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Here's what I'm pondering over the weekend...


Tdh
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I've been working out getting paid for doing a driver quality restoration on an old Land Rover for a buddy.  Covid put a dent in his living, but he's rebounding.  So, I've got a five figure check heading my way that I can throw at my car hobby.  At the same time, another friend of mine in town decided to sell his '87 944 Turbo.  44k miles, one owner car, but its not perfect.  Its got a couple of paint flaws, two door dings (can be fixed with PDR), a small oil leak, timing belt needs to be replaced, and the clutch is original.  All in all, if he cleaned it up it would probably go low to mid 20's on BAT.  I had a standard 944 in high school, same color combo, loved the car so nostalgia has gotten the better of me.  He's gonna want me to give him $18K or so.  I really don't want to pay more than $15K.  

 

Currently, my '71 2002 sits in the shop with the engine/gearbox/from sub frame out as I work on replacing some metal in the lower nose due to rust.  I love the car (big surprise right?).  As I drove home from a work trip last night, another buddy called me to let me know he planned to do an engine swap in a 320i he has to make it into a track car.  He wanted to know if I wanted the 1.8 that's currently in the car.  It runs, but he doesn't want it, and will give it to me for free if I help him remove it.  I started thinking it might be fun to store my original engine, and go ahead and build up the 1.8 (turbo, mega squirt, etc.,).  If I buy the 944 Turbo, I'll just put the original motor back in the '02.  

 

So...I have some decisions to make.  Option A (944 Turbo) or Option B (Go nuts on the 2002).  Any thoughts from any of you other car nuts?

Edited by Tdh
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I baby sat my buddy's old 944 Turbo for a bit.  It's a really nice car.  My understanding is that you change the timing belt regardless.  And the good way to get rid of the lag is to use a light flywheel...  So...  It's for sure more modern.  Still not really 'fast.'  But it's a really nice car, especially one owner 44k...  Nice, quiet, smooth.

 

I know I'm not helping, but the 944 really is a nice car.

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2 hours ago, irdave said:

I baby sat my buddy's old 944 Turbo for a bit.  It's a really nice car.  My understanding is that you change the timing belt regardless.  And the good way to get rid of the lag is to use a light flywheel...  So...  It's for sure more modern.  Still not really 'fast.'  But it's a really nice car, especially one owner 44k...  Nice, quiet, smooth.

 

I know I'm not helping, but the 944 really is a nice car.

Nope, you're not helping🙂!  The timing belt service isn't that big a deal, but I'd have to do it pretty much immediately.  I'm still pondering. 

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As someone who owns both a 944 Turbo and a 2002tii, that's a tough call. They are both great cars, but are suited for different occasions. I daily drove each of them for years, and they took different trajectories in terms of modifications. The 944 Turbo was progressively modified to be a track-focused car (albeit still street-legal and driven to and from the track) with stiff coilover suspension and spherical bearings all around. It is a bit harsh but still manageable, but still awesome as an autobahn-type car on a long trip, just as it was when stock.

 

You have already owned a 944, so you probably know some of the ropes, but the 951 can be a pain to work on because the engine bay is packed tight. If you need to replace the clutch or go after the turbocharger or anything like that, it is a lot of work. It is all doable if you have experience and are careful and patient; however even as a professional Porsche mechanic I an tired of working on them!

 

My 2002tii is more of a fun street car and canyon carver (you can see most of the mods in the signature below), and is my best all-around car for road rallies and fun group drives. It handles great, suspension is firm but compliant, and can take rutted roads and dirt roads with no problem (no magnesium sump hanging down as in my Alfa GTV6!).

 

I think you need to ask yourself what you would use said car for, and how much time you want to spend working on it . . . well, it sounds like you'd be doing a lot of work in either case :) . While I absolutely HATE the idea of a car being an investment, the 944 Turbo might be a decent short-term proposition: fix it up, have some fun with it and scratch that itch, and then move it on if you don't fall in love. 

 

I will say that it is not super difficult to get  more power out of the 944 Turbo engine. I have a trick billet hybrid K27/6 in mine (bolts in), and a VEMS engine management system, and it now makes close to 400 hp at the crank at 18 PSI, though I'm not sure how long the head gasket would last during a long track session!

 

All of this said, I just got the 2002tii out of my shed after being put aside for a few years, and it puts a bigger smile on my face than any of my other cars.

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1 hour ago, TobyB said:

Every time I add a different make car in the barn, I get a little dumber...

 

t

 

I know exactly what you mean.  Having more than one antique driver lying around always seems to take up too much time, distracts me from other things I want to do, and makes it feel more like work than fun keeping things running.  A good friend of mine once told me never to have more than one "mistress."  

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@cda951,

 

 

I'm a little stuck when it comes to the resale if I pull the trigger on the 944.  The owner is a family friend.  It I flipped it, he'd be pissed and I wouldn't blame him.  After I got done with some paint correction, fixing the dings, doing the needed maintenance and detailing the car I'm pretty sure it would break the 30k threshold with ease on BAT.  If he wasn't a family friend the car would already be sitting in the driveway getting ready for a BAT appearance and this post would never have happened.  Because he is, I'm in for the long haul if I buy it.  To make it worse, he's a really great guy so buying it with resale in mind at any point would feel like robbing him.  I'm just not that kinda guy.  You can always make more money but friends are tough to come by.  Modding the car probably isn't something I'd do either.  I've got an F87 M2 for track days, and I can't imagine the 944 ,modded or not, being any more fun than the M2.  

 

I love the 2002, but I would like some more oomph.  The $'s aren't the issue.  I can afford to do both, but I have so many hobbies/projects, I just don't want two cars I feel "obligated" to keep running/driving in the garage at home anymore.  Like I said in my post above to Toby, one "mistress" is enough.  

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Tdh
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Prior to getting into 02s I daily drove a low mileage 87 944 turbo. Great car and I loved driving it, but expensive to maintain because all parts carry the P-car premium. So even if you do your own work, the costs add up compared to an 02. And yes, our parts are starting to creep up there but they're still not - thankfully - in Porsche territory (yet).

 

I sold the 951 to buy my first 02. Now I'm on my second that I finished restoring prior to the pandemic and now use as a semi-daily driver.

 

Cost of ownership wise, I'd go with the BMW hands down.

 

Mechanically, the BMW is infinitely less complicated and easier to work on. As one of the previous commenters noted, you spend a lot of time removing parts on a 944 just to get to the thing you need to work on. Then there's the inevitable scope creep of 'well, I've got that out...I might as well...' and those costs add up quickly. 

 

Drivability wise, I also have to side with the 02 again. As a daily, I never felt I got the full use of the 944 on the street. It seemed to me there was always more power than I could use driving around town and commuting to work. The 02 on the other hand is always being used  more in it's sweet spot driving about town. The most fun you can have at 45mph as I like to say. For me I think the old adage fits: better to drive a slow car fast, than a fast car slow. 

 

Given your situation, I'd stick with the BMW and invest in some forced induction to get your power fix. 

Edited by Teelinger
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I know that many people have turbo'd their 02, and I love the idea of a hot rod, but it needs to be done properly. Which begins with stiffening the chassis, in my opinion. The 02 chassis is quite noodle-like in comparison to the 944, so one might start by looking at what the factory did to stiffen the cabriolets (reinforced rockers, various gussets, etc), and maybe even go to seam-welding the chassis.

 

Then your drivetrain, brakes, and suspension need to be able to handle the increased torque and horsepower. This is also a well-trodden path, but another factor to consider. I personally like my 2002tii at the power level that it has (but as mentioned, I already own a "fast" car), and would likely choose a different platform for a hot rod. But I still admire the hot rod 02s that I see on this board and elsewhere :)

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