There can be very few automotive brands which can equal the iconic status which Porsche carries. Behind that status lies of course decades and decades of engineering ingenuity, high-quality products, motorsport heritage and perhaps above all, a guaranteed fun-induced driving experience.
But where Porsche truly stands out compared to its few piers such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin, is in its ability to also offer entry-level sportscars to its loyal and passionate fans. This is perhaps even more the case within the range of classic Porsches than it is among the moderns. The quirky but ever so lovable 914 has been the obvious example of this for quite some time. However, this year we have been celebrating the small mid-engined Porsche’s 50th anniversary, and with that age has also come a greater acceptance and thus an increase in prices. Luckily the 914 still remains affordable for many, but I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a budget classic any longer. That honour now goes to its successor: the often ridiculed but frankly quite brilliant, transaxled, front-engined and water-cooled Porsche 924.
Despite development commencing on the V8-engined 928 grand tourer first, it was the 924 which entered production first and was launched in November 1975 as a new ’76 model. Just like with its mid-engined predecessor, the 924 equally started as a collaboration between Porsche and VW; however VW pulled out for various reasons and focused instead on their cheaper Scirocco. So the 924 proceeded as a Porsche-only model, but therefore utilised a 2-litre 4-cylinder Audi engine which Porsche had developed its own cylinder head for and furthermore equipped with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection. In European trim, this equated to 125 horsepower and this was to become its biggest Achilles heel. Frankly, outright speed most certainly wasn’t its core competence, and the motoring press weren’t discrete in pointing this out either. Yet, the entry-level 924 had other tricks up its sleeve. The very same motoring press seemed to succumb to its many other talents and praised it hugely on its perfectly balanced and entirely involving handling characteristics. This was of course thanks to the transaxle setup which gave the 924 an admirable 48/52 front/rear weight balance. They equally had appreciation for its fuel economy, reliability and not least the sleek styling created by the legendary Porsche designer, Harm Lagaay.
Lack of outright speed or not, the public liked the 924 and it immediately became a resounding sales success for Porsche. In typical Porsche tradition, their engineers just couldn’t help themselves from constantly improving the breed and various changes were introduced throughout its lifespan – many small and others quite significant. Including the force-feed 924 Turbo of 1979, the podium-chasing 924 GT Carrera and not least the 924S of 1985 which was finally treated to a real Porsche engine from big-brother 944, the entire 924 range was produced in more than 150,000 examples over 13 years. And these are the cars which now represent excellent value as budget classics and an enticing entry ticket to Porsche ownership.
To prove that point, look no further than this week’s Prime Find: a 1978 Porsche 924 which is currently for sale not far from Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The first thing that caught my eye here, and the main reason why I personally would love to add this particular 924 to my own garage, is its colour – Minerva blue metallic. Whooar… what a colour, and the vendor claims it to be the factory colour too. It’s rare and it’s gorgeous! Even so, this 924 probably won’t appeal to those aiming at winning concours prizes at every given opportunity – for that, it simply isn’t good enough. The front spoiler seems a little too deep to be the factory correct ’78 item and there are some odd extensions plastered to the bodywork just behind the rear wheel arches. I could probably live with the front spoiler, whereas those rear arches would need sorting at some point if this were to be my first 924. Still, that merely serves to keep this 924 within the spectrum of classics which you dare drive and enjoy out on the road where they belong. It also gives you the joy of improving the car during your ownership.
Thankfully though, besides those two alterations, the 924 presents largely original and certainly quite tidy and clean. It’s pleasant to see an early 924 which is still sporting its factory alloys and this one has even somehow managed to avoid getting a later rubber rear spoiler attached to its clamshell rear window. It’s just such an elegant and harmonious profile when left unadorned by spoilers. On the inside, things appear just as positive with the early two-spoke steering wheel still in place and the seats looking rather nice despite the vendor admitting to one small hole. The vendor also points out that the dashboard is without any cracks – which is quite the rarity for 924s nowadays – and that the original radio is also still present. While not quite a real time-capsule classic, it does appear to be a largely unmolested 924 with the added bonus of that fabulous blue paintwork. Here are a few pictures which we’ve borrowed from the advert:
The vendor claims that the 924 is in mechanically good condition and the car also comes with a valid Dutch MOT. The mileage is given at 45,000km, but remember that these cars have five digit odometers, so bearing in mind that the vendor makes no mention of any documentation for the mileage, I will assume that it’s been around the clock at least once. But again, this just means that you wouldn’t need to be worried about driving your new 924 and adding plenty more miles. Oh, and did I mention that Minerva blue paint?
Regardless, with 911s still being out of reach for most enthusiasts despite a cooling market, it’s nice to know that this little Zuffenhausen gem can be yours for something as modest as Euro 4,750 which with the current weak pound equates approximately to £ 4,300. To kick-start that Porsche fantasy of yours, here’s a link to the full advert: 1978 Porsche 924
With our Saturday instalment of Prime Find of the Week, we’re offering our services to the classic car community, by passing on our favourite classic car for sale from the week that passed. This top-tip might help a first-time-buyer to own his first classic, or it could even be the perfect motivation for a multiple-classic-car-owner to expand his garage with something different. We’ll let us inspire by anything from a cheap project to a stunning concours exotic, and hope that you will do the same.
Just remember – Any Classic is Better than No Classic! We obviously invite our readers to help prospective buyers with your views and maybe even experiences of any given model we feature. Further to that, if you stumble across a classic which you feel we ought to feature as Prime Find of the Week, then please send us a link to firstname.lastname@example.org