Was this a good buy for a nearly forgotten Porsche?

(Photo courtesy Bring A Trailer)

The Porsche 968 hit the streets in 1992, the lovely final installment of an experiment Porsche began in 1976 with the 924. The water-cooled, four-cylinder, front-engine, rear-transaxle recipe shared by the two siblings, along with that of the 944 middle child, served as the foundation of an immensely satisfying family of well-built performance cars designed as affordable entry into the Stuttgart realm.

More than 150,000 924s of all variants rolled out of Audi’s Neckarsulm factory between 1976 and 1987, a staggering figure by exotic (or perhaps more appropriately, “exotic”) standards, and one handily topped by the 170,000-plus 944s built there from 1982 to 1991. By the time Zuffenhausen production of the 968 began, however, the writing was on the wall for Porsche’s front-engine efforts; the mid-engine 986 Boxster was already in development as the entry-level Porsche and would replace both the 968 and the aged, slow-selling 928 in one fell swoop. As a result, Porsche built just 12,780 examples of the 968 during its short run, from 1992 to ’95.

But what a car it was. Though it retained the profile and many parts of its predecessor (Brembo brakes and the 944 Turbo’s suspension among them), the 968 was much more than a warmed-over 944. In the new car, chief designer Harm Lagaay had managed to unify the look of Porsche’s entire lineup, with the 968, 928, and the type 993 911 all sharing front-end styling cues first seen on the 959. With a 50/50 weight distribution, handling was near-perfect, while underhood, the 968’s big 3.0-liter four pioneered Porsche’s VarioCam variable valve timing, with 236 horsepower on tap at 6200 rpm and 225 pound-feet of torque available at 4100 rpm. A six-speed manual was standard, with the trick Tiptronic automatic a $3000 option.

A quick search of Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace in just about any part of the country will usually yield at least a few results for 924s and 944s, in conditions ranging from cheapo stomach-turners to spendy eye-catchers. But 968s in any condition are far harder to come by. Lucky for us, this 1994 968 coupe, in pretty Aventurine Green Metallic over Cashmere leather, sold this week on Bring A Trailer for $32,000.

The California seller purchased the car in Ontario, Canada, in 2014, before which it had spent its days in Ohio and New York, where, based on the rust-free condition of the undercarriage, it never saw a salty road.

The car shows 84,000 miles, with 28,000 of them coming since the seller purchased it. (An odometer discrepancy in the Carfax was quickly addressed by the seller in the comments: The odo broke, he had it fixed a month later and reckons he maybe put 500 miles on the car during that period). Beyond that, there are some visible flaws, though none of them serious, and Hagerty would categorize this 968 as being in #3 (Good) condition. Among those warts is a tiny dent in the left fender, inoperable cruise control, and a worn driver’s seat. The left pop-up headlight alignment is off, which has caused the bucket to rub on deployment, marring its paint. Minor, minor stuff.

1994 Porsche 968 coupe profile
The small dent is visible just ahead of the door. (Photo courtesy Bring A Trailer)

All the things you’d hate to have to do on a new-to-you 968, however, have been done. The seller kept up on maintenance during his ownership and in the last four years had the following work performed, with receipts: bushings, tie rods, and front brake components replaced, as well as the timing belt, water pump, clutch, flywheel, rear main seal, valve cover gasket, thermostat, battery, radiator fans, and steering rack. This transaxle Porsche is primed for driving, in other words.

Bidding opened the day after Christmas, at $9680. The winning bidder got into the game at $15,000 and signaled their intent with $3000 counters until they had the car. “I’ve wanted a 968 since they came out in high school,” they wrote in the comments at the auction’s close. “I can’t wait to drive this beauty!” The car will share space with 10 Saabs, a Boxster S, and an Alfa Spider. “I definitely went higher for this than I would have for another color combo.”

1994 Porsche 968 coupe hood up engine
(Photo courtesy Bring A Trailer)

It is a fetching combination, less common than, say, red over black, though not especially rare in the world of Porsche colors. More importantly, this 968 is a fetching car. There’s a reason Hagerty valuation analysts picked the 968 as a car on the rise for our 2022 Bull Market List. “968s began appreciating in 2015,” we wrote at the time. “Since 2016, #2 values are up 139 percent for coupes—the fastest appreciation for all Porsche coupes. We think there’s still room for growth.”

Currently, we value 968s in #3 condition at around $33,000, so this sale was on the money. As time goes by and regular use chips away at remaining examples, however, it’s safe to assume that figure will climb. That’s likely immaterial to the new owner, however. What does matter is that they have just paid a fair price to secure one of the finest driver’s cars Porsche ever produced, in the kind of condition you’d want to have it. The buyer should be over the moon, and the seller, who quite likely tripled his initial investment from 2014, should have no complaints.

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    I feel that sold well. Not the best styling as the 944 turbo was better.

    The 928 never did well due to the styling and this car did not benefit by adopting the look.

    Well it was intended to replace the 911 and it just never lived up to what they expected. It was then discontinued.

    The 80’s were like the AMF years at Harley Davidson. They tried to reach out for more volume and with a number of cars that while they sold well they did not enhance the Porsche image.

    The 944 range and 924 were seen by real Porsche buyers as cheap knock offs. They were not even built in a Porsche plant.

    The 928 never got to where they expected it to go and the refresh did not fix what was wrong.
    The car then was canceled.

    Today the cars are found for fairly low prices and the parts are difficult to find. You don’t see places like Singer doing cool versions of these.

    Often small block Chevys are found under the hood as it is much easier to get parts for it.

    Porsche moved forward and put the halo mark back on the 911 and tried not to over sell them again. They then brought along the cayman and Boxster to fill the lower priced volume line but they used more 911 styling and the prices were increased.

    More volume came with the SUV and sedan. Porsche needed the volume but not at the expense of their top car.

    Note the 928 sold 61.000 units from 1978-1975 while the 911 Sold 25,000-45,000 per year during the same period.

    In 1977 Porsche launched an all new front-engined sports car. Originally designed as a replacement for the 911 and it just never did.

    Not saying the 928 was a bad car it was like the ZR 1 from the 90’s. It just never filled the expectations of the MFG.

    The 928 was easily replaced with better 911 car as the first ZR1 was replaced with the LS in 1997 C5 that was cheaper faster and a much better car. GM even held off the new LT engine a year to prevent the buyers of the last ZR1 feeling taken. The ZR did not move things enough to prevent GM from canceling the Corvette in 1992 that was ignored by the Vette team as they hid the C5 that was secretly funded by Perkins.

    The 928 was a child of the 80’s where the 240 HP was a lot but looking back today my wife’s GMC SUV has 70 more HP. These cars were better than the 70’s but kind of got lost in the HP race of the 90’s and later.

    Very interesting and apt comment! I wasn’t aware that Corvette was canceled at the end of the C4 run. That would have been a big mistake by a company that has made quite a few. I just recently interacted with a Lingenfelter C5 Z06 commemorative edition and as a long time 928 owner I couldn’t help but wonder what the 928 could have been. That said I guess we all know who ended up winning that one..

    What hyperv6 was correct. The 928 was a dud. 60,000 might seem like a lot, but Porsche wasn’t a boutique exotic manufacturer. Spread out over the years, that’s less than 8,000/year on average. Current 928 values attest its styling was never really loved by more than the fringe.

    A friend’s dad had his turbo go through the motor when it was relatively new, so a non-turbo might be wise.

    I agree with hyperv. This may be a better sorted out car and a good buy but the 944 has a certain racier something this lacks. It’s too soft. And I’ve always these style rims were used as a deal to supply the aftermarket. Unifying the look maybe what was desired but not such a good thing. The Panamera is unmistakably a Porsche but its still fugly.

    If you are into it for an investment collector, probably a neutral move. If you are looking for a driver, I would go after a 944 where you can probably still pick up a reasonably decent looking drivable car for under 8K

    I’ve been looking for one to join the air and water cooled P car fleet. Maybe not the greatest Porsche, but a transitional car that drives like a Porsche should, but one that you can still get in excellent condition for reasonable $. Aside from driving feel, capabilities and style, one attribute that is not frequently mentioned; Porsches are generally very easy to own. They are well designed, especially for service access, and use quality components. Our 996, frequently derided by many (IMS!!), has been probably the least needy car in the fun fleet for the ~20 years we’ve had her, w/ our 986 Boxster S a close second. They just don’t break that often…

    I had a well-used 85.5 944 with a broken odo for 14 years. I drove it as a daily driver for most of the time I had it. I ran into one of the original owners who told me the odo was broken when he had it. I estimated that when it finally gave up the ghost, it had well over 200K miles on it.

    Well, I’d quibble with the “headline” bit – “a nearly forgotten Porsche?” But I do think it was bought well. I love my ’89 944 n/a, but sometimes I think of the 968, a little more horsepower with a 6 speed. Then again, really I couldn’t afford a #2 like my 944.

    968’s didn’t seem to have the same love as the 944. Seeing one was far more rare than a 944. I saw more 928’s also in my area. It looks good but I’d rather have a 944 Turbo.

    The car was made better but the styling regressed.

    I often wondered if the 928 had more a 944 Turbo look would it have done better.

    Also these cars get split by the purist as often these cheaper models are built in an Audi or VW plant and often not in Germany. The 911 crowd holds this sacred. Fair or not just the way it is.

    We kind of see that on the C8 and the front engine Corvettes. Some accept both come reject one or the other.

    I had a ’89 944 S2 for a few years which also had a twin-cam, 16-valve 3.0 liter engine like this 968, but without the 968’s Variocam setup and a 5-sp instead of this car’s 6-sp. It was a nice touring car, comfortable and very practical with its large hatchback cargo area. It ate up freeway miles in comfort and had adequate power for passing. It just wasn’t very sporty (lots of body roll, felt like a big car, slow steering) and the four-cylinder engine didn’t sound special. I replaced it with a 987 Cayman which is a worse tourer with regard to NVH, but sportier, smaller feeling and more nimble with a great flat-six howl.

    Definitely well sold… 968s don’t normally fetch nearly this much. I’m guilty of over-paying for things that I truly desire though so fair game to the buyer who paid up to live his dream.

    The homogenous styling, the lack of pop up lights and the lack of a turbo cast a humdrum shadow on this final iteration.

    You guys are fools! Walter Rohrl in 2001 said this was the best handling Porsche car, except the 959, that P-car ever made! And that includes the first gen Boxter. This car has 80% of it’s torque available at 2000 rpm.
    You can carry a bicycle inside without taking off the wheels. Name another P-car you can do that in.
    The reason that these car did not sell well is because of the exchange rate. From the mid-80’s to the mid-90’s
    The d-Mark and then the Euro were strong.

    It is the best car Porsche ever made. If it was 6 inches longer you would see no M3’s on the road.


    This is a great example of the 968. Garage queen, no. Concours winner, no. But a well maintained car, low miles, with no obvious flaws. If it had gone for 10 grand more I would not have been surprised. FWIW-a week earlier a similarly colored 968 with twice the miles and issues, when for almost the same Dollars.

    I have to generally agree with you. Porsche never made a sports car that could carry stuff, like my bikes. In 1982 I settled for a 280ZX. That car could carry two bikes and camping gear. I was a young engineer, relocating frequently, and this suited my lifestyle. I really wanted an SC, but that cost twice as much as the Z, and the 924 was frankly too small, too cheaply made and also cost more than the ZX. The only flaw with the 968 was the price. If it was priced in the low to mid $20K’s it would have done much better. As for the ZX, it was no 911 for sure, prone to under steer, a little on the soft side, but a good car never-the-less. I drove it for 30 years and 200,000 miles with no issues and tons of enjoyment. I consider the 968 the best of the Porsche transaxle cars. The resale values are strong, the supply is limited, and they are not overly complicated like the 928.

    I’ve owned a ’94 968 Cab with Tiptronic for 10 years. A previous owner had installed an autocross suspension and the car sits nice and low, emphasizing the perfect proportions of the silhouette. I put a lot of money into it for preventative maintenance, and even though it just turned 100,000 miles the car still runs very strong. Yes, the Tiptronic makes the car a bit pokey when the traffic light changes green, but otherwise a tremendous sports car that embodies the epitome of analog Porsches.

    “The buyer should be over the moon, and the seller, who quite likely tripled his initial investment from 2014, should have no complaints.”
    It would have been nice to see the repair bills, to get the big picture investment wise.

    I own an early 94 Cabriolet (with the 93 seats and under hood front cover) and also own a 997.2 4S. The 4S is a much faster car but it requires full attention when driving fast on a twisty road. The 968 handling is so neutral and it tracks so well (with an added under hood brace – a must have for cabs) that I can push it far harder in the turns. Even though many Porsches in our PCA region have twice the horsepower (or much more) and can easily pull away on the straights, I have absolutely no trouble catching and keeping up when the road starts to curve. It’s the best handling car I’ve ever owned… and I even like the design!

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