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Five vastly underrated Porsches

Monday, June 11, 2018

Photos courtesy Porsche unless noted

Most people agree on what the undeniably great Porsches are—they gather crowds at Werks Reunion and enthusiastic bidders at fancy auctions. It’s the merits of the hidden gems of the Porsche world that are the bones of contention among enthusiasts. They’re often cars that were overshadowed by what came next or were underappreciated back in the day. Here are five Porsches that are much better cars than most people realize:


 928S


Note: The 928S pictured above is a 1985 model year.

Most of the action in the 928 world at the moment is at the beginning and the end. 928 geeks go nuts over an early car with phone dial wheels, no body side rub-strips, and a Pasha interior. They go equally crazy for the wide-body GTS that was the 928’s swan song. Lost are the mid-year cars, in particular, the 928S, which in the US gained a slightly more powerful, 234-horsepower 4.7-liter engine for 1983 and 1984. Fortunately for model years 1985 and 1986, US-market 928Ss received a version of the new 5.0-liter V8 with 288 hp, making the car an even more capable grand tourer and a much closer match to the more powerful European 928S.


924S

To the extent that most people remember the 924S at all, they confuse it with the earlier Audi-engined car. In actuality, the 150-horsepower 924S was a true sleeper, combining the 944’s Porsche-designed, balance-shaft 2.5-liter four-cylinder with the lighter, simpler 924 body and interior.  The car handled brilliantly and was reasonably quick, particularly in its last year, 1988, when it got a horsepower bump up to nearly 160 hp.


1973.5 911T

Every iteration of the 911T was underrated. It was always the lowest horsepower variant of the T/E/S lineup, which sometimes made enthusiasts obsessed with bragging rights sneer. The buff books of the day knew better, almost always pegging the 911T as the best daily driver of the three. To a modern owner, carbs and then the mechanical fuel injection that the T had from 1972 through mid-1973 can present an occasional challenge. The Bosch K-Jetronic CIS-injected 1973.5 car might be the most underrated 911T of them all. The CIS system meant that the car always started quickly even from cold and ran sweetly, with no flat spots. And since the injection system was similar to the one used all of the way through 1983, it’s a relatively known quantity.


1969 912


Photo by Niels de Wit from Lunteren, The Netherlands. CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Most of the attention given to the 912 centers on the early short-wheelbase cars with their green-faced, chrome-ringed gauges and unflared fenders. The unique, final-year 1969 car is generally overlooked in spite of the fact that its numerous refinements likely make it a better car to drive, with slightly better weight distribution and handling from the wheelbase stretch and the ability to accommodate wider tires. 


996 Carrera

For reasons that have largely been explained/debunked at this point, the 996 has been a consistently underrated car. And while its days in the woods are behind it, most of the attention has been given to the Carrera 4S and Turbo variants, which ignores what an accessible and pleasurable driver’s car the base Carrera 2 is, much like the 911T was 30 years earlier.

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