Porsche 924

Date of unveil by Porsche: November 15, 1975

© Porsche
MY1976 MY1977 MY1978 MY1979 MY1980
Normally aspirated street models 924 Euro 2.0 92 kW 924 S 2.5
110 kW
924 S 2.5 118 kW
924 USA
Japan 2.0 74 kW
924 USA/Japan 2.0 85 kW
charged street models
924 Turbo Euro 2.0 125 kW 924 Turbo Euro 2.0 130 kW 924 Turbo Italy 2.0 130 kW
924 Turbo USA
Japan 2.0 110 kW
924 Turbo USA/Japan 2.0 115 kW
924 Carrera GT Turbo 2.0 154 kW
924 Carrera GTS CS Turbo 2.0 202 kW
924 Carrera GTS Turbo 2.0 180 kW
        1979 1980 1981              
sport models
924 Rally Turbo 2.0 140 kW 924 Carrera GTR Works Turbo 2.0 235 kW 924 Carrera GTR Customer Turbo 2.0 276 kW
924 SCCA 2.0 132 kW 924 Carrera GTR Turbo 2.5 301 kW

The Porsche 924 emerged as the result of a Volkswagen engineering order which did not materialize. Volkswagen had two sports cars in its portfolio - the Karmann Ghia since 1955 (until 1974) and the VW-Porsche 914 since 1969 (until 1976), so in the beginning of the seventies Volkswagen was looking to develop a successor. In 1971 Volkswagen contracted Karmann to develop the next sports car, internally called as EA 398. EA standed for Entwiklungsauftrag (development assignment). In parallel Porsche was contracted in 1972 and the project's code name was EA 425. It is not known if Porsche had interests regarding its own model line with this project. Porsche was focused on racing and on developing the successor to the 911, the 928.

Volkswagen's demandings on the new sports car consisted of spacy rear seats for children, good luggage space and mechanicals to be used from existing VW and Audi models. Designer Harm Lagaay (born Lagaaij in 1946 in The Netherlands) had joined Porsche in 1971 to work under head designer Anatole "Tony" Lapine and was the main brain behind the visual look of EA 425.

1972 April 2: sketches of the EA 425 made by Richard Soderberg, Dawson Sellar and Harm Lagaay© Porsche
1:5 scale model of EA 425 as designed by Harm Lagaay© Porsche
Later scale model showing Harm Lagaay's design, but now with the large glass rear hatch from Richard Soderberg design © Porsche
Designer Harm Lagaaij in the middle with dark pullover. Note the wheel on the right has VW hub cap. © Porsche

At the same time when the body designs were experimented and honed, the engine and drivetrain components were tested inside vehicles from other manufacturers. Rear wheel drive 2-door cars were chosen as test mules. VW/Audi engine and transmission as well as suspension parts plus EA425 unique drivetrain and suspension components were tested inside a BMW 1600 and Opel Manta bodies. The design lines of the EA 425 gave it a sharp nose which meant the VW/Audi engine had to be tilted 40 degrees to fit under the hood. Unique oil pan was made and tested. As the EA425 was meant to be closer to the ground, the wheel arches on the test mules were modified in order for the front wheels to be able to turn. The modified wheel arches and non-original wheels were almost the only giveaways on the mules.

VW/Audi engine inside Opel Manta. A covered EA425 body can also be seen in the left© Porsche
© Porsche
1973: EA425s in blue, green and gray metallic. They look ready for production, but this body design is not reaching production.© Porsche
© Porsche
EA425 as photographed at the Porsche Museum© James Herne / Stuttcars.com
Luckily this bumper didn't make it to the production © James Herne / Stuttcars.com
© James Herne / Stuttcars.com
Panel design that rich in details didn't make it to the production © James Herne / Stuttcars.com
Wheel arches like this were only on the prototypes © James Herne / Stuttcars.com
© James Herne / Stuttcars.com
The door design looks like the later production version, but is not © James Herne / Stuttcars.com
© James Herne / Stuttcars.com
© James Herne / Stuttcars.com
© James Herne / Stuttcars.com
© James Herne / Stuttcars.com
© Margus Holland / Stuttcars.com

The Karmann EA 398 coupé was developed side-by-side with the brand new hatchback, the VW Golf (Rabbit) and was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. Porsche's EA 425 was probably too distant from VW Golf and too expensive (too sophisticated) for Volkswagen, so it was decided to stop the EA425 project in 1973. The new Volkswagen coupe, designed by Giugiaro and developed by Karmann, was launched in 1974 and named as a Scirocco (interestingly it was launched before the EA 337 VW Golf it was based on).

When Volkswagen decided to end the EA425 project, they offered Porsche to buy back the design and to manufacture the car at their Audi plant in Neckarsulm. In 1973 Porsche was the world dominator in racing and had put great knowledge into the car. Thanks to its front engine and rear gearbox layout, the EA 425 was one of the best handling street cars Porsche had ever developed. Its sleek design made it very aerodynamic, the bugs didn't stick to the windscreen like with the 911. The interior and boot were more spacious than in a 911. Yes, Porsche was interested to launch the EA 425 as a Porsche if the price was good. The price was agreed and who else would have been interested to buy an internal project from other manufacturer. Volkswagen would also benefit from the fact that its parts would be used and its factory for manufacturing.

The front of this design model is already as it would appear on the production car © Porsche

No single body panel from the Volkswagen EA 425 project was used and everything was redesigned for the future entry-level Porsche.

Scale model that already looks like the later production 924, but the car wasn't called "924" yet © Porsche
1974: the project is still called as EA 425, but this is already the final look of the future Porsche 924 © Porsche
Interesting camouflage on the rear of the car© Porsche
Crash test shows how well the front end is able to absorbe the impact © Porsche
© Porsche
In a wind tunnel © Porsche

The 924 was introduced to the world on November 15, 1975 which was the embargo date for the 924 photos. The press launch was organized at the Mediterranean port of La Grande Motte near Montpellier, France.

Press launch at the port of La Grande-Motte © Porsche
The press embargo date for this photo was November 15, 1975© Porsche

The front engine and rear gearbox configuration might have been copied from the 928 project that was going on at the same time. The 928 project was started earlier than the EA 425, but initially the idea was to create the 928 with the V8 in the rear. The transaxle configuration for the 928 and the EA 425 was probably decided at almost the same time. Anyway, 924 was the first Porsche with the near 50:50 weight distribution to hit the streets. The only area where the entry level Porsche stepped backwards, were the brakes. Since already 356 C all the Porsches had had four disc brakes, but now the 924 moved back to the rear drum brakes. While the early VW Beetles had 5-bolt wheels, in the meantime they had switched to 4-bolt wheels. 924 now used the VW running gear parts from the 4-bolt wheel era.

© Porsche
The large "PORSCHE" soon disappeared from the rear window and "PORSCHE" was added to the rear panel beside the "924"-script© Porsche
Nice photo. The amount of food is huge, though.© Porsche
Porsche sports driving school was established in 1974, here in 1976© Porsche
Cutaway drawing shows the locations of the components© Porsche
Posters© Porsche

In 1976 the 924 was available only in Europe. As the production of the 914 had ended, Porsche customers in America were offered a G-model 912 (911 with 4-cylinder engine) for 1976 as a temporary entry level model until the 924 was made available for the America.

To boost advertising it was planned to create a record setting 924. Development of a turbocharged 924 Nardo record car started in 1976 in Weissach. The aim was to cover the 10.000 mile distance on Nardo oval track in Italy at an average speed of over 157 mph/252 km/h (a record set by Mercedes C111 in 1976).

© Porsche

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