We here at Totally That Stupid need to start this missive with an apology. Or maybe a caveat.
Your author is breaking what was likely our first rule of the Cheap Heap of the Week series, and that is the asking price of this 1977 Porsche 924 is a bit over our self-imposed $2,000 threshold. We stated that dollar ceiling as a hard-and-fast rule, no dickering, and taking the barter option right off the table. I acknowledge this.
But it’s a Porsche! A running, driving, ostensibly usable Porsche! It’s not some derelict sitting in a field 300 miles away from civilization, a sad carcass missing all the good and useful bits including large swaths of sheetmetal. It does not appear to have plants growing up through the floor or engine compartment. It’s in suburbia. In a driveway.
It looks like it ventures out – or has – and is pictured in public on a street in Osseo, Minnesota. Near a person. And other cars. Maybe the owner is presenting it at some sort of show. Did we mention the ask is only $2,200? That’s worth writing about.
The first attempt at the 924 was not entirely awesome, at least not by the standards of street and track Porsches that came before it. Like the 914, development was a group effort with Volkswagen. The idea was they would share this new Type 425 under different badges: Volkswagen would place the new sports car at the top of their model lineup, while Porsche would begin theirs with this cute little frog.
Together they came up with a sharp-looking two-door glass-back led by a Volkswagen inline-four-cylinder wasserpumper in the nose and an Audi four-speed-based transaxle out back. Brakes were solid discs up front with (ahem) drums in the rear. Less than 2,400 lb. was balanced 48% front/52% rear. Volkswagen bailed on offering their version in showrooms, but took on the job of actually building what would become the 1976 Porsche 924.
Early US-market cars produced 95 horsepower from the Bosch K-Jetronic-equipped 2.0-liter EA831 mill. Sometime in 1977, the engine’s output was raised to 110 horsepower, and the four-speed gained a gear. When launched – literally and chronologically – it was not fast, but wasn’t completely pitiful by the standards of the day (which were pitiful by today’s standards). It handled really well, though, and looked pretty good outside and in. Typical of Porsche, as time progressed so did the 924: More brakes, bigger wheels and tires, an available turbocharger (which made it fast), and nicer amenities all gradually worked their way onto the platform.
Was it received well? Of course not. “Real” Porsches have their luftgekühlter German pancake in the tush, and these fancy Volkswagens – with their truck engines! – were for those who couldn’t quite swing the (roughly) $16,000 commanded by a basic 911.
Indeed, the seller – a human of few words, or a terrible A.I. – doesn’t give us much to work with. This 924 “runs,” and has “no problems.” It needs “new leather for seats,” regardless if it is currently so equipped. The driver has to make do without a sun visor. The car either needs a paint job and some rust, or needs a paint job and has some rust. It’s definitely one or both of those things, based on the images.
It also features a vintage aftermarket heckblende, probably sourced back in the day from a swanky catalog house like Beverly Hills Motoring Accessories or possibly J.C. Whitney, and a Civic-grade fart-can exhaust. Overall, we’re assured it’s a “nice car.”
The 924 begat the 944, and that became an amazing car, an icon of the 1980s.
In 1987, Porsche reintroduced the entry-level porker in the form of the 924S, which benefited from many of the adjacent 944 model enhancements, including engine and chassis refinements, but not that car’s interior. For only two years and just over 9,000 examples, the “new” 924 ran as a thinner (no box flares), lighter, and just barely quicker 944. After that, it was gone for good.
Without visiting our feature car in person, we of course cannot say how good, bad, or Minnesota “nice” it is. But if you’re in the market for a cheap P-car – or, heck, just a cheap sports car – this 924 may be worth checking out (wear your damn mask!).
While we will emphatically reiterate this series bans bartering, as of hitting “Post” our 924’s ad has been live for 27 days. Show up with $2,000 cash and drive home in your new Audi Volkswagen Porsche, likely with some change!