Emily let me know she spotted a 944 in a movie, so I thought it was time to update this page about the red 1986 Porsche 944 I owned from 2001 - 2010. Updated from an essay I wrote in October 2010 after selling the car (actually gave it to a friend who was a better mechanic than me who could prolong its life. I really enjoyed having this car, but there was always a concern about the next $2,000 repair it would need!
I first discovered 944s reading "Road & Track" during study hall in high school in the early 1980s. I loved the way all the Porsches looked then, but decided some day I'd own a 944. That someday came almost 20 years later in October of 2001 when I bought my 1986 Guards Red 944.
After owning a 944 for 9 years, I passed it on to a friend of mine who was ready to tackle some work I knew it needed. It was the car I wanted in high school and was a lot of fun for the time I had it. Driving a 24-year-old car does come with a degree of stress though because you're always wondering what's going to break next. So it's on to a new home and I'm enjoying my V70 R, but the whole family has good memories of the time we had with a little red Porsche. I learned a little bit about cars too. Some of the things we fixed are linked at the bottom of this page.
One day I was driving to work in the 944. I was heading down highway 41 going about 75mph with the sunroof off. I was listening to Van Halen's greatest hits, which I keep in the 944 along with a pair of Wayfarers as my 80s time capsule. I was enjoying the ride immensely and thought to myself, "If my 17-year-old self could see my 40-year-old self right now he'd think everything turned out just fine!" It certainly has for numerous reasons far beyond owning a 944, but I'm not sure 17-year-old Eric would "get" all the other stuff!
Here it is sitting in the driveway on a beautiful morning. "There she sits, buddy, just gleamin' in the sun..." I used to have to polish and wax it often because there was no clear coat on the paint. And the chip in the spoiler pre-dated my ownership.
The 4 cylinder power plant. You ought to hear it though. It has a great sound and you won't believe it's a 4-banger. The Sweet Sounds of Stuttgart!
The kids loved it too.
One of my favorite shots.
I had never been much of mechanic, but I figured if you have an old car like this, you need to do some things yourself. So I practiced on the Civic, and joined an Internet group for instruction and support. Here I am trying to wrestle an oilpan drainplug that the shop had overtightened.
I joined the Milwaukee chapter of the Porsche Club of America. We sponsored and worked at a renovation of 'Porsche Park' at Road America. After looking at Porsches there over the years, it was fun to have something to park there...even if it is the little brother of that sweet 911. Porsche Park is up near the outside of turn 1. I haven't been there in a while.
One thing that was cool about having this car, was the online community of 944 owners/enthusiasts. There is a 944 forum on a site called Rennlist that would discuss problems, fixes, frustrations and fun with these cars. One member, Ice Shark, had designed a more robust battery wiring kit that solved a lot of grounding problems. I bought one and a few local members of the Rennlist 944 forum came over to help me install it. They were all younger than me, but it was cool to have 3 or 4 944s in the driveway, and Amy made a cookout lunch for them.
I wanted to contribute, so I documented a few fixes I had done. I need to recreate the posts here, but this is the content I have. Links will come live if and when I update the writeups. I just checked to see if Clark's 944 Garage site was still up. It is, but I'm sad to see that Clark passed away. His writeups were detailed and super helpful.
- Fixing the Door Lock Operating Rod
- Fixing Turn Signals that Won't Reset
- 1985+ 944 Parts Catalog at Porsche.com
- Clark's 944 Garage - Great workshop manual for 944s, Thanks Clark!
- Instructions for Iceshark's Wiring Kit - Written by Andre Ruest