Now Could Be The Time To Buy A 924

Apparently, the classic Porsche 911 bubble is going to burst any moment now.

I first heard this around six years ago, and most recently last month. Any minute now the price of classic 911s is going to come tumbling down and we’ll all be scooping up 3.2s, 964s, and 993s for a steal.

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We can but remain wishful, but it isn’t going to happen. The people who have paid top money for their classic 911s aren’t about to start selling them off for peanuts. There’s also not a single 911 owner out there that doesn’t know what he or she has any more. The days of acquiring a cheap Carrera from the local classifieds, or chasing down an old lady to buy her one-owner 911 from her on her driveway are long gone.

Don’t let this stifle your dreams of owning a cool retro Porsche, though – just broaden your horizons. As Paul Wright’s 1981 924 Turbo proves, it needn’t be all 911.

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I first laid eyes on Paul’s 924 Turbo whilst stalking speed at this year’s Ultimate Dubs show. He has owned the 924 for just 12 months, purchasing it from a dealer in Scotland who had undertaken some basic recommissioning work on the car.

“The previous two owners were a father and son who owned the car for a number of years,” says Paul. “The car was painted by the father – this was eight years ago now. After paint it sadly sat for a number of years before the ownership was transferred to his son who then left it untouched for another year until it was put up for auction.”

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The first job was sprucing up the new, but seven-year-old paint job, followed by some good old fashioned mechanical TLC. Paul replaced anything and everything that had perished or was in need of attention, including the hoses, radiator, oil cooler, and timing belt. The Porsche was in good hands.

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Exterior tweaks are limited to the Singer-style side stripes and Porsche signature door handles.

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Next up, Paul turned his eye to the suspension. Spax RSX coilovers with camber-adjustable top mounts were fitted to bring the handling up to date and the chassis closer to the ground. It’s not belly-scraping low, but enough to give it a nice stance. Paul is keen on enjoying the drive too, so didn’t want to sacrifice this in the name of style.

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A set of OZ Racing Fittipaldi wheels, measuring 17×8-inch front and 17×8.5-inch rear, were sourced, although getting them to fit the 924 wasn’t straightforward.

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“The wheels have taken quite a bit of work,” Paul says. “I bought them from Germany as a 17×8.5-inch pair and 17×9-inch pair, but needed them to be narrower at the front to sit nice. This meant having them machined to be face-mounted, which enabled them to become ½-inch narrower.”

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Paul also had the centre caps custom made to finish off the wheels. “The centre lock-style centre caps were an idea that turned out really well. They’re made from billet aluminium by a guy in France, and screwed into place on some 5mm aluminium plate.”

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In the engine room, a custom stainless steel exhaust helps the turbo motor breathe a bit easier. Paul’s the first to admit that his 924 is not the fastest car out there, but driving it is more than just straight-line speed: “It’s amazing to drive,” he tells me. “Sat that low in a 37-year-old car it feels a lot faster than it is, especially when it comes on boost. Around town and parking it is quite heavy, and the dogleg gearbox is a bit of a fight at times, but get it moving and the handling is brilliant with a near 50/50 weight distribution.”

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There are other cool touches that jump out, including the louvred rear quarter windows which were sourced from a guy in Canada who makes them for 924 race cars. They’re usually screwed straight to the body, but Paul was keen to retain the window seals so had them made slightly smaller to allow for this.

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And then there’s the interior – my favourite part. Paul reckons it’s a point of contention with people, but I defy anyone to say that it isn’t cool.

The tartan cloth looks in great shape and complements the brown leather and dash perfectly. Paul’s added a Momo Prototipo wheel and a boost gauge in place of the clock. He’s also swapped the gauge cluster around so that the rev counter sits in the middle, a subtle tweak but one that adjusts the focus when you’re behind the wheel.

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It’s still early days in his ownership, but Paul’s future plans for the 924 Turbo include rebuilding the ageing gearbox and general chassis maintenance. He’s not going to be changing anything drastic, but rather takes his inspiration from the ‘OEM+’ style. “I’ve always thought that Singer’s Porsches are amazing, and have liked to do small and subtle changes to my cars,” he explains. “I try to keep with the OEM look but with little twists here and there.”

If 924s can look as good as this with a few tweaks, maybe the 911 shouldn’t be hogging all of the attention?

Jordan Butters
Instagram: jordanbutters
jordan@speedhunters.com

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36 comments

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1

Good grief why do you do this to me? I already have three projects. I don't need any more complication. But when I look and see 924s available for under £2k I immediately start thinking they look surprisingly affordable.

I mean, I know the cheaper '83 ones will be 115hp 2.0s and not the Turbo, but I've got two engines in the 150-200hp range sitting around at my workshop and that's without forced induction so that's not a problem and OK so I'd need a new gearbox but I'm sure that's doable and my mind wanders down this garden path and my wallet's already silently screaming at me like a Munch painting and now I need to take a cold shower and calm down because I already have one cross-platform engine swap to do and I don't need another one and oh my God I need to stop thinking about this now!

I mean, I love you , Speedhunters, but sometimes I also really reallly hate you.

2

Could you chuck a K20 or K24 in there and let me know how it goes? Pretty please?

3

If I had a K20 (or a bigger budget) sure, I'd do that. As it is I've got a B18c6 and a Renault F4R. The B18 is already earmarked for an '87 Civic, so the spare engine is the one I was gonna put into my Clio track car. If I sell the rest of the Clio parts I could put the F4R into the Porsche though...

4

I mean, I know the K-series itself won't cost that much in the grand scheme of an engine swap budget, but I have to be sensible. I've already got the anciliaries I need to run the F4R (ECU, wiring loom etc) and I don't want to just bin all the time and money spent finding those bits even if I do start a new project. Sure, a longitudinal fitment would be a pain in the backside because of how the mounts are set up and as I already mentioned I'd need a new gearbox but all of that should be possible I think.

Plus, with all the moaning about how everyone's using the same engines for everything these days an F4R in a 924 should get me some pretty hefty originality points, right? And if I get tired of being stuck in the low 190s (at best) with the engine n/a you can put a low comp turbo onto the Renault block without immediately breaking anything; I know a guy who's been running a turbo'd Clio at about 240hp for years without too much trouble.

I can't believe I might actually be persuading myself that this isn't a terrible idea. I need a sit down and a think.

5

I know right?!?

Author6

Haha! Glad we could be of service (PS. Do it)

7

Haha I'd end up with a Renault-engined Porsche. I mean, we get people on here complaining about how everyone does the same engine swaps all the time so I guess I'd get point for originality, but that's a bit special, right?

Still, a part of me loves how hilariously oddball that would be... No! Stop! I only bought the cage for the Renault project a couple of moths ago!

Author8

If you do it and do it well, we WILL feature it. It might be our first comments section pier-pressure build?

9

Good grief, you just had to up the stakes didn't you? :D

I'll do some research. Off the top of my head the biggest problem will be the gearbox, going from transverse to longitudinal or vice versa is never easy, especially when you can pretty much guarantee there's no readily available bell housing. I mean, the rest isn't exactly easy but it's easier than that. If I can find a way to make it feasible... maybe. The Renault was supposed to be my low-budget build though...

10

you just take the bell-housing off the Renault transmission and then make an adapter plate from the end of the bell-housing to the torque tube. There will be some machining involved but i am sure some Renault driver out there has a cracked transmission that the bell-housing could be scavenged from. Just put it on a mill bell-housing side down and lop off the rest of the case save for the bell-housing part. The clutch and flywheel would be Renault parts wioth the center of the clutch splined to the 944 torque tube shaft. Just take a look at how they drop SBC's into 944's, the main difference is that the bell-housing has a gm part number because corvette's have transaxles as well so there is no need to scavenge one from a transmission casing.

Rotating the engine 90 degrees is another story though as the fluid passages might have been specifically engineered for the layout it was installed in from the factory (transverse or longitudinal). This could lead to improper cooling or oiling and catastrophic failure... It seems like rotating your engine would be a larger issue than trying to connect it to the Porsche drive-line.

11

It actually might not be even that difficult. Doing a bit of research Volvo 340s ran Renault F-block engines with a rear transaxle; I could just get a 340 bellhousing and adjust the propshaft to suit. This looks less and less insane the more I look at it.

Needless to say, the sensible part of me is screaming at such a high pitch only dogs can hear it right now.

12

That does mean that you're absolutely right about rotating the engine being the harder part, though it does also mean that it should be possible (as the Volvo used the F block longitudinally).

Good grief. Gooood grief.

13

It could be worse... Ive been eyeballing rotary swaps!

14

DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!

15

The car is NICE!!! The interior stands out the most to me. The wheels are nice but not overdone. Not too big on the tire lettering but it's not a deal-breaker. Excellent job!!

16

Shhhhh don't tell everyone how accessible and really quite excellent the transaxle cars are to own and drive.

Great interior and colour combo. I'd add a nice 924 to the garage in a heartbeat.

17

This car with some different, less extravagent wheels would be perfect. Maybe some BBS LMs or something like that would make it better.

18

Interesting build. As a hypothetical I'd need a lot of convincing that a 944 wasn't a better place to start, but the meaty tyre and wheel package certainly helps the looks. An engine swap for non-turbo cars can't be a bad idea surely.

Maybe it was a misquote but reversing the wheel centre would change the offset, not the rim width.

19

Yes it will alter the et very slightly ( thickness of the lip) but the width moreso because the face is now mounted in front of the lip, so you lose the thickness of the face making them narrower.

20

Ok, so you mean both rim pieces are now mounted on the same side as the centre, instead of having the centre between the rim pieces, I can see how that would make 1/2" difference. I was thinking about flipping the centre around.

21

Yes John that is correct

22

Okay, you got me there. Because at first, I thought this article is all about the 924's prices starting to spike up for whatever reason. After reading, this article really tells that 924's need the same amount of attention and love as the old generations of 911's have.

23

Don't forget that they are still covered under the Porsche tax as well, which i think is more significant anyways. Any older car (from the 80's) is going to need a whole lot of attention especially to the electrical systems and all the other plastic bits, all of the wiring insulation is drying up and cracking just like the trim pieces do. Then when looking for replacement parts you will soon find out that any assembly will end up costing significantly more than a comparable assembly from any other manufacturer just because it has a Porsche part number. Sometimes you can get lucky and find the equivalent VW/Audi/Bosch part and save a bunch of money but often you will find that in the long run you will be balancing cost effective solutions against buying Porsche parts. Thankfully 3D printing can be quite effective in at least helping it look like Porsche parts

24
i dont care about your opinion dont reply

good god those wheels are abhorrent

25

Overall really nice build but that door guard trim would bug the hell outta me

26

I don't know if you could convince me to buy a 924 over a 944. In my area, I can find 944's all day, even clean turbos. But 924's don't pop up nearly as often, and they usually aren't in as good condition as the 944's for sale. And on top of that, there isn't a very big price gap and the 944 just looks better.

27

U.K. Has only RHD 60 odd 924 turbos Australia at most 20 hence they are becoming very rare plus just as fast as 2002 turbo with standard top speed 142 mph faster than 911 dc in its day

28

I wish that rare instantly meant valuable because with only 12K made world wide over the span of 2 years* with the amount of attrition and neglect involved with them over the years there can't be more than 4 or 5 thousand left.

*Model years technically are 1979-1982 and to 1984 in Italy but you'll be hard pressed to find anything other than an '80 or '81

29

Couldn't find wider tyres?

30

WRONG.

Now's the time to buy a 928...or a 968 if you're nasty.
Not nasty in a good way, by the way.

The 924s are gonna get leapfrogged like the 912s. It's not a linear progression.
Sure, their values will rise, but the better models will command the better prices.

31

As for the Porsche bubble...

Its bursting will hinge on one of two factors.

1.) The upcoming release of the 992 could cause prices to drop IF it's brilliant. If it isn't, and it leaves people nostalgic for older models...expect the vintage models' upward price trajectory to remain the same.

2.) Economic calamity could cause the collapse of Porsche prices (along with most high-performance toys). The world is in the throes of a trade war at the moment (whether people actually acknowledge it or not). Economic instability drops vehicle prices across the board. In that scenario, gold and edible commodities are more valuable than any Porsche.

Truthfully, if you can't afford one, don't buy one. There's plenty of good platforms out there that can perform well with INGENUITY....the lifeblood of our hobby. Don't let all those "OUTLAW" leaches tell you otherwise.

32

Sorry but I have to react: I have rarely seen rims as unsuitable for a car as the OZ fitipaldi equipping this poor Porsche 924, which did not deserve that! From my point of view, that I do not necessarily share, I am bin aware, these wheels will not agree anyway to any car as they are ugly ... In short, a big mistake of taste if I can afford a opinion on the question.

33

Alright, I've admitted my bias in the last post this car was shown in so I can get over how good I think these cars are in stock form and as modified examples. So I'll share the realities of owning a less than perfect example of one of these cars.

First, for those of us in North America, these cars are cheap. Super cheap. Every once in a while you'll come across a real nice example but even then you're not likely to pay anywhere north of $5000.00. That means the barrier to entry is practically non existent for the majority compared to other cars. However, compared to a Nissan or Toyota of similar age the cost of ownership is higher because a lot of the pieces that you'll need to replace are Porsche specific and thus have Porsche pricing attached. So your $1500 Porsche now needs $3000 to make into a nice running car that you won't blow up.

Second, these cars (especially the naturally aspirated versions) are incredibly hard to get more power from. Most of that stems from poor airflow through the head which has been proven time and time again. The most cost effective way of making power on an NA is to swap to carbs and the easiest way on the turbo is to turn up the boost. However you do run into the same head air flow limitations again in short order.

However, one of the nicer aspects of owning these cars is that for the most part all the info you could need has been fleshed out over the past decade and a half by some of the most committed enthusiasts you'll ever meet. Both the 924 owners club in the UK and 924 board are incredible knowledge bases with long time (decade plus) members. Admittedly, be prepared to do your research as the entrenched members do get a little annoyed with people asking the same questions that have been handled many times before.


All in all though, having owned one of these cars for the past 9 years and picking up a couple more along the way I can safely say that if the price climbs I am prepared with my examples. Will you be?

34

Totally cool project, ruined by unfathomably unsuitable rolling stock.
Interior is super cool and very authentic.

Pity.

35

Imagine buying 10 of those turds as an investment and then they don't take off :D

36

Surprising comments from enthusiasts that have scoffed at the 924 for the last four decades. Thankfully, they're coming into their own and the EA831 is easily buildable for those who want more pressurized air. My opinion, the 924 market is pretty large, larger than 944s, just many less are on the road. Even the 931 is pretty common (more so than the 944) although state of mechanics will no doubt be something to be desired. The biggest problem with 924s is many important parts are NLA from Porsche EU and USA. Parts such as valve springs, valves, etc. are no longer made by Porsche or in the aftermarket (odd sizing too with no swapability). The EA831 also needs the head, intake, and exhaust opened up quite a bit more as they're all restrictive. Many engine swaps also take away balance from the chassis or take weight away from the transaxle which isn't beneficial as traction suffers. A good 'ol LS aluminum block is a great option for power, but something in the realm of 300-400 lbs. is closer to the EA831 wet. Stock NA EA831s are rated at the crank in the USA at 110hp, ROW at 125hp, and the ROW S1 Turbo rated at 170hp, North American S1 Turbo rated at 143hp, North American S2 rated at 149hp to 156hp (source dependent), and ROW S2 Turbo rated at 177hp. GTS if you can find one were rated at 245hp. Anyways, I wish anybody luck with one if they purchase.

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