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Thread: 1977 Porsche 924 “Martini Edition”

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    1977 Porsche 924 “Martini Edition”

    1977 Porsche 924 “Martini Edition”

    The 924 series was originally designed under contract by Porsche for Volkswagen, which had planned to sell it under its own label. But when VW backed out of the project, Porsche bought the rights to the car it had designed for $60 million. Thus was born the “Poorsche,” a Posche for the impoverished. The car was powered by a 95-horsepower air-cooled four-cylinder VW engine—and didn’t even come with rear disc brakes at first. It was basically a hopped-up Karmann Ghia. Despite regular upgrades—including the eventual installation of a turbocharger—the 924 remains one of the few Porsches that can be bitch-slapped by just about anything on the road with more than an angry hamster under the hood. Though the “Martini Edition” was named after a race series, a few hours in the car would definitely leave the dispirited driver in need of a drink.

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    Senior Member Mase's Avatar
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    My neighbor had a Porsche 924. It was pretty bad, with an 11.0 second 0-60 time.

    That reminds me - does anyone remember the old magazine ads that advertised a car's 0-50 time? Presumably it was to show acceleration in the high single digits instead of double digit time to 60 mph.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mase View Post
    Good article on that car. The only correction is that the 944 was introduced in late 1982 as a 1983 model. It was one of the first vehicles I saw that shed the federally mandated (up until 10/81) 85 mph speedometer.

    With that, I could see the automotive future improving.

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    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    1977 Porsche 924 “Martini Edition”

    The 924 series was originally designed under contract by Porsche for Volkswagen, which had planned to sell it under its own label. But when VW backed out of the project, Porsche bought the rights to the car it had designed for $60 million. Thus was born the “Poorsche,” a Posche for the impoverished. The car was powered by a 95-horsepower air-cooled four-cylinder VW engine—and didn’t even come with rear disc brakes at first. It was basically a hopped-up Karmann Ghia. Despite regular upgrades—including the eventual installation of a turbocharger—the 924 remains one of the few Porsches that can be bitch-slapped by just about anything on the road with more than an angry hamster under the hood. Though the “Martini Edition” was named after a race series, a few hours in the car would definitely leave the dispirited driver in need of a drink.
    You are very confused here.

    There was never an air-cooled 924, there was never a VW-powered 924, the 924 wasn't designed for VW.

    You seem to have combined bits of 914 and 924 history into one messy conglomerate.

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    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    You are very confused here.

    There was never an air-cooled 924, there was never a VW-powered 924, the 924 wasn't designed for VW.

    You seem to have combined bits of 914 and 924 history into one messy conglomerate.

    Well, you're partially right. The 924 was never meant to be air cooled but it was originally meant to be sold by VW and Audi. Porsche started desgin in 1970. The 914 was air cooled by design but the engine in the 924 was water cooled and was the same basic engine used in the water cooled VW vans and also was used in the AMC Spirit and Pacer. It was a VW design and built by Audi. Part of the problem with the engine was the number of fathers.

    I've driven both the 924 and 944. I also ran a 911 in the mid 70's in a rally race. The 924 and 944 both handle a lot more forgiving than the 911. They will both recover from an error in judgement better than the 911. The 944 was a much better car though. I took a 911 into a curve hot once and let up in the curve. On most cars this is good. On the tail heavy 911 it is bad. The 924 at least doesn't have enough power to get you in trouble. If you ever race a 911 and forget to slow BEFORE the curve, pack extra undies.
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    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grouch View Post
    Well, you're partially right. The 924 was never meant to be air cooled but it was originally meant to be sold by VW and Audi. Porsche started desgin in 1970. The 914 was air cooled by design but the engine in the 924 was water cooled and was the same basic engine used in the water cooled VW vans and also was used in the AMC Spirit and Pacer. It was a VW design and built by Audi. Part of the problem with the engine was the number of fathers.
    Well, the 924 originated as an Audi/Porsche joint project, VW involvement was mostly just as the parent to Audi. Although the 924/944 transmission casing was borrowed from the VW Beetle...

    The 924 was eventually replaced by the 924S, which had a proper Porsche-designed engine.

    Slagging off the 914 and 924 as slow by today's standards really isn't fair. At the time their competition wasn't much faster. Sure a Mazdaspeed3 would trounce either one, but then it'll also trounce a 928 or a Ferrari 308.

    Still, Eric's article is a complete muddle of misinformation.

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    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    Well, the 924 originated as an Audi/Porsche joint project, VW involvement was mostly just as the parent to Audi. Although the 924/944 transmission casing was borrowed from the VW Beetle...

    The 924 was eventually replaced by the 924S, which had a proper Porsche-designed engine.

    Slagging off the 914 and 924 as slow by today's standards really isn't fair. At the time their competition wasn't much faster. Sure a Mazdaspeed3 would trounce either one, but then it'll also trounce a 928 or a Ferrari 308.

    Still, Eric's article is a complete muddle of misinformation.
    The extract below is from a 'Porsche 914/924 history' document.

    Ken.


    The Porsche 924 proved that Porsche could hit a sour note, but that it also could eventually turn that miscue into something sweet.

    As the Porsche 356 begat the 911 in the 1960s, so the
    Porsche 924 led to something better with the Porsche 944 of the Eighties and the Porsche 968 of the 1990s. Yet like the Porsche 914, the Porsche 924's standing as a “genuine” Porsche has long been disputed. Never mind that it echoed the 356 in using contemporary Volkswagen suspension, brakes, and steering. Somehow, like the 914, the Porsche
    924 just didn’t have the usual Porsche magic.

    It certainly didn’t have Porsche’s usual format. Not only was the 924’s engine water-cooled, it was located up front. At least the 914s had air-cooled rear engines like any “proper” Porsche should. So what if they sat ahead of the rear axle?

    Even historical significance is denied the
    Porsche 924. Though it was the first front-engine, water-cooled Porsche to reach production, it was actually designed after the lusher, costlier, but similarly configured, Porsche
    928.

    Something else made the
    Porsche 924 more 914 than 911. Where the latter was conceived as a Porsche, the 924 was designed by Porsche to be a Volkswagen.

    The story begins in 1970 with two key events. The first was the arrival of Rudolf Leiding to succeed the controversial Kurt Lotz as VW general manager. Leiding was a sports-car advocate and racing-minded, but he was budget-minded too.

    A very good thing, as he took over a financially troubled company. The Beetle, Wolfsburg’s prime profit-maker, was waning in popularity and there was no replacement in sight, despite numerous attempts. VW’s “big car,” the 411/412, was proving a costly flop, and the in-between Type 3 range had never lived up to expectations. VW’s 1969 acquisition of Audi/NSU from Daimler-Benz brought problems of its own and put a further drain on capital reserves. To ease the budget crunch, Leiding quickly handed over much of VW’s developmental engineering work to Porsche, whose expertise was as obvious as VW’s need for inspired new designs.

    To that end, Leiding set VW on a new product-planning course: Baukastenprinzip -- literally, “building-block principle.” It was a General Motors-style approach, with cars of different sizes, shapes, and prices derived from a relative handful of components to reduce development costs and improve production economies of scale. This led to two spinoffs of newly planned front-drive VW models. The Audi 80/Fox spawned the VW Passat/Dasher to replace the 411/412, while the Golf/Rabbit, the Beetle’s heir apparent, sired a Karmann-Ghia successor in the sporty Scirocco.

    The second key event of 1970 occurred when VW-Porsche Vertriebsgesellschaft, the jointly owned marketing firm for Porsche-designed cars using VW components, realized that the 914 “was not going to become the lasting favorite that the 356 had been,” as the late Dean Batchelor put it. “Management, therefore, began planning a new car to be designed by Porsche for VG to sell as a VW/Audi -- no more ‘VW-Porsche’ in Europe and ‘Porsche’ elsewhere, as the 914 had been [marketed].” Coded EA425, this project was the conception of the 924.

    The birth would not be easy. Batchelor recorded eight separate requirements for the new sports car: interior space comparable to the 911’s, 2+2 seating, “useful” trunk volume (presumably more than a 914’s), greater comfort than that offered by the 914, all-independent suspension, maximum use of high-volume VW components, and -- most intriguing -- a front-engine design with some technical and stylistic similarity to the luxury 928, then under development. “Once the parameters had been agreed to, components...were selected by a process of logical application.

    “It was understood that air-cooled engines were nearing the end of their production at both Porsche and Volkswagen (the 911 would prove otherwise) so one of the new water-cooled units under development would be used. The one selected was a Volkswagen design, built by Audi, used in carbureted form in the VW LT van...” It was also destined for the forthcoming Audi 100 and, of all things, the American Motors Gremlin.



    The Porsche 924 took heat for using many Volkswagen components.

    Plans were well along in 1973 when VG was disbanded and EA425 became VW’s own project. It was only fair. After all, VW had been footing the bills, which then totaled $70 million. But then Leiding announced that EA425 would be built only as a VW or as an Audi, mainly so it could be sold through VW’s 2,000 West German dealers instead of just the 200 VW-Porsche outlets handling the 914. Zuffenhausen was stunned because the decision positioned EA425 as a potential competitor for its own four-cylinder 912.

    The sticky situation seemed to have been resolved when Leiding suddenly departed in 1974, his expansion program having left VW/Audi more overextended than ever. But his replacement, former Ford Europe executive Tony Schmucker, promptly told Porsche there was now no need for EA425, given that the sports-car market was reeling in the wake of the OPEC oil embargo.

    Porsche nevertheless had faith in the car and decided to save it by buying the production rights. The price was $60 million, and although that figure was a slight “discount” on VW’s investment, Porsche would spend even more on further development.

    The deal was sweetened for VW by Porsche’s willingness to build the car as planned at the Audi/NSU plant in Neckarsulm, located a half-hour north of Stuttgart. This was more or less a necessity, as Porsche’s Zuffenhausen facilities were completely absorbed in production of the 911 and in preparation for the 928.

    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

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