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...