Porsche 924S: Spotted

Not all classic Porsche’s have skyrocketed in value, but don’t overlook the ones that have been left behind…

Balance was a quality noticeably lacking in the UK in the 1970s. Politicians were either hard left or hard right, TV comedy was either mind-numbingly mediocre or horrendously racist, and as for Radio One DJs… well, don’t get me started.

Cars were by and large pretty ill balanced, too. The contagion of small front-wheel drive family cars was growing exponentially at that time, and while some manufacturers (Citroen, Fiat) did it well, others offered front-heavy cars that often required the strength of Samson just to steer, and could be notoriously unreliable to brake swiftly to a stop – especially going down a steep hill. The rear-wheel-drive cars weren’t much better, to be honest, often riding on skinny tyres so lacking in grip you wouldn’t trust them not to slip into the kerb if you parked on a heavy camber.

And that’s why the Porsche 924 was such a breath of fresh air. It was well made, had almost perfect balance and handled beautifully. It arrived in the UK in 1976, and if it had done no more than prepare us for the wonderful 928 a year or two later it would still have counted as a huge success. It was pleasing to drive – especially in its magnificent Carrera GT form – and a deaf ear should be turned to its detractors, who railed against its VW Group parts and its water-cooled, front-engine layout.

Its performance, by the standards of the time, was acceptable too, but, after a few years, supplies of the 924’s VW/Audi-sourced 2.0-litre engine began to dry up, and the decision was taken to plonk a mildly detuned version of the 944’s all-aluminium 2.5-litre four under the bonnet. And thus was the 924S born, to general acclaim, as it happens, as its performance at last matched its looks. With that 150hp engine, good to 6,500rpm, the 924S could sprint from 0 to 60mph in just 8.1 seconds (this was 1986, remember) and power on to a top speed of 137mph.

But the S didn’t stop there, as it had other nice details borrowed from the 944: it had rear disc brakes rather than the base 924’s drums, it had alloy rear semi-trailing arms, and it even adopted the classic telephone-dial wheels, which enlivened its exterior appearance. Joining the engine at the front to the transaxle at the rear was a torque tube, and multiplying its torque was a short-throw five-speed manual ‘box with a quick and precise change. Power steering was an option on the S (and it was all the better for it) as it was on the contemporary 944.

Now, it’s one of the last of the cheap Porsches, although prices have risen sharply over the last few years as good ones become more difficult to find. This 1986 example in our classifieds has little information in the advert, but it looks clean and is claiming only 95,000 miles. It’s had a recent Porsche specialist service and has an MOT until July 2019, and as well as that it comes with a wad of paperwork including old MOTs and service receipts. It looks like a well-balanced choice, and as a way into either Porsche or classic car ownership I think it’d be even-handed fun.

Mark Pearson


Engine: 2479cc, inline four
Transmission: Five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 150 @5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 142 @3,000rpm
MPG: Umm
CO2: Dunno
First registered: 1986
Recorded mileage: 95,000
Price new: £?
Yours for: £7,500

See the full ad here.

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