Junkyard Find: 1987 Porsche 924S

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1987 porsche 924s

While 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 928 S 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.

147 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.

Of 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.

It appears to have spent some time in Southern California prior to migrating 400 miles north to the Bay Area.

A 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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2 of 22 comments
  • Clintg60-16v Clintg60-16v on Jul 13, 2021

    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.

  • Cjengine Cjengine on Jul 19, 2021

    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.

  • Jkross22 This might just be me, but the times that I've driven an EV, I use the brake regen paddles to quell my inner MT/control freak nature.
  • Randy in rocklin I had a 82 733 at one time. It was an awesome car. Good power and great handling. Smooth shifting and ride.
  • Jkross22 Gavin Newsom may not be aware of the fiscal problems of the state he leads, as his focus is on criticizing other states. It's actually better that he has someone shining a laser light on a map so he can stop making things worse here. Just lace his hair gel with some catnip and have him hit himself trying to get to it. Things in LA are getting so bad that even the leftists and progressives are showing up to LA city council meetings with mirrors to protest, well, everything - gas prices, the homeless pandemic, the house pricing pandemic, the crime pandemic. It shocked the City Council that their subjects dare attempt to ask for accountability. The Council president insisted that people with mirrors be escorted out, lest the council be reminded of their incompetence and hubris. That being said, there is no connection being made between the way LA subjects vote and the results it yields. Never underestimate the stupidity of the typical CA voter. The state is a basketcase but voters keep electing the same retreads every time.
  • ScarecrowRepair Too much for too little, unless you treat it strictly as a toy.
  • DedBull Mk2 Jettas are getting harder to find, especially ones that haven't been modified within an inch of their life. I grew up in an 85 GLI, and would love to have one in as close to stock configuration as I could get. This car isn't that starting point, especially sitting 3-4 years in the NY dirt. It's a parts car at best, but there might still be money in it even at that price, if you are willing to take it down to absolutely nothing left.