Porsche 924 is slowly disappearing off the roads, and is being recognized as a full time classic car.
I would like to use this opportunity to give you a review of my own example, which I have owned for a couple of years now.
(Full Disclosure: Porsche wanted me to drive this car so much, that they made it few years before I was born, and sold it to a series of people who managed to avoid totaling it, which in turn, allowed me to buy it. )
Why 7 you may ask? Because pop up headlights!
The 924 is a low slung coupe, with a Targa roof, wedge shape front, and smooth curves around the back. It looks much more 1970s on its optional spiderweb alloys. It also looks less aggressive without the 944 boxed fenders, and is in fact quite narrow and short.
I will not write much about the beauty of this car, as everyone can judge that themselves, so let me tell you about the design instead:
The body was designed by a Dutch designer Mr Harm Lagaay, who later went to design the BMW Z1, You can even spot some similarities between them, if you look at the front quarter of the car.
Yes, this was designed as a VW coupe, and the interior is just a tad closer to that of a VW Golf GTI than a Porsche 911.
The materials used are mostly plastic and vinyl, with a suspicious number of Porsche logos and decals scattered around the interior. I tend to take that rather lightheartedly.
Nonetheless, the driving position is great, the leather steering wheel has a great feel, and the low seats are extremely comfortable even on very long drives.
Perfect gauges, keeping you up to date on your oil pressure, voltage and water temperature. It would not be complete, of course, without a typically "porsche-engineered" clock that has not missed a second since it has first ticked away at the factory.
As a 2+2 the 924 offers plenty of space for 2 adults and 2 legless children, and a reasonable amount of luggage space above the fuel tank and transmission at the rear.
Once seated, the interior feels very spacious, due to large glassed surface.
Once the top is removed, you have a great view of the sky, and the occasional truck driver! (yes this car is that low).
0-60 is not great. But it is not all bad news.
Despite its low weight of 1.080kg, the factory NA 2.0l engine delivered only 125 BHP, which allows this car to easily keep up with modern traffic, but do not expect to leave a Nissan GTR in the dust at the traffic lights.
The engine offers plenty of torque though, and maintains speed very well, so the secret is to keep the speed high (top speed of 125mph) and reduce the need for sudden acceleration. Think Initial D AE86! Unlike Initial D, there are no cup holders, so don't worry about spilling that cup of water on the downhill.
No ABS, Discs at the front and drums at the back. Not off to a good start eh?
No power steering either. On the plus side, however, we have a very light car that is very well balanced with reliable brakes, that inspire enough confidence to chuck this thing around. Sharp handbrake positioned between the drivers seat and the door has a funny effect of freaking out the passengers, as they have no idea when you apply it. That must be worth some extra points.
But honestly, not once did I ever have to wonder whether I have enough space to stop, so that is that.
High profile tires and higher stance compared to modern sport cars, or even modern coupes, means that the 924 feels at home on cobbled city roads as well as the autobahn, and can take you anywhere quite comfortably, without feeling unstable or wobbly.
In 1983, when my example was built, Depeche Mode have released this song, Porsche has clearly answered, as they did get the balance right!
J. Pasha, writing in Excellence magazine, at the time, described the 924 as "the best handling Porsche in stock form".
Handling is the 924s strongest point. Once it is up to speed, the car feels very agile, and yet remains very stable. Drifts and slides across tarmac can be initiated, but are easily tamed, and the car seems to entice you to try the same corner at an even higher speed next time around.
5- speed manual gearbox sits at the back of the car. The shifter is short and precise, fitted exactly where it needs to be. Gear ratio is great, setup to give plenty of torque at low revs, and plenty of power at high, leaving a gap in between for everyday economy cruising.
The only reason the gearbox is not getting a 10/10 is the fact the it is quite difficult to get to (transaxle design), although I never had to get to it yet.
Many advanced extras were offered on the 924, For example:
Built in ParkAssist. Ok, so... maybe not quite. But it does have large glass surfaces and great visibility allowing you to park it easily.
Ok, you caught me, the 924 has no toys other than the pop-up headlamps and removable targa top. It is bare and basic, and that is one of the biggest appeals of this car. No wonky electronics to go wrong or electric seat that take hours to move forward when somebody wants to sit behind you.
At the same time, it is not Caterham bare, allowing you a dry place to stay with the usual array of switches for the heater, radio, wipers, fog lights and even electric mirrors.
My car turned 30 year old when I first bought it. Fully galvanized body is completely rust free, the paint is original, so is the engine. No rebuilds, no bigger repairs. Just servicing and an occasional refreshment of the consumables like belts, discs and clutches.
Not once was I left stranded with this car, despite taking it on long cross country drives. I do recommend, however, a preemptive approach, and tend to frequently inspect the car before driving it. Additionally, I bought a perfectly kept example with a full service history.
Despite a slow increase in prices, these cars are still massively undervalued and can be had for a steal. They are also cheap to insure as a classic, and cost very little to maintain.
If you like the appeal of back-to-basics sports cars, and value handling over outright performance, the 924 is for you.
If you prefer to cruise lazily across your town, isolated from the outside world, then this car is not for you, but you figured this out long ago, and have probably never read this article to the end.
I personally, need to make a decision in the upcoming weeks, whether to sell this beauty or not. What is your opinion guys? Should it stay or should it go?
Thanks for reading, and here is another song from 1983: