The Silverstone Classic Sale 2017

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1991 Porsche 944 Turbo Cabriolet

Lot No.: 408

Registration: K4 AFL
Chassis Number: WP0ZZZ95ZMN130411
Engine Number: 47M01122
Number of cylinders: 4
CC: 2479
Year of Manufacture: 1991
Sold for (£): 25,312

Following the international success of their nimble 924, Porsche designed an all-alloy, 2.5-litre inline-four for their new 944 which they planned to introduce in 1982. Their talented engineers were able to produce a very smooth running four-cylinder engine by utilising two counter-rotating balance shafts running at twice engine speed. These carry eccentric weights which produce inertial forces that balance out the unbalanced secondary forces, all a bit technical but the result is a large four-cylinder engine that feels as turbine-smooth as a six.

Cosmetically, the 944's bodywork was revised with wider wheel arches (similar to that of the 924 Carrera GT), a fresh interior and upgrades to the brakes and suspension. With greater visual presence and the performance to match, better handling, stopping power and more creature comforts, the 944 was a natural step forward.

A 'turbo' version of the 944 was always on the cards, and the forced induction boosted the 2.5-litre engine by a healthy 60bhp, necessitating an upgraded clutch and gearbox. The chassis was further developed and thicker anti-roll bars and four-pot brake callipers were fitted to deal with the significantly increased performance. Externally, a smoother nose panel and a larger rear spoiler distinguished it from its lesser siblings. 

In February 1991, (the final year of 944 production), Porsche released the 944 Turbo Cabriolet which combined the Turbo S' 250bhp engine with the strengthened cabriolet body built by the ASC-American Sunroof Company at Weinsberg.  Compared to the Coupé model, the Cabriolet's windscreen is lowered about 6cm and raked back to reduce the wind noise when the top is down.  Porsche initially announced that 600 would be made, but ultimately 625 were built, with just 100 examples produced in right-hand drive for the UK, Japanese, Australian and South African markets.  This then is a very rare and capable motor car, with a 0-62 mph time of under 6 seconds, and was produced for just one year, with only 32 examples believed to still reside in the UK.

Presented here is a UK-supplied, right-hand drive, 944 Turbo Cabriolet supplied new by Porsche Centre-Strattons of Wilmslow Ltd. on the 1st August 1992.  Finished in the classic Porsche colour of Guards Red (LM3A) with a Classic Grey (TT) leather interior and grey carpets throughout, this car is in superb condition and has today covered just 47,340 miles. It was supplied with options 220: a limited slip differential with 40% lockup with reinforced inner plates and molybdenum coated differential shafts (as standard), 233: tyre specification, 573: air-conditioning, 605: headlight aim control and 946: leather/ leatherette seats.

It was serviced by Porsche Centres (Strattons, Chariots, AFN) from 2,789 miles to 19,968 miles, and latterly by marque specialists. It comes with an original and fully stamped-up Porsche Service Book plus numerous invoices for maintenance plus MoT Certificates, which help corroborate the indicated mileage.  Now being sold from part of an enthusiast’s collection, this car has recently benefited from a full service (including cam-belt) in 2016.

This fabulous, open-top, Porsche has obviously been well-maintained and presents, both mechanically and cosmetically, really well.  Small but important details like factory stickers still in situ, two sets of keys and a complete book-pack help support its careful ownership. This is a simply a lovely example of one of the rarest and most sought-after Porsches from the 1990s. 

The 944, the 968 and even the 928 are seeing their values rise in the wake of the '911 explosion' and front-engined Porsches are having the Renaissance they richly deserve. This great example, whilst being competitively guided, opens the door into a very exclusive club.