Somewhere, There’s A Garage With A Boxfresh Porsche 944 Cup Turbo Inside It
Imagine if when you were a kid, you somehow forgot to open a Christmas present. Instead it got stuffed under the stairs or up in the attic. Then maybe while you’re doing some pandemic cleaning, you find it. That’s what this is. Except it isn’t some intact Pokemon cards or Ninja Turtle figurines (which would also be pretty rad) but a Porsche Turbo racecar from the 80's.
Purists never really ‘got’ the 944.
It has the engine in the front. It’s air-cooled instead of water-cooled. It derived from the 924, which was originally envisioned for (cue the gasp from snobs) Volkswagen. According to fancy wanna-bees from Munich to Miami…the 944 ‘wasn’t a real Porsche.’ You can imagine what the O.G. Stuttgart engineers thought of that idea!
The biggest thing about the front-engined P-cars were that they absolutely sold like hotcakes. A lot of people are convinced it was these cars that honestly saved the company. But again, purists never seemed to get into the radically-different-than-a-911 vibe they had. So Porsche got mad, and went Porsche on them. Every year, the cars got faster.
First it was about installing turbos inside ‘em. Then they built the engine until the 4-banger underneath the hood was the largest-displacement factory 4-cylinder engine in the world. Then it was about putting the cars on diets until they only had what was needed in them for ’em to go fast. Finally, Porsche said ‘screw it, let’s make a bunch of 944 race cars, and make a whole racing series out of it all.’
In ’88, that’s exactly what the company did. They took what was already a pretty cool ride (the 944 turbo) and completely stripped it for race use. We’re talking roll cage, Recaro race seat, upgraded suspension and turbocharger, everything. All the luxury add-ons like power windows and what-not went ‘bye-bye.’ Obviously the engine was re-mapped and hot-rodded, the new turbo was tuned for maximum boost, and the clutch and brakes were beefed up.
Porsche then started a competition series that went live in the EU, South Africa, the USA, and Canada. It was set up as a ‘support race’ for bigger, more well-known events, and featured a fair amount of talented drivers. The car pictured above is one of those whips. Whats more amazing is it was barely even driven!
RM Sothebys found this car with under 15,000km on the clock.
How did this happen? Well, it was a ‘backup car’ for a race team in the Canadian series, and it seems like it just got hidden somehow behind the Christmas tree. (In that no-man’s-land between the tree base and the far back wall.) Then for reasons unknown, it was just stored away as a collector’s item. Obviously, this did wonders for the price, as it ended up selling in late 2019 for about $100k.
V different from that 944 your cousin bought for 4 grand a couple years ago that just leaks oil a lot! They’re both Porsches (as your cousin will mention at every opportunity,) but this Rothmans ride is something special.