1981 Porsche 924 Turbo
4-cyl. 1985cc/143hp German KKK Turbocharger
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
The Porsche 924 was a joint project between Porsche and Volkswagen, and had been dubbed “Project 425” as it was being developed. While it was intended to be VW’s flagship sports coupe, for Porsche it was to be the new entry-level model to replace the mid-engine 914. While a fun little car, the new 924 didn’t offer much in the way of performance, so Porsche decided that there was a need for a higher performance version to bridge the gap between 924 and 911. The natural next step was to turbocharge the 924, as Porsche had been perfecting turbo technology since the beginning of the 1970s. The 924 Turbo was introduced in 1979, but didn’t arrive in the U.S. market until the 1980 model year.
With a single KKK turbocharger, the 924’s Audi-sourced 2.0-liter four was boosted to 170 hp at 5,500 rpm. In the American market, however, emissions regulations robbed a good bit of the cars performance and power was down to 143 hp. Cars for the American market also carried extra weight thanks to larger bumpers, but the 924 Turbo was still a welcome jump in performance. The sprint from 0-60 mph took just over seven seconds and a little over 140 mph was possible. And because the gearbox is in the rear of the car, the balance of the Turbo is excellent. Similar to the 924 Carrera GT, the Porsche 924 Turbo boasts decent fuel economy, good braking and firm suspension. It wasn’t perfect and turbo lag is certainly present at lower revs, but it was fast by the standards of the day while also practical and comfortable.
As often happens with affordable Porsches, many have fallen into the hands of unsympathetic owners at one point or another, and many 924 Turbos have suffered from deferred maintenance or general neglect. A solid, consistently maintained example may be hard to find.