Can't Decide!

So, as many of you may already know, I am the owner of a 1987 944S. It’s got a bajillion miles on it and I’ve put a lot of time, sweat, and money into refreshing it and making it a reliable DD. The suspension is upgraded and all wear components like bushings, balljoints, tie rods, sway bar end links, etc., are brand new. It rides OK for a lowered, stripped-interior sports car with stiffer springs and shocks, and it handles very well IMO. I have no immediate reliability concerns with it, and I drive it every day, but it is old and it does have a lot of miles.

So, my long-term plan for this car has always involved refreshing the drivetrain. I have priced out a rebuild of the engine (2.5L DOHC) with a moderate power increase to 220-230 hp or so and it would be in the $5-7K range. Add a transaxle rebuild + limited-slip diff and I’m looking at up to maybe $10K all in. I have little doubt that the car would be reliable for a good long time after that, though.

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Option 2 is something I’ve mentioned on here before, and that’s swapping in a modern engine. Of course, the LS-series V8 is a prime candidate but if I’m honest it’s not all that appealing for some reason. It’s not that I’m a purist, but to me, for whatever reason, the V8 just doesn’t seem to “fit.” It is a fully-supported swap, though, and I have no doubt that I would be able to accomplish it in my garage.

However, the engine I’d really like is another one of GM’s, the 3.6L LFX V6, as found in the 2012-2015(?) Camaro and other assorted GM products. From what I have read, it weighs less than the original 4-cylinder, and because it’s a V6, would concentrate that mass farther toward the center of the car. Power isn’t anywhere near what an LS can produce, but no one in their right mind would call a 323 hp engine in a 2700 pound car slow. But, I can’t find any dang info on the thing. External dimensions are nowhere to be found, so I don’t know if I can even fit it in the 944's engine bay. I think it’s narrow enough but otherwise I have no idea. This would probably be the most fun option, if I can pull it off.

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The 944 in question
The 944 in question

Option 3, which has started to pester me more and more, is to sell the 944 and buy something different. I’d love a Focus RS but my finances can’t support it. Most likely, I’d end up in a lightly-used Focus ST. This is probably the most “reasonable” option and would certainly make my wife happiest, but I look at the price tag of even a busted ST with a salvage title and high miles and see that it would be thousands cheaper to rebuild the 944, whichever option I choose.

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Still, the lure of something new and different is hard to resist. I probably need to go test-drive some of the cars I’ve considered to see if I even like the way they drive compared to the fully analog experience of the 944.

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