In the early 1970s, Porsche and VW began working on a sports car that both brands could sell. It was intended to be VW’s flagship and Porsche’s door mat growing the customer base of both brands. After VW backed out of the project, Porsche purchased the design rights and created the 924. Although the 924 wasn’t loved by Porsche enthusiasts, sales were good and the car even saw track time at Le Mans. When Porsche entered the 924 to race in the 1980 Le Mans, homologation rules dictated that a road going version of the race car needed to be sold birthing the 924 Carrera GT.
The 1980’s were dark days for the poor selling 911.
In the 1980 Le Mans race, Porsche did not enter a 911 and sent three 924s instead. Although the 924s were down on power, their superb handling and aerodynamic shape helped them finish 6th, 12th, and 13th. The 924 Carrera GTs that were associated with these race cars intended to ushered in the future of fast Porsches but they needed to prove themselves to the public first. A cynic would look at the 924 Carrera GT and think wow, a special edition of Porsche’s cheapest car with a hot rodded van engine is now supposed to be a performance car.
Although those slightly misinformed critics are half right, this car is far more than the sum of its parts, its one of Porsches first real performance cars that wasn’t a 911. Based on the 924 Turbo, the 924 Carrera GT featured a more aggressive body kit and revised turbo engine. The turbocharged VW based EA831 engine received an intercooler, higher compression ratio, forged pistons, and a larger KKK Turbo producing a stout 210 horsepower. This was 40 more than the 924 Turbo making the Carrera GT far faster than its lowly sibling. Although the 924 was never the enthusiast’s choice, the 924 Carrera GT took Porsche’s ostracized coupe and turned it into a legitimate performance car.Engine tweaks aside the 924 was a good performance platform to start with. With a curb weight of only 2,600lbs and a low center of gravity the base 924 was always a fun to drive momentum car. When Porsche added more power to the recipe it turned this slow car with sporty dynamics into a legitimate performance car. With a transaxle at the rear and the engine close to the middle the 49/51 weight distribution meant the 924 was never overwhelmed by its new muscle The strengthened Getrag dogleg 5-speed manual box could easily handle the extra power and featured close ratios to remain in the powerband. The 924 Carrera GT was able to take the strong base of the base 924 and create a car enthusiast coveted.
Today this rare piece of Porsche history is sought after by Porsche collectors who have had their fill of air-cooled 911s. Only 406 914 Carrera GTs were produced during its one-year production run making it very difficult to find good examples today. When they do come up for sale like this auction on Bring a Trailer expect to spend over $45,000. Since the 406 examples are scattered throughout the globe its hard to say where the next one might appear.
Even the most unloved Porsches can be desirable.
The 924 Carrera GT finally elevated the 924 to the performance level it deserved. The 924 helped keep Porsche afloat financially and brought the brand to more people than ever. Its humble VW roots may keep snobby collectors away but that leaves more for true car enthusiasts to appreciate these cars. Although most of us cannot afford the price of a 924 Carrera GT it reminds us that 924s are out there and they may be the collectable classic Porsche you’re looking for.