Junkyard Gem: 1984 Porsche 944 3AT


During my junkyard travels, I have encountered quite a few discarded Porsches. Other than a couple of the 928s, every last one has had a manual transmission … except for this Porsche 944, which spent its 34 years on the road with a three-speed automatic.

The (naturally-aspirated) didn’t have tremendous power, but it was nicely balanced and a lot of fun to drive. With two pedals, though, it became a good-looking but not particularly exciting daily driver.

This one shows all the hallmarks of a long, hard life as a tool to be discarded when the last bit of use has been squeezed from it. By the end, it was worth about as much as a Daewoo Lanos with a dead skunk in the back seat.

Life on the streets of San Francisco is rough on a car; a street-parked car will get hit at least once every few months and broken into even more often. This one has a relatively recent residential parking permit for Area C, which includes some high-zoot real estate but still ages a car five years for every one it spends there.

In 1984, the Porsche 944 came with 143 horses from its 2.5-liter straight-four engine. Its BMW 325e rival got just 121 horsepower out of its 2.7-liter six that year. The 944 listed for $21,440 (about $52,500 in 2018 dollars) that year, versus $19,700 for the BMW. Meanwhile, Nissan shoppers could get a new 300ZX Turbo for $18,199, and that car generally would eat up the two Germans (in a straight line, anyway) with its 200 force-fed horses.

“The roads are waiting… and so is your .”

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