924S on road
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The Porsche 924S - A Subtle Sports car

Here's a quick introduction to the 924S.

 The 924S was built for only three years, 1986-1988, a victim of falling exchange rates. Originally designed as a (relatively) low-priced competitor to various Japanese sports models, it listed at $19,900 US$ and was introduced as a 1987 model in mid-1986. (Mine listed at $33,500 CDN by late fall, 1986.)

 The price was a steal given the rising German mark and the price was quickly raised to the point that it could no longer be afforded by its intended clientele and started competing upmarket with its descendent and predecessor, the 944. (The 944 base was $39,500 CDN by late fall, 1986)

 These price increases translated into poor sales and the 924S was withdrawn in 1988. In 1989 the 2.7l 944 was the base model. By 1990 all variants of the 944 line were dropped in the United States in favour of the 944S2. (The 944 turbo continued to be available in Canada).

 The obvious differences between the 924S and its 944 sibling lay in the exterior and interior. The exterior carried the same 924 shell as penned in the early '70's for AUDI. This very clean design lacks the aggressiveness and wide stance found in the 944. (It doesn't have tacked-on fenders, either.) The obvious influence of the design is the Ferrari Daytona, which carries the same 94.5" wheelbase. The 924 has a very subtle design that, like a good suit, does not give its owner an overwhelming presence (like a 930 does, for example). There is no "in-your-face" aspect to the car, a trait it shares with early 911's.

 As for the interior, it is the same found in early 924 and 944's. The seating position is uncomfortable with the base steering wheel (An early option on the 924S was a one-inch steering column extension that worked wonders provided one's fingers were long enough to reach the control stocks. This $50 CDN option also gave a slightly smaller three-spoke leather steering wheel, a bargain in Porsche terms as the steering wheel on its own was a multi-hundred dollar option (stock was plastic). Porsche figured it out soon after, though, and the option went up in price. Way up.) Those wishing an extension now are best off purchasing a MoMo (or similar wheel), which can be fitted with extensions. The 944 of the same year carried the totally revised interior introduced mid-way through 1985. The 924S also carried the old HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) system which was (and is) the source of much criticism (particularly on the A/C side).

 (As an aside, early production 924S' carry a center speaker balance control on the console. Later models do not. Early models also do not have a Porsche crest cover for the glove compartment lock.)

 In North America, the engine was identical to the 944, a 2.5l 147HP unit that should have been in the 924 from the beginning. Straight-line speed was actually faster than the 944 due to a lower fifth gear and reduced drag. Contemporary magazine reports rated it similar to the 944S (188HP) of the same year. Initial 924S' in the rest-of-the-world (RoW) received a 150HP (DIN) motor, noticeably weaker than the 163HP DIN 944 motor. In 1988, sanity prevailed and the better motor appeared in the 924S, and the US cars were uprated to 160 HP. This makes 1988 models slightly more preferable to the other years.

 The suspension was most similar to the early 944 (steel control arms) in the front but carried the updated alloy models in the rear. The narrower track 924 was retained. The narrow track, combined with fenders that restrict rim widths to 6.5" front and 7" rear, make the 924S a less interesting choice for modifications than the 944. Stock rims and tires were 6x15 w/195x65 tires, with 6x16 w/205x55 tires a high-priced option. An anniversary edition was built in 1988 with turquise-highlighted rims, 6x15 front, 7x15 rear. The 6" rims were made only for the 924S and are rare (late offset). A cheap improvement can be made by fitting late-offset 7x15 rims from a 944 on the rear.

 The stock front anti-roll bar is solid 20mm. Optional was a 21.5mm solid or 23x3.5 tubular (similar resistance). The optional rear anti-sway bar was 14mm. (The base model had no rear bar.) The optional bars make for impressive improvements to road-holding. Sport shocks were also available. In 1988, the anniversary edition came with a sports chassis (option M030) and limited-slip differential (code 220). The sport chassis involved a host of suspension improvements.

 A small number of cars were afflicted early on with seals in/around the oil cooler that encouraged oil and radiator fluid to mix, with disasterous results if not caught in time. No other problems particular to 924S are known. (The usual 944 issues - timing belts, water pumps/rads, steering assemblies, sunroof failure, appear on the 924S as well.)

 Prices for good used 924S are quite low because of the model's lack of popularity, relative obscurity, and identification with earlier 924 models. Like the similar built-for-a-short-time 356 Continental, the 924S is destined to be a great car for driving, but not for showing off.



640x461 70k Some cows checking out the 924S at Ottawa's Central Experimental Farm.

 640x453 38k The pits at Mosport, very early Sunday morning.


924S on dirt
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