Money pits and Albatrosses


First the 944, I’ve had this a few years now and it has been a lot of fun. If you ever decide to buy one chose wisely as many have been “driven like they were stolen”, mine was no exception. If you keep the maintenance up to scratch they can be economical cars to own and drive.

Porsche 944 Upgrades

While the first two of these modifications have evolved into actual products you can purchase, the majority of my changes are things you can do yourself for very little money. Have a read and check back every now and then, as further improvements are sure to follow.


I can be e-mailed at [email protected]

Martin Taylor


Wellington New Zealand

Window Express Kits.

I am too lazy to hold the button while waiting for the window to open or close so I developed the following unit.

I have installed one touch automatic windows, this is done by adding a window express unit that uses the existing factory switch, press once for down and your window goes all the way down, likewise for up, and it can also be stopped anywhere in it's travel by pressing the switch in the opposite direction just like most modern cars. If interested in reading the installation instructions and /or purchasing one of these units, please see URL

Luggage cover

I also hooked up the luggage cover up to the rear hatch so it would rise with the hatch being opened

Saratoga glass roof Lovely improvement, more headroom and more light. These are no longer manufactured but turn up every now and then on Ebay. Be sure to get the right model, as there are at least two for the 944, one replacing manual and one replacing electric sunroofs.

Throttle cam upgrade

(As opposed to buying one, I removed, re-drilled and re-mounted the existing cam), this modification removes the slow acting arm part of the throttle cam resulting in shorter pedal travel to full throttle opening, makes the car feel faster. This modification will not make the car any faster but the throttle response may feel quicker, the cost is only your time. Throttle damper (This fixes the 944 Idle shudder problem)

Headlight Upgrade

The wiring can handle extra current from brighter bulbs but the switches cannot. The wiring can be easily modified as per the diagram below to remove the electrical load from the switches. I mounted the relays under the dashboard so no extra wire length was required.

After adding the relays I installed H4 100w headlights (made a big difference).

Below is the relay diagram.


Battery relocated

This was moved to the rear (removing factory design flaw of exposing the battery and connections and potential corrosion problems), battery tray was fitted with a first aid kit.

An Intermittent timing unit has been fitted to rear wiper (wipes once every five seconds), this means the wiper can be left on in heavy traffic and rain (about the only time the wind doesn't blow the water off).

Centre rear brake light, factory unit (from a 928 according to the part number).

Fitted Rear fog lights (sockets and bulbs into existing fittings), 

External trunk release (push button, operable when alarm is disarmed via alarm relay wiring), A tiny switch fitted to one of the license plate lamp screw holes so no drilling is required (got sick of trying to use the key). This is a great time saver.


Turbo Sway bars. (As the car had no rear bar so this made a huge difference in handling). If you have an early car without a rear bar this upgrade is certainly worthwhile.

Reversed wiper mechanical action and housing (from left to right) so I can see when it rains (used to wipe towards the passenger side as these cars are all set up for left hand drive). If you have an early RHD car this is a great improvement on visibility.

Below is the engine bay after many hours scrubbing and polishing. 

Note the added cruise control vacuum servo, this is an after market kit that I have adapted to the factory control switch.

Installed cruise control (aftermarket)

This is a kit that I have adapted to the factory cruise switch, it is vacuum operated and gets a speed signal from a magnet mounted on a half-shaft.

I have also added pollen filters to the passenger compartment air intake, this keeps a lot of road dust out of the vehicle.


The Rolls Royce


This is the latest toy, I spent two years looking for a good one and finally chose the above Silver Shadow. This car was the Demonstrator for Rolls Royce motors in London for the first year of it’s life before later being exported to New Zealand.

In the first week I had to do a complete brake overhaul as the car had been dormant for too long and one calliper had ceased. These cars have the same sort of braking system used on a modern aircraft with high pressure accumulators and fluid compressors (pumps). There are four brake systems, two pump operated with nitrogen filled accumulators, one master cylinder operated pair of callipers on the rear wheels and a slightly useful handbrake. Only about one and a half systems were working when I brought the car, it is a wonder it stopped at all at two and a quarter tonnes!

It now has all new hydraulic hoses, including the levelling units on the rear suspension and rebuilt callipers, the previous owner had changed all brake pads at the same time which proved to be a bad idea as they take some travelling to bed all six sets in (two callipers for each front wheel). The car now stops easier than most other much lighter cars.

I intend to develop the above mentioned Window Express units to work in these cars also.

This car has all the features of a modern car despite being made in 1972 (so was I!), it has electric windows, seats, antenna, cruise control and air conditioning.

It is a project so below is some of the things I’ve done to it.


Things I’ve fixed so far……….

Three new tyres, the old ones were rotting away.

New Battery (had to jump start it from under the car as the ign master key cannot be removed without battery power to release the interlock, always use the other key to run the ign)


Overhaul water pump, replace thermostat, blew up like a volcano when the thermostat failed shut.

Installed a Temperature gauge (in place of the radio balance control) to avoid above problem. (Pictures will be added)

My car came with two round mirrors, currently in the process of locating a pair of later style flag type mirrors in the interest of safety

Recharge air conditioner, replace A/C hoses

Repair brake low pressure switch

Replace windscreen washer pump (I rebuilt one from a ’59 Rover)

Repair heater lower temp control flap (Grommets rotted away)

Repair clock (dirty points)

Fix wiper parking mechanism (missing sloppy linkage parts) and corroded wiper motor plug connections, wipers now park off screen.

Strip, lube and adjust power antenna clutch (was very slow).

Replace broken radio and 8 track with Alpine CD player

Repair slow front passenger window (open circuit brake, was able to rewind)

Repair central locking mechanisms (both left doors inner plastic guides crumbled)

Adjust passenger side mirror for drivers focus (is a LHD mirror fitted at factory).

Replace front speakers (cardboard had rotted away)

Polish Spirit of Extacy (was gold but flaky)

Repair mascot alarm circuit.

Repair drivers side air fan (rubber bushes had sagged causing blades to hit housing when accelerating)                                                                                                        

Adjust Alternator Charging Voltage (was 15.6, now 14.4)

This car is magnificent to drive everywhere except a service station where it does get expensive, a 6.75 litre motor is not economical, but then it was never meant to be.

I’ll be adding cup holders to the interior (tastefully) so check back for pictures etc

Many Thanks to Steve Petty and Eric Bergquist for help with this page.

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