Allan & Wolfgang’s Porsche 944S project
As a long time admirer of Porsche cars in particular, I became inspired to own an ‘80’s era Porsche (those were my teenage years). At first, I had thought to sell my nice WRX and find a sweet 3.2 liter Carrera, but for various reasons, I decided to keep the WRX and find a less expensive car as a project, as I was also keen to really get my hands into a car project. I’ve building custom bicycles as a hobby for some years, and have done some mods to my WRX and now wanted to do some really serious car work. I decided to do something of a restoration. However, I did not want to start with a heap and transform it, rather, I decided to look for an OK condition car to begin with and learn all the ins and outs on it, and hopefully develop skills that can be used on a more demanding project down the road. I straight away settled on a 944 as the car I would choose, as they are very inexpensive right now (and likely to stay that way for a long time).
The issue with 944 series cars is that they were the “cheap” Porsche of the ‘80s, and a fair number were built and because of their good build quality, have survived in pretty good numbers. Supply far exceeds demand, so many of these cars sell for very little $$ and the owners are often not interested in properly maintaining the cars (parts and service for these cars is expensive, especially if you don’t do the work yourself). So, when one goes to look at a cheap 944, he/she will often find a car that looks OK from 20 feet, but has many issues. I personally went to see a bunch of these sorts of cars, and although very “savable”, they were a little too far gone for me.
Eventually I found this 1987 944S in the Rennlist classifieds:
The seller was in Virginia (and I am in Toronto, Canada). I emailed a list of questions, received very clear answers and quite quickly arrived at a deal with this gentleman. I did not opt for a PPI and basically bought the car just from our e-mail and phone conversations. Normally this is not wise, but I had developed a great deal of trust and confidence is this seller, and was not disappointed.
It took a while to arrange the shipping and customs requirements to get the car into Canada, but everything worked out fine. The car was delivered to my office, and I will never forget that day. Very quickly I was able to see that the condition of the car was just as the seller had represented. A daily driver, but not mistreated. The paint was original (with the usual collection of stone chips) and the dash was not cracked. There were a few issues (broken exhaust, motor mounts etc, which had already been discussed), but a pretty decent car to start with. Here are some pics from the first day (the old dude is me, the little guy is my son Wolfgang, who is very much a car nut):
I drove the car home that night and parked it in the garage. Belts, chain tensioner etc. were all due and at first I thought I might just fix the necessary issues and drive it a little and then delve into the “restoration” But soon I just decided to do the whole enchilada. Before starting any work, I took pictures, pictures and more pictures (something I continue to do throughout this project – the advent of digital cameras is a real boon in this sort of work).
The engine as it was at the beginning. Looks decent enough for a 147K miles driver:
I’m usually very busy with work and family, so work goes slowly. I spent two months disassembling everything forward of the windshield. Here is my main man Wolfgang right after the engine had come out:
Here is the engine on the stand, ready for disassembly: