Porsche 944 – driving with a smile

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In 2012, the then nineteen-year-old Martijn Donker from Leek bought his first car. Built in Germany, equipped with a powerful engine, good for appealing performance and bears a respectable name. It is, exaggerated, obvious to link these principles to more spicy versions of the BMW 3-series, the VW Golf or an Audi A3. Less obvious is the choice with which Martijn took his first steps on the path of car ownership. He bought a 944 Porsche 1984. And we had the honor of getting to know this Neckarsulm broad-shouldered transaxle coupé.

Martijn spent a summer working on the NA 2,5 liter eight-valve, a derivative of the V8 concept of the Porsche 928. In other words, the engine has been overhauled – with the necessary care and patience. Previously, the young owner had his Porsche 944 provided with a new coat of paint in Germany, and also carried out the necessary work in the years before the major adjustments. The revitalization of the Porsche was almost complete when we were allowed to drive it, and the current technical and cosmetic condition invites you to appreciate the Porsche 944. The Zermatt-Silber adds distinctive dignity to the Porsche, the self-restored BBS rims with fine rubber give the powerfully tailored Porsche 944 a grim visual edge.

Back to the 80 years

When we make our entrance in the Porsche 944 we travel back to the eighties. The brown color scheme, gauges, seats and steering wheel are just a few clues to the trends that tempted the potential buyer over thirty-five years ago to sign the order with the Porsche dealer. We embrace that atmosphere deeply. And note that the cut of the pleasantly functional interior, with that wonderfully low seat and the wide center console, really grabs us.

More than the sum of its parts

This also applies to the driving experience in this Porsche 944. The combination of the atmospheric four-cylinder 2,5 liter engine with two valves per cylinder and two balance shafts, the fabulous chassis, the rear-wheel drive, the optimal weight distribution (trans axle, front engine, transmission and rear differential), the body rigidity, the excellent braking system and the sturdy gearbox provide a breathtaking experience. Greater than the sum of the parts† The turbo-less power source shows a lot of potential right from the start. Furthermore, the transmission is excellent to operate. A change of course is initiated thanks to the handlebars that lie perfectly in the hand. This action is also accompanied by a lot of feeling thanks to the excellent reinforcement.

Versatile and balanced control

Its versatility is also apparent on the winding back roads around Leek. At lower speeds, the Porsche quietly follows the chosen direction. When we accelerate out of the corners faster, the steering turns out to be able to make the Porsche change course decisively, directly and sharply. The Porsche 944 feels exceptionally confidence-inspiring, grippy, potent and balanced.

Tempi and intermediate accusations

Of course we also expose the Porsche 944 to the highway asphalt. There it becomes clear how the craftsmanship of Martijn Donker and the historic Porsche constructors pays off. The power source spins beautifully. The engine deploys the available power without hesitation. This also applies to the torque, which is immediately available to a large extent and thus also makes increasing the speed to maximum values ​​a superfluous exercise. The Porsche offers the driver beautifully smoothly constructed and impressive gears from the start. And that in all five movements, which are perfectly coordinated.

No turbo and multiple valve technology required

The 2,5 liter engine with an overhead camshaft simply shows that it does not need a turbo and multiple valve technology. Overtaking is a piece of cake with this atmospheric, large-format four-cylinder engine. When we decide at the last minute to take an exit, it becomes clear how other technical components of the Porsche 944 are tuned to this power source. The interplay of chassis, brakes, steering, engine and switch-off works formidable.

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Pushing boundaries

The construction of this Porsche 944 allows for almost anything, without giving the occupants the impression that they are engaged in a dangerous manoeuvre. It is retroactively a compliment to the designers of this attractive broad-shouldered Porsche variant. And it's a big kudos to the current owner today. Certainly from a technical point of view, he took care of this car in such a way that the historic core values ​​of this car returned unconditionally. In fact, we seldom drove a car that continuously invited us to push the boundaries of driving skills without danger, without a lock and without electronic assistance. This 38-year-old Porsche 944 is simply pure and fantastic. To see. And to drive. This is a real one.

Also read:
– What's up Porsche for sale is in our section Vintage cars for sale
- The air-cooled Porsche Targa
- VW-Porsche 914: "It's about the hunt" at Bert Zijlstra 
- Porsche 911. Looked under the hood
- Historical prediction from 1977: "No future for the Porsche 911"


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  1. I am the same age as this Porsche but I am really not 33 anymore.
    According to the RDW this is an S, but I don't think there was one in 84. Nevertheless, this is a beautiful 944!

    Sent myself in a 924 for a while. Not super fast, but drove well! The 944 would have been a logical successor. But the prospect of a (purchased) home made us decide to go for a more economical Saxo VTS.

  2. At the time of my conscription in 1987, there was a fellow soldier who had just received a new 944 from his parents. He also brought this to his “work” every day. in the barracks.
    One day he drove off his left wing mirror, when he had it replaced he was shocked by the price. This was 60x more expensive than a comparable mirror from the car shop, but the mirror from the car shop did not have a Porche emblem. Yes, sometimes life is a challenge with a pay of 120 francs (3 euros) per day.

  3. Sorry, when I write in english, better than in german, my dutch language is very bad,
    allthough I can read and understand good, being member of the “HONDA S 800 Club Nederland”.

    All I want to say in case of the PORSCHE 944:
    We know that the 944 is the follower in strength of the 924.
    And the PORSCHE 924 is the answer of Porsche to build a sporty AUDI!
    At that time AUDI asked the engineers of PORSCHE to create a sporty car for them.
    The answer is the 924! OPEL had the Manta, FORD the Capri, GLAS the 1300 GT and
    BMW's answer was the 1600 GT at that time.
    So the engine of the 924 was an AUDI Construction. Nevertheless AUDI decided later on
    not to produce this spoty car because of the high price it would cost.
    So PORSCHE decided to make the 924 a Porsche…
    And as an answer to more power and as an answer for BMW and MERCEDES the
    follower was the 944. His engine based on the 924 but was much more a construction of
    PORSCHE, so were the details inside and outside.
    In Germany it took many, many years to accept the 944 as a real Porsche just in cause
    of the 911 that grew better and better.
    Nowadays the 944 is fully accepted as part of the family just as the first water-cooled 911 is,
    the Porsche 996!

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