I rescued this ’80s Porsche from a funeral home

Courtesy Mike Rozich

I brought this Porsche back from the dead—literally, as it was sitting in the basement of a funeral home for 20 years.

In the early 1990s, I started doing work for a gentleman named Jack, who owned two local funeral homes. Jack bought this 1983 Porsche 944 new and used it for weekend trips to the Hamptons and not much else. It sat covered in his home garage the rest of the time. He got married in 1993 and moved to a house where he could no longer garage the Porsche, so he parked it in the basement garage of one of the funeral homes.

Jack passed away suddenly in 2002, and the car sat. Eventually, it got covered to its roof with foam casket wrappers from patrons on their journey to the great beyond. The funeral home business, which had been taken over by Jack’s wife, closed for good in 2019. I still did work there and asked her what was to become of the Porsche. She told me that out of gratitude for so many years of service, I could have it.

I was blown away. The car needed a lot of work, because everything made of rubber had deteriorated after 35 years. But the paint was flawless, as was the interior, and the recorded mileage was only 17,600. I don’t think there are many 944s out there in this condition, as it barely saw the sun. It’s a great story and a great car, and I feel so lucky to own it.




This article first appeared in Hagerty Drivers Club magazine. Click here to subscribe and join the club.

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    I had an 85.5 and that thing was a blast to drive. It was NA though and could have used a few more squirrels under the hood. Enjoy

    One sound piece of advice… get the timing belt replaced, preferably by a Porsche dealer. The miles may be low, but the rubber is very old. Those are (very) interference engines… That’s how mine died. The timing belt broke at an idle and turned the valves into an S-shape and did damage on the bottom end too

    I wouldn’t even start the engine without a timing belt change!!!
    With a little knowledge and a decent at best tool collection there’s no reason to recommend the use of a Porsche dealer. Maybe a decent German car indy, but it’s not terribly likely you’ll find anyone at the stealer who’s ever done one before. The stealer’s bill will approach the value of the car too!
    It’s not rocket science, and the internet will offer the needed info, and tools, to make sure the belt is properly tensioned.

    Mike. Looks like you are in Brooklyn or Staten Island ? Are you a metro Ny PCA member? If so, please reach out to me. We would love if you could put this article in our monthly newsletter.

    I inherited my father-in-laws ‘83 944 with 5-spd and manual steering. Mine like yours, was in beautiful condition, but sadly I could not find much service paperwork aside from basic stuff. First job was to have an Indy Porsche shop do all the major service. Glad I did, as the Timing Belt was ready to break. Now it drives like new (as much as I imagine it would drive when new), and I get a lot of comments when I drive my car. It’s a fun quirky car. I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out the air vent controls.

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