For a long time considered a poor relation to the 911 and derided as ‘The hairdressers Porsche’ the first 1970s transaxle water cooled Porsches are now becoming collectible and prices are on the rise. If you want one – now is definitely the time to invest.
In 1976 stunned the world with the launch of the 924 – a very different looking sports car. Built as Porsches new entry model to replace the outgoing 914 model, this 2+2 Grand Tourer with its’ wedge shape, pop up headlights and blunt nose was a distinctly different Porsche and also the first Porsche to offer a fully automatic transmission.
Porsche achieved an excellent 48% to 52% weight balance fore and aft by developing a trans-axle arrangement with the gearbox being an integral part of the rear axle. Whilst the new looks went down well the performance did not. The 2.0lt VW/Audi derived water cooled engine delivered just 125bhp and was derided by many Porsche fans.
Updates to the 924 followed through the years, gradually improving the performance and by 1978 a turbo model was offered delivering 170bhp, and in 1980 the very desirable Carrera GT model was launched followed in 1984 by the 924S offering 160bhp.
Porsche continued to develop the trans axle line and the 924 was ultimately replaced by the 944 model which in turn was replaced by the 968 model. Today, all of these 924 transaxle models are finally being recognised for their excellent driving experience and as a low-cost entry point to classic Porsche ownership.
The Porsche air-cooled market rapidly accelerated around 3 years ago. The rising prices for 1960s air-cooled 911s drove the price of the 912 and the 914 upwards and with these two other entry level Porsches now commanding tens of thousands it was inevitable that the spotlight would fall on the later entry level Porsches.
The excellent weight balance and low ride height gives an excellent driving experience with the rear wheel drive giving you a Porsche handling feel but with a far less tail happy drive. The steering is precise (though much heavier than a 911) and for a sports car there is adequate storage and a large boot space. The rock solid VW/Audi block is very reliable, making this car capable of being driven every day.
Until recently these cars could be bought for old banger prices but the days of finding a good 924 for £2000, are now gone. The first 924s with their Audi/VW engines and often crazy psychedelic checked interiors are still the cheapest vehicles to buy. They look great and are surprisingly reliable if serviced correctly.
THE PROS AND CONS
With over 121,000 units made you can find many examples around. You can pick up a nice car for around £3500 but they will never be hugely collectible as there were many made and the engine is disappointing. The finest examples can still be bought for £4500 to £5000. Bear in mind that what you might make in gradual price rises will be offset by the cost of keeping the car on the road. That said, 924 spares are surprisingly cheap and the engine can be worked on by the home mechanic. The dash boards of these cars crack due to exposure to UV light and they are very expensive to replace, so try to find a car with an intact example.
If you want a 924 then the S version is the most desirable non-turbo. This car introduced a proper Porsche made engine that delivered 150bhp and in later models 160bhp. These cars have a number of improvements in both speed, handling and comfort. This car was actually faster than the 944 that followed.
THE PROS AND CONS
You can pick up a nice car for around £4,500 with the finest examples starting at £6500, for that price expect full paperwork and regular service history. Excellent cars can command even higher prices. Unlike the 924, all engine work is best left to professionals and it important to stick to regular servicing.
If you want a more powerful 924 experiences then then the Turbo version is the way to go. The first examples of the VW derived engine delivered 170bhp and the Turbo vehicles are externally recognisable by the punched air intakes in the front bonnet.
THE PROS AND CONS
Early models had teething problems with the Turbo units so stick to models made after 1979 which are more reliable and also deliver more power with 177bhp. Running costs and parts can be expensive and hard to find so buy the best example you can. You will have to find £10,000 to find an ok example and with just over 11,000 made there are so few to find in great condition. £20,000 and upwards will get you a great example.
The holy grail of the 924 world is the Carera GT and Carera GTS models. With only 400 examples built in 1981 these are seriously rare cars.
THE PROS AND CONS
If you can find one be prepared to pay what-ever the owner asks!
The 924 is a vehicle that will rise in value. If you decide on a basic 924 model, then just enjoy it and treat a likely small rise in value as a bonus. The 924S is a safe option to be sure of a steady growth in prices.
If you can afford it go for Turbo version with it aggressive looking front bonnet. There were few examples made and it is guaranteed to give you a healthy return.
We will be publishing our guide to the 944 and 928 models soon, so keeping checking the website for updates.