924, 944, 968: Fill the Void

Entry-level, front-engined Porsches that won’t break the bank.

1977 924 Martini Edition

If you’re looking for the best bang for your used-Porsche buck, look no further than the 924, 944, and 968 series of cars. Despite being some of the least-expensive Porsches around, these cars offer excellent handling, a comfortable ride, all-around practicality, solid reliability, powerful engines (in many cases), and great packaging. They’re seriously fun to drive, too.

Introduced in 1976 as a replacement for the 914, the 924 was Porsche’s first front-engine, water-cooled model. While its Audi-derived, 95-hp four-cylinder engine meant that early examples could be painfully slow in a straight line, the 924 received plenty of praise in the automotive press for its handling, styling, and reliability. The entry-level, $9,395-at-launch car was certainly a hit with consumers: Porsche sold more than 120,000 924s between 1976 and the end of production in 1985. From this impressive start, the Wizards of Weissach developed the evolutionary 944 and 968, which built on the strengths of the 924 while being faster, better handling, and more refined.

Today, decent 944s can be found for as little as $3,000, while really nice 968s can be had for $10,000-15,000. Why are these Porsches so cheap? As with many things that don’t cost much, there’s a catch — and that catch is repair costs. Some major repairs, such as replacing the huge glass rear window if breaks, can cost as much as buying a 924 or early 944! Another reason that these cars can be had for so little money is that they’ve faded from most Por­schephiles’ radar. That’s a pity, and undeserved, but it does mean that there are some real bargains waiting to be found if you’re searching for one of these models.

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