Project 944: In the beginning…

I previously mentioned in an earlier post about a secret project that we’ll be embarking on for at least the first half of 2016, ladies and gents, i present to you, Project 944. More accurately, Project 944 Turbo.

To be honest, it was something that was casually mentioned to my other half and for some strange reason, she thought it would be a good idea. So off we went to take a look at the car, in a car yard. Yes, in a car yard.

To put it lightly, at that very moment, i thought it was a piece of crap.

It’s always disheartening for car folk like me to see vehicles in such a sad state, you wonder who would let a car, a Porsche no less, degenerate into such a poor condition. Just imagine, this car was once someone’s pride and joy 20 over years ago, now it sits in a heap, rotting away and collecting dead leaves. Something had to be done.

Clearly this little Porsche needed more than a little TLC.

The interior also needed quite a lot of sorting out.

Clearly it would be insane to proceed with this purchase. Outside, the bodywork was dull, the bonnet could not shut properly, the hatch could not open, the nose panel was cracked, there was a crack on the windscreen and the rear glass had delaminated from its frame.

Inside, bits were of trim were falling off, there were dodgy looking gadgets and speakers wired up and because the battery was flat (and i did not bring along a spare), there was no way to test if any of the switches worked. The sunroof latches were also busted and it looked as it some water had made their way into the boot area courtesy of the delaminated rear glass hatch. The dash and center console were also trimmed in a horrible shade of rust-colored alcantara (which was also wearing off badly). To top it off, the previous owner also wired up a dodgy set of blue LEDs to illuminate the gauges. *Facepalm*

The engine bay was a mess of wires, dead leaves and rat droppings. Yes, rat droppings. It also looked like some rodents had a good time chewing up wires as well. I did not have a wrench with me to turn the engine and with the wheels all deflated, there was also no way for us to check if the engine could even turn over. To say it looked bad is a huge understatement. Of all the things that needed worrying over, the engine and mechanical bits were the ones at worried me the most as there are plenty of nightmarish stories out there of 944s emptying the pockets of many a brave punter.

Still, i snapped as many pictures as the caretaker of the yard would allow (before he got impatient), and set to work at home researching as much as i could before making the big decision.

A decision i’m sure you’d easily guess since i’m writing this, but hear me out.

Clearly the easiest bits to fix would be the exterior and interior, with many parts readily available online. Less clear though was to be the engine and chassis bits. A quick look at the photos i took did allow us to discover that someone, somewhere, one of the owners spent quite an amount building up the car as it had some rather trick parts tacked on. Whether these parts still worked was of course, still up in the air. It was (and still is) to be a gamble. We pulled the trigger.

With all paperwork settled, the car was promptly removed from the yard and towed over to our favorite mechanic at R2D. Dead leaves blown off, it did look slightly better. Slightly.

At this point, we still had no idea if the engine will even turn. So you can imagine our relief when days later, the call came in that yes, the car was able to fire up. Just barely, but yes she’s still alive and sputtering!

Turns out the spark plugs were all heavily heavily fouled, a quick change to a used set of plugs and a used but still charged battery slotted in, project 944 came alive after some persuasion.

So with that one small obstacle crossed, it was time for me to get to work. Our friendly mechanic had drawn up a list of parts i needed to procure. Parts which i spent over a month slowly sussing out from a list of new and used parts dealers. Unlike BMW parts which are so easily available locally, there are unfortunately no Porsche stockist around. So everything has to be ordered online and shipped over.

With a strict budget set, we had to manage our resources, getting as many parts from as few sources was key. I’ll save you readers the headache of all the work that went behind and fast forward a couple of weeks to present day where the parts are now starting to arrive. (Not without any hiccups of course)

So now, it begins. Project 944 is a go and we will have to see it through to the end. (Hopefully) Although i am writing this only today, it has actually been around two months since we acquired our little Porsche.

Tonight, the wheels have come off and will be sent for refurbishing, thereafter, a new set of tires will go on. This will at least allow the shop the ability to roll the car about when working on it.

No doubt this journey will be an interesting one filled with many memorable (and probably quite a few heart-attack inducing grief filled) moments, but here’s hoping we can bring this little 944 Turbo back to its former glory. Gambate!!!

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2 thoughts on “Project 944: In the beginning…

  1. What a find! Thank you Louis for saving this 951’s life. I love these cars and this one looks like it’s going to be an AWESOME! Can wait for the next update.

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