It’s been the butt of jokes for 40 years, but it seems the Porsche 924 might finally be getting the respect it deserves.
By Porsche standards, the 924 flew out of the showrooms; over 120,000 were sold during its nine-year production run from 1976 to 1985. But it quickly developed an image problem.
It started as a joint project with Volkswagen, before the Wolfsburg giant pulled out in the wake of the 1973 fuel crisis. That led to the perception that the 924 wasn’t a real Porsche. It didn’t help that its 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine was also used in the Volkswagen LT van but, contrary to popular belief, the Porsche was launched first. So you could argue the van had a Porsche engine. Or that both had an Audi engine, as it also turned up in the 100 saloon.
There was nothing wrong with the way it drove, though; a transaxle gearbox gave near-perfect weight distribution and pin-sharp handling. Performance may have been a little lacking, but that was soon addressed with a Turbo version and the later 2.5-litre engine.
Inevitably, Porsche decided to turn the 924 into a racing car for the 1980 season. The resulting 924 Carrera GT used a turbo engine – producing 210bhp in road-going trim – and a much wider track, covered with oh-so Eighties boxy ‘arch extensions.
Three were entered for the 1980 Le Mans 24 Hours in the GTP category – the class system was a mess at the time and it was up against proper prototypes. Amazingly, all three finished the race, and finished well. The leading entry, driven by Manfred Schurti and Jurgen Barth, finished third in class and sixth overall.
To celebrate the 924’s 40th anniversary, Porsche Classic is restoring one of those three Le Mans racers. The so-called ‘British car’, running number 2, was driven by British Saloon Car champions Tony Dron and Andy Rouse to 12th place. It then returned to the Porsche factory where it was sat untouched ever since.
Appropriately, the car is being restored by a number of Porsche Centres in the UK. As the video above shows, Porsche is well-placed to restore it, as it holds the biggest automotive archive in the world. Which no doubt includes every single piece of information about the 924 GTP, right down to the tiniest detail.
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By Only Motors