Porsche 944 1986 turbo
Owner Review

1986 Porsche 944 Turbo review

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Unfortunately I no longer own my 1986 944 Turbo as I sold it almost ten years ago. And as it so often happens, what was once considered quite an unfashionable Porsche is now becoming quite a sought-after model. Thinking about the 944 in this way I do feel pangs of regret that I no longer have it.

However as I think of the expense of keeping it maintained and running, along with the questionable reliability that is associated with a 25 year old car, then I tend to get over any sellers remorse.

When I bought the car it was about ten years old and well maintained, as had been previously owned by a fairly fastidious enthusiast. It wasn't "concours" condition, but was well above average for its age.

How did it go? Well that depends upon which era of vehicles you compare it to. Compared to cars up to around the mid 2000's it was quite quick, with a real-world 0-100km/h time of about 6 seconds. Power delivery from the turbo 4 was more linear than most of the turbos of that era, however compared to today's turbos it was quite laggy with a fairly abrupt transition from "not much happening" to "everything starting to happen" at about 3500rpm.

I guess that outright acceleration would be similar to a naturally aspirated 911 of similar vintage, but the 911 would be much more responsive from lower revs. Also, even at full noise, the turbo 4 had none of the aural excitement that the 911 was (and still is) famous for.

As for handling, this is where the 944's had it over the 911's. 944's were perfectly balanced with a comparatively light 4-cylinder engine at the front and a gearbox/transaxle setup at the back. Also making life easier for the driver was a much more modern driving position with well-positioned pedals, precise and easy to use gearbox, excellent steering and good brakes.

Perhaps this was one of the failures of the 944, in that it was so competent and practical that it failed to excite or challenge drivers who would be spending significant amounts of money to buy one.

I think that's probably how I felt when I decided to sell it. It was fun but not special enough to justify the expense and all the other inconveniences that are part and parcel of owning an ageing sports car.

One thing about owning an old car is that it makes you appreciate how comfortable, reliable, safe and technologically advanced cars have now become. Most of the time that's a good thing, but occasionally it's so good to be able to go back in time.