If you were a teen with raging hormones in the 1980s, then surely you remember Sixteen Candles – Long Duk Dong, Samantha’s undies, and most importantly Jake’s 1983 Porsche 944 (and his dad’s Rolls Corniche). That year the Porsche 944 was introduced in the US as a replacement for the lackluster 924, sporting fat fender flares and a 2.5 liter watercooled inline-4 designed by Porsche (basically half of a 928 motor) in place of the 924’s 2.0 liter Audi-sourced motor. Add to it the rear-mounted transaxle, and the result was a very well-balanced car – Car and Driver calling it the “best handling production car in the world” for example – and one that was powerful enough to be handfuls of fun on all types of roads. Road tests of the day placed 944 performance in the mid-8 seconds 0-60mph and nearing 140mph on the top end.
These days many 944s, especially early ones, have fallen into states of disrepair due to basic ambivalent neglect on the part of their owners. This example
for $2500 on craigslist in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia may have some needs here and there, but appears mechanically solid and even has functioning AC. If top-down driving isn’t necessarily your bag there are very few, if any, cheaper ways to get behind the wheel of a Porsche – but it is a Porsche through and through.