Not content with a single Porsche 924S, Matt Biggs has gone and bought another one. See, I told you there was something in the air at the moment. Clearly autumn is the season to go out and buy something new. Anyway, it turns out that Matt wasn’t actually looking for another one (or so he says), but read on for the full story.
I have to admit to being slightly impulsive. A trait that led me to, in early 2011, buy a Porsche 924S, unseen. For £400 it was never going to be the best out there. I was without the car for a long time, but having it back and tinkering has provided a lot of enjoyment, I even took it to the Pentillie Festival of Speed and joined the PetrolBlog stand. But the car is a project and is ongoing, with plenty left to do.
While I accept my part in buying the 924S I have to lay some of the responsibility at the feet of @MajorGav and PetrolBlog stalwart, @FailCar. One of the two finally accepted his role in events, right here on PetrolBlog… In pictures: FailCar’s Peugeot 205 GTi.
In light of PetrolBlog’s involvement it seems only fitting then that I deliver the first official report of my latest purchase here. I am pleased to announce that I bought myself a Porsche 924S. Yes, the same as the other one. I was actually looking for parts on eBay; using a broad search always brings up a few cars, but this one looked very cheap. The ad wasn’t great but there were a few key pointers that suggested this would be a good car. So, for a £800 starting price what was on offer?
A 1988 924S in [Indian] Red – most think it’s Guards Red – with new MOT, six months’ tax, a cambelt change 2,000 miles ago and 75,000 on the clock.
What the listing didn’t state was that this was the later model with the unrestricted 944 engine, receiving the full 160bhp (previous models were 150bhp).
Online the car looked very clean and if the documents checked out it would be a very good buy. I put in a low bid, in all honesty expecting the price to rocket as the auction neared the end. It went up, but I still managed to buy the car for a little over £1k. Something of a bargain, so much so that I thought I might be being scammed. Talking to the owner put my mind at ease. I paid my deposit and the following day got a train to south London.
Arriving at the owner’s house I was pleasantly surprised to find something that resembled the eBay listing. The slightly scruff valance and mark on the bonnet were as detailed in the ad, but there was also a little pain bubbling around the [manual] aerial not listed. But that was about it. The car looked in good condition, yes there were the marks and the paint needs a detail, but the decals are all there, there were no dents and the wheels looked in good nick and were even sporting nearly new Pirelli P6000s.
The owner and me went inside and had a chat about the car; it was purchased to be enjoyed as a third car, and in the first year of ownership did 2,000 miles, in the second year 1,000 miles and last year next to nothing. Added to which there was a feeling of ambivalence following the theft of one of the other cars. Thankfully there was a good history with the car with either stamps or invoices. Paperwork done and it was time to hit the road.
The car started easily and at idle was without any of the vibration indicating collapsed engine mounts, hurrah! No ticking from the manifold or blowing from the exhaust either. I knew the car had power steering and was a little worried it wouldn’t feel right, but pulling out onto the main road it felt great. If anything a little better than my non-PAS car. I let the engine warm up before I started to play around with the throttle.
I’d reached the M25 by the time the engine was properly warmed up. When I started to get a little more enthusiastic the car did respond well; the engine pulling smoothly. Did I notice the additional 10bhp? Not really. Sadly. Also I think any improvement in performance will be down to the better engine mounts over my first car, but that will remain to be seen when those are changed.
What I did enjoy though was being able to open the sunroof! Like most other things in this car it operates faultlessly. And having used the car in the rain am happy to report that it doesn’t leak either. The slight oddity with the car is the operation for the lights; putting on main beam should summon the lights from the bonnet in spectacular ‘80s fashion, it does not. Instead some oaf has installed a second set of switches to operate the raising and lowering independently. That will have to go, as, in addition to being inconvenient, it is unsightly.
There was another unwanted addition to the car in the form of a USB expansion plate that had been screwed to the dash, it has been removed but has left two small holes. I would like to track down the person who did this and give them a stern talking to. This idiocy is particularly irritating as the dash is in otherwise very good condition – something rare in a square dash 924 / 944. Everything else appeared to be in tiptop condition. The interior was so good it made the car seem a lot newer than its 24 years.
Off the motorway and back on to my local roads it was time to stop obsessing over the smaller details and get back to enjoying the drive. Turning the wheel hard can be a little tricky as there is little clearance between the seat and the wheel, a square dash quirk. While the steering rack isn’t the fastest the front of the car goes pretty much exactly where it’s pointed, with seemingly very little understeer. As yet I have been too precious about the car to experiment with oversteer. I am sure that will come.
The S sits high by modern sports car standards and likewise the 15 inch wheels are small, but the ride is very good and the handling doesn’t feel too compromised. Yes, I will go around the same corners in a modern 2.5l sports car, but I like the overall package of the 924S, the corning ability matches the brakes and engine, if I were using this no track a lot I may want it stopping quickly, cornering flatter and faster and then pulling away quicker and would need to upgrade all equally. But not in this car, it’s too nice. And anyway, to get to that point though there is more work to be done behind the wheel… and the 924S is a great car to start that voyage in.