words by joe sharp

here's one of my 944s of 1986 vintage...
In 2009 I was going through the worst period of my life.

Long story short, I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression. Not knowing exactly what this entailed, I looked up “clinical depression” and found that I had all ten of the top ten symptoms. The worst part, for me at least, was the overwhelming feeling that things would never get any better. But thankfully, I am doing much better today, and two 944s played a big part in my ongoing recovery.
I had a 1987 944 in 1994, at that point I was driving a Nissan Pulsar, which really wasn’t a bad car in and of itself. I was Controller and Finance Manager at the company I worked for and the General Manager there knew that I liked Porsches and that I had a 914 in the 70’s. One day he told me that his 944 was just sitting in his garage; he just didn’t have the time to drive it since our company, an oil spill clean-up specialist, supplied him with an SUV to drive.

Needless to say, I fell for it the first time I test drove it…the feeling of being able accelerate through turns that I would have slowed down in before was not only confidence inspiring, it was intoxicating. So I gave him a check for $8,300.00 the very next day. The honeymoon didn’t last foreve, unfortunately, since I had to sell that car in 1997. I developed a foot problem that was causing me agonizing pain; pumping a clutch on an commute that would usually exceed the better part of an hour was wearing me out
and my '89 944.
Fast forward to 2012.

My desire for 944s never waned…I had been keeping tabs on prices for a while and now that I was in early retirement, the possibility of jumping back into them was a reality. That’s when I saw a 1986 944 NA for sale on Craigslist in December of 2012. It wasn’t just any 944; it was almost a duplicate of the one I owned from 1994 to 1998. It was in the same color, Garnet Red, same tan and black interior, and even the same Phone Dial wheels...it was as if an act of fate.

I looked over the 944 in question. It needed work alright, but I knew what it could be, and most of what it needed to get it mechanically sound…needless to say, I bought it on the spot. In the next six months I spent about $4,300 on it before taking it on some day trips, to Ocean City Maryland and to Baltimore to see my oldest friend Rick, who lives across the street from where I grew up.

So guess what was happening?

Yes...I now had something to look forward to, which is essential to a recovery from severe depression. That beautiful, great handling 944 was just what the doctor ordered, so to speak. One wasn’t enough, though…I have since bought a 1989 944, which is in better shape cosmetically and has an engine that was rebuilt only 4,000 miles ago. If taken care of, the engine will probably outlive me.

So if you are feeling depressed, get yourself a 944, fix it up, and recover some of the fun in life!
editor's note:
before I even knew of Joe, I knew his car...before it became Joe's. you see, I was at Jason Gonzalez's shop, Maniac Racing and R7 Restoration, when he was putting the finishing touches on what would become Joe's second 944, the '89. I don't think I ever told Joe that I had these images of his car in mid prep, so I thought I'd share them here for him to see just what was going on with the second half of his "treatment."
looking down at Joe's 944 with Jason off to the right and his friend Brian to the left.
Jason under the '89 ready to hook up the exhaust from the front...
and Brian ready to handle it at the back.
after some pipe wrestling, a brew was in order.
this shot shows some rearrangement of the "office furniture" and a shot of the '89 with the Design 90 wheels.
a shot of her lovely face...
and the heart of the matter, the "Testarossa" or "red head."
ready for delivery.


gary curran
09/09/2014 23:40

great site. have 1977 924 & 1988 944. really enjoy how they can be

driven and not go into the ditch!!!
would apprec. more pics and info.


Joe Sharp
09/20/2014 08:38

Check out the 944online.com website. Lots of help and pictures on there.

09/11/2014 13:15

I can relate to Joe, 944's are more fun than a puppy. I bought a 1984 Porsche in the late "80 during my first mid-life crisis. I drove it for about ten trouble free years until my back pain got so bad I could no longer get in, or out, of the Porsche. Circumstances caused me to sell the little car. After the inevitable back surgery I would comment whenever seeing a 944, "I really liked that Porsche". Finally my wife got tired of hearing me say how much I missed the little car and she said "why don't you just buy another one?" Within a couple of months I found the replacement through E-bay and I'm five years into the relationship with my new Porsche friend. Happiness is..... owning a 944S Porsche. We're never too old to have a happy childhood.


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