the stock 944s we raced with. The handing on these cars was really good at the limit but a stock mini van was faster from a stop. The bracket indeed in the stock front licence plate hold which was really in typical German fasion over designed for the task. Currently my 924S is in a stake of partial re-assembly as I am going thorugh the suspension bushing and replacment of the drivers rear swing arm.

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