1981 Porsche 944 GTP

1981 Porsche 944 GTP

1981 Porsche 944 GTP Sold for $308,000 at 2012 Gooding & Company, Amelia Island, Fl.
At the 1980 24 Hours of LeMans, Porsche enjoyed much success with their three works 924 GTPs. With this, Porsche introduced the successor to the 924 road car, the 944. The introduction for the road-going 944 was scheduled for the Fall of 1981. Plans for a GTP entry was also in the works.

Hans Mezger developed the competition (Type 949) using a 944 block and a specially designed twin-cam cylinder head equipped with four valves per cylinder. The one-piece camshaft cover was cast with the script '944 Le Mans,' a subtle reference to the upcoming Porsche road car. The engine had dry sump lubrication, belt-driven camshafts, balancer shafts, an air-to-air intercooler and a KKK K28 turbocharger. Horsepower was in the neighborhood of 410 with just 15 1/2 psi of boost. Along with a new engine, the Type 44 GTP was given larger brake discs wider rear tires, subtly revised bodywork and a special heavy-duty transaxle.

Chassis number 924-0025 was constructed during the Winter of 1980 under the auspices of Eberhard Braun. It was the development car for the 1981 Le Mans project and was a rolling test bed for the upcoming 944. In Marcho of 1981, the car was brought to Paul Ricard Circuit in France to be properly tested and prepared. After testing was completed, sister car 924-006 was prepared for LeMans and entered in the GTP category. The Hugo Boss-sponsored 944 GTP was driven by Walter Rohrl and Jurgen Barth to a 3rd in Class and 7th overall.

After Le Mans, 924-005 was disassembled at Weissach and placed into storage. It was later sold to Australian Porsche importer Alan Hamilton. Hamilton then modified his 924 GTR (known as Spirit of Australia) to accept the Type 949 engine and campaigned the car in a local racing series.

In the early 1990s, the car was sold to Porsche AG. Eventually, Porsche sold the 924 GTP to noted Porsche collector David Morse. Around this time, marque expert Kerry Morse discovered the bare tub of 924-005 sitting behind a shop in Southern California and immediately acquired it.

In the mid-1990s, Jim Edwards was presented with the opportunity to purchase both 924-005 and Spirit of Australia. After the purchase, the original test mule was reunited with its Type 949 engine. The car was restored using correct, original components sourced from Hamilton's GTR. The completed car was finished in Hugo Boss livery to resemble 924-006. The work was completed in time for the 1998 Monterey Historic and was part of the Porsche anniversary celebration.

In February of 2007, Mr. Edwards sold 924-005 to Matthew Drendel. While in his care, the car was given extensive cosmetic attention and mechanical upkeep.

The 2478cc dual overhead cam Type 949 inline four-cylinder engine is fitted with a single KKK turbocharger and Bosch Mechanical fuel injection. It produces an estimated 410 horsepower and there is a four-wheel manual gearbox along with four-wheel ventilated disc brakes.

In 2012, the car was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company in Amelia Island, Florida. The car was estimated to sell for $375,000 - $450,000 and offered without reserve. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for $308,000 inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2012
In 1981 at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the Porsche 944 was announced to the world. The Porsche 944 was introduced in 1983 as a replacement for the 924 and served as an entry-level sports car until it was replaced by the Porsche 968 in 1991. It was based on the 924 and had the same interior instrumentation but had wider wheel arches. During its lifespan the 944 had mechanical and a few aesthetic upgrades, as well as name changes including the 944S, 944 Turbo, and 944S2.

Powered by a 2.5 liter, 4-cylinder engine built at Porsches Zuffenhausen factory, it was capable of producing 174 horsepower. The engine was placed in the front and powered the rear transaxle. In-line 4-cylinder engines were often plagued with vibrations so Porsche negotiated a deal with Mitsubishi for the use of their 2-balance shafts. A 5-speed manual gearbox was mated to the engine and an optional automatic was available. In 1986, Porsche introduced a turbo version of the 944 and improved the aerodynamics of the vehicle. Internally to Porsche, it was known as the Type 951. By turbocharging the engine, the horsepower was increased to 220 horsepower. To add to the performance of the vehicle, the suspension and gearbox were modified, and wider wheels were used.

The 944 was such an amazing package that for 1983 through 1985, Car and Driver rated it in their Ten Best List. The Turbo version was mentioned in the 1986 list.

In 1985, the interior received upgrades including the instrumentation, electrical system, and driver's power seat. The rear suspension was redesigned and new control arms were added.

In 1986 the warranty on the 944 was increased to 10-year no-rust protection and a 5-year or 50,000-mile drivetrain warranty. A sport suspension was optional as was the leather interior. A mandatory third brake light was mounted near the top of the rear glass hatch.

In 1987, the 944S was introduced. The 'S' stood for 'Sport' or 'Super' but it was the safety aspects of the vehicle rather than 'sport' aspects that saw improvements. The braking system was improved with the addition of an ABS (Anti-lock brakes) and the interior was given driver and passenger airbags. A sixteen valve engine was now under the hood and the overall horsepower rating increased slightly to around 188.

In 1988 the 944 Turbo S was introduced. This featured a limited-slip differential and a turbocharged engine. The horsepower rating was now at 250.

In 1989 the base 944 engine displacement was increased to 2.7 liters. This increase was short-lived because of the introduction of the 944S2 which featured a 3.0-liter displacement.

A 944 S3 was planned but after analysis and design, the conclusion was made that a replacement for the 944 was needed. In 1992, the 968 was introduced and sold in parallel with the 928 until the 1995 model year when production of both vehicles ceased.

The Type 945 represents the 944 models but with right-hand drive. The Type 951 represents the 1985-1991 Turbo version and the Type 952 as the 1988 944 Turbo S right-hand drive.

During a production run that lasted from 1982 through 1989, 113,070 Porsche 944's were produced. 25,107 were Turbos, 12,936 were 944S and 6,439 were S2.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2009

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