924 DE­FENCE

911 Porsche World - - You Write, We Read -

The 924 hum­ble ( 911&PW Sept 2017, p72)? Come off it – it's one of the best Porsches ever made! Ev­ery­where you look, there are fea­tures which show it's a well de­vel­oped, sturdy, small GT. Look at the en­gine. It's a devel­op­ment from an Audi unit, with over­head valves, a bil­let case hard­ened steel camshaft, with a forged steel crank and en­larged bear­ings, with ro­tat­ing ex­haust valves, de­signed that way to pro­long their life. A finned sump avoids the need for a sep­a­rate oil-cooler and it's a non-in­ter­fer­ence, so no valve/pis­ton col­li­sion if the cam­belt snaps.

There's much more that let­ter space doesn't per­mit to be dis­cussed, so let's move to the body. It's engi­neered so that in a frontal col­li­sion the en­gine isn't forced into the pas­sen­ger com­part­ment, but the forces are in­stead trans­mit­ted to the transaxle mount­ings. From 1980 the bodyshells were to­tally gal­vanised to guard against cor­ro­sion.

Per­for­mance? In 1977, Au­to­car mag­a­zine gave the 40–60mph of a 911SC in 4th gear as 6.6 secs. Mo­tor mag found the time for a 924 to be 6.9 secs. Un­der nor­mal road con­di­tions the 924 surely has enough power, and remember in both in­stances we're look­ing at cars which are about 40-years old. Oh, and no bore scor­ing, col­laps­ing cylin­der walls or bear­ings in the 924, ei­ther!

It's in­ter­est­ing, also, that you com­ment that the 924 is the rarest of all the front-en­gined transaxle cars. In my view, it's be­cause the 924 has been the vic­tim of end­less, lazy jour­nal­is­tic on­slaughts, with scant at­ten­tion paid to what it re­ally of­fers. 'Oh, yes, it's the one with the van en­gine', and more mind­less drivel in the au­to­mo­tive press. Peo­ple be­lieve, so no won­der the num­bers have dwin­dled. For me it re­mains a strik­ingly el­e­gant car which catches my eye when­ever I see one. And it’s gen­uinely af­ford­able to main­tain thanks to its rel­a­tive sim­plic­ity com­pared to the later cars. If a 356 is worth pre­serv­ing, so is a 924. The dif­fer­ence is that the 924 won't bank­rupt you.

Like edi­tor Steve Ben­nett, I cur­rently whizz around in an old MX-5 ( that's sup­posed to be a se­cret, Erik! Ed). The thing is, I've just cut out an ad­vert for an al­legedly good con­di­tion 924. I think I know which way things are head­ing... Erik Kwiatkowski, via email

Steve Ben­nett replies: I think you're giv­ing us a bit of a hard time for pref­ac­ing the 924 with 'hum­ble!' C'mon, Erik, you know we're big fans of the 924 on 911&PW, with a 924 con­stantly on the 'Projects' fleet in the tin­ker­ing hands of Chris Horton. In the past we've even run fea­tures ex­pos­ing the 'van en­gine' non­sense as fic­tion over fact. If you do get yourself a 924, do let us know though...

Erik reck­ons the 924 is a ‘strik­ingly el­e­gant look­ing car’ and we wouldn’t ar­gue with him

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