Stig Bjerke

"So you're a young car enthusiast and you want a classic sports car, something you can drive everyday, but you don't wanna spend a metric fuck-ton of money? Well, you're in luck! I 've got just the ride for you; a watercooled, front-engined Porsche — specifically, a 944. 

Nope, it doesn't have an engine out of a VW van, it's a proper, bona fide Porsche — and there's a bunch of models to chose from."
That's what some part of my brain has been screaming for what seems an eternity. 

And with good reason. These cars look great, handle well, and can be pretty quick when putting it through its paces on twisty roads. When you want a car that does it all, the choice seems logical — at least on paper. 

When looking at these you've got options which may seem confusing at first. You got the bog-standard model, which is in two different flavors, the S version with a 16 valve cylinder head, an S2 version which is better all around with 16 valves and 3,0 liters, and the Turbo, which needs no explanation. Whichever you choose, you'll know pretty quick that these cars, while cool, fun and great, can be an absolute fucking plague. 

But, let's all be honest here, this is a sports car from Germany made in the eighties. The fact that they've been dirt cheap for years does not help the situation. Sure, you can find a pristine, low-mileage one and just drive around like the capitalistic imperialist you are,but where's the fun in that? The odds are stacked against your youth, however, because you most likely can't afford the best ones just yet. Sadly, 944s have been lumped into the “Porsche investment bubble” that air-cooled 911's brought down upon us; what was once affordable has become out of reach almost overnight.
Now, do not get me wrong, I love these cars; hell, I've had three. Well, two '44s and a 968, which is the model that replaced the S2. I love how they look, I love how they drive, and I love the community. These cars stir four of the five senses to the brink of emotional overload; but with that comes frustration when things go wrong — more on that  later. 

As a young car enthusiast, a car like this is a great way to get into classic cars. You'll not only get to know a lot of people, you'll also learn how to wrench; or at least freshen up your skills. If you're young, chances are you can't afford to drive it into a Porsche workshop and just leave it there to get serviced. You'll find yourself lurking on forums, ebay, facebook groups and every type of website dedicated to these cars. 

Then you'll start making “want to buy” posts, comment on ads and get to know all the closest “wreckers," which, by the way, all seem to be located in England. I must have bought over 100 parts from the queen's backyard; the queen probably gets a cut in on the second-hand 944 parts business...but I'm digressing.

"35 hours, or days, later, you have that fucker of a transmission back in — but now you've broken the sender unit for the speedometer."

While you're looking for parts. You'll also be looking at FAQs, DIY guides and workshop manuals trying to figure out this German artifact — and these will save your ass, not only once, not only twice, but a lot. 

Though this is normal for an old car, the 944 will require much more of this. I have an example. 

I was replacing the shifter linkage and the transmission mount on my S2; seems like a straight forward job, right? Drop the tranny, change all the stuff, and offer it up to the car again. But there's a catch because this car is the creation of some mad German scientist, which means nothing can or will ever be easy. 

Now you realize that you gotta take off the driveshafts, drop the fuel filter, cuss at a broken bolt and bla bla bla. 35 hours, or days, later, you have that fucker of a transmission back in. But not before you've broken the sender unit for the speedometer. So what do you do? You source a new one and quickly make the realization that 2 kilos of Pablo Escobar's finest vintage stock of cocaine must come with it; you might assume that when you see the price. Since this isn't the eighties, you've already been in contact with some dude in England and bought the used version of that part.

But, does it stop here? No, of course not — this is only the beginning! 
Let that hate flow through you, young padwan. Feel the dark side of the automotive rage! 

The speedo STILL doesn't fucking work! 

This is the frustration I mentioned earlier — and it will happen to you...mark my words. But fear not! There's a whole community of folks happy to help. For me, the logical choice was the guys here at flüssig; specifically our Facebook group chat, which is mostly full of shenanigans, memes and el jefe sharing secret awesomeness; no I'll not tell you what, but it's awesome.

Well, there I was, talking to the fine gentlemen of this establishment, and between all of Leo's memes, we actually started to figure out what could be wrong. But don't get it wrong; just thinking you might know how to fix it isn't enough. Never mind that it's after midnight and this young lad should have been in bed, I was commited to figiure this thing out. So, I did the only sensible thing I could do; I went out into the garage, and got under the car with my phone. 

For an hour or so, we troubleshooted over facebook using pictures, memes and foul language. The only thing missing was some empty beer cans to shoot at, a couple cases full of alcoholic beverages and a neighbour cooking meth in his trailer; luckily this isn't some rural trailer park. After taking off the axles, stubs, and getting my hands full of lovely-smelling gear oil, we got that speedo to work — a test drive somewhere between 3 and 4 AM confirmed it.

The next day, after much bullshit, the car was back in order again.
That was a little insight into owning an old 944. 

It will bring you joy on the good days, it will be a lot of fun, you'll meet cool people, and maybe even learn a few things. But it'll make you wanna put a .45 slug into your dome while jumping in front of a train after you've done more drugs than Hunter S. Thompson. 

Luckily the frustration is only temporarily as the joy of working it out, and of course driving the car, makes it a fuzzy-drunk memory. So my advice to you all is this; if you're into cars, go get one of these. Be mad at it, have fun with it and learn how to fix it. Future projects might seem easier, and you might even end up with that perfect sports car you've always wanted. Either way, you'll end up in a good place — unless, of course, you're thinking logically and financially. But what young car enthusiast do?

Choose life, buy a 944. And as always, stay safe! Use a condom, always drive safely, and exercise proper shop safety when working on your car!

Have a great 2017!
 


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