In the Lumina Euro article, I referred to a Porsche 924 in the last paragraph. In this article, I show you the one we went to look at, a 1981 car that had been imported from Sweden in 1988. The two-three grand price range is such a wide scope, that you can practically buy anything with it. Case in point: a 32-year-old sports car from Zuffenhausen. Armed with the knowledge of two former 3rd-gen Camaro owners, we went to check it out.
So, from the alternative reality of unrealistic used-car expectations, I present you this somewhat used 924 that I’m still considering, somewhere deep inside my mind.
For sale some 140km south from where I live, the Porsche was advertised for 2200 eur. It was said to have some cosmetic rust and a split driver’s seat, and would come with valid inspection but on winter tires. The owner also had a Citroën, which had the same bolt pattern and had decided to use both the summer tire set (on aftermarket 15″ wheels) and the stereo off the Porsche.
When we got there, the Porsche waited us on the parking lot. It had been driven warm, so we couldn’t really tell how it started from cold. Getting to know the Bosch engine management’s possible quirks might require a cold start, but that’s nitpicking by now. My friends instantly set off inspecting the body’s condition, and at parts it was fine. At parts, eh.
The Porsche would’ve required a certain amount of rust removal. Not all of it was surface, as the paint was bubbling from here and there and it had been shoddily, partially resprayed at some point. I wouldn’t respray it completely, but would attempt to bring it up to presentable shape.
I made sure to see the battery tray was rust free, as I had contacted a couple 924 wizards and I was told the battery tray rust would be a complete pain to repair. The rear valances weren’t rusty either, but the wheelarches and the rockers had a significant amount of stuff I’d need to fix. The brake parts were also very rusty, possibly due to prolonged storage at one point. The car had had a patch repaired in the front wheel well, and that was said to have been done properly.
In its history, the car had sat from 2000 to 2010 in dry storage, and overhauled and taken back on the road after ten years. It had received a new cambelt, a new starter, alternator, brake hoses, fuel pump, stuff like that as well as fresh liquids; but that was three years ago. Before coming to Sweden, where it had came here, it had been imported used from Germany.
Inside, the Porsche was bearable. The seat cushion had had the vinyl separate from the cloth, and the side bolster had a large gash. Otherwise it was intact, and the dash hadn’t split except for some very minor cracks near the top vents. The headliner was OK, the windshield had fogged up from the corners but wasn’t cracked. A new one is 200.
We started up the car and immediately become aware of a large leak in the exhaust in the middle of the car. It blew so much, it was pretty difficult to deduct whether the engine made any funny noises. It leaked from the gasket, where the new back section had been connected to the older front section, and was most likely fixable but would be a total pain on longer drives before rectified.
I had thought I would’ve been able to collect the Porsche as-is, get some summer rubber under it and head down south for a weekend twisty-road cruise with friends. That wasn’t really the case with the car, and driving it around made it obvious there was something aloof with the brakes. The parts seemed really rusty, and it felt like the rear brakes weren’t really up to their job. The transaxle also made a faint funny noise when accelerating, and that wasn’t a bonus. The clutch grabbed when the pedal was almost still in the carpet, so the car jerked and jumped when manoeuvered around.
The final dealkiller, however, was the jammed odo. The seller claimed not to be aware of this, but during our drive not a single digit moved. That was a major bummer, since the fuel gauge also acted up and not being able to measure any distances would mean I would eventually end up stranded. No history followed with the car, so the static reading was rendered purely hypothetical. I had thought the car would most likely have been driven 198 000 km, but it could be more. Again, with a 1981 car it might be not the most pressing issue, but every cheap old car I’ve bought has had history and a working cluster.
My thoughts, as we were getting ready to leave, was that I would still definitely want a 924. I would just need a better starting point, even if this would probably be a good starter for someone else. For 4k, I could get a clean 924S, which would definitely feel snappier and somehow better justify the purchase. It’s fairly ridiculous for me to expect a 2000 euro 924 to be flawless, and I didn’t; however, I had prepared for the surface rust and expected the rest of the car just work a little bit better, since it had had a lot of stuff replaced some time ago. I just ended up seeing a sea of stuff needed to be fixed, instead of a summertime car that I would be able to enjoy. It’s a bit funny, that I definitely enjoyed the Lumina more.
Like I said, I’m still considering this white one. It’s cheap, even if not cheap-cheap like I wanted it to be, as I offered 1500 to the seller. Just how hard would it be to get it feel just right?