It is a fact that most of us with an interest in roadgoing or race cars, will have a favourite model that holds a special place in our memory for some reason. That reason might be something significant that happened in your life where a certain car left an indelible mark in your memory, or might just be slow warming to a certain model that has built up over the years. In the Porsche model range, the 911 comes out tops for most enthusiasts of the Stuttgart marque, myself included. So, when I was asked to write a book on the Porsche transaxle family, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands, because it meant I would be able to get to know the front-engined models intimately. I was not disappointed!
The Porsche 924
We have all heard the comments that label the Porsche 924 as an Audi, but there were very good financial reasons for transplanting an Audi engine in the new 924. Firstly, when the project kicked off, it was intended to be a VW product, and so an Audi engine that was under development at the time was logically planned. Secondly, using the Audi powerplant kept the development costs way down, and buyers would benefit from the fact that the engine was already developed. Thirdly, it was only the block that was an Audi component, as much of the rest was Porsche componentry that was beefed up to give the 924 a sportier character.
One of the motivating factors behind the introduction of the new 924 was that it gave Porsche a two-model line-up. Since the company had started up for business back in 1948, they had only ever had just a single model to offer customers, with variations in trim and engine options. With just the 356 model on offer, followed by the 911 model, Porsche was at a distinct disadvantage in the market as these models were all above the financial reach of most motorists. The 924 offered starters in this field the opportunity of buying into the Porsche brand for a whole lot less money.
During its 13-year production run, the roadgoing 924 would be powered by the same 1984 cc 4-cylinder in-line engine, with the exception of the 924 S which was introduced in 1986. Variations in the 924 model range included a Turbo, Carrera GT, Carrera GTS and 924 S. Three 924 Carrera GTPs were entered in the 1981 Le Mans 24 Hours, and all three finished: sixth, twelfth and thirteenth places.
The Porsche 924 was introduced in 1976 and the model remained in production for thirteen years, during which time the company sold more than 150,000 units across all variations. By the standards of the bigger manufacturers this would be small fry, but for Porsche the 924 made a substantial contribution to the company’s coffers during some difficult years in the motor industry.
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