1988 Porsche 944

Yesterday, I was out in the Philadelphia suburbs picking up some hoagies (known as subs or heros to a good portion of the rest of the country). A young man parked next to me in a black Porsche 944. As we waited for our sandwiches to be made, he told me that his family had recently picked up the car, that it was quite original, that it had only about 50,000 miles, and that it was a 1988.

“Driving in its finest form”

For the 1988 model year, the 944 stood mostly pat. The engine continued to be the 147 bhp fuel injected 2.5 liter inline four, paired with either a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional three-speed automatic transmission.

0-60 with the manual transmission was about 8.5 seconds in the 2,800 pound car while mileage was 20 city/28 highway by the standards of the day (18/26 by modern standards). With a 21.1 gallon fuel tank, range was an impressive 455 miles with a 10% reserve.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $31,650 car (about $65,900 in 2015 dollars) included pop-up halogen headlights, an integral front air dam, power rack and pinion steering, vented disc brakes, and cast alloy wheels on 215/60VR15 tires. Inside, all 944s came with air conditioning, leather sport steering wheel, a digital quartz clock, power windows, and electric rear window defroster.

Options included anti-lock brakes, automatic cruise control, a tilting sunroof, sports seats, front heated seats, driver and passenger airbags, and a selection of Blaupunkt digital cassette radios.

There is good club support for the Porsche 944, as there is for all Porsches. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1988 Porsche 944 in #1 condition is $17,500, with a more normal #3 condition car going for $6,700. Porsche 944s frequently show up for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds. As I write this in June 2015, there’s a red 1986 with the manual and 82,000 miles available for $12,000.

Make mine silver, please.

1987 Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera coupe

“The Classic Porsche”

For 1987, the Carrera version of Porsche’s evergreen 911 continued with the Bosch fuel injected 3.2 liter/193 ci flat six in use since 1984, but with a new fuel mapping that increased horsepower slightly to 214 bhp. With the standard Getrag G50 five-speed manual transmission (also new for 1987), you could expect to hit 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, with a top speed of 149 mph in the 2,750 pound Carrera (the 2020 911 Carrera S is almost 3,400 pounds). Fuel mileage was 18 city/25 highway by the standards of the day (16/23 by today’s standards) with premium gas.

The 911 was certainly not an entry-level Porsche: in 1987 that was left to the 924S (starting at $19,900) and the 944 ($25,500). For your 911’s $40,425 base price (about $92,100 in 2019 dollars) you got four-wheel vented disc brakes (but no ABS) and an engine oil cooler. The exterior included forged alloy wheels, heated power mirrors, heated windshield washer nozzles, fog lights, and tinted glass. Inside, power windows, air conditioning, fold-down rear seats, and Blaupunkt’s AM/FM stereo cassette (either Charleston or Portland) with four speakers were all standard.

By 1987, Porsche had figured out that the real money was in the options—a behavior that continues to this day. They included the Turbo-Look 911 Turbo body components ($12,593!), limited slip differential ($741), sport shock absorbers ($247), and front and rear spoilers ($1,604). Inside, you could add cruise control ($365), power door locks ($334), heated seats ($164 each), an alarm system ($240), and Blaupunkt’s upmarket Reno AM/FM stereo cassette ($133).

Things hadn’t gotten that comfortable, though—that would wait for the 1990s. There was as yet no automatic transmission option, and many (including Car and Driver) mentioned that the ergonomics still showed their 1960s origins when compared to the 928 or 944.

911 Carreras from the 1980s have held their values quite well. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1987 Porsche  911 3.2 Carrera coupe in #1/Concours condition is $86,000, with a more normal #3/Good condition car going for $45,500. A cabriolet can fetch up to $68,900 while a targa can get up to $77,700.

Porsche 911 3.2 Carreras have (of course) excellent club support from many sources and are often available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds. As I update this in February 2019, a Guards Red 1987 coupe with 40,000 miles is for sale for $74,500. Make mine Silver Metallic, please.

Updated February 2019.

1986 Porsche 944 Turbo

“Keeping Up with a Porsche 944 Has Just Gone from Difficult to Impossible”

Porsche released its Turbo version of the 944 for the 1986 model year, marking yet another step in the evolution from the original 95 bhp (!) 924 “almost a Volkswagen” design, which dated from 1976.

The 944 Turbo featured a turbocharged and intercooled version of the standard 944’s 2.5 liter inline 4 that produced 217 bhp. New forged pistons were included along with a strengthened gearbox and standard external oil coolers for both the engine and transmission.

Despite some major turbo lag, performance was quite good for the mid-1980s: Car and Driver managed to get a 0-60 time of 6.1 seconds and a top speed of 157 mph, though they noted that the price of almost $30,000 might freeze out some previous 944 customers.

Looks weren’t sharply different from the “civilian” 944, which stayed in production. The nose was somewhat simplified with an integrated front bumper and the rear had a fairing fitted to clean up the appearance of some underside components. Wheels resembling those on the “big brother” 928 were fitted. The result looked quite good in commercials.

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for an 1986 944 Turbo in #1/Concours condition is $24,300. I’m beginning to see 944s at judged car shows and they maintain a reasonable presence in the Hemming Motor News classifieds. Make mine Guards Red, please.